9.23.2014

To Pressure Cook or not to Pressure Cook?

First off, I want to thank all of my readers... as well as those people who stop in every now and then to check out a recipe or two (and mom, I bet you look at my site most of all... love you!).  You have all helped me to slowly accumulate a little bit of revenue from advertisements on my blog.  The advertisements are generally located in the panel to the right, as well as at the bottom of every post.  For me, every time someone from my page clicks on one of these links, or if a post gets an excessive amount of traffic regardless of link-clicking, I get a couple of pennies from it.

These pennies have added up to the point where I will be getting a payment within the next month or so.  Of course, I like to dream and think well ahead of what I would like to use this money for.  I am rationalizing that since the money came from the blog, I should invest some of it into supplies for the blog.

My first thought was.... Vitamix!!!  The money could go towards one, but I would still need to invest some of my personal money into it, and with college loans and bills o be paid, we just can't do that right now.  Plus, I have a really nice KitchenAid blender that works great for what I need it for: smoothies, pureed soups, dressings, etc.  So what if it can't heat soups with excessive friction and make perfect almond butter?  (Side note, my parents have Vitamix and when they visited last weekend, I asked my mom to make some almond butter to bring to me.  She is an almond butter angel!)

My second thought was.... perhaps I could use a new camera for the blog.  I always look at other bloggers' pictures and admire their ability to decorate and light things just so.  Over the last year or so, I had been using my iPad camera because my Macbook had been out of commission.  I recently fixed the problem with my laptop, and remembered that I used to take decent pictures with my husband's camera and edit them with Photoshop on my Macbook.  I will probably go back to taking and editing pictures that way rather than spending money on a new camera that I don't need.

My next thought was... cookbooks!!! Tons and tons of cookbooks!  I have had quite a few cookbooks on my Amazon wish-list for a while, so maybe I can get a few of those.  I'll probably get a few cookbooks, but I feel like I want my money to go more towards something that will contribute to new and exciting recipes to share on the blog.  The best I can do with cookbooks is to reference where I got the recipe and show you guys pictures, but seriously, what a tease!

After listening to my first Chef AJ teleconference with Wendy from Healthy Girl's Kitchen last week, I remembered how Chef AJ highly recommends an electric pressure cooker for a plant-based diet.  I did some research and Instant Pot recently came out with their new model called the "Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker".  It seems really safe, contrary to many horror stories you may have heard about pressure cookers.  It also looks like it would be EXTREMELY convenient by cooking soups, stews, dried beans, whole grains, potatoes, and fresh veggies in a matter of minutes.






Another bonus of using a pressure cooker, besides the incredible speed, is that it uses very little energy to run.  I have my BS in Environmental Science, so the environmentalist in me loves that idea.  It is also very efficient in keeping heat from dissipating from the unit, so I won't have a hot kitchen like I do most nights.  Yet another great feature is that, by locking in the steam, and cooking vegetables quick and efficiently, the nutrients remain more available for consumption.  

Win-win-win, right?




This type of pressure cooker also doubles as a slow cooker as needed.  But will that mean I get rid of my "vintage" slow cooker?  Of course not!  I'll keep that to cook some of Kevin's meat dishes in. :)

Here are some of the videos I've been watching to get a better idea of how a pressure cooker would work and what I could make with it:

The Veggie Queen's demonstration

Chef AJ's Red Lentil Chili

Chef AJ's Mushroom Chili

What are your experiences with Pressure Cookers?  Any advice that can help sway my decision?

Health and Happiness,

Amy


7 comments:

  1. This is Amy's Mom, and if you are in your early 50's like me, your mother probably scared the daylights out of you about pressure cookers. My friend is the same age I am, and her mother did the same. We are terrified of them. They were not regulated in any way. These electric ones look very safe, and I am excited for my daughter to get one. Always be careful of that steam when it releases, however. I have to add that, after all I am her mother.

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  2. My mom has used a stovetop pressure cooker a few times a week for my whole life (probably longer). I never heard of an electric one until I started reading cooking blogs! My mom frowned on the idea of an electric pressure cooker, and she instead bought me a 6 quart Prestige Deluxe Stainless Steel pressure cooker for about $55 from an Indian kitchen/electronics store in Houston (moms are GREAT!). I have had a few issues with the ring not sealing properly, but my food has turned out fine.
    Please let me know how the electric one works out for you!

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    1. Thanks for your input, Gira! I think an electric one will work better for me, as I want to "set it and forget it". I also have the problem of not having a dependable stovetop to heat things evenly and at the temperature I want (yay cheap apartment ovens right?). I'll keep you updated if it works out for me!

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  3. Hmmm I hope my comment went through... I'll type it again though.
    I have a fagor duo pressure cooker and I love it so much! I use it 3x a week for beans, rice, whole grains, soups, and root veggies like beets. The idea of an electric one is appealing, but both Consumer Reports and America's Test Kitchen found they worked significantly worse and don't get nearly as high in pressure, which means they don't even save you much time vs a normal pot or crockpot!

    Also, your stove doesn't have to give out a consistent heat for a stovetop pressure cook. You leave it on medium-highish, which raises the pressure inside (that increases the boiling point, which is what makes it cook faster) and the pressure gauge releases any extra pressure as steam. It self-regulates the pressure, so if your stove gets a little hotter or a little cooler it's not a problem. I set and forget mine for 2-3 hours all the time. No use standing near it or fiddling with it, since you can't open the lid anyway or the pressure will come out.

    http://lifehacker.com/5983302/what-to-look-for-in-a-pressure-cooker
    http://lifehacker.com/5983302/what-to-look-for-in-a-pressure-cooker

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    1. Hi Maria,

      Looks like your comment went through this time! That is great to hear that you use your pressure cooker so much. In these weeks that I have been thinking about getting one, I have mentally noted all the times I could have used it.

      Thanks for the info on the stovetop pressure cooker. I think I am going to end up going with an electric pressure cooker, because I really like that it uses less energy and has more options for pre-setting, timers, and "keep-warm mode".

      Are there any pressure cooking cookbooks that you would recommend?

      Amy

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  4. It's up to you, and I hope whichever you get makes you very happy! I would just try to buy it from somewhere like Kohl's or Costco, that has a very good return policy in case you decide you don't like it. This link shows the best rated electric pressure cooker at the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_7CaD4UCYo

    I don't use a pressure cooker cookbook, but I refer to this site ALL the time, it's the most accurate list of pressure cooking times that I've found and it's got almost every food listed! https://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cookers/cooking_times_pressure_cooker.php Keep in mind that you'll want to add about 40-50% to these times when using an electric pressure cooker. I recommend keeping a notebook in the kitchen and writing down how long things take the first few times you make them, then can learn about how long black beans take in your particular cooker, or rice, or whatever and then you can always set it for that time without worrying. Have fun!

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