10.09.2014

This Instant Pot and I are going to be best friends!

Hi folks!  Earlier this week, on Monday, I received one of two packages I had been waiting for: Lorna Sass' Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  I had mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I was looking into getting a pressure cooker and a cookbook to go along with it.  I settled on this cookbook, which was published in 1994, to start my love affair with pressure cooking because...

1.) Chef AJ recommends the book here,
2.) the reviews said that this cookbook is almost completely vegan besides occasional suggested cheese toppings that could be replaced with nutritional yeast if I really wanted,
3.) the reviews said that even non-vegetarians will love (a.k.a. my meat and potatoes husband), and
4.) most reviews raved about their favorite recipe and I wanted to TRY THEM ALL!

Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

After spending most of Monday evening reading soaking up its recipes and tips, and fantasizing about myself with a clean kitchen and an electric pressure cooker quietly and rapidly cooking my delicious healthy food, I hopped onto my computer to check the shipment tracking on the InstantPot IP-DUO60 that I had ordered at the same time as the book.

Amazon said it hadn't even been shipped! :(  I knew it was due to arrive anytime between October 7th to the 10th, but it was the 6th and it hadn't even left the warehouse!?!  Poo poo!

After going back to work on Tuesday (I took Monday off to recover from Leavenworth, and actually ended up with a little cold to nurse), I spent all day thinking about what recipes I wanted to make out of the book and how I wished my Instant Pot would get here sooner!

Around my lunch break on Tuesday, I checked with Amazon again for the tracking.  Hopefully it had left the warehouse by now....  It said "Delivered"!  How on earth that could happen is beyond me, but it was waiting at home for me!  After a few more hours crawled by, I left work to stop at my favorite farmer's stand to pick up some produce I would need, and then headed home.

I eagerly unpacked my produce and opened my lovely, large InstantPot package!

First thing I did: read the getting started directions of course, I am a woman!  Then I washed the new parts and started a quick soak on some chickpeas for a soup I was planning on making for dinner.  Normally I pre-soak my beans, but when a pressure cooker is just waiting to be used, a quick soak would have to do.

Little did I know, the pressure cooker also works to quickly quick-soak dried beans.  A normal quick soak involves bringing a pot with dried beans up to a boil for a few minutes, then allowing the beans to stand in the hot water off of the burner for 1 hour, before then cooking the beans for 2+ hours to get them edible.


A quick soak in a pressure cooker combined 1 cup of dried chickpeas (all I needed for the recipe, but it would fit more) with 3 cups of water.  I locked the lid and set the InstantPot to high pressure for 20 minutes, then allowed the pressure to come down naturally.  This took a total of about 35 minutes to quick soak, rather than 1 hour plus.  This step could also be avoided by soaking beans overnight, which I will do from now on, but this night I didn't expect my PC to be here so soon.

(Sorry, I wish I had more pictures of the process to share, but I was just too excited to get started that I forgot to grab my camera.  More pictures will be coming when I get the hang of things!)

While the beans were cooking, I prepped the ingredients for the soup, and even had time to clean up the kitchen.  After draining and rinsing the quick-soaked beans, I filled the pot with all of the ingredients for Lorna Sass' Chickpea Soup Italiano.  Set the pot for 16 minutes at high pressure, then allowed the pressure to come down naturally, for a total of around 30 minutes.

During the times the pot was cooking, there were no sounds, no dreaded hissing of the pressure cooker horror stories you may have heard.  There was actually no times that I felt that it felt unsafe, which is a relief.

I had the Chickpea Soup Italiano for dinner that night and it was delicious!  I sent Kevin to work with the leftovers from the half batch the next day. (His pictures aren't as pretty as mine would have been ;)).
Chickpea Soup Italiano from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

After packing away the leftover soup, I made a half batch of Lorna's Garlicy Lentil Soup.  Since lentils cook even faster than dried beans, this soup only needed 7 minutes at high pressure, with a natural pressure release.  I found that I needed to add a bit more stock at the end than it had called for, but it made for a nice thick lentil soup.  This was my lunch today and the day before, and the wonderful aroma alone may have convinced a coworker of mine to get the same pressure cooker.


Then, this morning I steamed my breakfast kale in it.  This went super quickly with only 3 minutes at high pressure and a quick release.  No pictures of this, sorry.

As you can tell, I'm super giddy about my new pressure cooker.  I may have a bit of an hiatus of creating recipes for the blog as I explore how to use this new wonderful contraption, but I will keep you guys posted on how I'm doing through some of my other social media accounts (see top right of blog for links).

Health and Happiness,

Amy

5 comments:

  1. Hi Amy,
    I too am awaiting my Instant Pot 7-1 and I have also received the book Cooking Vegetarian Under Pressure. But...I have a question and hope you can help me...How do I adjust the cooking times in the Lorna Sass cook to the Instant Pot when her recipes all assume a stove top cooker and the cooking times don't start until the cooker reaches full pressure. This is unlike the Electric cookers that have either a preset button for different foods or you just set the time at the beginning of the cooking process and forget it. This time assumes bringing the pot to full pressure as well as natural release. There is no waiting for the electric cooker to reach full pressure before setting the time which her recipes all do. I just don't know how to convert her recipes to the electric cooker so I won't over or under cook. Help and thank you, Diane

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    1. Hi Diane,

      You are going to love the InstantPot! You'll have to let me know how the other recipes in Lorna's book are that I haven't gotten to when you try them. :)

      No need to fret about timing! The IP's timer is set before starting and then does not start to count down until high pressure is reached, just as in Lorna's stovetop pressure cooker recipes.

      As for cooking times, I have been sticking to Lorna's times and having great success, while following her suggestions for natural and quick pressure releases. Although there are lots of pre-settings on the InstantPot, I generally only use the saute function and use the manual button to bring it up to high pressure.

      Hope that helps to answer any questions you had!

      Amy

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  2. Hi Amy,
    I am glad you are enjoying your new pressure cooker! I have a stovetop one that makes a mess, so I will have to consider your instant pot! Does it really not make a mess? Where does the pressure release from? What is the capacity? I have a 6 qt pressure cooker, but it does not work well if you fill it more than half full. Does yours have that type of restriction as well? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Gira! Yep, the Instant Pot is super easy to use and easy to clean. It has a removeable stainless steel pot insert that can be removed and washed by hand or in the dishwasher. The inside of the lid rarely gets dirty, so I usually just wipe the steam condensation off of it. It has a sealing ring that some have said can retain the odor of your food if not cleaned regularly, but I find this hasn't happened to me yet, although I do remove it and clean it once every 4 uses or so. The only time I have gotten anything but steam on the lid was when I was cooking a large pot of beans and did a quick release. I think with the quick release some of the foam hit the top that wouldn't have if I had done a natural pressure release.

      The pressure release is a nob valve on the top of the lid. It has two positions, sealing and venting. If you are doing a quick release of the pressure, you just lightly move this nob from sealing to venting (slowly if there is a lot of pressure), and it allows steam to come out. Once the locking pressure valve has gone down after a pressure release, you are safely able to open the lid and enjoy your food.

      I bought the 6-quart size, but this model also comes in a 5-quart size. I went with the bigger one thinking I would eventually have a family to cook for, and I love having leftovers now to take to work. I made a large batch of my three bean chili in it last week, which equaled to about 12 cups and it cooked just fine. The only thing that may be limiting with larger amounts is the time that it takes for the IP to reach high pressure. I try to minimize this by adding boiling water when a recipe calls for water. Why not give it a bit of a head start?

      Hopefully that answers all of your questions! If you do decide to order, make sure you check the shipping date. I have been hearing from people on the Instant Pot Eat to Live Facebook group that if you order from Instant Pot's company website it can take a few months. Amazon (where I ordered mine) took under a week to get to me on free shipper savings.

      Amy

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  3. Do you just eat the steamed kale plain for breakfast?

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