I Love Cooking with the Instant Pot™

I Love Cooking with the Instant Pot™
My 8-quart Instant Pot™

It’s no secret that I’m a life-long member of the Kitchen Gadget of the Month Club. I’ll bet you are too. I have a thingie that takes butter and milk and converts it to cream. (Yes, it really works.) I have not one but two different yogurt makers, two rice cookers, three different stand mixers. Four if you include Momma’s antique that sits on top the kitchen cabinets as art. When Alexa committed suicide and took my Vitamix with her, I headed down to the bar to find one of the two Osterizers I have. Couldn’t find them, but I did find, new in the box, a Cuisinart blender. What Cuisinart blender? I never bought one of those. But of all my kitchen gadgets, I love cooking with the Instant Pot™.

What’s this thing called Instant Pot™?

About three years ago I started noticing recipes calling for something called the Instant Pot™. I’d never heard of such a thing. What was I missing. Doing my research, I found the Instant Pot™ to be basically an electric pressure cooker on steroids. An electric pressure cooker, eh? I have one of those! Many, many years ago, I bought one made by Regal, and put it in the sauna. (Doesn’t everyone use their sauna as an auxiliary storage closet?) I think I may have used it once or twice. However, I never really got over the fear Momma instilled in me concerning pressure cookers. Don’t they explode, leaving you to rebuild your kitchen?

At least twenty-five years after buying that machine, I dragged it out of the cupboard (yes, I knew where to find it even after the move) and tried some of these Instant Pot™ recipes. The machine worked. The recipes worked. And I got over my fear. Win-Win, right? But the Instant Pot™ is so much more than just an electric pressure cooker, and soon I was finding recipes I couldn’t make in the old Regal.

My First Instant Pot™

OK, it’s my only Instant Pot™. Kevin loves to shop on-line and for Christmas 2017 he found me the perfect gift. I have no idea where he found it, but the 8 quart Instant Pot™ he bought cost less than a WalMart 6 quart model. When you watch today’s video, Which Instant Pot™ to buy, you’ll find that Lisa Childs recommends starting with the 6 quart model. She admits to owning four: one three-quart, one eight-quart, and two six-quart models. She feels the 8-quart is too large for regular home cooking and suggests you get one only if you do a lot of entertaining. Well, in my experience, I don’t agree. There are just the two of us, and the 8-quart works beautifully for us. Yes, we end up with left overs. Isn’t that the point?

What can I cook with my Instant Pot™

At this point, after two years of using mine, I think the question is rather what can’t I do when I’m cooking with the Instant Pot™. There are a few things I prefer to cook in other gadgets. I cook my chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker, for instance. Now I know that the Instant Pot™ has a slow cooker setting, but frankly, I’ve never used it that way. I’ve never made yogurt in the Instant Pot™ either, since as I stated earlier, I have two different yogurt makers. But soups cook beautifully in the Instant Pot™. Kevin and I have roast (either beef or pork) once a week, and we always cook roasts in the Instant Pot™. Today’s recipe of the day is Jambalaya, and I can’t wait to cook that in the Instant Pot™.

Books, Books and More Books

By now, you should know I’m a reader. I read in preference to doing almost anything. I even used Librarything.com to catalog the books I’ve unpacked since the move. That’s 4,260 books I’ve unpacked and doesn’t count the boxes of books still in the garage or in our cargo trailer. It also doesn’t count my cookbooks which fill one bookcase in the pantry, and have overflowed onto the kitchen counter, and in boxes behind the downstairs bar. But I’ve stopped buying cookbooks. At least not paper and ink cookbooks. These days, when I want to fix something, like most folks I go on-line and search for a recipe. I also buy e-cookbooks for my kindle. To date, I have seventeen books about cooking with the Instant Pot™. Just to stir your interest, here’s the list:

The List

Titles in blue are links to Amazon where, if you buy the book, I get a couple of pennies or so. Just in the interest of full disclosure, of course. If you can’t start with that list, then just go online and search for Instant Pot™ recipes. You’ll find more than you could dream of.

If all the above hasn’t convinced you to try the joys of pressure cooking, I recommend Beatriz Garcia’s Clan Kitchen website where she writes all about pressure cooking, including the history of the tool, the different types available, and how and why to use a pressure cooker. And make no mistake, my Instant Pot™ is a pressure cooker.

Guest Site of the Day

Looking back at my Recipe of the Day page, you’ll see that today’s recipe is the third I’ve shared by Amy + Jacky.  It seems appropriate, therefore, that I offer them space as the guest site of the day.  Amy + Jacky are a married couple, originally from East Asia and now living in the U.S.  They have worked with the manufacturer of the Instant Pot™ and have dedicated their blog to the gadget.  Lots of inspiration and great recipes on the pressure cook recipes blog. This link leads you to their “About Us” page, but you can easily navigate around their site.  And if you, like me, can say “I love cooking with the Instant Pot™,” you’ll find much to catch your eye and tantalize your palate here.

Recipe of the Day

I mentioned toward the beginning that today’s Recipe of the Day is Amy + Jacky’s Instant Pot™ recipe for Jambalaya. We just got back from the market where we bought chicken thighs, andouille sausage, bell peppers and diced tomatoes. We have shrimp in the freezer. What do you think I’m going to make when I publish this blog post? That’s right, Jambalaya. AND, it will be ready by the time Jeopardy comes on. Jambalaya and Jeopardy, life just doesn’t get any sweeter. Need I say how much I love cooking with my Instant Pot™?

An 8-quart Instant Pot™ with its lid set in the pot's handle.
Who Knew It Could Flip its Lid?

Video of the Day

I could have kept this an all Amy + Jacky day, but Lisa Childs has a great video on Which Instant Pot™ to Buy? And while I’m quite happy with my 8-quart machine, as I mentioned before, Lisa recommends you start with the 6-quart model.  But even this old dog learned some tricks while watching Lisa’s video.  I had no idea I could insert the lid handles in the pot handles.  I’ve been carrying the lid over to the range to find a safe place to hold it.  Sometimes I’ll hunt for a cutting board and rest the lid on that.  From now on, I’ll just let the Instant Pot™ hold its own lid.

Another thing Lisa taught me:  I can use the yogurt setting and proof bread dough in my Instant Pot™.  I’ll have to do more research, but you can bet that tomorrow I’ll be baking bread.  I have long lamented that I have no dough proofer.  Frankly, the oven doesn’t really work.  Can’t wait to see what the Instant Pot™ can do.  So for that, Lisa, a hearty thanks!


Other “Of the Day” Pages

The Photo of the Day was taken alongside U.S. Highway 212 in southeastern Montana’s Powder River County. I’ve titled it “Hear them Croaking” because the second I opened the car door, the sound of the frogs was amazing. I love driving through Powder River County, and if you’d like to know more, you can visit my Montana Counties blog where I write about the county.

I captured this 1948 Nash Super at a Hellgate Car Club Show and Swap Meet in Missoula many years ago. 1948 was the last year Nash kept its pre-war design. The 1949 models had the upside down bathtub look most folk remember with Nash. I have a soft spot in my heart for Nash and Hudson vehicles. The first car I drove on a regular basis was Poppa’s 1960 Ambassador, the top of the line for Nash and Hudson’s successor, the American Motors Corporation.

I fell in love with fuchsias living in California. Momma’s last home, in the coastal town of Smith River, had hedges of the plants growing around the back yard. This photo was taken of one of those hedges. I love how clear the ants appear on the white coats of the plants.

Tomorrow is another day (and another month)

April Fools! Well, actually, tomorrow is April 1st. My editorial calendar says that I should write about some make of classic car. I’m thinking at this point it will be one of Chrysler’s ophans, the DeSoto. Just how many DeSoto photos do you think I have?

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