Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our New Addition

Isn't it beautiful?

I've been wanting a pressure cooker for several years. I finally got one! This is a 5-quart aluminum (read: cheap) model bought on markdown. It'll do.

Of all the pieces of kitchen equipment I have owned in my life, a pressure cooker is one of those nice-to-haves that makes life much, much easier. This isn't my first one, either. My previous cooker served faithfully for many, many years. It was another cheapy and, like many things, you get what you pay for when it comes to pressure cookers. The shape warped and the gaskets became damaged... it went to the great kitchen warehouse in the sky 5 years ago now. It was time for a new model.

If you can overcome the fear that came with the various horror stories you must have heard from your grandmothers long enough, you'll realize that today's pressure cookers have several built-in safety features to prevent kitchen catastrophes. And really, who can beat a meal made in less than 30 minutes from frozen solid ingredients?

Under pressure, the cooker's internal pressure rises above the boiling point of water, which causes everything within to cook faster (and that's an energy-saver for you greenies out there). Pressurized steam is a natural tenderizer and makes for a moist end product.

So I'll be revisiting some old favorite pressure-cooker recipes--and some new ones--over the next several months. But don't worry--any recipes posted here will also have instructions for traditional cooking.

Have you ever used a pressure cooker and, if so,
what do you make in it?


Mary said...

I've never cooked in one and I'm curious to see what you make in it!

graywolff said...

I don't cook in one.
I DO work in one--- does that count??

Amanda said...

Hi, Mary. I cooked some frozen pork chops in it--took about 20 minutes, so I'm pretty happy!

I've heard about fantastic no-stir risotto cooked in a pressure cooker, and I'm curious to try it. My previous cooker warned against rice & small grain/bits of food, but this one has a strainer over the pressure valve and so I can venture into other recipes.

Graywolff - I'd say that counts! :)

Lulu said...

When I saw the picture (before reading your post), my first thought was, uh oh. Those things scare me. When I was young, my grandmother (ya know, the one with vertigo) used to cook in her pressure cooker ALL.THE.TIME. Us kids were totally shooed out of the kitchen and not allowed in while the cooker was going.

I'm glad to know that there are safety features now.

Amanda said...

Hi, Lulu--yes, indeed. The safety features make today's pressure cookers much, much safer than those of yesteryear. Basically the user just has to make sure not to overfill the thing and make sure it's cleaned properly.

There are 3 rubber safety gaskets that blow out if the pressure is too great inside so that the pressure can escape without blowing the top off. There's also a device that locks the lid on when there's any pressure inside. I consider them quite safe as long as the user reads the manual and observes the safety features.

Lulu said...

Okay...I'll take your word for it! Now, I can't wait to see what you cook in that thing! I think that my grandmother used to do her green beans in there, but I'm not completely sure. I just know that she used it a lot!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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