Friday, January 8, 2016

Instant-Pot-Heavy Recipe Roundup

Recipe roundup! I've been using the Instant Pot nearly every night since purchasing it, in part because it's an exciting new appliance, but also because it tends to produce good food with less effort than would normally be required. I'm not so sure if it's really saving me much time most nights (it usually takes longer than I expected to get up to pressure), but I'm still very happy with my purchase.

Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes that I've tried and liked in the past few months:

  • Butternut squash puree: I placed the steamer rack and 1c water in the IP, then put the squash in whole. I cooked on Steam for 20 minutes, then quick released, and it wasn't quite done, so I scooped it out of its shell and steamed the innards for a bit longer. This certainly wasn't much of a time or effort saver, but I think once I figure out the right cooking time, it could be good.
  • Clam chowder: I followed the Cook's Illustrated quick pantry clam chowder recipe, but after adding potatoes, I cooked it on High for 5 min, followed by quick release. I served this in homemade bread bowls (using the Smitten Kitchen light wheat bread recipe baked for 30 min), alongside steamed kale (also made in the Instant Pot: Left the stems on, chopped the kale roughly, added 1c water and cooked on High for 4 min followed by quick release). The bread recipe made three 3" boules (for kids) and three 4" boules for adults; next time I would increase the recipe to give 4" boules for kids and 6" for adults. Or just buy bread bowls, because that's a lot of work.
  • Red beans and rice: I cooked the beans in the Instant Pot as directed, then I transferred them to a pot on the stove to simmer so I could also cook the rice in the Instant Pot. This turned out well, but I need to find a less spicy andouille sausage substitute so the boys will eat it too.
  • Senate Navy Bean Soup: I used a big leftover ham bone plus half a pound of diced ham from Christmas Eve dinner (I added the diced ham at the end of cooking so it wouldn't dry out). After 20 min on Soup, the beans weren't done, so I cooked them for an additional 5 min. Some of the beans were still a little underdone at this point, but apart from that, the soup was very good. This texture issue could have been caused by the large ham bone I used--it lifted some of the beans out of the broth during cooking. The flavor was nice, so I'd like to try again with ham hocks.
  • Instant Pot applesauce: 8 apples (cored and quartered) + 3/4c water, cooked on low pressure for 10 min, then quick release. I ran the resulting sauce through the coarse plate on our food mill then added 4T lemon juice and 4T sugar. Very good!
  • Tapioca: I followed the linked recipe, but I had to add extra time because I was using small pearls instead of seed tapioca. Next time I would cook for 12min on high, and I would cut the amount of sugar added. It really firmed up after the overnight chill, and it was certainly easier than the tapioca recipe on the back of the Bob's Red Mill package (separating eggs? No thanks).
  • Pumpkin cheesecake: I used the linked recipe divided between one 6" and two 4" shallow cheesecake pans (had to cook in two batches). I covered the pans with buttered foil, cooked the 6" for 20 min and the 4" stacked with a steamer between for 15 min. The tops cracked, but the taste and texture were excellent! With the Instant Pot, making cheesecake is easy. A little too easy--I keep craving cheesecake now that I know that it's no harder than making cookies.
  • For Christmas Eve dessert, I made an Oreo cheesecake in the Instant Pot. It was based on this recipe (no topping), but I used 10 crushed Oreos for the crust (this gave about 1c crumbs, but I still mixed them with the specified 2T of butter), and I stirred 6 chopped Oreos into the filling before cooking. I cooked this in a 7-inch x 3-inch removable bottom cheesecake pan, which I ordered after I had such good results with the pumpkin cheesecake. Chilled overnight and garnished with Oreo halves right before serving. So good!

    Oreo Cheesecake

And a few non-Instant Pot recipes:

  • Teriyaki tofu: Based on this recipe, but I substituted 1/2-inch-thick slices of firm tofu (1lb total) for the chicken. I used the same cooking directions, but I added a few tablespoons of canola oil to the sauce, to make up for the lack of chicken fat. I served this with white rice (cooked in the Instant Pot, of course: 1c rice to 1.5c water, Rice button, natural release) and cumin-ginger carrot coins. Our children ate more food than they usually do at dinner (sometimes Arlo just leaves the table without eating anything--luckily he fills up at breakfast and snacktime), so that definitely earns this recipe make-again status.
  • Bean and mushroom enchiladas - Good, omitted pepper; made with small flour tortillas to avoid cracked tortilla frustration. Might add corn to the filling next time.
  • Uncle Austin's granola: A half recipe made three quarts of granola. This recipe uses milk powder, which is great because we have two packages of expired milk powder in our freezer, which came from our emergency food boxes. I used maple syrup in place of some of the honey and increased the total amount of sweetener to 3/4c (for the half recipe). This didn't turn out very clustery (cluster size and count are important granola attributes for the boys), but it's still really good. Arlo in particular asks frequently to make this again so he can have homemade granola. Also, this is a good recipe for children to help with--lots of measuring and dumping.