What’s for Dinner Tonight: Shrimp scampi, cooked in an Instant Pot, pasta and all

Of all the breakthroughs I’ve had in the Instant Pot this summer, the best might be bonding over the device with my mom.

She’s been getting creative with that 6-quarter multicooker I gave her a few weeks ago, cooking lots of beans dishes for her and my dad and swapping recipes with her neighbors, both of whom had Instant Pots in their kitchens, but hadn’t yet used them.

Now, all three of them are pressure cooking meat, rice, legumes and more in their multicookers, and I couldn’t be happier to hear reports about their progress over the phone.

RELATED: Stepping up your Instant Pot game with scampi, curry and cheesecake

One of the dishes I told my mom you could make in an multicooker was shrimp scampi. She was as excited as I was to learn that you could cook the spaghetti in the white wine butter garlic sauce under pressure. You do have to get the amount of liquid right, which I’ve explained in the note below. This version is a hybrid of two recipes from “Dinner in an Instant” by Melissa Clark and “The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook” by Laurel Randolph.

Shrimp Scampi With White Wine

In this version of shrimp scampi, a convergence of two similar recipes from Melissa Clark and Laurel Randolph, the shrimp are cooked in garlic and white wine for just 1 minute under pressure; then you’ll remove them from the pot but leave the liquid. It’s a little tricky to strain the liquid into a measuring cup to add just enough water to have 1 1/2 cups, but it’s worth the effort when you taste thin spaghetti cooked under pressure in that savory sauce. This dish comes together quickly, and the pasta absorbs all that flavor after just a few minutes in the multicooker.

Don’t forget to use quick or manual release when letting the steam out of the multicooker in this recipe. Unlike natural release, which allows the steam to slowly let out over 10 or 15 minutes, quick release requires a hand towel or a long utensil to flip the vent open and release the steam in a steady (sometimes loud and spattering) burst.

— Addie Broyles

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (optional)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine or stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Using the saute function, melt the butter and oil in the pressure cooker. Stir in the fennel, if using, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine or stock, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and shrimp. Select manual and cook at high pressure for 1 minute. Use a quick release once the shrimp have finished cooking and remove the shrimp from the pot with a slotted spoon. Reserve.

Pour the remaining liquid in a large measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total quantity is 1 1/2 cups. Return the liquid to the pot and add the pasta, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir the pasta to separate the pieces and coat them with liquid.

Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Add the shrimp back to the pasta and stir. Season to taste. Serves 4.

— Adapted from recipes in “Dinner in an Instant” by Melissa Clark and “The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook” by Laurel Randolph

12 tips to know when you’re cooking on an Instant Pot for the first time

You’re either on Team Instant Pot or you’ve thought about it.

Instant Pot is the best-known brand of what’s called an electric multicooker, which allows you to steam, saute and slow cook countless foods. I make this chicken curry during my early attempts to figure out if I was on “Team Instant Pot.” Not everybody loves these multicookers, but it seems everyone has an opinion about them. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

 

In months of thinking and talking about multicookers, I’ve realized that if you don’t already have one, you have an opinion about it. Earlier this week, I published my “Confessions of an Instant Pot skeptic-turned-convert,” and with that story, I compiled 12 tips to get you started.

If you’re on the fence about getting one, hopefully these stories will help you decide if it’s right for you. If you already have one, maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know. If you’re already an Instant Pot pro, I’d love to hear your tips and insight to help me get to know the 8-in-1 appliance sitting on my kitchen counter. Shoot me an email at abroyles@statesman.com if you have favorite IP recipes and insights to share.

  • Check out from the library (or buy or borrow from a friend) two or three multicooker cookbooks. With several books to consult, you can compare recipes for common dishes – risotto, ribs, beans, for instance – to find out the different ratios, cooking times and techniques the various authors use. Melissa Clark’s “Dinner in an Instant” and America’s Test Kitchen’s “Multicooker Perfection” are the most “foodie” of the multicooker books I used, but Laurel Randolph’s books “The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook” and “The Instant Pot No-Pressure Cookbook” feature the easiest and most interesting everyday recipes.
  • Start off using the saute and manual functions. Many multicookers have a bevy of buttons — sometimes, too many, in fact. Mine has more than half a dozen presets for cake, eggs, porridge, rice, stew and meat, but none for beans. I haven’t used the dish-specific functions enough to know if they work better than using the manual function to program a specific cooking time, which is what most recipes call for. I have used the “steam” button to steam vegetables — broccoli steams in the time it takes for the pressure cooker to come up to temperature — but the result would be similar if you used the manual button.
  • Pressure cooking is for dishes that are usually boiled, braised, stewed or steamed, and you do generally need to follow a recipe, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvisation, according to Randolph. “You can’t just throw random things in and adjust as you go, like you can on the stovetop,” she writes in “The Instant Pot No-Pressure Cookbook,” “but as you progress in your pressure cooking journey, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work and come up with plenty of your own signature dishes.”
  • Natural and quick release are the two options for releasing steam in the Instant Pot. Natural release is when you leave the valve on “sealed” and let the pressure naturally release from the pot, usually in about 10 and 15 minutes. Many recipes call for quick release, when you’ll manually turn the valve to release the steam quickly. Use a hand towel or oven mitt when touching the valve so the hot steam doesn’t burn your hand.
Tayama is another brand of multicooker that you can find online. I gave away my brand name Instant Pot to my mom and bought another one to see if the cooking techniques vary by brand. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
  • If you don’t have a multicooker but are curious about them, ask to borrow a friend’s or hang out with them while they use it, and if you decide to buy one, don’t feel obligated to buy the official Instant Pot. The multicookers from the brand that launched this craze — and whose name has become a genericized term, like Kleenex or Q-tips — have what’s called a lower power availability, the measure that America’s Test Kitchen uses in its multicooker ranking. This could be why many of my first dishes took longer to finish than the recipes estimated. Compared to other brands, America’s Test Kitchen also noted that the Instant Pot struggled to maintain consistent heat while on the slow cooker function.
  • Don’t secure the lid on a multicooker unless you have at least a cup of water in the pot, and don’t use the lid when you’re using the saute function.
  • Don’t pressure cook milk or cheese, which can foam and scorch. Add those to the dish after you’ve finished cooking it under pressure. The same is true with roux and other thickeners, which can be added after the soup or stew has cooked under pressure.
  • You can double or halve recipes, often without adjusting the cooking time, but make sure there’s at least a cup of liquid, and don’t fill the pressure cooker more than halfway, which can lead to a clogged pressure release valve.

  • Cut large pork and beef roasts into quarters to help them cook faster. To make pulled pork, I left a 4-pound pork butt whole, which took more than 50 minutes to cook under pressure, which is still less than the 2 or 3 hours it would have taken in an oven but not as fast as I’d hoped.
  • Many multicookers, including the basic Instant Pot models, continue to keep the contents of the pot warm even after the pressure cooking has finished. If you don’t want any more heat on the food, especially in the case of polenta, quinoa or other grains, make sure to use the “cancel” button after the pressure cooker timer has beeped to turn it off.
  • Buy extra food storage containers. In the first few weeks of using the Instant Pot, I had more leftovers than I could eat, so I bought extra plastic containers to give the food away and store it in the freezer.
  • Multicooker not pressurizing correctly? Check the silicone gasket ring that fits inside the lid. If the flexible ring is loose, the cooker won’t heat properly.

Ask Addie: When I had Instant Pot questions, this reader had answers

For many cooks who are well-established in their cooking routines and averse to any appliance with more than a few buttons, it might take a while to warm up to the idea that you can cook everything from cakes to hard-cooked eggs in a single electric countertop appliance.

So many buttons, so many recipes, so much hot steam. It’s no wonder the Instant Pot is confusing for first-time users. But it’s also easy to master once you get started. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

In June, I finally got over my multicooker misgivings. I’d been an Instant Pot skeptic for years, in part because I genuinely had questions about how it functioned and whether it would “work” for how my family eats. But I knew I needed to throw myself into the Instant Pot world to understand why it’s so popular and see if it’s an appliance that I’d want in my own kitchen.

In this week’s food section, you can read all about my first month as an Instant Pot cook, including tons of tips and recipes to help you get started.

RELATED: 12 tips to get started cooking in an Instant Pot or any multicooker

Confessions of an Instant Pot skeptic-turned-convert

But first, I wanted to share some really great advice I got just before I unboxed the appliance. After I posted a series of questions on my blog, a reader (and Instant Pot fan) Thomas Embleton took the time to answer via email and his answers helped me get over my initial fears that I would accidentally blow up the appliance or that it was simply overhyped.

With a month of multicooker cooking under my belt, I can concur with his answers and have added thoughts, where relevant.

I feel overwhelmed by just how new this cooking device feels. Is that normal?

Yes, I’ve had mine for years, upgraded as better models came out and still am overwhelmed by what it can do. If you buy into the accessories, you can really expand your cooking. I would suggest a trivet that also allows you to steam eggs (soft to hard, depending on time), a tempered glass lid for sautéing, a second inner pot for mixed meals (also called pot-in-pot cooking) and a veggie steamer basket with handles.

Ribs are one of the popular Instant Pot dishes because you can cook them in about 30 minutes under pressure. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Will the steam from the pressure cooker heat up my kitchen, thus defeating the purpose of not turning on my oven?

I just heated up my IP to make a brown rice/quinoa recipe and could not feel any heat coming from the top as it came up to pressure. Once at pressure, the lid is sealed and no water (or heat) will escape. A benefit of an IP is you can reduce the amount of water in most recipes because it does not boil/steam away. (AB: I also learned that as long as you have at least a cup of water in the Instant Pot, you’ll have enough liquid to steam or cook something, and that the multicookers have several levels of built-in safety mechanisms to prevent any explosions or overheating inside the pot.)

Which of the approximately 12,000 Facebook groups should I join?

I don’t use Facebook, so I prefer to use the following sites: hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-recipes and seriouseats.com/recipes/topics/method/pressure-cooker

How many dishes am I going to have to make until I feel someone proficient on it?

I have some favorite dishes I have been modifying 10 to 15 times as I get it closer to my perfection. I would suggest hosting potluck dinners to try them out on others. I worked out a recipe to make bean soup for my mother (for a good source of nutrients), and it took about 3 to 4 tries to get it right.

RELATED: How to make risotto in less time than it takes to walk the dog

Breaking in my new Instant Pot with rice, beans and a New York-style cheesecake you have to try

After cooking on a multicooker for several weeks, I discovered that it’s good for staples and single-ingredient foods, such as potatoes or corn on the cob, but it’s also perfect for making meals, such as macaroni and cheese and chicken curry. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Are my kids going to eat it?

I make my brown rice/quinoa dish, especially for our 3-year old granddaughter. I wrote 90 percent of this email while this week’s batch was cooking, and it finished in 14 minutes. It is now resting for 15 minutes, then it will be ready.

What happens if I try to cook without an official Instant Pot recipe?

I haven’t used the branded cookbook since Day 2, relying on other recipes and trial/error.

What if all these Instant Pot cookbook recipes don’t really look that appealing?

Don’t cook veggies in the IP unless making soup or stews. (AB: I have found corn, broccoli, potatoes and green beans an exception to this.)

Am I really going to cook more beans if I can cook them faster?

I make a bean dish weekly.

What am I going to do with all of those beans?

Eat them and live longer.

 

How to make risotto in less time than it takes to walk the dog

Risotto isn’t a dish you think to make at the last minute, unless you have a multicooker.

Before electric pressure cookers (in the form of Instant Pots) started taking over American kitchens, you had to stand by a stove for 30 or 40 minutes to make risotto, slowly stirring liquid into the rice.

Last night, thanks to this new multicooker I’ve been using for the last few weeks, I made risotto while I walked my dog. It really was that fast.

To recap, I bought an Instant Pot, the brand whose name is more familiar to us than the term “multicooker,” and over the past few weeks, I’ve realized that the feature that makes these multicookers so useful is the pressure cooker.

Stove-top and electric pressure cookers — and pressure cooker risotto (and cheesecakes, for that matter) — have been around forever, but none has been as useful as the ones that also allow you to saute, steam and slow cook in the same appliance. Most models allow you to program it to start at a certain time, and some you can turn off or adjust from your phone.

I haven’t used the yogurt function yet, but I can tell you that the multicooker has been handy to make hard-cooked eggs, corn on the cob, broccoli, curried lentils and rice, chicken curry, quinoa, cauliflower mac and cheese, pork ribs, refried beans, chorizo potato salad, rotisserie chicken (and tortilla soup), corn chowder and, finally, risotto.

This creamy Italian rice might already be the dish that sold you on buying a multicooker — it’s certainly the most mentioned dish when I’ve talked with readers online about what they love cooking in their Instant Pots. (It seems like cooks who have a different brand of multicooker still call it an Instant Pot, but maybe parlance will evolve as our cooking habits do.)

Risotto recipes are in every single multicooker cookbook in my house, and they are similar in quantity and method, calling for 1 1/2 cups arborio rice and 3 or 4 cups stock. I found that packages of arborio rice often contain 2 cups of rice, so I adjusted the recipe to fit that quantity. I also preferred to add more liquid at the end to make a slightly creamier risotto, but the consistency of your risotto will depend greatly on the exact heating specifications of your multicooker and how much liquid evaporates during the heating and steam release process.

RELATED: Fresh corn adds a summer spin to this (Instant Pot-friendly) clam chowder

Instant Pot Basics: How to make refried beans and New York-style cheesecake

If you want to add spinach and feta cheese, stir them into the risotto as soon as it has finished cooking and the steam has been released. The spinach will cook in the residual heat. You can freeze leftover risotto and, because the texture won’t be the same as when it was freshly made, you can use it to make a cheesy mashed potato-style side dish or to add as a thickener to a creamy potato soup.

Parmesan Risotto

This risotto cooks for 6 minutes under pressure, but it takes about 12 to 15 minutes for the multicooker to heat up. All in all, you can make this risotto in less time than it takes to walk the dog, which I found out the other night. When the pressure cooker timer is up, the primary heat turns off, but there is still a “warming” function that it defaults to as the steam starts to release naturally. Ideally, you’ll be nearby to manually release — or quick release — the pressure, which will give the risotto an ideal texture and get dinner on the table even faster. With this risotto, I served steamed broccoli and a bacon-wrapped steak cooked in a cast iron skillet.

— Addie Broyles

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch dried thyme (optional)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Press the saute button on the multicooker. Turn heat to medium, if you can adjust it. Heat the olive oil and then add the diced onion. Stir and cook until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rice and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, if using, to deglaze the bottom of the pot. (If not using wine, use a little of the chicken stock at this step.) Add the rest of the liquid, salt, pepper and thyme, if using.

Turn off the saute function. Place the lid on the multicooker and use the manual program to cook under pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release the pressure and then remove the lid of the multicooker. Remove the pot from the cooker so you can hold onto the edge of it while you stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter. (Removing the pot from the cooker will also keep the rice from continuing to cook as it thickens.)

The rice will thicken as it cools, but you can add a little more stock or Parmesan cheese to thin or thicken the dish before serving.

— Addie Broyles

What’s for Dinner Tonight: Fresh corn adds a summer spin to this (Instant Pot-friendly) clam chowder

You might not be the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, but I am the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, especially when there’s fresh corn on the cob involved.

This summer corn clam chowder includes bacon, potatoes, onions and green onions. If you’re making this in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, you can make the roux in a microwave. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’ve been getting to know my Instant Pot for the past two weeks, and this recipe came from the booklet that comes with the popular countertop appliance.

Because it’s officially summer and I love fresh corn, I adjusted it to add kernels of corn and to make the roux in the microwave (more on that in a minute), and the result was a savory summer comfort food that we enjoyed on the summer solstice last night. I paired it with some Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits, which I love to make from their boxed mix that you can find in grocery stores.

When you’re cutting the kernels off the cob, use the back of the knife to also scrape all the corn milk/juice that you’ll find at the base of each kernel. All that corn flavor — and by all means, use a third or fourth ear if you really like corn — adds a sweetness to the stew.

Cutting corn off the cob is only the first step in extracting corn flavor. You can use the back of your knife to scrape out the corn juice along the cob. Contributed by Chris Dunn.

And for making the roux in the microwave. It sounds unconventional, but I learned this tip in a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and it worked really well, especially for a multicooker recipe, where part of the point is to not have to cook on the stove.

Now, can you make this soup without an Instant Pot? Of course, you’ll just cook the potatoes in the clam juice at a simmer until they are soft and then add the roux, corn, milk, cream and clams to simmer a little longer.

Summer Corn and Clam Chowder

6 to 8 ounces bacon, chopped (about 1/2 package)
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 cups clam juice (or liquid from the packaged clams, plus water)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Kernels and juice from 2 ears of corn
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 (6-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, with juice reserved
Green onions, chopped, for garnish

Place the bacon in the Instant Pot and turn on the Saute function to medium heat. Cook the bacon until it starts to release its fat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and continue cooking until the onions have softened and the bacon has left brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine to the pot and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the diced potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper.

Close the Instant Pot and select the manual option to cook for 5 minutes of pressure time.

While the Instant Pot cooks, mix together the butter and flour in a small microwavable bowl to make the roux. Heat the mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stir and then cook again for 45 seconds. Do this one or two more times until the flour starts to brown.

Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking, use quick release to let the steam out of the pressure cooker. Then take off the lid and add the roux, corn kernels and juice, milk, cream and clams.

Press cancel and then saute to bring the chowder to a simmer. The soup will thicken as it simmers, about 5 minutes. Serve with green onions.

— Adapted from a recipe by Laura Pzzaglia, hippressurecooking.com

 

 

 

Breaking in my new Instant Pot with rice, beans and a New York-style cheesecake you have to try

Every Instant Pot fantasy I’d ever had about making refried beans in no time flat came true last week when I finally turned on this crazy popular countertop appliance.

Multicookers, the most famous brand of which is the Instant Pot, is a great way to cook in the summer when you don’t want to turn on the stove or the oven. You can make refried beans, from dried to finished, in less than 2 hours. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

In about 90 minutes, I turned an 88-cent bag of dried pinto beans into a pot of hot, cheesy, creamy deliciousness. The next day, I made jasmine rice in about 15 minutes, which wasn’t quite as impressive in saving time because I’m used to a rice cooker. The rice stuck to the bottom of the pot, but that was likely a first timer error on my part.

I made this cheesecake in an Instant Pot, but you could use a regular pressure cooker or another brand of a multicooker. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But the recipe that has made me an earlier believer in this whole Instant Pot thing is a New York-style cheesecake recipe from PressureCookRecipes.com. This is author Amy and Jacky’s 17th version of this recipe, and their thorough instructions made it easy for me to follow the steps as I made the dessert with my kids on Sunday.

When I brought the cheesecake into the office, I was worried that it might be too eggy or too savory or too pasty, but what a delight to take one bite and know that it was a success. With a thick crust and a smooth, dense center, the cheesecake was rich but not heavy. My editor tasted it and said it reminded her of her mother’s cheese pie, a sweet memory of Oklahoma foodways when she was a kid.

To make the cherry glaze, I pitted about ½ pound of cherries and simmered them with sugar. Next time, I’ll follow the Washington State Fruit Commission’s recipe (below) for cherry jubilee, a cherry topping sauce that can be swirled into ice cream or used as a pie filling.

This cherry cheesecake took about an hour to make, not counting the time needed to let the ingredients come to room temperature. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

New York-Style Cheesecake in a Pressure Cooker

Making a cheesecake – especially in an Instant Pot, where you don’t have to fiddle with making a bain marie setup in your oven – is easy if you remember the most important step in making a cheesecake: letting the cream cheese come to room temperature, which takes at least a few hours. You should also let your eggs and sour cream come to room temperature before starting to make the batter. If you don’t, you’ll have lumpy or puffy or otherwise weirdly textured cheesecake, which will make you never want to bake a cheesecake again.

This recipe comes from the genius cooks behind PressureCookRecipes.com, who are on their 17th iteration of this recipe. They are thoroughly detailed in their methodology, which I’ve streamlined and adapted below.

You can either make it dense and rich or smooth and creamy, and I chose to make it the former but added instructions to the recipe on how to make it lighter and creamier. They suggest using a handheld mixer instead of a stand mixer for this recipe because it introduces less air into the batter. If you’re using a 6-inch pan, increase the cooking time to 31 minutes. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, but don’t forget that water bath.

10 graham crackers
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the batter:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup white sugar
2 pinches of sea salt
16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

To make the crust, finely grind graham crackers in a food processor. Alternatively, you can place them in a zip-top plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. In a small mixing bowl, mix graham crackers, a pinch of sea salt and brown sugar. Add melted butter until the mixture sticks together when you pinch it with your fingers.

For best results, line the bottom of a 7-inch springform cheesecake pan with parchment and cut a strip of parchment to line the sides, too. If you have a nonstick springform pan, parchment is not necessary. Press the graham cracker crust into the bottom of the pan, using the back of a spoon or bottom of a measuring cup.

At this point, you can freeze the cheesecake pan in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter, or, for a crisper crust, you can blind-bake it at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

To make the cheesecake batter, mix together cornstarch, two pinches of sea salt and white sugar together. In a medium bowl, use a handheld mixer to briefly beat the room temperature cream cheese for about 10 to 15 seconds, which will further soften it. Add half the sugar mixture and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the sugar. For a creamier cheesecake, beat for a minute.

Add sour cream and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until just incorporated, or longer for a creamier cheesecake. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl in between each one.

Fold the batter with a silicon spatula and then pour the batter onto the crust in the cheesecake pan. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, which you can pop with a toothpick.

To cook the cheesecake, pour 1 cup of cold water in pressure cooker and place the steamer rack in the pot. Place the cheesecake pan on the rack and close the lid. Cook at High Pressure for 26 minutes and let the steam release naturally, which will take about 7 minutes. Open the multicooker and use a paper towel to absorb any condensation that collects on top of the cheesecake.

Leave the cheesecake in the cooker with the lid off and allow to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, store the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 20 minutes before you’d like to serve it. Release the springform and peel off the parchment paper. Cut into slices and serve with cherry topping (see recipe below).

— Adapted from a recipe by Amy and Jacky on PressureCookRecipes.com

Let the cheesecake cool in the multicooker and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Fresh Cherry Sauce

The founding fathers didn’t plan it this way, but the nation’s birthday celebration occurs smack dab in the middle of the Northwest fresh sweet cherry season. Even though young George Washington apparently had an ax to grind with the tree itself, other colonists worked long and hard to develop cherry orchards in their adopted land.

All sweet cherries work in a cherry sauce, although dark cherries offer a more dramatic color contrast with the ice cream. Enjoy the fresh cherries while you can. Northwest cherries arrive in markets beginning in June and are gone by mid-August. Make sure you get all the pits or the sauce will take on an almond-like flavor.

— Northwest Cherry Growers

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup brandy, optional
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Blend in water and orange juice. Cook and stir until thickened and smooth. Add cherries and orange peel; return to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Gently heat brandy, pour over sauce and flame, if desired. Serve over ice cream. Serves 8, but recipe can be halved.

— Washington State Fruit Commission

I’m unboxing my Instant Pot today and I still have so many questions

I finally ordered an Instant Pot.

I’m unboxing my new Instant Pot on my Facebook livestream today at noon. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’m only about two years behind the Instant Pot trend — which officially began, IMHO, in July 2016 when Instant Pot sold 200,000-plus units on Amazon Prime day — but I figured there’s no better time to start learning how to cook with it during the summer, when no one wants to turn on their oven.

With dreams of 15-minute chicken noodle soup and 40-minute from scratch hummus, I ordered the bestselling multi-cooker last week, but I’ve kept it in the box so I could unbox it in my weekly livestream on the Austin360 Facebook page. I also got a box of accessories, which I’ll also dig into on the video today at noon. (Go to Facebook.com/Austin360 to watch.)

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Three of dozens of Instant Pot cookbooks that have come out this year. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But as I’m warming up to the idea that I can cook everything from cakes to hard-cooked eggs in an electric device with far more buttons than I’m used to operating, I realized that I still have a lot of questions.

Like, many, many questions, including:

  • Will the steam from the pressure cooker heat up my kitchen, thus defeating the purpose of not turning on my oven?
  • Which of the approximately 12,000 Facebook groups should I join?
  • Are people going to judge me because I’m a total IP noob?
  • How many dishes am I going to have to make until I feel someone proficient on it?
  • Are my kids going to eat it? (That’s always a question not far from my mind.)
  • Am I really going to cook more beans if I can cook them faster?
  • What am I going to do with all of those beans?
  • What happens if I try to cook without an official Instant Pot recipe?
  • What if all these Instant Pot cookbook recipes don’t really look that appealing?
  • I feel overwhelmed by just how new this cooking device feels. Is that normal?
  • Lastly, do readers really care?

As I’ve been marking my 10th food writer anniversary, I’ve been thinking more about more about the kinds of food stories that readers want to read, which stories they want to click on, which recipes they cut out and actually use. Enough people have talked to me about their love of the Instant Pot to make me realize that this isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend, but it still feels somewhat niche, especially when you’re trying to write for many different demographics of cooks, some who have all the time and energy and money to make fancy food and others who are budgeting all of those things and prefer more simple meals.

I’ll be trying to cook the spectrum of those foods in the Instant Pot this summer, and I hope you have fun following along with me. If you have tips, recipes, suggestions, feedback, please send them to abroyles@statesman.com or leave a comment online. You can also join me in the livestream today to ask your own questions or satisfy your own curiosity about this newfangled appliance that has taken the food world by storm.

 

 

 

 

Break in your Instant Pot, bring in good luck with this 15-minute Hoppin’ John

Are you one of the millions of American cooks who either bought or were gifted an Instant Pot this year?

This bestselling multi-cooker isn’t the only one on the market, but it’s the brand that has inspired dozens of cookbooks to help you make everyday staples and holiday favorites in this pressure cooker-slow cooker hybrid.

RELATED: Year of Gadgets: Is the Instant Pot the ultimate kitchen gadget?

Instant Pot fanatic? You’re not alone

This classic Hoppin’ John is made using an Instant Pot, the hottest cooking appliance of 2017. Contributed by Laura Arnold.

This recipe for Hoppin’ John is from Laura Arnold’s “Instant One-Pot Meals: Southern Recipes for the Modern 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker” (Countryman Press, $21.95), and as you can see, it is unlike a traditional recipe because all of the steps happen in the single appliance, from quick-soaking the black-eyed peas to sauteing the aromatics and bacon before cooking the peas.

Thanks to the multi-functionality of the Instant Pot, the dish cooks in about half an hour. If you want to make it on the stove, you can use the same proportion of ingredients (with slightly more water thanks to the longer simmer on the stove) and order of instructions, but the length of time on each step will vary.

RELATED: Kitchen tools that you’ll really use in the kitchen this year

Hoppin’ John

This Southern classic side dish is typically made with black-eyed peas. But you can substitute your favorite beans in this recipe. Note: To quick soak peas or beans, rinse them thoroughly and place in the bowl of the pressure cooker with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil on the Sauté setting. Once boiling, secure the lid and set on Manual with high pressure for 2 minutes. Quick release, drain peas, rinse and set aside.

— Laura Arnold

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 slices bacon, sliced 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and small diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and quick soaked (see note) or soaked overnight
3 cups chicken stock
White rice, cooked, to serve
Scallions, thinly sliced, to garnish

Select the Sauté setting and heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook until browned and crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Drain half of the fat and discard. Add the onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook until almost translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the cayenne, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook an additional minute. Add the black-eyed peas and chicken stock.

Secure the lid and place on Manual with high pressure for 15 minutes. Use quick release. Serve over white rice and garnish with scallions and crispy bacon. Serves 4 to 6.

— From “Instant One-Pot Meals: Southern Recipes for the Modern 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker” by Laura Arnold (Countryman Press, $21.95)

Year of Gadgets: Instant Pot fanatic? You’re not alone

If you bought a countertop appliance last year, chances are pretty good you either bought or considered an Instant Pot.

There are basic rules for adapting recipes for the Instant Pot, but in general, it’s easy to use and useful for most cooks, according to writer Shefaly Ravula. Contributed by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

This newfangled 7-in-1 appliance, which costs about $100, was one of the bestselling kitchen gadgets last year, and it was certainly one of the most talked about.

In today’s food section, Shefaly Ravula, who has been a fan of the appliance for months, explains that the Facebook groups alone have tens of thousands of members who answer questions at every hour of the day. She made the case that the InstaPot, as it’s known, is useful enough that most cooks would find use for it several times a week, but you do have to follow recipes carefully to make sure that the water ratio and cooking times are right.

Beans are one of the most popular dishes to cook in an Instant Pot because you can cook them on the pressure cooker setting in about 40 minutes. Contributed by Shefaly Ravula

This is the first of a new series we are launching called Year of Gadgets. Inspired by the Year of Baking, this time, we’re taking on the devices and tools that make kitchen life easier. We’ll be exploring all kinds of gadgets, from the ones you think you can’t live without (toaster, microwave) to the ones you’re not sure you need (SodaStream, sous vide).

If you have an IP, as it is known, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it, or if you have a suggestion for a gadget you think we should feature this year, email me at abroyles@statesman.com or hit me up on Twitter, @broylesa. The gadgets don’t have to be electric (a mandoline is on my shortlist), but the more useful and efficient they are to use, the better.

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