Quick Start Guide For Pressure Cooker Cooking – Part Two

In the first part of this tutorial we’ve addressed the protocol of preparing food to be used in the pressure cooker. Now it’s time to address actually using the cooker. Something that is asked quite frequently in the comment sections of pressure cooker reviews. So let’s get right into it.

Using The Cooker

Now that you have loaded food into your cooker and the requisite amount of liquid, you can begin cooking it. The first thing that you’ll want to do is to make sure that the lid is properly closed. On some models you have to take the safety valve off to fit the lid. If this is the case, then make sure you return the safety valve once the lid has been fitted.

The next thing you will want to do is put the cooker on a burner and turn the heat to high. If your machine is one of the older weighted valve systems, then it will begin to jiggle when steam begins to be released. Newer cookers will have marks on the valve stem that will indicate the pressure in the cooker.

When the cooker has reached temperature (water is beginning to be converted into steam), then set the burner temperature down so that it will just simmer the pressure cooker. You don’t want the pressure cooker to continue gaining pressure. You just want it to retain pressure already built up. When it has reached its cooking temperature you can then begin the countdown on your cook time.

Reduce The Pressure

When your food has finished cooking, then turn off the burner and release the pressure from the cooker. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. Release the pressure in the cooker first using one of the following methods:

Cold Water System: This is the fastest way to reduce pressure in your cooker. This method requires that you take the cooker and run it under a cold tap until the pressure falls within the unit. Obviously, this is a method that can only be used for conventional models and not for electric ones.

The Natural System: This is a good method to use if you want to slowly lower the pressure slowly. It is often used for foods that have long cooking times such as roasts and bone-in veal. Just remember that the food will continue to cook while pressure is dropping—which is usually around 20 minutes.

Quick Release System: Most of the best pressure cookers have quick release devices that will release the pressure quickly.

Remove The Food

Once you have determined that the pressure is released, then you can slowly remove the lid. And that is the quick guide for using your pressure cooker.

Yes, You Can Cook Eggs In Your Pressure Cooker

A lot of people think that pressure cookers can only be used to cook stews or roasts. At least that is what I gather from reading many of these people’s comments in pressure cooker reviews. However, I am here to shout to the world that the pressure cooker is a lot more versatile tool than that. It can be used to cook just about anything. One thing that cooks beautifully in one of these cookers are eggs. Now, You wouldn’t think that eggs and pressure cookers would go together, but in fact they do. These cookers are perfect for making hard and soft boiled eggs, and for making the brunch favorite,  oeufs en cocotte. Here are the easy steps for making both of those egg delicacies.

Soft And Hard Cooked Eggs

Fill your pressure cooker with about a cup of cold water, and insert your cooker’s basket. If you have a heat proof egg stand, then you can insert the egg on top of this and place it inside the basket. If not, then you can just place the egg in the basket. It’ll be fine.

If you have an electric pressure cooker, then set it to low and turn it on. For the stove top models, place it on a burner on high heat. When it has reached low temperature, lower your heat and start timing it. Cook it for six minutes for a hard boiled egg and three minutes for a soft cooked egg.

When it has finished cooking, then use the cold pressure release system (this method can be found in our quick guide pt. 2). Once the pressure has been released, then you can remove them from the cooker, place them in a bowl and run them under cool water for about a minute. They are now ready to serve.

Oeufs en Cocotte (Eggs In Pots)

To make this recipe, you are going to need the best presser cooker with a basket, as well as some ramekins. If you don’t have ramekins, then you can use any type of small, heat-proof cup.

Start by placing oiling the inside of your ramekins with oil. Then place a slice of your favorite vegetable or lunch meat in the bottom of the ramekin. Then crack your egg on top of it. Then top it off with your favorite cheese and herbs. Cover the top of it with foil and its now ready to be cooked.

Add one cup of water into your pressure cooker and put the basket into it. Now place the ramekins inside the basket and close the lid. Set the cooker’s pressure to low and place it on a burner set to high. When it reaches its low temperature setting, then lower the heat and cook for four minutes.

After the cooking time has elapsed, you can then use the quick release method to release the steam. If you have an electric cooker, then just use the quick release valve to release pressure. Now you can remove your eggs and enjoy your Sunday brunch.

Pressure Cooker Mashed Potato Dishes

If you read pressure cooker reviews as much as I do, then you come to the realization that people are cooking a lot more than roasts and stews in their cookers. They are cooking a variety of different things in them. In fact, just about anything you can imagine can be cooked in a pressure cooker.

The one thing that I like to cook in my pressure cooker is potatoes. It seems like this kitchen device was made to cook this root vegetable. Not only does it speed the cooking time up considerably, but it also makes them perfectly every single time.

I love to make potatoes in my cooker so much, I have quite the collection of recipes saved that are devoted to nothing but potatoes. Recipes that I am going to show you today, so if you love potatoes as much as I do, then you might want to check out the following recipes.

Mashed Potatoes

Making mashed potatoes in your pressure cooker is as easy as pie. All you do is wash them, remove the eyes and any bad spots and then cut them into quarters. After that, add some water to them and cook them for 15 minutes at 15 psi. When they are done cooking, you can then mash them with some butter and milk. I told you it was easy.

After you have mastered mashed potatoes you can make all kinds of different dishes out them. Below are two of my favorite recipes using mashed potatoes. Champ and Colcannon.

Champ

Champ is basically just mashed potatoes with spring onions added. All you do is melt 4 tablespoons of butter in your pressure cooker; add 2 pounds of quartered potatoes; 4 diced green onions and ¾ of a cup of milk or cream. Then place the lid on the cooker, and cook it at high pressure for 6-7 minutes. Quick release the pressure and then remove the lid when the cooker is depressurized. Then you can mash them right in the cooker and season with salt and pepper to taste. The dish is now ready to be served.

Colcannon

Colcannon is pretty much the same as Champ except that it uses kale or cabbage in place of the green onions. Use a pound of kale or cabbage for each pound of potatoes. You can still add the diced green onions if you want as well. And just cook it like Champ is cooked.

All of these dishes are easy and prove that the best pressure cookers aren’t just for meats anymore. Potatoes are a great thing to cook in your cooker and as you can clearly see they can be used for a variety of different recipes. You’d be surprised how many recipes call for potatoes in all of its glorious forms. Try these out and I bet that in no time flat you will have your own potato recipes dreamed up.

Samoa Pressure Cooker Cheesecake

One of the things that you probably don’t believe that you can make in your best pressure cooker is cheesecake, but it is entirely possible. In fact, one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made was in my cooker. It not only turned out moist and delicious, but was also a whole lot quicker than making it in an oven. If you don’t believe me, then check out this delicious cheesecake recipe that I am going to show you today.

The pressure cooker cheesecake that we are going to make today is one that is close to my heart. It is one called Samoa Cheesecake. It is basically a thick New York style cheesecake that contains a chocolate graham cracker crust and has a rich caramel and coconut topping. Sounds good doesn’t it? Let’s get to making it then.

Before you make this dish however, you are going to need a seven-inch spring-form cake pan. If you don’t have one, they can easily be purchased off of the Internet. You need this pan because a conventional nine-inch pan won’t fit in a regular pressure cooker.

Ingredients:

Seven-inch Cake Pan
Mixer
Aluminum Foil
Cooking Spray

Cheesecake Filling

12-ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all purpose white flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Topping

1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
12 chewy caramels
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped semisweet baking chocolate

Crust

1/2 cup crushed chocolate graham cracker cookies
2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter

Directions:

Prepare your seven-inch cake pan by spraying it with cooking spray and setting it aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the chocolate graham cracker cookies and the unsalted melted butter. Coat the bottom of the pan with it and then place the pan in the freezer for a minimum of ten minutes. While it’s in the freezer prepare your filling.

Place the cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix them at medium speed. After you have done that, you can then mix in the  heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla, and white flour. Then add the eggs. Pour this mixture into the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Set it aside.

Add two cups to your pressure cooker, put in the trivet and place the cheesecake inside. Lock down the lid and cook on high for 30 minutes. When this time has elapsed, quick release the pressure and check the middle of the cheesecake. If it is still gooey in the middle, then cook for an additional 7-10 minutes.

When done, allow it to cool and then replace the foil with plastic wrap and place it in your refrigerator overnight.

After the cheesecake sat overnight, it is time to work on the topping. Preheat your oven and toast your coconut for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool completely. Place unwrapped caramels in a bowl with the heavy cream and microwave for two minutes. When done, stir in toasted coconut and apply the entire mixture to the top of the cheesecake. Voila!! A beautiful cheesecake that will make you want to post pictures of it in the comments section of any pressure cooker reviews site.

Making Stew In Your Pressure Cooker

If you look over pressure cooker reviews, then you’ll notice a trend. It seems like the review always talks about how well the cooker makes stew. One reason for this is because it seems like most cookers were made for this very task. They just do the job so well.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good stew recipes designed for pressure cookers. That is why I am going to give you one today. I am going to tell you how to make a great stew that is not only quick and very easy, but also very nutritious. Just follow these steps and enjoy a great pressure cooker staple.

One thing that you need to realize however, before you begin is that stew has to be cooked in stages in the pressure cooker. If you try to just throw a bunch of ingredients into it and cook it all together, then you are going to end up with a stew that has under-cooked meat and over-cooked mushy vegetables. So the first thing you are going to need to cook is the meat.

We are going to begin cooking the meat outside the cooker. We are going to put some olive oil in a pan and then when it is heated, add our stew meat. Make sure that you brown the stew meat thoroughly. After you have done that, add some wine and scrap the sides of the pan to get all of the residue released and into the wine. Now add the meat and the wine to your pressure cooker.

Now you’ll need to make sure the cooker has adequate liquid in it and cook it for about 15 minutes. After it has finished cooking for this period of time, release the pressure from the cooker using a quick-release method.  Now you can begin to add the vegetables.

Vegetables such as potatoes and green beans a decent amount of time to cook, so they should be added to the meat next. Throw them in and cook them (with the meat still in there) for about 8-10 minutes. Once again, you are going to release the pressure using the quick-release method.

Have you followed these steps so far? Good, you are just about done with your best pressure cooker stew. Now all you have to do is add the soft veggies that cook the fastest. Vegetables such as mushrooms and celery. Throw those in and cook the entire mixture for an additional minute.

After you have completed all of these steps, what you end up with is a stew that is hearty and delicious and only took about 25 minutes to make. Make yourself a plate and you will quickly see why so many talk about making stew in a pressure cooker. It turns out beautifully.

Apple Pork Sirloin Roast Pressure Cooker Recipe

I am often asked what the best pressure cooker recipe for pork and my answer is always the same. A dish called Apple Pork Sirloin Roast. This is a super tender pork roast that has a slight apple sweetness to it and is perfect for just about any occasion. And what makes this dish even better is the fact that a pork sirloin roast is a pretty inexpensive cut of meat despite the fact that it contains the word sirloin in it. Try out this recipe and I think that you’ll like it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

3 pound pork sirloin roast
½ cup of apple juice
1 cup water
½  teaspoon onion powder
½  teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon coarse black pepper
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

The first thing you will want to do is to mix all of your spices in a bowl and set that bowl aside. Now you want to take your pork sirloin roast and trim all of the fat off of it. Once that has been done, then take your hands and spread the spice mixture over the sirloin roast completely.

Place your roast in the cooker with the tablespoon of vegetable oil and brown it on all sides. Now you can begin to cook the roast. Add the apple juice and the water to the cooker and place the lid on tightly. If there is an option for high heat select it. If not, then raise the temperature of the cooker by placing it on a burner with high heat and bring the temperature up to high. Once it has reached this temperature, then lower the burner accordingly to keep the pressure cooker at a constant high pressure.

When the temperature has been reached, set your timer for 25 minutes. If your roast isn’t 3 pounds, then you’ll want to lower the temperature accordingly. Only cook the roast until the internal temperature of the meat can be verified with a meat thermometer to be around 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the pork roast has been cooked for the requisite amount of time, allow the cooker to cool off naturally. When the pressure has dropped, you can then plate the roast and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes.

There are a variety of different side dishes you can make with this roast. You can pressure cook new potatoes, serve it with a garlic angel hair pasta or plate it with coconut rice. You can also check pressure cooker reviews to come up with other ideas for side items. Your only limit is your imagination, so find the perfect side dish for this recipe and create a true culinary masterpiece that will impress your friends, coworkers and family.

Buying A Pressure Cooker – Part Two

Now that you have poured over pressure cooker reviews and have decided on a model that is highly rated, and has the composition and size you need, it is now time to further narrow down your selection by choosing one that has the right features for you.

Tip #4:

It is absolutely necessary that you buy a pressure cooker that has a safety valve. These valves keep steam from building up in your cooker to critical levels and basically turning it into a bomb. However, what you might not know is that there are several different types of safety valves. Let’s go over some of the most common ones, so we can choose the right one for our needs.

Weighted Valves-This type of valve is placed on top of a vent pipe and is rated for about 15 PSI of steam. When these type of pressure cooker reaches temperature, the weighted valves will begin to perform a rocking motion. When it has reached temperature, it will also start to make a whistling sound. If the sound stops while cooking, then you know that you need to fix the problem before it reaches the critical condition. Cookers with this type of valve are usually fairly inexpensive.

Modified Weighted Valves-This type of valve is connected to the machine and doesn’t perform the characteristic rocking motion that weighted valves do. This valve also maintains a pressure of 15 PSI but it does it by releasing steam on an intermittent basis. You can tell this machine has started cooking when it begins to release steam. However, since it doesn’t have an audible warning like the weighted valves do, and it can be difficult to see the steam beginning to be released, these cookers generally need to be watched closer than models with weighted valves. There is one more thing to consider: Price on models with this type of valve are usually more expensive than weighted valve models.

Tip #5:

Here are a few more features that you need to consider before putting money down on your new pressure cooker:

Cooking Rack-Some models come with a cooking rack that keeps the food above the liquid level and segregates them from each other.

Secondary Release Valves- If possible, you should also consider buying a pressure cooker with a secondary venting system. This will serve as an additional safety feature that will prevent the cooker from exploding if somehow the main vent pipe is stopped up. It’s not likely the main vent pipe will become stopped up, but it’s nice to have the peace of mind that if it did, then your pressure cooker wouldn’t become a dangerous weapon.

Warranty-Always look for a model with a good warranty. Nowadays, most reputable companies will offer at least a ten year warranty on their pressure cookers, and some even offer 12 year warranties.

And this concludes my two part guide on buying a pressure cooker. Follow this guide and you should be able to find a cooker that fits your needs and your budget.

Pressure Cooking Beans – A Complete Guide

You have gone through all of the pressure cooker reviews and have bought the best cooker that you can and now you want to put it to the test. One of the best dishes for beginners that I have found are beans. They are easy to make, delicious and full of healthy nutrients. It is also pretty hard to mess up beans in a pressure cooker and therefore they are perfect to get started with.

There are about a dozen different ways to make beans. You can steam them, boil them and even bake them. But cooking them in the cooker is one of my favorite ways because they not only turn out perfectly but also cook a whole lot quicker than other methods.

As easy are beans are to make in a pressure cooker however, there are some steps that you are going to have to follow to have them turn out perfectly. Fortunately, I have outlined these steps and presented them to you in an easy to follow format. Follow these steps and you’ll have a pot of delicious beans in no time.

Presoak The Beans

The first thing you’ll need to do is to clean and presoak the beans. Make sure that you rinse them thoroughly and pick out any small stones that may be in them. Then place them in a large bowl with some cold water and place plastic wrap over the top. Allow to soak for about 8-10 hours.

Time To Cook

After presoaking you can now move on to cooking. For every cup of beans you put in the cooker you have to use three cups of water. Just be sure to not overfill it. When cooking beans, you should never fill the cooker more than half way full.

Also be sure that you don’t add anything to the beans that might prolong their cooking time. Ingredients that might add additional cooking time include tomatoes, any type of citrus, vinegar and even salt. If you like your beans salted, then be sure to salt them after they are done cooking.

How long you cook the beans in your best pressure cooker really depends on what types of beans you have. For instance—garbanzo, black and kidney beans all take at least twenty minutes to cook in a pressure cooker. The “white” beans such as northern and navy take approximately ten minutes to cook, as does pinto and anasazi. The only white bean that really takes a long time to cook is cannellini. This type of bean can take about eight minutes to cook.

You can tell when the beans are cooked to perfection when you can squish them with a spoon. If you want a thicker bean soup base, then use a potato masher on some of the beans after they are done and cook them for an additional minute. For a thinner base, then cook as prescribed. After that, you can season the beans to taste and make yourself a bowl. Congratulations! You just made beans in your pressure cooker.

Buying A Pressure Cooker – Part One

It seems like more and more people are buying pressure cookers. Which is really no surprise. After all, these machines have come a long way over the past few decades. They are no longer they ticking steam powered time bombs that your grandmother’s machine used to be. Pressure cookers are more sophisticated and safer than ever before. They are also more convenient than ever before as well. But with that being said, you still have to do due diligence and do a bit of research. This guide will give you some tips that will help you buy the best model available.

Tip #1:

One of the first things you’ll need to do is to pour over some pressure cooker reviews. You can then compile a list that of all of the models that fellow consumers have been happy with. You may also learn of additional features each model has that isn’t included in the description.

Tip #2:

Now that you have a list of the top models, you can then decide whether or not you want an aluminum pressure cooker or a stainless steel one. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, as you can see below.

Aluminum-Aluminum cookers costs less, don’t weigh a whole lot and provide better heating conduction than stainless cookers. The cons of pressure cookers made from this material is that this metal is very prone to staining and pitting. Now, that won’t affect how it functions, but is something that needs to be considered.

Stainless Steel-These cookers are generally more expensive, weigh a lot more and don’t conduct heat as well as aluminum ones. However, they are also sturdier, have a more durable finish and last a long time.

There is also a third choice you need to consider. One that combines the durability of stainless steel with the heat conduction of aluminum. And that is a stainless steel model with a bonded aluminum base that allows for more even heating and prevents hot-spots. If possible, you should consider one of the models.

Tip #3:

After you consider model popularity and construction, it is now time to think about what size pressure cooker you need. Remember, even the best pressure cooker might not be right for you if it is the wrong size for your cooking needs. Below are some of the most popular pressure cooker sizes and their recommendations:

4 Quart Models-If you are just cooking for yourself—or one other person—then this is the perfect size cooker for you.

6 Quart Models-This size is good for families that consist of 2-4 members

8 Quart Models-This size is great for bigger families that consist of more than 4 members. It is also a good size for those people who make large quantities of pasta sauce, gravy or soup stock.

16-23 Quart Models-These cookers are bigger than what most people need for cooking. People who plan to use it for canning vegetables or meats, or have an extremely large amount of people to feed.

Now that you have narrowed down your selection of models according to the above characteristics, it is now time to decide which features you need. You can read how to select a pressure cooker with the features you need by checking out the second part of our buying guide.

Making Cottage Pie In A Pressure Cooker

One of the best pressure cooker recipes I have ever made has to be Cottage Pie. This Irish dish is much like Shepard’s Pie except that it is made with ground beef in lieu of mutton. It cooks up so quickly and easily in your pressure cooker, you will want to make this comfort food everyday of the week.

Cottage Pie

The way I make cottage pie using my pressure cooker is to start the ingredients in the cooker, assemble it and then transfer it into an oven safe dish for 20 minutes of cooking at 350 degrees. Here is how I do it

Quarter 1-1/2 pounds of potatoes, wash them and set them aside.

Saute 1 large sweet onion in 1 tablespoon of butter. When the onion is soft, add  1-1/2 pounds of ground beef and cook it for 3 minutes. Next you add in 2 diced carrots, 1 cup of peas, 1 cup corn (optional), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup beef stock, 1 teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Mix the ingredients together well.

Place your quartered potatoes in your pressure cookers steamer basket onto the meat mixture. Place the lid securely on the cooker and cook it at high pressure for about 13-14 minutes. Quick release the pressure and remove the lid.

Heat your oven to 400 hundred degrees.

Place your potatoes into a mixing bowl and remove the skins, if desired. Then add ½ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of butter and mash. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. If you want you can spice these mashed potatoes up a bit more by adding 3 chopped green onions and making Champ, or by turning them into Colcannon by adding a pound of chopped kale or cabbage.

Set the mashed potatoes aside.

Pour the meat mixture from your pressure cooker into a 10”x13” oven-safe dish. Use a fork and add an even layer of mashed potatoes across the entire surface of the meat mixture. Make sure that you mash down the corners of the potatoes where it meets the edges of the pan to form a complete seal. Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese of your choosing (I prefer to use cheddar) and toss into the oven uncovered. Allow to bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the mashed potatoes are brown.

Set the dish aside and allow it to cool for approximately 5-6 minutes. Cut and serve.

And that is all there is to making Cottage Pie in your pressure cooker. Hopefully, you will enjoy making this dish as much as I did. It is certainly unique and one you won’t find in most pressure cooker reviews.