Friday, December 25, 2015

Instant Pot Primer and Resources for Newbies

MERRY CHRISTMAS! If Santa brought you a new Instant Pot for Christmas, I have info to share to help calm your nerves and bolster your courage to jump in and try it out. First, read the manual and do the water test, then make something easy, like boiled eggs (eggs on the trivet, cup and a half of water underneath, 4-6 minutes on manual, quick release and into an ice bath). Or if you have a steamer basket, make potato salad: Peel and cut potatoes in one-inch chunks--enough to fill the pot about 2/3 full--then place them in the basket and put four whole eggs on top of the potatoes, and cook on manual for four minutes (that's right--four minutes!), then proceed with your favorite potato salad recipe.

The first thing I made in the IP was a pork roast, and another friend who just got her pot did the same thing. A 3-4 lb. shoulder will take 50-60 minutes on manual after you brown it on all sides, season it as you wish, and add at least a cup and a half of liquid (beer or broth) with it in the pot. I also love to add sliced onion, chopped garlic, and a couple of cups of sauerkraut, or use Latin flavors instead and make some killer carnitas for tacos or burritos. YUM!

Invaluable Instant Pot Resources:
As far as cookbooks go, I recommend Great Food Fast by Bob Warden. I also HIGHLY recommend watching many YouTube tutorials. My favorites are from Simple Daily Recipes--the hostess is a hoot and half! Also, check out the websites Pressure Cooking Today and Hip Pressure Cooking. But the best advice I have for newbies is to join the Instant Pot Community here on Facebook. Everyone is so nice and helpful with giving ideas and advice. I post here all the time, sharing recipes and photos and asking questions of my own.

Indispensable Instant Pot Accessories:
1. STEAMER BASKET (Pop the handles off this one, and it fits perfectly!)
2. SPARE SEALING RING (I like to have one for savory foods and one for sweet/delicate things as strong flavors can transfer.)
3. GLASS LID (I use this when slow cooking or making yogurt.)
4. SILICONE MINI-MITTS (Perfect for getting the hot stainless steel insert out of the pot.)
5. CHEESECAKE PAN (There are those who claim that only a six- or seven-inch pan will fit, but I have this set, and the smallest, eight-inch fits perfectly for a slightly larger cheesecake to share with others--if your self-discipline is that strong!)
But most IP folks have one like this:
Or this:
6. PIP BOWL: You probably already have one of these anyway, but you'll want a small, heat-proof bowl--Pyrex or stainless steel--for cooking things "pot-in-pot." Like six inches in diameter, I guess? I bought a SS one at Home Goods for two or three bucks.
7. BAMBOO STEAMERS (These may not be “indispensable,” but they are great for making potstickers/dumplings.):

Happy Insta-Potting newbies!

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