What to Know About Using an Instant Pot

Breeding, KY, USA – January 08, 2019: Instant Pot pressure cooker on kitchen counter with beans and rice.

Instant Pots are one of the hottest household items, and they have been for several years at this point. They’re a great way to make food fast, and they’re versatile.

Some people are afraid to use them, however, because they are pressure cookers. Pressure cookers are associated with explosions that have led to severe burns and other injuries.

With that in mind, the following are things to know about using an Instant Pot and how to do so safely.

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

Instant Pot is a brand name. These are electric pressure cookers, or in some cases, multicookers. A pressure cooker works by making heat under a very tight seal. Then, the temperature, which is higher than water’s boiling point, makes it so the steam can’t escape. The steam cooks food much faster than using the oven or stovetop.

Because of the steam and pressure, you can reduce cooking time by as much as 70%.

It does take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes for the machine to come up to pressure, and in some cases, you want the pressure to dissipate gradually. For example, if you’re making meat and you release it right away, the meat can get tough.

Is it Safe to Use an Electric Pressure Cooker?

As mentioned above, pressure cookers can be dangerous. The traditional stovetop pressure cookers got a pretty bad reputation years back because the lids were somewhat easy to take off before the release of pressure. Now, the modern versions have safety features that are intended to help keep you from being able to release the lid while the pressure is high. You still need to be careful because they aren’t entirely risk-free, but they’re safer than some of the previous versions of pressure cookers that you might associate with this style of making food.

You do need to make sure that you don’t fill an Instant Pot more than around halfway because the pot has to be empty enough for there to be a safe pressure that stays that way through the duration of cooking.

Even if you don’t want an Instant Pot, there are also basic pressure cookers available, but again, they tend to be safer than older models.

You shouldn’t put any body parts over the Instant Pot during quick release because steam blows out, and it can burn you.

What Can You Make?

There are so many things you can make in an Instant Pot, and the versatility is likely why they’re such a popular kitchen item. You can make pretty much any recipe in under 30 minutes, or at least most, although some things can take up to an hour. You can bake bread, roast an entire chicken, make chilis and stews, and you can braise meats quickly.

There are a lot of features of an Instant Pot that tend to be overlooked. For example, you can saute, which is something that sets them apart from a crockpot or pressure cooker. You can also cook frozen

meats, so you don’t have to wait for them to thaw out, which is something else your slow cooker can’t do.

When you’re using your Instant Pot, the items you put in it need liquid to cook. The liquid helps create the pressure that cooks the food. Even with meat, you’re going to need a bit of liquid—a cup a least, to make it correctly.

At the same time, if you put too much liquid and make something like a piece of meat, it will lose flavor, so you have to find a balance.

Natural vs. Manual Pressure Release

When your cook-time is finished on whatever you’re making in your Instant Pot, you’ll have to release the pressure. There are two ways to do this. If you use natural pressure release, the valve on the lid stays in the sealing position. Then, the pressure dissipates naturally over time, taking anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour.

You can also use the manual pressure release or Quick Release. You move your valve to the venting position, then the steam comes out, and the pressure is released. This is a faster option, but with a lot of liquid, it can still take around 15 minutes.

Overall, an Instant Pot is much safer than an old-school pressure cooker and is a convenient way to prepare a lot of things quickly.

Different Options When Prepping Tasty Steaks

Dry aging and wet aging are two different processes that are used to prepare beef and make it taste nicer. This blog post takes a look at both types of steak so that you can better understand the differences between the two. Read on to discover everything you need to know.

What is a wet aged steak?

Firstly, let’s begin by taking a look at wet aging. This is the newer technique of the two. In fact, its development coincides with the advancements in refrigeration. A lot of people view wet aging as the route to go down when you are trying to cut corners. Why? Well, the process only takes between four and ten days and it is a lot cheaper too. You can see why this would suit a lot of manufacturers, as well as stores and restaurants. The meat can be produced quickly, whilst the buyers benefit from lower prices. 

So, what does wet aging actually entail? Essentially, cuts of beef will be placed inside vacuum-sealed plastic bags and the connective tissue is broken down in this way. One of the advantages associated with this option is the fact that no weight loss occurs to the meat from dehydration. However, many individuals believe wet-aged beef does not taste as nice. It doesn’t have a depth of flavour and can often be described as having quite a metallic taste. Research indicates that this occurs because the plastic bag does not give the meat room to breathe. As a result, it comes into contact with its own blood and this is detrimental to the taste. 

What is a dry aged steak?

Next, we have dry aged steak. This tends to get people excited when they see it on the menu. Dry aged beef is certainly delicious. The meat you will experience will be juicy, tender and full of flavour. This is thanks to the extensive process of dry aging. You can use nutrition API to find out information on this for calorie content and more.

Dry aging takes a lot longer than wet aging and is consequently more expensive, this is why dry aged beef can be a lot harder to come across. So, what does this process entail? First, pieces of meat will be hung in the air for several weeks. They will then be put into a refrigerator at a temperature just above freezing. In direct contract to the previous process, this method gives the meat the chance to slowly dehydrate and break down the connective tissue, as a result the meat’s taste and texture is the best you can get.

Understanding the differences between dry and wet aged steaks 

All in all, there are clearly benefits associated with both processes. However, when it comes to a better quality, taste and texture, there is only one winner; dry aged beef. If you have never tasted this before, what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to steakhouse and give your taste buds an experience to remember. 

6 Easy Ways To Make Home-Cooked Food More Flavorful

Herbs and spices selectionon rustic background

If you want to ensure that you and your family are fed with the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, it’s always a good idea to cook and eat home-cooked meals. There are many advantages to going for these dishes rather than ordering take-out foods. However, although this is the ultimate way to go, you must prepare meals that aren’t only nutritious but rich in flavor too.

Shopping for the right ingredients is the chief step to produce healthy and tasty viands. However, ensuring to have flavorful meals don’t stop at acquiring highly reliable elements and components. Sometimes, there are some techniques and cooking methods.

To help you come up with foods rich in taste and flavors, apply the following tips and tricks:

  1. Use High-Quality Spices And Condiments 

It makes a massive difference to the flavor of your food if you cook or serve with the best spices. You can also consider the use of dipping sauces if your viand is more on the dry side. Feel free to combine anything that’ll enhance the taste. Whatever dish you’re preparing, you can never go wrong with using pepper, mustard, soy sauce, salsa, ketchup, and many other condiments. 

  1. Utilize Coarse Salt For Preparing Meat 

When preparing meat, seasoning is essential. This doesn’t come as a surprise since unseasoned meat could potentially ruin the protein quality. Using coarse salt is better than table salt because the larger grains could cling more on the meat’s surface. Aside from using kosher salt for seasoning your meat, using Himalayan pink salt in Australia is also a great alternative to regular table salt. 

Serve it over a meal or put it in sauces or marinades. There are no limitations to how you can use it in the kitchen or your dining table. Pink Himalayan salt is even used as a cooking surface in some cases. Meats and other foods can be grilled, seared, and given a salty flavor from large blocks of the pink Himalayan salt. 

  1. Include The Fat 

Chefs know that fat is flavor, but it’s often perceived as unhealthy and forgone by many home cooks. When you cook, don’t be afraid to use olive oil or butter to make your food taste like it came from a restaurant. Fats aren’t limited to unhealthy ones; many healthy alternatives serve as good fat and boosts flavor on your dish. 

Fat plays a significant role in maximizing the flavor of your meat. It’s the fat instead of the meat that holds most of the flavoring, so don’t feel guilty if you don’t remove some fatty portions from your proteins. Check out some healthy versions of tasty foods like Spaghetti Bolognese and other low-fat recipes

The reason bacon has so much flavor is its fat. Consider buying meat that consists of a tiny fat portion so you can balance out the flavor. It’s also regarded as best to purchase beef that looks marbled. 

  1. Add Some Acid Into Your Dish 

In some cases, a drop of lemon juice or vinegar will certainly add some flare to your staple dish. Flavors are heightened and contrasted with acids when they’re too rich, sweet, or heavy. It takes these bright flavors to make great food, so don’t be intimidated when using these acid ingredients. 

Whether you’re making a sweet or savory meal, you can toss in a tablespoon of acid ingredients to enhance the blend of tastes. Too sweet pastries need some lemon tinge, and too delicious meaty dishes need a splash of vinegar to eliminate the blandness.  

  1. Don’t Overcook Vegetables 

It’s not just delicious, but it’s also appealing to look at vegetables that have been cooked perfectly! And by perfect, it means you shouldn’t cook the veggies for a long time on the pan or pot. When vegetables are done, you can tell by their vibrant color. If they’re still too crisp for your taste, you can add another minute or two to the cooking time. Overcooked vegetables aren’t exactly enticing. Not to mention, their nutrients also get dissolved the more they get overcooked. 

  1. Don’t Skip Using Booze 

An alcoholic beverage can do more than complement a delicious meal. There are a lot of dishes that go great with alcohol as a secret ingredient. Alcohol accentuates the flavors of food similarly to salt. 

You can make liquor, beer, or even wine taste better by evaporating the alcohol. Alcohol bonds with fat molecules and water molecules, so cooking with it is a good idea. Aside from its taste, even its aromatic features are also improved.

Homecooked Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti pasta and lemon, selective focus

 

Conclusion 

Hopefully, the tips mentioned in this article are enough to make you create palatable and delicious dishes. When flavor profiles are enhanced, there won’t be any reasons your kids would still prefer to eat outside. Eating homecooked meals offers many perks. Not only is it best for you and your family’s health, but it’s also economical. 

 

Fun With Food – 5 Enjoyable Ways To Get Kids Involved In Cooking

Source: Unsplash/Hannah Tasker

Teaching children all about food, why it matters, and where it comes from is important. 

Cooking can aid in the development of skills like reading, problem-solving, planning, and making sensible choices. Getting them involved in cooking also gives them more control over their little lives, thus boosting their confidence. 

In order to help a child feel interested in cooking, you have to engage them in a way that is fun and exciting. If you’re not sure how to approach this, don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be complex. To get you started, here are five enjoyable ways to get kids involved in cooking:

1. Don’t Get Kiddy Friendly Equipment

It’s important not to feel pressured to get special child-sized equipment. They grow out of those items really quickly and they can actually hinder your child’s development of food preparation skills. Instead, invest in good quality cookware sets and knife sets and teach your kids how to chop safely. 

2. Choose Some Great Recipes

A great way to engage children with cooking is to have them help cook their favourite food. They will be excited about the results and already invested in what they are cooking. You can then get more creative and work on more creative kiddy friendly recipes

3. Make Some Time

The average American spends just 37 minutes a day preparing food and cleaning up the kitchen after cooking. With that in mind, it is no surprise that many people don’t feel they have time to have the kids help out in the kitchen. 

Instead of trying to squeeze the kids into a rushed cooking environment, start by cooking with them for just one meal a week. On a day you have more time, set aside a couple of hours to cook a meal. The more relaxed you are, and the less busy the timetable is, the more fun the family cooking session will be. 

4. Allow Curiosity

Curiosity is a fantastic way to get kids interested in the preparation and cooking of food, especially when it comes to nutrition. A study showed that kids who were allowed access to sensory food education, where they can touch, taste, and smell different kinds of foods, were more likely to choose fruits and veggies from a buffet.

Often we are told to stop children playing with their food when, in fact, it’s a great thing for them to do. Letting them touch, taste, and smell new things can actively spur on their desire to learn more about food, and help them choose foods better for their health too. 

5. Grow Your Own

A study from 2007 concluded that children are more likely to eat fruits and veggies if the produce is grown at home. Sure, it isn’t the most recent study, but if you have ever grown anything with a child you will have some insight as to why this research stands the test of time. 

Allowing children to grow the ingredients for their food promotes curiosity and a sense of ownership and pride. All home gardeners can attest to the fact that the food tastes better too! Even better, they gain a true understanding of where their food comes from and can learn about science and the environment throughout the process.

With the tips above, you can encourage your children to be curious and engaged in the preparation and cooking of food. As a family, you can look forward to enjoying delicious meals, lots of new skills, and plenty more quality time together. 

Power XL Smokeless Grill Review

I’ve done a number of recipe posts about grilling, but today we take grilling indoors with the Power XL Smokeless Grill and Griddle.  This product would make a fantastic addition to any kitchen (especially if you don’t have an outdoor grill),  and it is also a perfect gift for newlyweds.

We’ve cooked a number of things on this grill including fish and burgers, and we also enjoy using the griddle plate for pancakes, bacon, and sausage. [Read more…]