The new book is coming along nicely, and will arrive in spring of next year. In the meantime, we have a cover! I’ll post updates as I have them. Exciting stuff!
Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought I’d share a recipe from my last book for brown sugar sweet potatoes. I’m often struggling to figure out how to squeeze everything in the oven on the big day, so moving one dish to the cooker is a big help. The potatoes steam in the cooker before being sliced in two. Each half is topped with a brown sugar topping and quickly broiled right before serving. Lightly sweet with a little crunch on top, these sweet potatoes are a top-notch Thanksgiving side.
Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Topping
from The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup water
6 medium sweet potatoes, pricked a few times with a fork
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
- Add water to the pot and place a steamer basket or trivet on top. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the basket or trivet. Secure the lid.
- Cook at high pressure for 12 to 18 minutes (12 for small potatoes, 15 for medium, 18 for large).
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Use your fingers to press the mixture together until a crumbly topping is formed.
- Once the cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes followed by a quick release.
- Preheat the oven to broil.
- Carefully transfer the potatoes to a large baking sheet. Slice each in half lengthwise and lay cut-side up. Sprinkle each half with 1 heaping tablespoon of topping and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly crispy.
I’ve been making yogurt in my Instant Pot on the reg for years now. And while the method I wrote about a couple of years ago still works, I don’t tend to use it anymore. You see, I had a cheap jar break in the midst of making yogurt, and all it takes is your kitchen covered in hot milk and glass shards to make you rethink your methods.
Keep in mind that it was a cheap jar. I reused an apple sauce jar, and chances are it already had a small crack. If you use thick canning jars, you should be out of danger.
But! If you’d rather make your yogurt directly in the pot, here’s the basic method I use. It’s more convenient if you plan to strain your yogurt, Greek-style.
- Add milk to the pot. I don’t recommend making more than a gallon at a time, but any amount between 2 cups and a gallon is fine. Whole milk makes the creamiest yogurt, followed by 2% and then skim.
- Secure the lid and select Yogurt. Press the Adjust button until the display says “boil.”
- The Instant Pot is bringing the milk up to 180 degrees. You can safely open the lid during this process, and I like to whisk the milk every 5-10 minutes to keep it from scalding on the bottom of the pot.
- Once the program is finished and the display says “Yogt,” remove the lid and stir. Use a candy thermometer or instant thermometer to make sure that the milk has reached at least 180 degrees. If not, turn on the Saute function on low and stir until the milk comes to temperature.
- Remove the inner pot so that it cools faster. Let the milk cool until it reaches 105-110 degrees. To speed up the process, set the pot in a pan of cold water, stirring occasionally.
- Once cooled to 105-110 degrees, prepare the starter. Add 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with active cultures per 1/2 gallon of milk to a small mixing bowl. Add about a cup of the warm milk and whisk. Add the mixture to the pot and stir. Return the pot to the cooker, drying off the outside if needed.
- Secure the lid and select Yogurt. The display should says “8:00.” Leave the milk to incubate for 8 hours.
- Once the program is complete, remove the pot and place it in the fridge for several hours until completely chilled. If you’d like Greek yogurt, you can now strain it in the fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how thick you like your yogurt.
- Store the yogurt in containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
As the release date for my latest cookbook slowly approaches, I’d like to share a few behind-the-scenes photos from the photoshoot. Note that these are just from my phone, and that the lovely Staci Valentine‘s photos are MUCH better (stunning, really). Can’t wait to share the book with you all in May!
If you’re visiting Maui for more than a day, the Road to Hana is a must-do. It is literally a road that leads to the town of Hana, which doesn’t sound that exciting when I put it that way. What makes it essential is the road itself and all of the sights along the way—jungle, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and much more.
The road is narrow and curvy, barely fitting two-way traffic, and has roughly 54 bridges, most of them one-lane. It’s not for the faint of heart, but hardly anyone on the road is in a hurry, and if you’re a confident driver, that’s half the experience. There are guided tours for those hesitant to take the wheel, but you lose control over your itinerary. Some sights are right by the road, with beach views opening up before you and waterfalls cascading right by the road. Others are less obvious, requiring a short hike without any signs or markings.
There’s plenty of literature and resources to guide you on your drive, so I’ll just give my quick tips and share a few photos.
- Start early. We left our hotel on the south side of the island at dawn and reached the start of the road just as the sun was completely up. We never really hit traffic on the whole road, and didn’t encounter many people until the afternoon. You also want to leave lots of time for lazing on a beach and still being able to drive back in the daylight. Gas up first!
- Bring lots of water, some snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, hiking sandals, a change of shoes and clothes, towels, and cash.
- When parking, lock your car and put everything out of sight. Bring any valuables with you.
- Use an app to help guide you via GPS. I found this so helpful since even when you don’t have a cell signal, GPS knows where you are and the guide tells you when to turn for some hard-to-find locations. Gypsy is pretty good, but there are a few options. Download it before you leave and bring a car charger. That being said, don’t simply rely on the app. They don’t mention every stop and they interject their opinion a lot, which you might not agree with! Do some research first and consider buying a map.
- Eat the banana bread at a roadside stand, and grab a late lunch in Hana. There’s some great Thai food served out of a trailer near the beach.
- This is more of an FYI: the Seven Sacred Pools are no longer open to swimming. It makes this stop slightly less worth it, but if you’ve already been to Haleakala Crater or plan to go (and you should), your park entry is good for three days for both ends of the park, so you might as well make a stop and see the pools. There’s also a hike to a couple of waterfalls if they are flowing. Bring bug spray!
- Drive the backend to Pukalani. Okay, okay, take this with a grain of salt, since some sites and the Gypsy app will practically beg you not to. The reason for this is huge portions of the road past Hana used to be unpaved. If you get stuck on this road it could void your rental car contract and cost thousands of dollars for a tow truck. Now almost the entire road is newly paved—there’s just a relatively small, jungly section that’s unpaved past Haleakala National Park, but just take it slow and even a compact car can make it. You’ll pass some beaches and then the landscape becomes volcanic ranch land that crashes down into the ocean. It’s totally different and beautiful in it’s own way, and ends near a winery and lavender farm. Plus, you don’t have to drive the road to Hana both ways.
- Extra tip: Check in with the rangers at Haleakala National Park to double check the road condition in case of flooding before venturing further south.
I will never cease to be amazed by pressure cooker risotto.
Risotto is a dish I’ve always loved, but rarely made at home because standing over a hot pan and constantly stirring isn’t my idea of a good time. Now I make it at least once a month since the pressure cooker takes all the pressure off (oy). It’s almost completely hands-off—you can literally walk away while the risotto cooks. It’s the best.
I’ve talked about how you can make risotto with brown rice, but did you know you can also make it with farro? The whole grain has a lightly nutty flavor and pleasantly chewy texture, and it make a surprisingly creamy risotto. It’s a great way to add some whole grains to your life.
This summer has really been a whirlwind. But with the manuscript for cookbook #2 turned in, I’ll have more time for article-writing, zine-making, and blog-writing (I hope). Here’s a few things I’ve written around the internet lately.
- Cooking The Simpsons: Chocolate-Cherry Experiment Cupcakes — Paste Magazine
- Writers’ Room Eats: The Daily Show — Paste Magazine
- Fall Quiche With Roasted Butternut Squash — The Spruce
- Roasted Carrot and Red Cabbage Salad — The Spruce
- Cooking The Simpsons: Ned’s Hot Cocoa — Paste Magazine
I’m also featured in Sirsee: Volume 1, a lovely little publication featuring recipes, poetry, prose, and artwork, all centered around the theme of “ripe.”