Pressure Cooker Brown Rice Risotto

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One of the most popular dishes to make in a pressure cooker is risotto. Instead of standing over a hot pot and stirring stirring stirring, the rice cooks away all on its own and emerges creamy and flavorful. It’s wonderful.

There are a couple of risotto recipes in my cookbook, but the variations are endless. I recently made a version using brown rice! It was super tasty and healthier than the typical version. You’ll just need a few more minutes of cooking time.

Note that this recipe is written for an electric pressure cooker, but will work with a stove top version as well.

Brown Rice Risotto
Serves 2-3 (you can easily double this recipe)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine or 3 tablespoons dry vermouth
1 cup short-grain brown rice
2 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
Salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Mix-ins (see below)

Heat your pressure cooker using the Sauté function. Once hot, add the oil followed by the onion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until the onions are becoming translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add white wine or vermouth and cook, scraping the bottom, until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Turn off the Sauté function and add the rice, stock, and a healthy pinch of salt. Secure the lid and cook for 25 minutes at high pressure and use a natural release.

While the rice is cooking, prepare your mix-ins. I have some ideas for you below.

Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir vigorously for a few minutes until the rice is creamy. Add your mix-ins and stir. Serve topped with a little more Parmesan and perhaps a chopped fresh herb.

Mix-ins (mix and match!)

  • 1-2 links of high-quality sausage, cooked through and broken up or sliced
  • Sautéd chopped fresh spinach
  • Sautéd mushrooms with thyme
  • Roasted butternut squash and fresh sage
  • Roasted or sautéd asparagus and lemon
  • Broiled shrimp
  • Fresh, lightly cooked green peas
Pressure Cooker Brown Rice Risotto

Lemon Berry Cake

caketop

I was tasked with making a dessert for roughly 25-30 people attending a baby shower last weekend. The mom-to-be and I decided on a lemony berry-y concoction, and this is what I came up with. It was a bit precarious to transport, but it looked nice, tasted good, and fed the right amount of people. Success!

The cake is a basic 1-2-3-4 cake with a dose of vanilla and lemon zest added. I baked mine in the three-tiered wedding-style configuration—if you do that, just keep an eye on the layers since they’ll bake at different rates. Start checking them at 20 minutes. The easier way is to cook them in three 9-inch pans like the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have three. You work with what you got. Note that you can make the lemon curd beforehand (it’ll keep in the fridge for 1 week).

The combo of the sweet cake, tart lemon curd, fresh berries, and fluffy whipped cream is just so good. Technically you could leave out the berries or you could leave out the curd. It’d still be good, just not quite as good. But I get it if you don’t want to prep four things.

 

1-2-3-4 Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 lemons, zested
3 cups sifted self-rising flour*
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare your three 9″ pans by greasing and flouring well.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to mix well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and zest and mix well.

Add flour and milk alternately to mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and cooling completely.

* Make your own self-rising flour if you don’t have any. 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 2 teaspoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt.


Lemon Curd
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen/The Joy of Cooking

4 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small lemons, zested and juiced

Put all ingredients in a double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken.


Berries

1 package fresh strawberries, washed and dried
1 small package raspberries, washed and drained
1 small package blueberries, washed and drained

Hull the strawberries and slice into 2-4 slices lengthwise, depending on their size. If your strawberries are not very sweet, you can toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of sugar.


Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chill a large, clean mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and whip using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer. Add the sugar gradually, a tablespoon at a time. Whip until stiff peaks form.


How to Assemble:

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 1/3 of the lemon curd in a thin layer, followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream and a single layer of berries. If you soaked your strawberries in sugar, be sure to drain them before using. Top with another cake layer and repeat twice. For the final layer, arrange the fruit in a pretty design. Or don’t! Whatever you want. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

cakeside

Lemon Berry Cake

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef

Real-life-leprechaun-dog
I don’t know what’s happening here but I got this from That Dad Blog

It’s that time of year when people eat unnaturally green food and it’s okay! And everyone tries to remember how to make corned beef. No need to worry, I’ve got your back. Below is my recipe for pressure cooked corned beef from my book The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals. It’s so easy and great with a mug of beer.

Corned Beef
Serves 8

1 (3 1/2-4 lb) flat-cut corned beef
1 (12-oz) bottle beer
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
Pepper

Rinse the corned beef and pat dry. Trim off the excess fat, leaving a thin layer behind.

Place the meat in the pressure cooker and cover with beer and broth. Add onion and bay leaf and season with pepper. Secure the lid.

Select Manual and cook at high pressure for 1 1/2 hours and use a natural release.

Let rest before slicing.

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef

Fluffy Pumpkin Muffins

muffs

I know, I know. More muffins? You might as well call yourself The muffin (wo)man. Fine! I’ll call myself that. I just like a good muffin sometimes—they can be nutritious* and they’re easy to make and they freeze well, making them a go-to breakfast. I tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I am still heating up frozen ones. They’re still delicious! Super fluffy and moist and everything.

Fluffy Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from Elle Krieger’s recipe
Makes about 12 muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice (or a combo of nutmeg and clove)
1/2 cup well-packed dark brown sugar, plus sugar for sprinkling on top
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease one 12-cup muffin pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large bowl, whisk sugar, molasses, oil and eggs until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, adding the yogurt and milk in between batches. Mix just until combined.

Fill the muffin pan slots about 2/3 full and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes a muffin passes the toothpick test.

*not all muffins are nutritious

Fluffy Pumpkin Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

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When cooking at home, I dabble with vegan baking in an effort to make things a bit healthier/I’m too lazy to run to the market for eggs. One vegan recipe that never fails me is chocolate cake. It’s super easy to make, doesn’t take any weird ingredients, and turns out moist and delicious. If I’m making chocolate cake at home, 95% of the time I’m making a recipe like the one below. Even if you’re not vegan (I’m not) try it out! So good.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Chowhound
makes 10-12 cupcakes

1/2 cup plain almond or soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup room temperature coffee
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line one muffin pan with liners.
2. Add the milk and vinegar to a large bowl and mix. Let sit for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, coffee, oil, and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, soda, baking powder, salt).
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in a couple of batches and whisk until no large lumps remain.
5. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing or eating.

I used this vegan chocolate frosting recipe. Cut the recipe by 1/3 if you’re making the recipe above as written.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Instant Pot Beef Chili

chief-wiggums-chili
It looks like this, but without the scary whole peppers

For the most recent edition of Cooking The Simpsons, I tackled Chief Wiggum’s insanity pepper-laden cook-off chili. While recipe testing this crazypants recipe, I kept gravitating toward my Instant Pot. I tend to do that with any soup or bean related recipe. So for those of you who are IP users, here is a classic chili recipe that works great in the all-purpose cooker. It’s not insanity pepper-level spicy, but rather has an easy, low intensity spiciness. Feel free to adjust according to your taste.

Instant Pot Chili
Loosely based on Ree Drummond’s very popular chili recipe
Serves 3-4

Grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil
1 poblano pepper, split in half lengthwise and seeded
2 medium jalapeño peppers, split in half lengthwise and seeded (leave some seeds if you want it hotter, only add 1 pepper or none if you want it mild)
1 small (or ½ large) onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
½ bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  1. Rub the poblano and jalapeño peppers with a light coating of oil and place them on a pan. Broil, flipping halfway through, until charred on both sides. Dice once cool enough to handle.
  2. Add a glug of oil to the Instant Pot and turn on Sauté. Once hot, add the onion and stir. Cook for a few minutes and then add the beef, bell pepper, and garlic. Break up the meat and stir until the meat is cooked through. Carefully spoon off any excess fat if needed. Add the poblano, jalapeño, chili powder and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook one minute more. Turn off the Sauté function.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and 1 can’s worth of water. Stir and secure the lid. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and carefully use a quick release.
  4. Stir and add the beans. Cook on high pressure for 4 more minutes and use a natural release. Add more salt and pepper as needed. 

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Instant Pot Beef Chili

Almond, Cashew & Cherry Energy Bars

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As with every new year, my husband and I are trying to eat healthier after the cookie massacre that was the holidays. One struggle is always snacks–eating enough but still eating healthy. When I have time (and really, you don’t need that much time) I make homemade energy bars. That way I can control the ingredients, sugar content, flavors, etc. If you like Larabars, you’ll like these. They’re even better, totally customizable, and cheaper. They also freeze perfectly. Note that you’ll need a food processor for these, I can’t figure out a good/reasonable way to make them without one.

Almond, Cashew & Cherry Energy Bars
makes 16 small bars

½ C raw, unsalted almonds
¼ C raw or roasted cashews
1 C pitted dates
½ C dried cherries, plus a few extra for the top
3 T freshly ground flax (optional)
½ tsp almond extract
1 pinch salt

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds and cashews until the largest chunks are the size of peppercorns.
  2. Scrape down the sides and add the dates, dried cherries, flax, almond extract, and salt. Process until very well combined and the mixture sticks together when pressed. Stop and scrape down the sides once or twice while processing.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Carefully dump out the mixture onto the paper and press and form into an even square, pressing a few whole cherries into the top.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour and then cut into bars with a sharp knife.
  5. Store individually wrapped or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Almond, Cashew & Cherry Energy Bars