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!
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.
I’ve recently added wheat berries to my diet! Pretty exciting stuff. You can find them relatively easily in Whole Foods or another health market, and even though you can easily spend $200 in a health food store, wheat berries are pretty affordable. Here’s some stuff to know if you want to add them to your life:
Hard wheat berries, also labeled hard red wheat, are the most nutritious. They are chewier than the soft variety, but not too chewy (if you ask me). They also take the longest to cook, and often call for soaking, but it’s no big deal in a pressure cooker.
Soft wheat berries, sometimes labeled soft or pearled white wheat, are lightly processed for easier cooking and eating. They are more tender and take less time to cook.
To cook wheat berries: Add 1 cup of rinsed and drained wheat berries, 4 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and a glug of oil to an electric pressure. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes (for soft berries) or 40 minutes (for hard berries) and use a natural release. Drain.
Serve as a grain in soups, salads, or other savory dishes. Make a breakfast bowl with yogurt and fruit. It’s all goooood.
I recently received the newest Instant Pot model, the Ultra, thanks to the kind people at Instant Pot HQ. Note that I did not receive it in exchange for a review or any other coverage, I just thought I’d share my thoughts about the Ultra for those that are considering upgrading or are comparing versus an older model. So here we go!
Steam release — There are two major upgrades to the Ultra, and one of them is the steam release. Instead of a single steam valve that you turn to seal or release, the Ultra has a separate button. This is great for two reasons:
- You don’t have to touch where the steam is releasing, making it a little safer and less likely to scald
- It automatically resets to sealing when you open the lid. Even though I’ve used the IP a bazillion times, I still forget to close the valve sometimes on the old model. The Ultra makes this impossible by closing the vent automatically.
Note that when you press down the button for a quick release, it takes longer to release the pressure than older models. You can force it to release steam quicker by pressure down the button harder, but then you’ll have to stand there the whole time pressing the button.
Cooking Options — The Ultra has even more automated cooking settings, which is all well and good, but I rarely use any of them other than Pressure, Sauté, and Yogurt. But! With the Ultra, you can make some over-arching settings to the whole machine, as well as on a per-use basis. I’m a big fan of these options:
- You can turn the sound off. You may not want to turn the sound off, but with the amount of recipes I make in my IP and the amount of beeps it makes (especially the Ultra), sometimes I just want some peace and quiet. Note that it won’t beep at all, even when food is done cooking, so this is not for everyone/all the time.
- You can disable the Keep Warm function. I pretty much never use this function and the vast majority of the time I want it turned off, so as to not inhibit the release of pressure or scald delicate items on the bottom of the pot. Unfortunately you can’t turn off the function universally, but you can turn it off beforehand each time you cook something.
Backlit Display and Knob — The most obvious differences are the backlit display (which was already available on the Duo Plus) and a knob that you turn and press to make all selections. The knob takes a little getting used to, but for no specific reason I like it. I think with all of the options on this version of the IP, you need a knob instead of a million buttons to push.
Another Thing I’ve Noticed — In my experience thus far, pressure takes a lot longer to release with the Ultra than the older models. Just keep this in mind when budgeting time for a recipe. I honestly sometimes end up slowly releasing the pressure when I just can’t wait any longer.
All-in-all, the older models still work great, and it’s up to you if the jump in price is worth it. As someone who uses an Instant Pot all the time to test recipes, I’ve very much appreciated the revised steam release and the extra adjustables. But I also still use my old IP all the time. Long live pressure cooking, regardless of what cooker you choose!