You Have Heard of Slow Pot Cookers, But How About Fast Pots?

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    Jun 18, 2017 1:36 PM GMT
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    NYT: The thing about the Instant Pot, or electric multicookers in general, is that it is incredibly convenient. You can come home and throw a bunch of stuff in it, and you’ll have dinner in 30-ish minutes. Another cool thing about Instant Pot (and multicookers in general) is that it is practically foolproof. You won’t end up with pea soup on your ceiling, because it regulates itself and has a system of safety catches that will shut off the machine if too much pressure builds.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/technology/personaltech/instant-pot-cooker.html?
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    Jun 19, 2017 3:01 AM GMT
    Why is this different than having a pot on your stove top? I'm not understanding the difference here. Could you please clarify?

    If this is saving perhaps a scant 15 minutes over my stove top pot i'm not seeing the great advantage. And much of our cooking isn't in a pot, anyway. Nor in a pressure cooker, for that matter, or a slow cooker, that we use for special foods. Usually that we take to parties for others, where our slow cooker doubles as a warmer. I'm failing to see how this is a breakthrough in kitchen technology.
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    Jun 19, 2017 3:06 AM GMT
    I think you can throw the ingredients in the fast pot and walk away to return to dinner. With a traditional pot, can't do that.
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    Jun 19, 2017 3:13 AM GMT
    woodsmen said
    I think you can throw the ingredients in the fast pot and walk away to return to dinner. With a traditional pot, can't do that.

    OK, that's a thought. I suppose some people might like that. Not me to judge them.

    But I doubt my husband would. He creates most of his own originals. And wants to monitor them, at every step, adding this & that as the taste develops. 'Set it and forget it" would likely not suit him. But perhaps would others.

    As for a slow cooker, yeah we do that. Mostly for stew stuff. That I love, being mostly Irish & Dutch, and my family diet having been mostly northern European. Slow cooking over time really makes the flavors combine, that I'm dubious a quick pot could accomplish.

    But my husband Is Italian & Sicilian, mainly does a Mediterranean cuisine. That I also can enjoy. So he doesn't use the slow cooker a lot (I got him one that's digital and has every feature), nor the (very expensive) French cast iron le Creuset brand Dutch oven he insisted he had to have. I think he's used it once in over a year.

    So I don't think any kind of automated pot will interest us. He has an RJ account, can read these posts. In his case I'm sure he wants to continue cooking open pot & pan style, as his Sicilian grandmother and mother taught him.

    But interesting information you've posted. With the caveats I mention. Still, I'm, willing to learn.
  • Element1313

    Posts: 78

    Jun 19, 2017 11:53 PM GMT
    They are great . Pressure cookers were big in the 1950's . The only problem here in SF is that electricity is too expensive to use them . We pay around 3x the national average for a kilowatt.



    We
    woodsmen saidI think you can throw the ingredients in the fast pot and walk away to return to dinner. With a traditional pot, can't do that.
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    Jun 20, 2017 1:44 AM GMT
    Element1313 said
    Pressure cookers were big in the 1950's. The only problem here in SF is that electricity is too expensive to use them . We pay around 3x the national average for a kilowatt.

    That's true. I think part of their appeal was making inexpensive tough cuts of meat tender. There are always gimmicky fads.

    Today I like steaming vegetables separately. Preserves the taste & nutrients, versus boiling in water. And can produce a nice al dente.

    And some I even microwave whole. Like ears of corn & potatoes. And enclosed frozen plastic bags of many kinds of vegetables, from companies like Swansons. The results are quick and remarkably good, with no clean-up. Plus saves lots of those pricey kilowatts using the microwave for 2 minutes.

    For most meats and fish I prefer grilling or broiling. I dislike pan frying, except for eggs. It's only for a stew I want the slow cooker. Let the flavors blend over hours, the meat practically dissolve - UMMMM!

    When my husband makes his caponata (he likens it to a kind of mushy Italian ratatouille, suitable for spreading on crackers or with entrées, also as an appetizer, although I don't see the analogy), it takes him days. He makes mass quantities and cans it, upwards of 50-60 jars at a time, and then gives most of them away to our friends.

    After he cuts up the vegetables in our oversized Cuisinart food processor, he bakes them in 3 large trays in the oven for hours. So they "reduce down". Then he puts the results in a huge commercial pot that goes into the refrigerator (we have to clear it to make room) for several days. That's so the ingredients "cure" or blend in some way that mystifies me, with regular stirring.

    Finally the glass Ball jars get filled, capped, and immersed in boiling water for a prescribed time to complete the canning process. Not something you do on a tight modern schedule. But the results are spectacular, and people clamour for his caponata. I put labels I designed on each jar, with his custom logo, although he doesn't charge for them, purely gifts because he loves to cook.

    Some recipes take time to mature their flavors. I'm always dubious of quick cooking solutions.
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    Jun 20, 2017 7:44 AM GMT
    The bit about walking away and coming back for dinner only applies for things where overcooking won't ruin them. At the end of the cooking cycle they go into a keep warm mode which is more than warm and still hot enough to burn if you were to touch the inside of the pot.

    I use mine to cook brown rice. You have to have exactly the right amount of liquid and rice since you can't check on it while it's cooking. You can start it again with more liquid if you didn't use enough but that's a hassle and it's not obvious how long you'd need to cook it again. But once you've got the proportions down then it's a definite advantage. So it's great for something that you make regularly once you've figured out the proportions and timing.

    The time savings isn't always so clear cut. There's about 5 or more minutes for the pressure to build up, then add the cooking time, then after it's cooked add the pressure falling time while it's in keep warm mode. The pressure falling time is called the "natural release" where you let the pressure go down on its own, which is what most recipes call for. It takes about 15 minutes. There's also "normal release" which is where you pull off the weight thing and let the pressure out immediately and quickly with the hissing. That's rarely used, but one place where it is is steamed potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces and steamed in a basket. 5 minutes cooking time, not counting the heating up time, so that's a real time saver. It also works the same with sweet potatoes and yams. I use mine for white potatoes when I'm craving them. And for yams when I make yam / sweet potato pie.

    The other thing I always use it for is making dulce de leche. The traditional way is to simmer a can of Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk covered in water for at least 8 hours. Then it turns a caramel brown and tastes incredible. In the pressure cooker it takes 1 hour. I jack mine up; I pour the sweetened condensed milk into a metal bowl, add 10 grams of cocoa butter, 8 tablespoons of dried whole milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. To make sure the dried milk dissolves I let it sit for several hours and then to melt and mix the cocoa butter heat it up briefly in the pressure cooker and mix it with a hand electric mixer to mix in the cocoa butter and dried milk, then recover it with the aluminum foil and then cook it on high for an hour and 15 minutes. It's work but I'm retired and have the time.

    If you like experimenting in the kitchen and collect cooking gadgets it's fun to have. hippressurecooking.com has lots of recipes. Avoid the Miss Vickie site and book.
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    Jun 21, 2017 11:45 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    It's work but I'm retired and have the time.

    If you like experimenting in the kitchen and collect cooking gadgets it's fun to have. hippressurecooking.com has lots of recipes. Avoid the Miss Vickie site and book.

    When I was in the Army my own policy was to take no longer to prepare my food than it took to eat it. Whether in the field or at home. Needless to say, it kinda limited my eating options.

    Hell, I was so gung-ho I used to bring back unused C-rations to my quarters, or later the dehydrated MREs that replaced them, and eat them for my dinner. I was a soldier first, not a gourmand.

    And yet, when I wanted to spoil myself and if I had the time, I'd go to the Officer's Club restaurant. Or some nice place off-post. Let them take the time to prepare the meal.

    And I'd have a wonderful prime rib dinner, preceded by a lovely gin martini (both are off my menu today). And the next day be eating what grub I carried in my Army backpack. Or if there was a field kitchen (for which an Officer often had to pay cash), I would eat it standing up, using a high tactical truck bumper as my "counter". To this day I still eat many quick meals at home standing up.

    And yah know I loved it. Today, 23 years later, I'm kinda getting into cooking and more civilized eating. My late partner started me, and now my current one. As you say, if you have the time. And now I do. It's not too bad. icon_biggrin.gif

    As for gadgets, I buy him everything that I know, or anticipate, he wants. Cooking is his passion and his hobby. So I equip him with everything you could imagine, provided it will fit in our small condo.
  • MuchoMasQueMu...

    Posts: 908

    Jun 23, 2017 1:58 AM GMT
    I just use a stove-top standard pressure cooker. I can cook a bag of frozen chicken and have it be ready in about eleven minutes. It's tender and juicy and tastes great.
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    Jun 23, 2017 7:36 PM GMT
    We have this.
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    Jun 23, 2017 10:25 PM GMT
    ricky1987 said
    We have this.

    And...? What do you cook with it? What brand slow cooker? His birthday is coming. I'm not sure he needs one, but I keep an open mind.
  • jeep334

    Posts: 512

    Jun 24, 2017 1:14 AM GMT
    art_deco said
    ricky1987 said
    We have this.

    And...? What do you cook with it? What brand slow cooker? His birthday is coming. I'm not sure he needs one, but I keep an open mind.


    I didn't think I needed one until I got one. The roast beef and beef stew is unbelievable. I cooked broccoli for a family Easter dinner a couple of years ago for 14 guests. Took 6 minutes and was tremendous in taste. Mine is digital and it's the only way I would go. I have a friend that swears by his mother's on-the-stove model but it's a bit scary to watch.
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    Jun 24, 2017 1:31 AM GMT
    jeep334 saidI have a friend that swears by his mother's on-the-stove model but it's a bit scary to watch.

    The problem with the on-the-stove type is that you have to figure out what stove dial setting works for your pressure cooker, and make sure it also works for short as well as long cook times. The electric ones do it all automatically, bringing it up to pressure and then maintain it there. And in addition to that you also set the cooking time with them so another reason to not need to keep an eye on it.

    They also work great for brown rice.
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    Jun 24, 2017 5:23 PM GMT
    art_deco said
    ricky1987 said
    We have this.

    And...? What do you cook with it? What brand slow cooker? His birthday is coming. I'm not sure he needs one, but I keep an open mind.


    chicken and vegetables mostly.