Monday, January 23, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Malay Curried Pork and Potatoes

More from Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. Tonight there was Malay Curried Pork and Potatoes (p88). I seriously doubt this dish was anywhere close to authentic Malaysian, but it was still tasty.

First you make a finely chop shallots, garlic cloves, ginger, and lemongrass (thank you, staff blender) to make a paste. Fry this in the pressure cooker along with some red curry paste, sugar, ground cardamom, and cinnamon. Turn the heat up, add the pork and brown it. Then add some chicken stock (still working on that Thanksgiving turkey stock) and coconut milk. Close the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure, and cook for twelve minutes.

I served this over rice; this was probably a starch overload.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Saag Gohst

Tonight's dinner didn't come from a dedicated pressure cooker book, but from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, which has several meat dishes that can be hurried along using a pressure cooker. This is one of my favorite Indian cooking books because everything can be done fairly quickly (within about thirty minutes), but a few of the recipes are quick only if you use the pressure cooker.

Tonight's dinner was Saag Gosht—Beef or Lamb with Spinach (p36). This is a dish I've made before, also with lamb, but without the pressure cooker. Tonight the one-hour cooking time without the pressure cooker was reduced to only 15 minutes under pressure, making it very fast for stewy dish with wonderfully tender meat.

I defrosted frozen spinach early in the day. To start the preparation, you whiz a coarsely chopped onion, two inches of ginger, and six to eight cloves of garlic. I used my staff mixer for this (what a wonderful gadget!), but a food processor would work fine. Spices are added in two groups, and I prepared these next. One dish with three bay leaves, ten cardamon pods, eight cloves, and four inches of cinnamon stick, another with salt, ground coriander, ground cumin, and cayenne.

Start by heating oil in the pressure cooker over high heat. Add the bay leaves and friends, stir, then add the onion mixture and cook over high heat for five minutes. Then stir in the meat (1-1/2-inch cubes of lamb), spinach, two cups of water, and the rest of the spices; cover and bring up to full pressure. Lower the heat so that it's PSSCH-ing along merrily and cook for fifteen minutes. Reduce the pressure quickly, then bring the contents to a boil again. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, until the sauce is a bit reduced and thickened. I called it a one-dish meal served over rice. Yum!

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Afterthought: I very much liked that the pressure cooker saved forty-five minutes of cooking time for this dish, and will definitely look at similar recipes. It occurred to me later, though, that the house didn't have the wonderful smell of an Indian dinner, either during and after the cooking.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Sage Cream

Back to The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever again for an easy dinner, Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Sage Cream (p104).

The recipe asks for fresh cheese- or meat-filled ravioli. This week I found some ravioli filled with bacon, ricotta, and mozzarella (a new product), which seemed to cover both bases. The ravioli is cooked two minutes at pressure with chicken stock (still working on that Thanksgiving turkey stock), a minced garlic clove, and rubbed sage. (I used some chilly sage from the garden, finely minced, rather than stuff from a jar.) Release the pressure, remove the lid, add some cream, and boil uncovered till the liquid has slightly thickened, about two more minutes. Then reduce the heat, add some crumbled Gorgonzola and grated Parmesan and stir for a few minutes till the cheese has melted. Serve with extra Parmesan.

This was very tasty, but I'm not sure the using the pressure cooker added much to the experience. I could have cooked the ravioli in a regular pot and it would have been done in close to the same time. Nevertheless, it was a tasty main course. 

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Tuna Steaks with Sweet/Sour Onion Relish

We're back to The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever, by Pat Dailey. This was shopping day, so we had fresh fish. For tonight's dinner there was Tuna Steaks with Sweet/Sour Onion Relish (p64).

First you marinate half-inch thick tuna steaks in a mixture of dijon mustard, and orange juice, with pinches of tarragon, salt, and cayenne. While the tuna is soaking up flavor, sauté an onion in half-inch wedges and a small red bell pepper in half-inch strips in a bitter butter. When the onion starts to brown on the edges, stir a slog of balsamic vinegar with a tiny dab of honey. Then add orange juice and white wine. Lay the tuna steaks on top of this mixture, sprinkle with a bit of salt and cayenne, close the pressure cooker, and put it over high heat.

The instructions say to cook at pressure for 2-1/2 minutes for a slight pink center or 3 minutes for full cooked. Our steaks were fully cooked at 2-1/2 minutes, which is a shame, since we both like our tuna, not even pink, but red in the center.

The relish/sauce for the tuna was really tasty, the sweet of the cooked onions, bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar came together very nicely. I don't think I'll subject any more tuna steaks to the pressure cooker treatment, but I'd definitely consider making this sauce, maybe just in a skillet, to go with tuna steaks from the grill.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Monday, January 16, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Jan-17: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Seared Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce (CL; web). Easy enough and pretty good. Served with rice noodles. And, vaguely Alice Chen's Ginger Green Bean Salad (HomTravels, p58). The green beans at the shop last week were pretty ugly, so I got some of the beans that snijbonen are made from, haricots coco in French, can't remember the English name. Sliced them up and used like bits of regular green beans. This was easy and quite tasty. We finished off the Peach Pudding for afters. I'm stuffed.

Tuesday/17-Jan-17: The one thing I needed to do before going to the ENT early this afternoon was do start the crockpot for dinner. What did I forget to do until I was walking out the door? Yes, start the crockpot. So Ed did it, and fairly successfully. He got the recipe assembled, in the crockpot, crock set to Low, but forgot to turn on the transformer and didn't notice that the crockpot didn't get warm. (The switch is a bit touchy, so you always need to check that it gets warm.) I got home, expecting to smell good cooking, and there was nothing. Anyhow, it was cooked on High, and we had Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef (web; cookbooker) with rice and some steamed broccoli for dinner. Very good it was too. Mini magnums for dessert,

Wednesday/18-Jan-17: Shopping today. Dinner was tuna from the pressure cooker served with parsleyed buckwheat crozets and steamed broccoli. Mini magnum for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/19-Jan-17: Somehow I looked at my meal plan and made Saturday's dinner tonight. That was slipping a big gear! So tonight we had ravioli from the pressure cooker. Followed by an enormous salad. No dessert needed.

Friday/20-Jan-17: A late start this morning, while I finished a book. Then a late lunch, and an even later dinner. But it was delicious. We had Indian lamb and spinach from the pressure cooker over plain rice. For dessert, there was a half recipe of Caramelized Apples with Pistachio Cream (Q&E, p122). Didn't whip the cream or use the pistachios, but it was tasty nevertheless.

Saturday/21-Jan-17: Early dinner today, so I could iron in the evening. I made a half recipe of Potato and Leek Gratin (VC4E, p282), which was good. And then a big salad. And then some mini magnums for dessert.

Sunday/22-Jan-17: We lunched out today. Some fruit for a snack later.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Peach Pudding

Dessert from the pressure cooker is an intriguing idea. I have marked a couple of recipes to try this month. Tonight I used one of my earliest pressure cooker cookbooks, Pressure Cooking is Pleasure Cooking, by Patricia Phillips.

I made Peach Pudding (p203). I didn't do the best job of this but it was quite tasty if not pretty. First of all, I neglected to butter the mold, so the pudding didn't come out in very good shape. 

And, I was a bit rushed putting it together and omitted the sugar and salt—oops. We served sprinkled a bit of brown sugar on at the table and it was fine. We used so little sugar that I'd guess that the sugar in the recipe could easily be reduced by half.

This pudding is quite easy to assemble. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. (I just stirred these together, overlooking the sugar and salt in my haste.) Cut in some butter. In a smaller bowl, beat two eggs lightly and add milk. Stir this into the flour mixture, then stir in sliced, canned peaches. Pour into a buttered mold. I used the middle of the three nested Pyrex bowls. It was slightly fuller than the 2/3 full recommended, but this turned out not to be a problem. Tightly cover the mold with aluminum foil. Place on a rack in the pressure cooker, add five cups of water, and close it up. 

A new technique to me, the pudding cooks for 15 minutes with no pressure, just letting the steam escape. Then you add the regulator or turn it to full pressure and let the dish cook for 30 minutes. Release the pressure quickly, remove the foil, and let the pudding stand before removing it from the bowl.

This is the pudding just out o the pressure cooker, which is in the sink on the right. On the left behind you can see the foil and the lid to the cooker. 

Since I neglected to butter the mold, the presentation wasn't pretty, but you don't eat the presentation, do you? It was very tasty. Two of us piggies ate half of what should serve 6-8.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Chicken with Leeks and Mustard Cream Sauce

Tonight's pressure cooker dinner was again from from The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook EverChicken with Leeks and Mustard Cream Sauce (p32). This was similar, but different, to the Garlic Lemon Chicken I made a week ago.

Again, I made a half recipe, with four thighs standing in for half a chicken. I did use all the leeks (I had some needing to be used) and made a whole recipe of sauce.

This recipe starts with browning some diced smoked bacon in the pressure cooker. I used smoked lardons, which are easier to get in France (and have a bit more "chew" since they're thicker). Remove them from the pan when they're done and brown the chicken pieces. Set these aside as they're done. Then soften a couple of chopped shallots in the pan, adding some white wine and dried rosemary after a minute or so. Boil the wine till it's reduced by half. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan, add chicken stock (actually Thanksgiving turkey stock tonight), and scatter one-inch segments from two leeks over the chicken. At this point you might cover the pan and put it all in the oven for half an hour or forty-five minutes. With the pressure cooker, you close the pot, set it to the lower pressure, put it over high heat to bring it to pressure, then cook for ten minutes after it gets to pressure. Release the pressure, and remove the chicken and leek, covering them to keep them warm. Whisk dijon mustard into the sauce (I thought some grainy mustard might be nice instead) and boil until the sauce has reduced by about a third, two to three minutes. Add a good slog of cream and boil until the sauce has thickened, about three more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over the chicken.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?