Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gadgets... Pressure Cookers and The Week Ahead... 2/4/13

When I first changed my food philosophy to include a lot of beans I decided to switch to buying dry beans and cooking them myself instead of canned. I looked into pressure cookers at that time but didn't really see the benefit. Instead I bought a 3 quart sauce pan.

Then, I confess, I started watching QVC from time to time (my middle sister got me started), particularly the kitchen gadget shows. They kept having electric pressure cookers on and this caught my attention. One of the funnier lines was "this is not your mother's pressure cooker" meaning it was less likely to blow up, I think. I started thinking about pressure cookers again because I didn't really like watching the beans cook on the stove, but an electric pressure cooker was more set-it-and-forget-it.

Much research later and I purchased a 6 quart electric pressure cooker made by Cuisanart. Some people have problems with this model because it's high pressure is only 10 psi and I guess most are 15 psi, so cook times are longer than many recipes. However, it comes with an extensive recipe booklet and guide so I haven't run into any problems.

I have not cooked complete meals in it, but mainly use it for beans, beets, potatoes (for potato salad), squash for purees, and once for soup. I also cook rice and quinoa in it. I use it a fair amount (more than my husband expected me to, which is an ongoing joke for us regarding kitchen toys, uh, gadgets.)

So, does one need an electric pressure cooker? No, but it is nice to have. I do like the electric one because I set it and let it do its thing. I don't have to watch a gauge to get it up to pressure, nor do I have to maintain the pressure while cooking as you would with a stovetop model. I also have a gas range and I don't like to stray too far from the kitchen when it's on, but after a few uses of the pressure cooker I'll even leave the house while its running.

And, mine just beeped to let me know the beans for tomorrow night's dinner are done!

Menu for the Week of February 4, 2013

  • prep squash and white beans, clean kale
Monday: Butternut Squash, Kale, and White Bean Soup (using pressure cooker)
  • prep cauliflower, acorn squash, prep kidney beans
Tuesday: a little recipe I'm working up with acorn squash, cauliflower, spinach and who knows what else...
  • prep chili
Wednesday: chili in the crock pot

Thursday: leftovers
  • prep potatoes, meatballs
Friday: Kale Meatballs, Potato Salad

Saturday: ???? (too many potentials to plan, but if I'm cooking it's likely to be this)


  1. I have every intention of switching from canned beans -- but that requires forethought, and that's, well, part of my problem in the kitchen.

    And I'll admit that the reason that I've never seriously considered a pressure cooker is because I've heard that they could blow up. So hooray for no kitchen Hindenburgs!

  2. I do a big batch at a time and freezer them in 1-1/2 c portions (roughly equal to 1 can). They defrost quite quickly in a colander with water running over them, so that's how I avoid the fact that I forget to take them out of the freezer :-)

    LOL - kitchen Hindenburgs!