Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I Heard the Whistle Blowing

Back to the Instant Pot. I followed the directions exactly as written in both the 'Official' Cook Book and the 'Instruction' Book. Making sure everything was as it was supposed to be, I proceeded.  Now, I am not known to follow directions for a recipe, but in this case I was faithful to the text. Memories of an exploding pressure cooker from my youth are still permanently etched in my mind. Even now, I can hear that whistle now as the pressure built up. The stains of the green beans on the ceiling were still there until a fresh coat of paint was applied years later. But, I digress. 

In my case, this pot was supposed to be much better and much safer than the old pressure cookers of my youth. I was doubtful, but soldiered on. The moment of commitment came when it was time to go to the actual 'pressure' cooking. After I had placed the chicken in the pot - just as the recipe said, I sealed the lid, turned the vent to 'Seal' and programmed the pot to cook under pressure for 12 minutes.

When the pot beeped 3 times, I took a deep breath. Nothing had exploded - yet. Carefully, I walked into the kitchen. The pot was still intact, as far as I could tell. The instructions said to turn the vent knob from 'Seal' to 'Vent'.  With great trepidation, I did just that.

As I did, the steam started escaping rapidly. Memories of flying green beans flashed in my mind and I backed off quickly. No doubt it was getting ready to blow. After 3 or 4 minutes, the steam stopped. As instructed, I carefully removed the lid. 

There was my dish. Though not quite looking like the picture in the cook book, it was close enough. With no food on the ceiling and the pot still in working order, I felt a victory lap was on order. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

To Infinity and Back in an Instant

I'm confused, but that is not unusual. I have a new Instant Pot. This 'Instant' notion is new to me, so I understood my learning curve would be a bit steep. What I was not aware of, was the time warp of the concept. An example of this was a recipe for  'Ligurian Lemon Chicken'. 'Ligurian' refers to the Italian Riviera. But I digress.

The recipe said: 'Serves 4-6, Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Pressure Cook Time: 12 Minutes'. Pretty straight forward, I would say.

I gathered my ingredients and went to work, following the directions:
  • juice 3 lemons
  • finely chop garlic, rosemary, and sage
  • add lemon juice and olive oil to chopped herbs and marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours
  • then saute the chicken in the inner pot for 15 minutes
  • remove chicken, add wine to inner pot and de-glaze - 3 minutes
  • return chicken to inner pot and cover with marinade
  • cook for 12 minutes
  • remove and serve

Now at my age, I realize this is new math and I have an old math mind. But still, aren't there 60 minutes in an hour. 2 to 4 hours equals 120 - 240 minutes - best I can calculate. But, before that there was the time preparing the marinade. Even with my fairly good cooking skills, it takes me a minute or two to juice 3 lemons. Then maybe a minute or so more to 'finely' chop the herbs.

According to my calculations (using the shorter marinading time)  1 minute juicing lemon + 1 minute chopping herbs + 120 minutes marinating chicken + 15 minutes to saute the chicken + 3 minutes de-glazing the pan + finally 12 minutes cooking = 152 minutes (aka 2 hours, 32 minutes). This is where the time warp comes in. My only guess is that the pressure of the Instant Pot compresses the prep time from 137 down to a mere 15 minutes. So does that mean that this mystery pot shrinks the prep time so that when all is done, you are back to the future?