Instant pot adventures

This year for Christmas, neither my husband nor I could come up with anything to get me. He threw a bunch of ideas out and I shot them all down. I tried floating ideas and they all sunk. Finally, in not quite desperation, but decided unenthusiasm , I proposed he get me a 3 quart instant pot.
I’ve tried cooking a few things and some have been successes, some needed tweaked and it’s a learning process.
For starters, this 3 quart pot is smaller than the standard pot so all recipes need reconsidered for size and cooking times. Hence the tweaking of recipes.
The first thing I tried was ham and split pea soup. Absolute success. Guaranteed I will do it again. Recipe to follow at another time.
I tried meatballs. It worked but my sealing ring now smells of oregano. Strong smells and seasonings tend to impregnate the sealing ring. Fortunately, the pot comes with two rings.
Next, hard cooked eggs. Here comes the tweaking part. Using the instructions for a bigger pot, the eggs cracked and didn’t cook enough for my taste. If you like the yolk not quite done on the center, then by all means do refrigerator temperature eggs for 4 minutes. If you want them done to make deviled eggs, set the eggs out and let them come to room temperature and then do the 4 minute eggs.
Tonight I attempted baked potatoes. My mother made baked potatoes in her pressure cooker. I know it doesn’t work the same, but I googled instructions. And a fail. I cooked two potatoes 15 minutes and let the pressure slowly release for 10 minutes. Still hard in the middle. Microwaved them for another 4 minutes or so each. This is a work in progress.
I will keep you posted on successes and failures and works in progress.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Unlikely

I always thought it extremely unlikely that I would get to meet my favorite tv chef in person but that happened several years ago at a Macy’s in north Dallas on Christmas Eve weekend. My sweet hubby didn’t even fuss about having to circle the mall parking lot for I don’t know how long to find a parking place.

This is me meeting Rick Bayless and getting a book signed by him. 😍 I don’t remember the name of the event photographer so I can’t give him credit and I’m sorry about that. We watched a cooking demonstration and got to sample the dishes he was cooking. I was giddy for days.

<a href=””>Unlikely</a&gt;

Tasty Tuesday August 30

It’s been a while since I did one of these but I found something that was too good not to share. 

We have these seasoning kits at work that are called “made from scratch kits”. They are from all over the world. Tonight I did Indian Butter Chicken and wanted something green to serve on the side. So, like many of us do these days, I googled it. I came up with a spinach recipe and decided to try it. Dinner was a winner! 

Indian Spiced Spinach
1 10 oz bag baby spinach 

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced or grated

2 cloves garlic, minced. 

1 T cooking oil, if you have coconut oil, this would be a good place to use it.

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp Garam Masala

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp turmeric

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add spices and stir well. 

Add the spinach several handfuls at a time, turning and stirring frequently until it’s all wilted and in the pot. If you do it slowly, you won’t need any water. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until tender, stirring frequently. 

2-4 servings, depending how generous you are.

Tasty Tuesday, November 17

Tasty Tuesday November 17

This eggplant recipe is a meal, just add a nice salad on the side with some garlic bread. And it can be easily reduced to be a meal for two. When I do that, I only use one eggplant but go ahead and use the same amount of the other ingredients and just heap them high when I stuff them.
Depending on its sources paprika can be sweet, spicy or smoky. Generic paprika, by this I mean one that is simply labeled “paprika” whatever the brand, is usually the sweet kind. Spanish paprika is more likely to be spicy than Hungarian. Smoked paprika is a little darker red because it has been, you guessed it, smoked to give it a deeper, richer smoky flavor. They are all made from the same pepper that is harvested, dried and then ground up. So you see, it’s more than red dust to garnish deviled eggs and stuff.
And as always, buy or at least store your herbs and spices in glass jars. The plastic ones let the volatile oils that give the flavor escape unless you use them up fast. I never get rid of a glass spice jar, they can be washed and reused many times. And bulk herbs are so cheap to buy at Central Market.

Creamed Eggplant in Eggplant Shells

2 large eggplants
Olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp flour
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried marjoram (oregano can be substituted here)
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (fresh really does make a difference, I consider dried parsley to just be pretty green confetti to be sprinkled on for looks only)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Paprika, as garnish

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, cut off stem end. Scoop center from eggplant with serrated spoon, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick shells, coarsely chop it.
Place eggplant shells, cut sides up, in in greased baking dish, brushing lightly with olive oil. Place eggplant pulp in greased baking dish, brushing lightly with olive oil. Bake both pans, uncovered at 400 degrees until shells are lightly softened and eggplant pulp is tender 10 to 15 minutes.
Coat large skillet lightly with olive oil, heat over medium heat. Sauté onion, mushroom, bell pepper and garlic until tender. Add lemon juice. Mix in flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Stir milk, Worchestershire sauce and herbs into saucepan, heat to boiling. Boil, stirring, until thickened. Stir in eggplant pulp, season with salt and pepper.
Spoon eggplant mixture into shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan and Paprika. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Tasty Tuesday, November 3

Tasty Tuesday, November 3 
It’s been a while, I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing these, I’ve been distracted by other things. 

I was looking for something to cook for my Friday night art group, and we have vegetarians in the group, so I got out a cookbook to look for something new and different. There’s two recipes in the book I have cooked and enjoyed, both using eggplant, and that turns out to be all I need from this book. So, I will share them with you and save them that way and take the book to Half Price Books and recycle it for someone else to use. They’ll know by the stain on that one page that that recipe was cooked a few times. Maybe they’ll be encouraged to try it. 
Eggplant Provençal 
Olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small or one large eggplant (about 2 pounds) peeled, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

2 small bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips

2 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 can petite diced tomatoes 

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup sliced olives

1 Tblsp drained capers

3/4 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

1\2 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 Tblsp grated Parmesan

1 Tblsp butter melted.
Use enough olive oil in a large skillet to sauté onion and garlic 3-4 minutes; add eggplant, bell peppers and tomatoes. Cook, covered over medium heat until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir parsley, olives, capers and herbs into mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into 11×7 inch baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and butter, sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered until mixture is bubble and top browned, about 30 minutes. 
Yield: 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each.