Pressure Cooker: Friend or Foe?

I’m not one of those bloggers who regularly showcases her super creative accomplishments, step by step, photo by photo.  I’m just not.  Partly because I’m not super creative (although once upon a time I was – but who has the time anymore?  Once upon a time, I was a scrapbooker, a cross-stitcher, a veritable creative, crafting maniac . . . but I digress), and partly because I generally find those kinds of blog posts rather boring.  Unless you’re super creative and looking for inspiration, which I’m not.

Also, I hate to cook.  I really do.  My picky, complaining kids have killed whatever joy I may have once found in cooking (not that I recall ever really finding much joy in it.  A certain satisfaction?  Maybe.  But joy?  Highly doubtful.), and these days it’s drudgery.  That said, most nights of the week I do try to make a decent dinner and insist that we all sit down together as a family to eat.  Although it’s always a very noisy affair, and bickering often erupts, as well as complaining about what foods have been served up, it’s nevertheless a time when we all come together and focus on each other as a family.  Michael and I get to hear about the kids’ days at school, we laugh, we tease, we play games like Guess That Anything or Telephone, and sometimes we talk about serious issues.  I won’t lie and say it’s always the most pleasant part of the day, but it is a very important part of the day for us.

Anyway.  I kind of went off on a tangent there.  Back to the cooking thing.  I very much dislike cooking.  And I’m always looking for ways to make the whole cooking drudgery easier and more tolerable.

Recently, I was told about pressure cookers by my optometrist (who also happens to be the sister of a very good friend of mine).  I was told that one can make certain meals – entire meals! – in less than a half hour in a pressure cooker.  I’m all over that, I thought.  So that very day, I went home and researched pressure cookers.  Her assertions were confirmed: a pressure cooker can do anything a crock pot can do, as well as many things a regular stove-top cooking pot can do, in a mere fraction of the time.  Well, I was sold.

Then I had to decide which one to get.  There are a lot of pressure cookers on the market!  Who knew?  I visited several sites that rate pressure cookers and decided on the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic:

It wasn’t cheap: $185 from Amazon.  Ouch.

It finally arrived on my doorstep about a week ago, and it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I finally got around to pulling it out of the box and perusing the directions.  As it turns out, it’s no more difficult to use than a regular stove-top cooking pot.  Really.

As my first experiment, I decided to try a pot roast.  I just picked a recipe from the instruction book (I’m guessing that you can use any slow cooker recipe and adjust the cooking time according to the information provided in the instruction book), went to the store and got all the ingredients, and got started on it at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

That valve on top is the key.  See, a pressure cooker is virtually air-tight, so heat doesn’t escape.  It gets and stays much hotter inside the pot, therefore, and the contents not only cooks quicker, but it apparently retains a lot more of its nutrients than with traditional cooking methods, and it comes out very tender – whether you’re cooking meat, vegetables, or whatever.

Prep time was about a half hour, and cooking time was an hour.  The meat came out very tender.  I’ll be honest, though, and say that I didn’t think this was a particularly delicious recipe for pot roast.  I think next time I make a pot roast, I’ll try the same recipe I usually use for my crock pot.  All in all, I think it was a success, though, and I’m eager to try some even easier dishes.

Two thumbs up!

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One Comment on “Pressure Cooker: Friend or Foe?”

  1. Vonda
    September 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    You’ve given me hope to some day try a pressure cooker. When I was about 8 I remember my grandmother telling me a horror story about putting saurkraut and pork in her pressure cooker and then going shopping. The top blew off and she came home to a kitchen where saurkraut and pork were hanging off of everything, the cabinets, the curtains, the ceiling. lol I can only imagine the SOUND that it made when it exploded. I’m sure they are made a little better now, but that story still freaks me out. lol.

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