updates re: the Instant Pot

Friends, So many of you have been veerry enthused about my Instant Pot experiences so far, so I thought I’d share some new recipes and one new accessory that I highly recommend.

Several people waxed rhapsodic about making hardboiled eggs in the IP. Oliver and Tom can clear through a dozen HB eggs in no time flat, but I don’t love boiling them because of shell-cracking and the ridiculously frustrating experience of attempting to peel seemingly super-glue-adhered shells from the egg itself without losing approximately a third of the white. With hope, I bought this stainless stackable egg-steaming rack which can accommodate 14 eggs and fits perfectly in the 6-quart IP.

After four minutes in low pressure, we had gloriously light and fluffy hard-”boiled” eggs whose shells released easily. This is a game changer, y’all.

Secondly, I have, since last writing, made two additional recipes from the Melissa Clark book, Comfort in an Instant, that I recommend to you enthusiastically, the first especially.

  1. Red Wine Brisket with Prunes

  2. Chocolate-Bourbon Lava Cakes

Prunes, wine, bay leaves, cinnamon, and beef are a mighty fine combination of flavors, y’all. That brisket was tender as can be and the carrots were like my Nanny’s used to be in the roasts she’d cook: they still looked like carrots in terms of holding shape, but they could almost be spread by a knife, so tender were they. I don’t think I’ve made the boys brisket before, and they are now huge fans. Plus, the leftovers are great.

For Valentine’s Day dessert, I made the chocolate lava cakes, long one of Tom’s favorite treats. They were really easy to put together and took just 9 minutes to cook and 3 to rest. Oliver thought they were heavenly; Jack didn’t like them, but he generally doesn’t like cake or oozy stuff so I wasn’t surprised. The texture was vaguely rubbery but, oddly, not really in a bad way. None of us could taste the bourbon, but that’s fine.

And just to get my non-IP cooking life on, I also made a gumbo. It’s always a good time for gumbo, and this one was superb.

Just look at that roux as it browns. Et voilà!


12 years

It continues to rain and sog here in our neck of the woods. My rosemary has rotted and the grass and hostas look like some sort of mixed-up fairly tale creation. They are HUGE. Last week was very tough and had this weekend not been a special one, I dare say I would stayed in bed obsessively playing Bejeweled.

However, my dear T and I celebrated our 12th anniversary instead. We felt so youthful and free that even our crazy-ass Uber driver last night (he demanded I get him a cupcake from Baked & Wired too; I don't think he was joking; I didn't take a chance; don't even ask me how many children by different mothers this man has) said, "Boy, y'all still have some fun."

By and large, that is really true. We do have fun together, always have. We've worked through some tough patches, hung by our tired toes, but overall, we are a great team and are deeply wild about each other, and that counts for a whole lot.

Ol has been asked to sleep over at a friend's and when that darling boy's mom found out it was our anniversary, she asked Jack to come along too. Friends, this was an epically generous, amazing gift that parents don't often get. H picked both J and O up at 2:30 yesterday afternoon!

T and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves. At 3, just because we could, we popped open a bottle of Prosecco and drank it while lazing in bed. Then, inspired by the realization that we were on no clock and really hadn't eaten much, we decided to get dressed (just LOOK at my shoes!) and head down to Little Serow, a very highly regarded, 28-seat, first-come, first-served northern Thai restaurant on 17th St NW. When you're paying $20/hour for a babysitter, standing in line for one doesn't seem as compelling. 

But when you're not? We had a ball, even in the spitty rain and on wet steps in front of a restaurant with no sign and a fairly uninspired entrance. I like joints like this.

Little Serow is owned by Johnny Monis, first of Komi fame. We ate at Komi, a much pricier, modern Greek establishment, several years ago, also for our anniversary. It's a lovely, quietly elegant spot, and while most people are beside themselves about it, we didn't find our meal terribly memorable. Truly, I can hardly recall an ounce of the evening. 

Like Komi, Little Serow offers only a set meal- no substitutions, nothing a la carte. You need to be somewhat adventurous but the lack of choice is actually pretty liberating if you know what you're getting into beforehand.

I chose the drinks pairing which included fortified, regular and sparkling wines, cider and beer. Each and every glass was a delightful, helpful accompaniment to the degree of spice and breadth of flavor in each dish, some of which fully cleared our sinuses. I love spice but I hate when all I taste is heat. Not so last night; everything was beautifully balanced. And let's give it up for crisp, watery cucumbers. 

My four favorite of the seven dishes were the: 
-khanom jin sao nahm, or dried shrimp / pineapple / fresh noodles
-yam makeua yao, or eggplant / cured egg / cilantro
-tow hu thouk, or tofu / ginger / peanut
and the
-si krong muu, or pork ribs / mekhong whiskey / dill

Afterwards to Baked & Wired and then home. At that point, feeling fat and happy, we watched All The Way, the new HBO movie about LBJ. It was quite enjoyable and well done, but I simply must say that I cannot for the life of my find any positive feelings for Melissa Leo. 

After enjoying anniversary coffee and a Nutmeg snuggle, waving lovingly to T as he left to pick up the kids and take them to swimming lessons, I decided that as it was still raining and still chilly, tonight would be a great one for family gumbo dinner.

Gumbo is a foolproof kids meal in this house, and it never fails to make me happy and sated in a very deep way. I also made my rhubarb-cherry-hibiscus crumble (rhubarb and Bing cherries don't overlap in season for long, y'all; go get some and make this!) and some almond whipped cream to go alongside, and we opened more champagne, just for fun because today is our actual anniversary. Cheers!



Good -n- pretty food; Indiana Jones


Ooh me, blood oranges and gumbo. Because seasonal and cold as get-out here today.


This evening, the boys and I finished watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just prior to the part where the large German pilot gets minced in the propeller, I said, "Boys, this part is kind of gross. Should we fast forward it?"

"NO!" they proclaimed. The guy got pureed, they laughed hysterically, Jack asked "Why didn't they show more?" while Oliver averred, "Now that was an unfortunate death."

Ya think?

Towards the end as the French archeologist and German nuts prepped to open the ark, I said, "Boys, this part is kinda scary. Do you really want to watch it?"

"OH YES!" They proceeded to watch everyone get shot through with fiery lighting and the main dudes melt and then laugh hysterically, again, and say "That was AWESOME. Ooh, you know what we should do? We should get chocolate eyeballs and hook them to electrodes and then put those on ice sculptures that" (per Oliver) "wook wike that cweepy guy" and "then get a laser and shoot them all through and then they'll melt and their eyes will drop and melt...Mwah, hah, hah."

Little boys are SO NOT little girls. ~~~ I was so thankful and pleased by the MANY amazing responses I received after yesterday's post, "Three is not for me." Thank you, everyone!