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!


Cooking as balm/escape

Friends, although we're in the homestretch of summer vacation, the first day of school still seems unimaginably far away. It is with a steely vision and fairly resolved dismay that I anticipate the next 10 days. I love my boys so terribly much, but they need to return to school as much as I want them to head back. They play together so well, and I have loved to watch their relationship evolve over the past couple months, but I cannot be the sole, or primary, means of intellectual stimulation for them anymore. I am tired and really need a greater amount of time for myself. My mind feels sludgy, like it needs to be put through a most challenging mental obstacle course. No math, mind you -I'm not quite that desperate-, but a few Sunday NYTimes crossword puzzles would be great. In the meantime, I've put the kibosh on killing Lego men and have decided that I simply must make a chicken and sausage gumbo. I'm going to get it started now by browning the meats and then cooking up a thick, rich, dark brown roux. Whether I'm self-soothing or "escaping", we'll all be treated to a fabulous dinner tonight!