Basic Brunches: Instant Pot Obsession

Instant Pot. The one kitchen device to rule them all. And while that’s partially true you won’t see my cast iron or stand mixer collecting dust.

Everyone has been FREAKING OUT about the Instant Pot. A 7-in-1 pressure cooker that does it all. Yogurt, stews, rice, meat, soup, etc. I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and while I do love it, there are some things to know. Below you will find some helpful tips, as well as some of my favorite recipes.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  1. The manual sucks. Use it to do the water test, then throw it in your junk drawer because it will not help you navigate the IP. Your best friend, in the beginning, will be YouTube. Below are two YouTubers that I’ve found to be the most helpful.
  2. Start off slow with something like hard boiled eggs. A pretty standard formula is 5-5-5 which mean 5 mins on manual, 5 mins NPR (natural pressure release), 5 mins ice bath. No need to stand over the pot on boiling water wondering if they are done or not.
  3. Everything you will cook will need some kind of liquid.
  4. Cook times and total cook times are NOT the same. You will see things like “Salmon in under 4 mins in the Instant Pot” but that is not being fully honest. The cook time on the salmon might be 4 minutes, but it takes time for the IP to come up to pressure. On average you’re looking at 10-20 mins for the IP to reach pressure, remember, at the end of the day it’s a pressure cooker. Once it reaches pressure the cook time will kick in, you’ll know it’s at the cook time because that’s when the timer you set on the pot will appear on the screen and start counting down, once the cook time is complete the IP will beep some obnoxious amount of times (I think it’s 8) and then will switch to natural pressure release.
  5. There are two types of pressure release. Natural and Quick. Natural pressure release means that once the cook time ends it will automatically start releasing pressure. This can take about 10-15 minutes before fully released. You’ll know when it’s done because this little silver bar by the sealing/venting knob will go down. Only when the bar is down can you open the lid. Quick release is one you do yourself. You switch the sealing knob to venting and stand back because a lot of steam is gonna rush out very quickly.
  6. You Instant Pot will eventually smell. It’s a pretty common issue and there isn’t really anything you can do to prevent it but there are things you can do to make it better. It’s recommended to deep clean your IP once a month. I would also take the sealing ring off and throw it in the dishwasher maybe not every time you use the IP but like when you use it to make a big meal. Yes, the seal is dishwasher safe (top rack) as well as the stainless steel bowl.
  7. Cooking spray. Spray some Pam in the bowl for everything, especially if you’re using the saute function. EVEN IF THE RECIPE CALLS FOR OIL YOU SPRAY THE POT TOO! I can’t stress that enough. I used the IP to saute things a couple times and you get a lot that sticks to the bottom, even if you threw in oil or butter. But once I started using cooking spray and then started cooking the change was remarkable. It will be a cleaning time saver.

FAVORITE RECIPIES

So there are somethings I love to cook in the IP more than others. Mostly because in the IP they become a set it and forget it dish. The less time I have to spend in the kitchen the better.

  1. Rice. It’s pretty simple but depending on the rice you’re making the time can change. I do a standard 1-2 ratio (rice to water) and just hit the rice button. And done. Seriously, that’s it. When it beeps I do a QR, open the lid and fluff the rice. I recommend taking the rice out immediately and putting it into a serving dish because it will begin to stick to the pot.
  2. Potatoes. Again, you plop them in the pot, usually in a steamer basket, set it and forget it. No longer are the days where I stand over a pot of boiling water forking my potatoes into doneness. My all-time favorite way to make potatoes is crispy smashed potatoes, they come out perfectly “boiled” for the smashing then you add some butter and pop them under the broiler. You can also do mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, I’ve even seen a recipe for herb roasted potatoes.
  3. Soup. I love soup, and I actually love making soup. Didn’t realize that until I started trying. My favorite IP soup is also my favorite Olive Garden soup, Zuppa Toscana. Now I can make my own Olive Garden “endless” soup, salad and breadsticks at home. Another classic is Chicken Noodle.
  4. SOURDOUGH BREAD! Yes, there is a stupidly easy way to make your own sourdough bread in the IP. I’ve made it once before and I’m currently making some right now as I write this blog. 4 ingredients and 6 hours and you got yourself some delicious crusty fresh bread to munch on. Yes, 6 hours is a lot of time, but 4 of those hours the bread it proofing in the IP. I recently found this IP bread blog post and I’m eyeing that rosemary loaf.
  5. Chicken. I’ll be linking a recipe for a faux-tissere chicken below, but I just wanted to make a section completely dedicated to the fact that you can cook FROZEN chicken breast in the IP in a matter of 12 minutes. That is all.
  6. Meals on meals on meals. This one is just gonna be a collection of the meals I’ve made thus far that I would 100% make again.
    1. Beef Stew
    2. Faux-tissere Chicken (Yes an entire chicken in the IP)
    3. Cajun Pasta
    4. Beef Gyros
      • I like this recipe but the writer is a little all over the place with the actual ingredients, here’s what you need to know:
        • The easiest meat to use is pre-cut stir-fry beef
        • You will need red onions both in the IP and raw as a topping (if you like them raw).
        • You will need garlic both in the IP and in the Tzatziki sauce.

And there you have it, folks. My complete IP guide. Some additional advice is to get on Pinterest and find things to cook. There are recipes all over there specifically for the IP as well as cheat sheets for making your favorite dishes. Please share with me your favorite dishes, I’m always looking for new things to make. I have a shrimp “fried” rice in my back pocket I just haven’t made it yet.

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Basic Brunches Baltimore Edition: MilkBoy ArtHouse

Long time no blog. Just to catch anyone and everyone up, back in July I moved from Dallas to Maryland. It’s been a transition to say the least. First. I just experienced my first east coast winter and it was the worst. Technically I’m still experiencing it, and it’s officially spring. Second. The town that I live in clearly isn’t known for its food scene. It’s been hard to find any place that isn’t a chain or serve burgers and flatbreads. Third. My town is so far north that it’s sometimes a bit of a struggle to make my way south to the real food closer to Baltimore.

That brings me to my first blog post in a while. I was recently invited out to MilkBoy ArtHouse. Located in College Park, MilkBoy originated in Philly. The College Park location is the first one outside Pennsylvania. MilkBoy is a performance venue, restaurant, bar and community center all in one. That sounds like a lot, but the space is honestly built for it. MilkBoy has two floors and four distinct “zones”. Upstairs hosts two rooms, one large venue perfect for shows that features a fully-stocked bar and an outside, more intimate space for casual gatherings that has a smaller bar. Downstairs has my two favorite spots. The hidden venue that is behind a fake bookshelf wall. It’s probably the largest space, and also has a fully-stocked bar. I love the hidden behind a wall feature. There is also the restaurant that is always open serving “Elevated American Bar Fare“.

When I went to visit the other weekend I planned to attend a Barre and Brunch event, but that just turned into brunch. Between Daylight Savings and my inability to look up a location prior to leaving my house my friend Dayna and I were about 20 minutes late to barre. Oops. But that meant we were first in line for brunch and I was totally ok with that. They have their standard menu featuring sandwiches, fries and homemade donuts, but their brunch menu is constantly changing.

Maryland Fries:

 

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Basket of Fries: Maryland Editon

 

If you know nothing about Maryland the only thing you need to know is crab and Old Bay. Marylanders LOVE their crab covered in Old Bay. And when in Maryland, you get Maryland Fries which consist of Old Bay spiced fries with jumbo lump crab meat and cheese. While I do wish the cheese was a little more melted, gotta get that cheese pull yo, the fries were well seasoned and it tasted like Maryland. Another personal note, more crab, mainly because I actually really love crab so I feel there is no such thing as too much crab. They also have Buffalo, Philly and breakfast fries. I have no picture because I didn’t want to be intrusive to the couple sitting next to me, but they got the breakfast fries and it was the tallest mound of fries I’ve ever seen topped with a fried egg. Just for the ‘gram alone, the breakfast fries would be worth it, but the couple also said they were delicious. I don’t like eggs on everything so probably not my jam, but I’m an outcast in that opinion.

Breakfast Tacos:

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FINALLY! A place on the east coast that understands that breakfast tacos are amazing and gave them the justice they deserve. First off, there were beans in them and I was totally ok with it. Secondly, that bacon. Crisp and bountiful. Third, freshly made pico. I was so happy to see breakfast tacos on the menu I didn’t even think about any other option. It’s been so long since I’ve had good Mexican food. The dish came with three tacos, which considering all the other food we had, was one taco too many. But had we not ordered the fries and didn’t get the french toast (next) three tacos would have been perfect.

French Toast:

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The flavors of the french toast are seasonal and we got banana fosters. Best.  Caramel. Ever. Seriously. I’ve never had a better caramel sauce. I’m also pretty sure they also deep fry the french toast but don’t quote me on that. Had I not binge ate tacos and fries prior to the french toast coming out I would have finished this. It was sssssoooo ggooooooooooooddd.

All in all. Check out MilkBoy ArtHouse. If they are doing their monthly paint day, I suggest getting there early to grab a booth, and paint, and enjoy your day. I didn’t get the donuts but a lot of other people were, so throw those on as your app. I feel that MilkBoy would thrive on good weather days because they have garage door walls on both the first and second floor that completely open. Get some food, see a show, hang out for a drink.

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Check out MilkBoy ArtHouse’s list of upcoming performances here.

Basic Brunches does Farewell Dinner at Niwa Japanese BBQ

I know what you’re thinking. Farewell dinner? Where you going? So I am moving (for the time being) to Maryland. As some of you that follow know, my SO now lives up there and it was time that I follow. For love or something like that. Before I left, my girls and fellow food bloggers Irene from Chomp! Dallas and Cathleen from Catchows made sure we did a finale dinner, in style, at Niwa Japanese BBQ in Deep Ellum.

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