For my older daughter’s birthday this summer, my husband and I bought her a small Instant Pot. With her long hours at the farm, I figured she might find it useful — pop something in the pot, supper is served — but for the first couple months, she didn’t use it. Said she didn’t know how. There are recipes and instructions online, I pointed out. Finally, after much prodding, she took the plunge and made some green beans.
She hasn’t looked back since.
Listening to my daughter rave about her instapot, I started wondering: should I get one? It seemed a little unnecessary. Excessive, too. Did I really need yet another appliance cluttering up my kitchen? But I had the same questions pre-rice cooker, and now I absolutely love that blessed appliance.
A few weeks ago, our Puerto Rican friends found, and bought, an adorable little house with hardwood floors and big windows and that weekend, we helped them move.
There’s something magical about building a nest, making a home. It (almost) made me want to go find a new home so I could move, too!
That new house triggered a whole series of guests and events. Her parents and brother(s) came for a week; we had them all over for supper one night and then, a couple nights later, they had us over for supper in the new house. They’d transformed the place. I flew through the house, looking in all the corners, oohing and aahing.
Right before we sat down to supper, they surprised us with a large wrapped box — a thank-you for helping them move, they said.
Inside? An Instant Pot!
Apparently, she’d heard me chattering about my instapot questions the day we’d helped them move and remembered! Her thoughtfulness totally made my day.
And then we feasted: Chiro’s chicken soup, mountains of tostones (because they’ve learned that, with our family, boatloads of tostones are a requirement), and s’mores over the firepit.
Back home, I left the pot in its packaging. She’d kept the receipt in case I wanted to swap it for one with different features, so I needed to do more research. Plus, I had the rest of Thanksgiving week to get through.
Backing up a day…
Monday, my niece came work with me. A good while back, I’d invited her to shadow me for a day, but then the pandemic happened; now — vaccinated and free — she was finally cashing in on the offer.
She egg-washed pie crusts, blended pumpkin pie filling, cracked eggs, opened cans, and washed dishes.
Up to my eyeballs in Thanksgiving pie orders, I was so glad to have her.
Wednesday morning, I was back in the bakery for the final push.
photo credit: customer/friend Jen
Also, that was the morning my son and his fiancé went to the courthouse for their marriage license and then stopped by the bakery to show it off. My coworker snapped a photo of our celebratory group hug.
photo credit: Rachel
Thanksgiving Day, my husband, younger son, and I went to the bakery, lots of pre-made cookie dough in hand, and cranked out hundreds of wedding cookies.
Fast, efficient, DONE. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to tolerate single-oven cookie baking again.
The cookies squirreled away in our home freezers, we drove back into town to celebrate Thanksgiving in our friends’ new house, along with half the Puerto Rican population (or so it seemed).
photo credit: my younger daughter
Her grandparents had come from Puerto Rico, her uncle’s family from Pennsylvania, and her other uncle’s family had flown up from Puerto Rico as a surprise (and stayed with us for some of the time). Also, an aunt and her husband, the realtor and his wife who’d helped them find the house, a friend from the dog park, us.
The next day, a friend came to make cheese: Bel Paese and fresh mozzarella.
She brought me some fantastic mushroom jerky from ‘shrooms she’d foraged. My younger son went wild over it.
Then in the afternoon, Thanksgiving at my parents’ house.
My younger daughter and niece made the desserts. We played Take One, plus a bunch of variations. I planted myself in a soft chair in the middle of the action, drank coffee and ate pie, and moved as little as possible.
Saturday morning — I’m telling you: the week was a marathon — we (and some of our Puerto Rican friends) were back at my parents’ place for a woodcutting party.
We worked for a couple hours, splitting and hauling wood. I drove the truck (once) and tossed lots of wood and set up logs for my husband to split. No trees fell (directly) on anyone and only three mauls got broken.
And then my dad made pancakes for the multitudes outside in the freezing cold.
It was perfect.
The rest of the weekend, I sat in front of the fire, recuperating from all the people with a good book, lots of tea, some writing.
Oh! And researching instapots! My husband and I dove in deep, reading all the reviews. Did I want an eight-quart instead of a six? Would I wish I had the sous vide feature, and the yogurt maker? Did I really need an air fryer? Etc, etc.
We finally decided to keep it because: 1) I need to start downsizing my cooking, 2) I don’t really need to do sous vide, and cooking with plastic doesn’t sound healthy anyway, 3) I already have a good system for making yogurt, and 4) the air fryer unit is detachable so, if/when I’m not using it, it won’t be in the way. Plus, it’s a freaking awesome Ippy!
My husband unpacked my new toy and together we did my first and only instapot cooking thus far: the recommended test run — a pressure-cooked pot of water — which involved much nervous watching, a good deal of arguing, and a few panicked texts to my daughter.
Me: I’m so nervous.
Her: It’s really simple!
Me: It’s taking forever to heat water.
Her: It doesn’t.
Me: I successfully pressure cooked water!
Her: So proud.
And that, my friends, is a long, roundabout way of getting to the point of this post which is: what are your favorite Ippy recipes? I’m especially interested in all things pressure cooked (it’s a big new world, people!), like beef, veggies, and dried beans.
I have an Ippy, yippeeeee!