ippy

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.

(break)

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!

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (11.30.20), Chattanooga Thanksgiving of 2015, pot of red beans, butternut squash pesto cheesecake, steel-cut oatmeal.

21 Comments

  • Shoshana

    Congrats in the instant pot! I’ve found the cooking times off for lots of items in the back of the recipe book. We mostly use it for beans: pinto beans, no presoak, 38 min. natural pressure release. I also do collard greens in it, you can do no-stir polenta. rice, quinoa (1 part quinoa, 2 parts water, 1 min pressure and 10 min. before release).

  • Kim from Philadelphia

    Wow! What an action- packed, long weekend.
    You guys are so much fun- and you eat so WELL!
    Enjoy the Insta- Pot. I’m still afraid…

    Kim from Philadelphia

  • SDB

    I use mine most often for dried beans and for rice (though if you already have a rice cooker, maybe less useful for you). With an overnight soak beans only cook for 4-5 minutes, though it takes a lot longer than that because of the heat-up/cool down time. But they come out perfect every time, they’re totally hands-off and they never boil over, which I was notorious for doing EVERY TIME I’d cook them on the stove.

    I don’t like it as much for soups and stews and things because you can’t taste as you go or check for over/ under-cooking without wasting a lot of time. Plus you have to have enough liquid or the pressure cooking won’t work, so if, say, your lentils aren’t done, it’s really hard to get them to finish. If you perfected a recipe and did it the same every time then it would probably be really convenient, but I tend not to cook that way.

  • Melissa

    I have an 8 quart and adore it!!!!! Yogurt, bone broth, dried beans, rice, refried beans, soup. I recommend Farmhouse on Boone to learn how to do bone broth and yogurt ( she has a dairy cow also and does her yogurt, “raw”) Oh the places you’ll go! I also have the glass lid to use when you’re not cooking something under pressure. Love it. I use it for the blessed yogurt, and when I use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker.

  • Stef Kurtz-Harris

    We use our IP almost daily! Brown rice and black beans are staples here. I also use it to make quick bone broth, and allll the soups! I have a Pinterest board full of recipes we like. https://pin.it/1GfaFiM

    Have fun making all the things!

    • Jennifer Jo

      How’s your Spanish? Here’s Chiro’s ingredient list. I’ve never made it myself, but you may be able to Google translate and figure out the gist of it. I’d like to make it (and post about it) eventually — maybe after the wedding…

      Para 4 personas:
      4 Tazas de aguas
      1/2 Taza de arroz blanco al final
      4 Piezas de pollo
      2 tazas de Gandules
      1/2 lb jamón de cocinar
      7 onz empaque Salchichón PR
      4 Tazas de caldo de pollo
      Puñado de hojas recao
      1/2 Cucharadas de comino
      1/2 orégano molido
      ¼ Taza de sofrito
      Pisca de cilantro

  • Pauline in Upstate NY

    We love word games here, but I don’t know “Take One” – what is it? I did a search for it on Amazon and came up with nothing. (P.S. Can I please have some of your energy?? With that kind of productivity, I think you must have discovered some secret for adding hours to a day!)

  • Thrift at Home

    Love your community adventures!

    I am not interested in an instant-pot, although I have friends who rave about them. I have a good system worked out with my slow cookers and yogurt maker etc. etc. I do use a pressure canner and I’m not scared by it (anymore). I’m using my brain space and kitchen space for other things!

  • Amy in Oregon

    Just about any meat do in an IP is great… beef -stew, roast, burger; chicken breast cook from frozen in minutes, and wild game like deer or elk comes out tender and amazing..!! IP makes tasty and soft skinned baked taters in 15/20 mins as well… look forward to seeing what your adventure on the blog

  • Karren Coplen

    I use my instant pot constantly for so many things. It’s good for boiled eggs, first. Also italian beef, cooking down a chicken carcass for the best broth ever, beans. One trick I found was that I always pre-soak my beans to help with the gas. If I forget to pre-soak, I can put the beans in with water, pressure cook for 6 minutes and turn off the keep warm feature. Then I go run errands. By the time I come home, they’re about 1/3 cooked, I can pour off the water, rinse them and put them back on with all the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook for 45 minutes and have a delicious bean soup.

  • Katie P NC

    yeah, we’re also going to need a tutorial on the mushroom jerky… oh, is that just me? Ok, well, could we still get one? That sounds delicious!

    • Karin

      Hi Katie – I made the mushroom jerky from wild-foraged mushrooms using my dehydrator. The only published recipe is this one for the oyster mushrooms- https://www.healthdigest.com/418494/easy-oyster-mushroom-jerky-recipe-that-delivers-a-smoky-sweet-taste/ it’s smoky and sweet.

      The other mushroom that has a very meat-y taste is called Meripilus sumstinei, or “black staining polypore” or “rooster of the woods”. It’s too tough to eat fresh, but I clean it up, boil it for 10 minutes in salted water (making deliciously savory broth), pat dry, then cook it in a marinade for 1 hour, soak over night, and then wipe off excess marinade and dehydrate.

      The teriyaki recipe I was given is: 1/2 cup thin/homemade BBQ sauce, 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp hot chili oil, pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp ginger. But it’s really any marinade you want. I made up the Thai curry one based on ingredients for that dish – yellow curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and not remembering exactly what I did there….

      Haven’t done this much, so I’m still experimenting with temperature and length of time for the dehydration, but it seems pretty forgiving and people use the oven at a low heat as well.

  • Judith Lehman

    I have the 6Q and cook for two people. A favorite use is to “can” dried beans by steaming 4 pt. jars on the metal rack. I put pre-soaked beans into the jars, add ¼ t. salt, boiling water,, and seal with a lid and ring. I use 1½ cup water in the pot and pressure for 45 minutes. I love that there is no cleanup and these go straight in the fridge after they’re cool. They have a long shelf life in the fridge so I never feel hurried to use them. The boiling water prevents the jars from cracking since the steam shocks the jars. The 1½ cups of water slows down that shock too. Also, I would never assume that these are truly pantry safe (outside of fridge).

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