curry in a hurry

First of all, it is a damn crying shame that the interweb isn’t scratch and sniff.  Seriously. It smells like freaking curry heaven in here.  Tonight in the continuing-pressure-cooker experiment, we had Cauliflower-Potato Curry from Lorna Sass’ “Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure”.  NO, I have not gone meat-free, but sometimes meatless is nice.  Plus this was the first book to come in to the library from my hold list.

I did a little research after the maiden voyage of the Fagor, since I had a little problem with water dripping from the handle.  The most common solution was to oil the gasket, so I did that, and made extra sure the lid was locked.  No dripping this time.  The other issue I had the first time was the pressure dropping when I moved to the cooler burner once it reached pressure, which is what they recommend people with electric stoves do.  This time, I left it on the same burner but just lowered the heat.  It retained pressure but was slightly scorched on the bottom, and near the end of time started emitting an alarming amount of steam.  Since there was only 22 seconds left, I erred on the side of caution and did a quick release.  And then we got…

Brace yourselves for the best part, people.  After the pot reached pressure, this curry goodness took TWO MINUTES AND 38 SECONDS TO COOK! My hand to God.  The prepping of the vegetables took longer.  Once that was done,  it took MAYBE another 3 minutes to put it all in the pot, bring to a boil and reach pressure.  The Girl Child and I liked it, but we think next time we might add some chicken, or currants, or apples. Or all of the above.

Oh, and another little tasty tidbit to share – I made perfect rice!  In a pot!  Double the amount of water to rice, boil the water, dump in the rice, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting.  And don’t touch it!  My rice was brown basmati – it probably sat there about 50 minutes, maybe 10 minutes longer than it needed to.  White rice would be done in about 20, but won’t suffer if it has to wait.

Tomorrow: black bean chili!

under pressure

Hum David Bowie in your head.  Tonight was the maiden voyage of my Fagor Duo pressure cooker, acquired with my long-lost-but-newly-found Sur la Table gift  card.  This is the smaller pot.

A couple friends were intrigued by the idea of risotto in 7 minutes WITHOUT the tedious stirring and broth adding, so that’s what I made tonight.  Most of the recipes I found included things like meat or veggies, but for this trial run, I opted for basics.  It was just arborio rice, butter, oil, garlic, onions and broth.  I was too lazy to open a big bottle of white wine just for this; otherwise I would have added a bit of that.  For those in Seattle, you can get this here GIANT (and by that I mean two foot) bag of arborio rice at Cash and Carry for $14.  Seriously!

The first steps are the same as regular risotto – sweating the onions and garlic in butter/olive oil, then add the rice (I used 1 1/2 cups) and coat each grain, stirring til well-coated in fat.

Now comes the fun part!  Normally, you would start adding ladlefuls of hot broth a little at a time, stirring til each addition was absorbed by the rice. But with this handy little gadget, I just dumped in 3 1/2 cups of broth!  Put the lid on, locked it down, and waited til it came up to pressure (you know it’s at pressure because it starts to steam and the little orange button pops up).  Here is the only tricky part.  Once it reaches pressure, you need to reduce the heat WHILE still maintaining pressure.  On electric stoves, they suggest you have another burner set on low so you can move to the pot off the high heat and avoid overcooking.  I turned my second burner down TOO low – it lost pressure.  I read that if that happens, you should increase the heat til it returns to pressure and add a few minutes to your cooking time.  The cooking time, by the way, starts once it reaches pressure.  So I turned up the heat and added a few minutes, but the button never popped back up.  It did start steaming again, so I waited with one eye on the exit in case all hell broke loose.  When the timer went off, I used the quick-release method to reduce the pressure (even though it technically never regained pressure, I wasn’t taking any chances), which is basically just running some cold water over the lid.  Mine also has a knob for releasing steam so I did that too, just in case.  I took off the lid and voila!  It was a miracle!  That rice was cooked!  And it had been maybe 10 minutes!  It was a smidge loose, so I left on the heat a couple minutes, grated in some Parmesan, and….

would you look at that!?  It was fabulous! Can’t wait to try some with sausage and peppers, mushrooms, shrimp…god know I have enough arborio.

So go forth, you fraidy cats!  Get thee a pressure cooker!