I acquired an Instant Pot a couple years ago for Christmas. When I first used it, I basically viewed it as a super fast Crock Pot and didn’t explore any of its unique functions. My parents would tell me about the dishes they used it to make – curry, fish, ribs, the list goes on – but I never experimented on my own. Its main use in my kitchen was to cook chicken at a high speed.
Clearly I’ve been under-utilizing the Instant Pot. I have a cookbook with 200 recipes, a Pinterest account, and access to the internet, so there’s reason to neglect this small appliance anymore.
My initial inspiration for dusting off my Instant Pot was a craving for Indian food. My dad’s made a couple Indian dishes in his Instant Pot that my mom’s raved about, which tempted me to read some recipes. I found a recipe for chicken tikka masala and decided I needed to try.
Cooking with the Instant Pot was simple. Seriously, it couldn’t be easier, and I can’t believe I didn’t try before. There are a variety of settings which makes it so versatile, but the settings are few enough that it isn’t overwhelming and hard to screw up if you follow the recipe. An added bonus is how easy clean up is, because there aren’t many pots and pans used. Many recipes only require the use of one pot. I’ll definitely be using the Instant Pot more often.
Other reasons I need to use the Instant Pot more often are to perfect this recipe, and be able identify potential flaws in other recipes. This dish lacked flavor, and I only used half the chicken called for. Had I used the correct amount, it would have been so bland. Next time I’ll add a little more spice. I’ll also add some vegetables. Potatoes or bell peppers would be a welcomed addition, bringing texture and flavor.
The dish wasn’t all bad, though. The chicken was tender and I got to eat basmati rice, which I love and don’t eat often enough. I’m excited to experiment more with the Instant Pot, and to make more Indian dishes.
Mid-December my coworker and I took a day-long business trip, and she was tasked with supplying appetizers for a meeting. She picked up lemon dill hummus on a whim, and neither of us could quit raving about it for weeks to come. This week I was craving hummus and decided to recreate that Sabra magic in my own kitchen.
I used this classic hummus recipe and added an extra lemon and dill to taste. Another edit I made to the recipe was peeling the skins off the chickpeas before mashing them in the food processor, per my aunt’s tip. This made for a super smooth texture and took away any grit that sometimes accompanies hummus.
My entire week was spent munching on this hummus with fresh cucumber slices. A perfect summer snack!
A few months ago I tried baking French macarons for the first time, and they were incredibly time-consuming and difficult to make. When I read this simple coconut macaroon recipe, I figured these would be an easy alternative to my French favorite, but things didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped.
I followed the recipe, which requires few ingredients and is very straightforward, exactly. I set my eggs out hours beforehand to ensure they were exactly room temperature. I watched the accompanying video so I knew exactly how to whip the egg whites and exactly how to fold them into the coconut mixture. I did everything exactly. Exactly, exactly, exactly.
I expected, after doing everything exactly, perfect little orbs to emerge from the oven, but was instead met with flattened, misshapen balls. Disappointed and confused, I turned to the internet to discover what I had done wrong.
Several theories popped up: over-beaten egg whites changing the structure of the proteins that hold the shape, humidity making them essentially melt, too many wet ingredients in the recipe, under-beaten egg whites causing them to go flat. Some reviewers of the recipe shared a similar complaint of following the steps perfectly and still ending up with a puddly outcome. An hour of assiduous research later, I still didn’t have an answer as to what I did wrong. (I did acquire an abundance of information on beating egg whites, though.)
Typically I have an idea of what to do next time to improve, but this is quite a conundrum. The theories I read take me in all different directions, and I can’t decide which one I think is most likely the culprit. Perhaps next time I’ll try a completely different recipe and then compare. I’m at a bit of a loss. At least they tasted good.