my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kitchen Endeavors

It struck me tonight like Viv, I can certainly document my cooking triumphs and challenges here, too. Maybe even convert a few of you to the beauty that is pressure cooking.

Beef Stew
Case in point? Last week, I made a beef stew in 9 minutes. And that was actually one minute too long. Yep, preparing the stuff to go in it took longer than actually cooking the thing. I got the recipe from the Presto cookbook that came with the cooker, but modified it a bit, because I didn't have white potatoes on hand (I used sweet instead), and left out the cup of chopped tomatoes (because, tomatoes? In a beef stew? sounded odd to me; and I didn't have any anyway).

So the recipe was pretty much 1 pound beef stew meat, a couple of chopped potatoes, a cup of green beans (seemed odd to me, but tasted just fine), maybe 2 cups of baby carrots (hey ma, no chopping!), and some onion. Brown the meat in a little olive oil (in the cooker), then remove it; cook the onion a bit, add the rest and the meat, a cup of water, put the lid on and set the fire so it rocks gently for 8 minutes. I used 2 pounds of meat and very generous amounts of veggies, so I cooked it for 9 minutes. (Oops.) Quick-cool under a faucet, done.

Then I removed everything with a slotted spoon, whisked some flour into some water, heated the broth, and made delicious gravy. So yummy.

Tonight, I made a sweet-potato risotto. The recipe came in my giant box o'sweet potatoes that I got at Costco. (Of which I managed to eat all, I must say, without having any go bad. Excellent.)

I somehow doubt they'd dislike me reproducing it here, as it promotes the eating of sweet potatoes...

Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto
2 med sweet potatoes
1/4 c olive oil
4 c hot vegetable stock
1/2 c finely diced onion
1 t minced garlic
1.5 c Arborio rice (12 oz pkg)
3/4 c white wine
1 T rosemary
1 1/2 t thyme leaves
3 T butter
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 t salt
3/4 t black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half. Cut half of the sweet potatoes into 1/4" dice and set aside. The commentary starts already. What was the point, again, of cutting the sweet potatoes in half? If you're using two, why not just 1/4" dice one and continue with the other? Cut the remaining sweet potatoes into 1" chunks. Toss with olive oil and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Note: I believe they mean for you to toss them with the 1/4 c olive oil and then drain off the olive oil into your large pan. That's what I did. Took a smidge over 30 minutes. Next time, I'll cut into 1/2" chunks. Puree in a food processor with chicken stock. Huh? No chicken stock listed. I used 1/2 c of the hot, well, chicken stock because I didn't have veg. stock handy. Also, note that prep of all the other stuff can be done while the sweet potatoes roast. Reserve.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and small-diced sweet potatoes over medium high heat. Cook about 3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add garlic and Arborio rice and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine. Cook, stirring until completely absorbed. In the same manner, add hot stock 1/2 c at a time, stirring until each addition is completely absorbed and stock is used up. Note from Jennie: do not get distracted lest ye rice stick to the bottom of the pan and mad cursing ensues. Add sweet potato purée, rosemary, thyme, butter and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy. I didn't add the salt/pepper; tastes great anyway.

Hockey (not a recipe)
Great game tonight. We were outshot but not outscored! 2-1 and an exciting game. And at one point, I kept the puck away from both Bridget and Nora, a big ego boost for me. And later in the game, Carolyn didn't quite have the angle on the puck at the blue line, and I did, so I grabbed it and ran. She was great, staying behind me and telling me she was there all the way in. And I lifted the puck! I was skating in, and thought, "If I have a chance in hell of getting this in, I have to lift it"--and I did! It didn't go in, and my rebound didn't bounce to Carolyn, positioned beautifully in front of the goal... it kinda bobbled off my skate. Well, others put the puck in and we all can celebrate. Aaah.


At 3:09 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Amy said...

What size pressure cooker do you have? I'm thinking about getting one and am going back and forth between the 6 (which would probably be just fine) and 8 quart (ooh! I could do small batches of canning!)options.

At 3:40 PM, February 11, 2008, Blogger Jennie said...

6 qt. You can do small batches of canning in a 6qt too, I bet. (I did mine in a regular water bath, though.)

Get stainless steel if you can. Then you don't have to worry about acidic sauces.


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