Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Instant Pot Arrived!

Disclaimer: I am a true amateur in the kitchen and I do not recommend following any of the brief instructions that I have laid out below. My husband barely trusts my kitchen skills and we have been together for almost 7 years. Please consult your Owners Manual or at least another, more experienced kitchen blogger for more clarification on how to use this magical appliance. 

Now that we've got that out of the way! ...

Just as I suspected, Amazon Santa delivered me my very own Instant Pot to my front door at 8pm on Christmas Eve. We didn't even wrap the thing! Just slid it right under the tree :) For a brief 48 hours, my model was $20 off the normal price with 1 day free shipping and BOOM... all my dreams came true! (okay, not all of my dreams but you get the picture). 

We had a pretty low key Christmas around here. The temperature dropped pretty quickly in Austin and staying home in our PJs was an obvious choice. After opening gifts and getting through breakfast, Joanna and I did some playing while Brad took a snooze (he worked all night long). Then Joanna passed out herself around 11:30am and I was able to start reading my Users Manual.

Before everyone broke for their naps, I did get into the InstaPot for a quick photo #sixmonthspregnant

In true Ganey curiosity, Brad began tinkering with my new toy himself. I'll admit, I was a little intimidated and kept telling myself, "No, you cannot get into the pot... Not until you read the Users Manual first!". So, he took the thing apart and washed all the pieces and set them out to dry. 

Later on, we took it for a "test run" together. After you get through reading all the features and the several Cooking Program Options in the Users Manual, the instructions say that you should drive your InstaPot around the block and make sure that it works - before using it to cook for the first time. This was a great way for Brad and I to both "break the ice" together.... but I really just led him lead :)

It was a relatively easy process. It tells you to add 3 cups of water (2 cups is the minimum liquid required), make sure that both the pot and the seal are sitting "correctly" and to close the lid  and put it in the lock position. This initial test run tells you to use the Steam feature for 2 minutes. I've never used a pressure cooker before and I really cannot recall if my parents own one either. I do remember seeing one in a family member's house before... but as a child, I wasn't really allowed in the kitchen (hence the reason why I have very minimal kitchen skills) so I have no experience with a pressure cooker... AT ALL. There is one very important thing I learned with this "test run":

There is a "float valve" at the top of the cooker, and this indicates if there is pressure in the pot. If the float valve is all the way UP... there is pressure in the pot and this basically means that its like a little bomb if you open the lid (or a big one, I don't really know. But bomb means bomb and I don't want to find out). If the float valve is all the way DOWN... then there is no pressure left in the pot (all the pressure has been released via the Steam Release Handle either naturally or forced by moving the handle yourself) and it is safe to open the pot.... only if the valve is all the way DOWN.

...good thing we read the Users Manual :)
I don't want any bombs going off in this house!

I am positive that we will refer back to this Users Manual frequently as there are like 9 Programs on this little pot with their instructions of how to operate, some troubleshooting tips and cleaning instructions. Brad's only complaint was how long it takes to dry while sitting out on the drying rack. It seems to have several pieces or areas in the lid that can catch water and may require a hand towel to finish drying before you put it away. Although, almost all the pieces are dishwasher safe! For us, we normally hand wash our pots and pans and only load plates/bowls/cups and utensils in the dishwasher. That way we only have to run the dishwater 1-2 a week.

After our "test run" I started doing a little bit of recipe research. I quickly caught on that most recipes share the time it takes to get the pot to temp and also the time it takes for the pot to naturally release its pressure. This is important for me because if I am looking for quick meals to begin cooking at 5pm when I arrive home from work, then I need ALL THE TIME ADDED UP! I also came to a quick realization that there are going to be two categories of meals I can cook in this thing:

  1. Weeknight meals - these are the more simple, less prep meals that take minimal time from prep to serving. We are normally eating dinner by 6pm and if we aren't then Joanna is ravaging the pantry and eating all the snacks. These meals need to take less than 1hr from start to finish.
  2. Weekend meals - these can be the meals that require more prep, saut√©ing, steaming, etc. Maybe I can explore dishes I normally wouldn't cook, because I'll have more time and flexibility to put this thing to the test on the weekends. Gourmet meals anyone?

So that kinda sums it up. On Tuesday we did cook our first meal - Brad and I were both home from work and we had chicken thighs sitting in the fridge ready to go. I'll share that recipe and pictures very soon!


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