A Tale of Two Pothead Newbies

Within the past week, the ranks of pressure cooking newbies have swelled. The online pressure cooking groups are seeing an influx of members. Questions are flooding in from people who are not quite sure what to do with the pressure cooker they just bought. What brought about this tidal wave of pressure cooking pioneers? Instant Pot and Amazon.

Tuesday July 11, 2017 was Amazon Prime Day. According to Business Insider, the Instant Pot pressure cooker was the top selling non-Amazon item in the United States for the second year in a row. Specifically [affiliate link] the 8-quart Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker. Last year, [affiliate link] the Instant Pot DU60 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker (a 6-quart model) was the top seller with over 200,000 pots heading to cooks across the United States. This year, anticipation was high that there would be an Instant Pot bargain to be had, and Amazon did not disappoint. The actual number sold isn’t available yet but let’s just say they sold a lot to take the top ranking once again. 

Many of the new owners were eager to jump in and start cooking. I applaud them. $89 well spent. What befuddles and confounds me are the incredible numbers of people who are afraid of pressure cookers. Yet they bought an Instant Pot. What?!

Many of these poor pots are still in their packing boxes because the buyers are too nervous to use them lest they blow up, unprovoked. Not the buyer. The pot. (P.S. The pot blowing up is not gonna happen. Here’s why.) Some of the pots have been unpacked but are sitting on counters, in closets, and yes, even back bedrooms, being eyed with suspicion because (How many times can I say this word?) the owners are afraid.  I’m beside myself. Who deliberately spends money on something they fear? I can’t wrap my head around in it.

Enter two novices who are saving my sanity. My friends, Angela and Samantha, are pressure cooking newbies. Samantha started in June and Angela just a month prior to that. Both were excited to get a pressure cooker and both jumped in and started cooking like a boss. Today I’m sharing their stories. Because I’m proud of what they accomplished. And because of all the people who are allowing Instant Pots (that many of us would gladly take off their hands) to sit and gather dust. Because they’re afraid.

Angela

May 20     I have only used it for baby back ribs and they were so delicious and fell right off the bone.
(So cute. She’s only used it for ribs. And they were a success. Can I tell you how many people are ruining meat with impunity? Making meat on your first go-round with a pressure cooker is huge. Especially when it comes out well.)

May 25     So I made garlic chicken and noodles last night. It was really good! I made the sauce with arrowroot flour. I had never used it before but it thickened nicely!
(The online lament among both experienced and inexperienced pressure cooker users is, “My chicken came out dry and rubbery.” Yet a newbie succeeds.)

June 13     I just Google recipes and I’ve done chicken a few times. It’s turned out great every time!
(Smart girl.  Google is your friend. Another bunch of chicken successes.)

June 18      I cooked a Boston butt in my Instant Pot today and it was perfect. I am loving my Instant Pot. My husband made grilled vegetables to go with it. It is wonderful not heating up the kitchen.
(Good point, Angela. You can have your favorite comfort foods all summer long because the Instant Pot does not heat the kitchen when it’s cooking. And another meat success. Not dry. Not over cooked. No complaints.)

June 21      I just made sweet potatoes in mine [Instant Pot] and they are perfect! 40 minutes high pressure.
(There have been debates on how long to cook sweet potatoes as they are denser than regular potatoes. Heck, I even failed the first time I made them. And a newbie showed them the way.)

June 27      I am making peach cobbler in my instant pot. Wish me luck! I have a daughter who is non-dairy so I used Almond Milk with the Bisquik. I am hoping it’s yummy.
[Later that day] It is yummy indeed!
[When asked if she used a recipe] I cut up about 6 peaches. I added a little sugar but not much. I mixed a stick of melted butter, 1 cup almond milk and 1 1/2 cups Bisquik. I put peaches on the bottom and poured the batter on top and cooked it. I also added vanilla flavoring and cinnamon to the peaches. Not too much.
(Using a pressure cooker for about a month and already confident enough to create her own recipes. The recipe came out well and was delicious.)

chicken breasts
Chicken breasts

June 30     I’m making chicken quesadillas with caramelized onions for dinner. So easy in my Instant Pot.
(Still not a peep about chicken breasts being dry and rubbery?Because they weren’t. Cooking chicken breasts in a pressure cooker is not rocket science. If a newbie can make them perfectly, you can too.)


July 13
      Instant Pot meatloaf. Yummy!
(Another comfort food made in mid-July in the South. No mention of the kitchen being hot. Pressure cooking doesn’t give off heat. I’m throwing in a recipe for pressure cooker meatloaf because I haven’t tried it yet. You may want to make it too.)

July 16     French onion soup in the Instant Pot. So, so good and my house is still cool.
(Soup in the summer. In the South. Madness. But not when you have a pressure cooker. )

If you’re reading this and you’re afraid to buy a pressure cooker, or afraid to use the one you have, please don’t be. Angela has given you many reasons to take that pot by the horns and start cooking.

But there’s another story to be told.

Samantha

June 20     I received a pressure cooker in the mail today, can’t wait to try out some of the recipes from your blog!
(First of all, I’m flattered that she reads my blog. I was so happy to get this message and for her to start cooking!)

June 23     First attempt using this sucker. It’s pretty big. Pretty intimidating. I’m using the owner’s manual and Pinterest to try to figure it out 100%.
Pork tenderloin is what I’m giving a go! Pray. Lol
[30 minutes later] SUPER tender. With the juices left, I’m going to add a touch of flour and turn it into a gravy!
(It’s ok to be intimidated. What isn’t ok is for fear to throw you into a state of paralysis. Clearly Samantha was not intimidated after she educated herself about her pot. She did the right thing by reading the owner’s manual and scoping out Pinterest. Google would also be a good choice and so would YouTube.
Then she kicked that intimidation to the curb by making a pork tenderloin as her inaugural meal. And it came out tender and moist. No complaints of ruined meat. Nor did she complain about having too much juice because, duh, gravy.)

June 28     I am TOTALLY obsessed with the pressure cooker!!! I had my future MIL over for dinner tonight and cooked almost everything in it and it was to die for!
It was a Mississippi pot roast, tender and very flavorful. It was a 5 lb chuck roast, Coke, ranch dressing powder, au jus powder and pepperoncinis. Then I cooked fresh string beans in the steamer section. I cooked everything else on the stove top. But man, those were amazing!! I’m in love.
My MIL was raving over it! So yummy!
(She used a pressure cooker for the first time 5 days prior to having her future MIL over for dinner! Talk about confidence! And she knocked that meal out of the ball park. Mama-in-law was impressed. Samantha couldn’t get a more ringing endorsement of her pressure cooking abilities than that!
I want to make Mississippi Pot Roast too so here’s a recipe we can try.)

red beans and riceJuly 1     The beginning of red beans and rice! It’s not going to be my grandma’s red beans and rice in Louisiana but it’ll be good.
(If you’re thinking it was a success, you’re thinking right. Samantha knew that the red beans and rice weren’t going to taste the way she remembers grandma’s taste. But that’s ok because she knows that her version will be good in its own way.)

Another pressure cooking newbie handles the pot. She doesn’t let the pot handle her. She started with confidence that she would do well and she did. She didn’t allow fear to limit her and diminish her abilities. A good lesson in pressure cooking and a good lesson in life.

To all of you who want to pressure cook, do it! Two women who did not own a pressure prior to two months ago are now using them like pros. You can too!

Buy the pressure cooker. Take it out of the box. Make something. Keep your expectations real. If you succeed, good for you! If you mess up, try again. Think about it. You’ve made mistakes using your stove. We all have. Did you give up using your stove? You did not. It’s the same with a pressure cooker. One mistake isn’t a tragedy. Be the newbie who could.

Pressure cooking is fast, easy, and fun! Please share!

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