Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by lynn, Nov 25, 2005.
IMO, one really nice thing abut crock pot cooking is that it can make really cheap, potentially tough cuts of meat tender enough to eat.
Pressure cooker can do the same thing, except faster!
rassin' frackin' DP
True. But I wouldn't leave the pressure cooker at home while I was away for twelve hours, at school and work and such. Slow cooker? No problem.
Both have their uses.
Well, the point of the pressure cooker is that it does in minutes what the crockpot does in hours.
And compensates for altitude.
When you have water with ice in it and it's thoroughly mixed (ie, there are no thermoclines within that mix and hence no regions of differing temperature), then the entire mix is the same temperature, which is the freezing point of water. If you add more heat to that mixture (which continues to remain thoroughly mixed), that heat does nothing to increase the temperature of the water, but rather only contributes to the melting of the ice. It is only after all the ice has melted that the temperature of the water can increase (assuming that the mixture is thoroughly mixed).
The same thing happens when water boils. The water's temperature gets raised to boiling and then, as long as any water remains liquid, never gets any hotter than the boiling point of water; all additional heat energy goes to turning water into steam.
The problem is that the boiling point of water depends on the ambient air pressure. Which lowers with altitude. As a boy in Boy Scouts, I took a "add boiling water" dinner with me on a camp-out over a mile up (1.75 miles). It never did cook. The problem was that cooking depends on temperature and if you can't get the "boiling water" up to cooking temperature, then it won't cook.
That's where pressure cookers come in. They increase the "ambient air pressure." At high altitudes, they can bring temperatures back down to sea level where everybody else is cooking. But at sea level ... Hmmm! Super-heating the boiling water? Using pressure to drive it up to higher temperatures? Let's face it, in ships' power plants (I am, after all, a retired Navy chief), the way that you get super-heated steam, steam hotter than the boiling point of water, is to place it under pressure.
That is how pressure cookers can do what they do.
Hmm. Neat. Never thought about why/how pressure cookers do what they do.
Reminds me of when I first met the ex and he insisted on making me truly horrible but adventurous dinners. When I asked him where he learned to cook like that, he said, "Graduate school. I'm a chemist. Cooking IS chemistry." Fantasy response: "Very true. Cooking is chemistry. Now will you please stop?" lol
Yes. Pressure cookers are useful. My only point is that, on a work night, there are times when I don't want to do anything when I get home. Nothing. That's why, at least in that context, I prefer crock pots. Three minutes to throw stuff in the cooker before I leave for work in the morning. If I've chosen the recipe carefully, I can even throw stuff in there still frozen. Come home. Eat. Done.
Well, that's the physics of what's going on with a pressure cooker. That I knew. But what I'm unclear about is how that increased pressure and temperature creates the changes in the food that result. Perhaps it's just a matter of the expansion of the volume of steam--even if that means forcing it through the food in the chamber. I dunno. Shrug.
Yeah, Pyg, I totally agree. Both crock pots and pressure cookers have their (exceptionally distinct) strengths. Which is why I'd totally suggest that Lioness get one of each, budget permitting. (They are pretty cheap though.) Then again, I'm a known kitchen gadget whore.
This. Never met a kitchen appliance I didn't like. A lot.
Looking for three recipes:
Coleslaw, something involving citrus, and carrot and raisin salad.
Coleslaw recipe I would use today, if I had to : Buy a bag of shredded cabbage. Add bottled coleslaw dressing. This can't be all there is.
Citrus salad is something that came to me, and I can't find anything that fits. I'm thinking peel and de-junk a bunch of citrus fruits. Add some sort of dressing. Toss. But I haven't been able to find anything suitable. Anybody? Or am I just crazy? (which is entirely possible.)
Carrot and raisin: I grew up eating/making c&r salad this way. Shredded carrots, golden raisins (sultanas,) mayo to taste. Done. But, when I googled, a bunch of variations popped up. Any faves?
Almost all the citrus salad recipes I googled involved jello. What the heck!?! I did find this one, though, which I'll try this weekend.
GRAPEFRUIT AND ORANGE SALAD
1 grapefruit segments
1 orange segments
1 cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper (may be omitted)
Fresh mint leaves
Put the grapefruit and orange sections in a shallow bowl. Surround them with the cucumber slices, in an overlapping border. Now mix together oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this dressing over salad and top with mint leaves. Chill for 30 minutes. Very attractive salad.
I believe that it's the ability to push the cooking temperature up way above 212°F that makes the difference. Without a pressure cooker, the highest cooking temperature you could hope for with boiling water at sea level is the boiling point of water, 212°F. As I had experienced in that childhood campout in the mountains, too low a cooking temperature results in food being under-cooked. Cooking at over conventional boiling temperature should result in over-cooking in the conventional cooking time, meaning that cooking should get accomplished in less than conventional cooking time.
IOW, it's not a direct effect of the pressure, but rather an indirect effect of the pressure that allows you to cook at higher-than-normal temperatures.
As I've mentioned already, every Sunday a friend comes over for us to share the TV shows we both like and we alternate making dinner. I'm starting to lose focus on what I want to do -- last Sunday, I made an impromptu dinner that I've made for myself, a variation on Chicken Marsala where I substitute tilapia for the chicken; it works very well indeed.
Tomorrow as an appetizer, I'll be preparing pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup). The entré will be either lemon chicken with orzo, chicken breast in white wine, or Pollame al Formaggio (what Americans would call "Chicken Parmesan", though it calls for using Asigo cheese instead; on the website of Italian chefs throughout the world, Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani ("The Virtual Group of Italian Cooks"; the link is to their English language site), there is a desperate plea for Americans to please stop calling everything "Parmesan").
On the matter of Italian cooking, I just rediscovered a couple terms. The basis for flavoring in Italian cooking centers around I Quattro Evangelisti ("The Four Evangelists"), which are onion, garlic, carrot, and celery; I used them all in my Ragù Bolognese. While many recipes may not include some of them, those are the four. There is an Italian cooking term called battuto which means "beaten". That is where you take whichever of the Four Evangelists you are using and you chop them very finely, mince them, so that there would be no undetectable chunks of them in the finished dish, but rather their flavor would be mixed thoroughly throughout the dish. Then when you cook that battuto, it becomes soffrito ("underfried"), meaning that you shouldn't cook them too fast nor too much. In Spanish, soffrito becomes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofrito]sofrito[/url].
The Four Evangelists. I love that and have to say I can relate. It's hard to go wrong with any of the four.
And yep. I use all four in Bolognese sauce, as well. I think I may have posted a crock pot Bolognese sauce recipe a few (hundred) pages back in this very thread. Groovy. That recipe combines SEVERAL of my true loves -- Italian food, make-ahead/easy to freeze, crock-potty-ness, and The Four Evangelists. Oh. Yummers.
I can also relate to the whole parmesan conversation. When I was researching chicken parmesan (This is normal. Everyone researches chicken recipes. *grin*) I found that at least half the recipes did not use parmesan cheese. The recipes used mozzarella or other, sometimes inexplicable stuff, like shredded cheddar. Cheddar. In a "parmesan" recipe. Really!?!?
I've come to the conclusion that, in Italy, blah-blah parmesan = use parmesan cheese, you idiot. In the US, blah-blah parmesan = use whatever cheese you have in the fridge. If you shred it and melt it, nobody will be able to tell the difference.
Too funny. I just saw a Burger King commercial for "our new chicken parmesan sandwich with melted mozzarella and marinara." No mention of actual parmesan anywhere. Perfect timing.
and I bet it's not actual mozzarella, either.
Back in 1969, Alice Brock of Alice's Restaurant fame published a cookbook. Her approach to international recipes was to add characteristic ingredients to change a common dish into, say, a French or Italian or Chinese dish. I saw this in German Gasthäuser where adding a slice of pineapple made the dish "oriental".
Alice Brock's key to Italian cooking was to add oregano and tomato sauce. But what attracted me to Italian cooking was the variety of dishes and sauces, few of which involved tomatoes or oregano. That stereotyping of Italian cuisine to involve tomato sauce and oregano appears to be in the same vein as our calling everything involving melted cheese as "Parmesan".
Now using up whatever cheese or leftovers you have in the fridge, that's what a frittata is for.
Episode of MASH after Winchester had replaced Frank Burns. An Army truck driver who had been a chef before being drafted (logical, since the Army also chose truck drivers to be Army cooks) is spending his convalescence working in the mess tent. Winchester enters the mess tent sniffing the air hungrily: "Parmesan! The meat is a mystery, but that's definitely Parmesan!"
You can get a thing you want...excepting Alice!
This parmesan conversation has given me a great new idea for my next pot luck. Homage to fromage. Cheesy, isn't it?
I wasn't planning to do any more pot lucks this year, but I have two GFs who've supported all of my pot lucks, both interviewing for new jobs in the next couple weeks. I'd be shocked if one or the other of them doesn't quit within the next week or two. And I will not let them go quietly into the night, so to speak. AND the GF most likely to leave first is a cheese lover of amazing proportions. Put her alone on a desert island and she'll be fine as long as there's cheese. lol.
So cheese it is. (Would do wine but it's a work function, so wine is off limits.)
Any ideas for imaginative ways to cook or serve cheese or dishes featuring cheese? Unimaginative works too. The usual parameters. Easy to transport. Cold or crock-pot-able preferred, but all ideas will be considered.
Separate names with a comma.