All posts filed under: Equipment

Under Pressure – Braised Back Ribs

This was actually the first thing we did in the micro cooker. Seeing that I really didn’t want to waste a lot of money on something just in case the end product was a hot steaming mess. I’ve opted to take the basic timing and procedures for the Lamb Shank recipe in the provided cookbookerlette and apply that thought process to something about the same quality and texture – Beef Back Ribs. This recipe consists of 1 pound of badly cut beef back ribs – 8 Pieces of Rib – $3.95 total…(on sale at the market today) Considering that to get back ribs.. or shanks… or shoe leather edible should take between 2.5 to 3 hours in a conventional oven… or up to 8 hours in a slow cooker, I’m calling this a win. The ribs are very tender, although some of the rib connective membrane hasn’t softened up as much as I like. And to be totally honest, that probably would have corrected itself if I had removed the chine off the backside of the riblettes. …

Kitchen Fodder – Meatballs Under Pressure

Curry No, I’m not talking about the little red & white can that sits in the pantry growing dust bunnies because you only pull it out once every 6 years to make those curried glazed carrots you’ve read so much about. No. That stuff is for Cretans and Malcontents.  Anywhere else in the world, curry is a dance – a give and take of spices and aromatics – that when blended properly, transforms a dish to such exotic heights, it is the culinary equivalent of Mount Everest…. (sought by many, obtained only by the very adventurous). So… Seeing the Curried Lamb Meatball recipe the the little CooksEssentials Microwave Pressure Cookery Bookerlette… I was intrigued… but very, very cautious. Like most things, I monkeyed around with their recipe. Not because I’m just a bad person, but like finding that curry nirvana, I have my own particular likes and dislikes that play into the picture when creating that perfect spice blend. Granted, if you’re not terribly particular, you could just open up that red/white container and hawk in 2 big spoonfuls …

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Kitchen Fodder – Testing the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker

Just to set the record straight… No, I wasn’t given one of these units to test and make nice about… No, I wasn’t contacted by QVC or Cooks Essentials to test their cooker… No, Left to my own devices, I probably would not  have ever considered buying one of these things… It all started as an innocent text message from a friend in Taiwan; thinking he could use it to make braised pork belly. “What can you tell me about these things… have you tried it?” Not only had I never heard of it, the whole idea of nuclear cooking and highly pressurized impact plastic frightened me ….  more than a little. But, being the gadget whore that I am, I decided to buy one and see what it would do. The Basics Considering a decent stove top cooker will run you $45.00 to $65.00, the $50.00 price tag (including tax, shipping, and that worrisome “handling”) for the CooksEssentials thing will hit you right at fifty bucks. It comes in a variety of colors. I bought a …

Curb Market Crawl – Stuff in a Bag

Last Week I realized I let myself get low on some rather important supplies. So Thursday I placed a call to my supplier and told him what I would be needing and arranged to pick it up on Saturday. He spotted me as soon as I walked in, and the conversation went something like this: “You know that stuff you wanted… I got it for you” “Yeah?” “Yeah, it’s under the counter in that paper bag. Mikey, grab that bag for this guy – It’s some stuff I’m holdin for him.” Mikey looks at me kinda curiously and says, “What is it?” “Never you mind. Just put it on the counter for him…. I’ll ring him up.” He looks at me a little sideways,  “You know, everybody’s almost out. You’re lucky I could get a hold of any that wasn’t all trash.” “So it’s good stuff?… no rocks and crap?” “Na, I checked out all the bags, they’re clean.” “Cool. Whadda I owe you this time?” “Three-fifty a bag, cause you know… it was kinda hard to …

A Whiter Shade of Pale…

First of all, I have a bit of side-stepping to do. Misdirection, actually… You see, I had this camera. It wasn’t a particularly good camera by any means – but it was my point and click  instrument of choice for the photos I use here on Plate Fodder. I stand very still, I squint my eyes (for no apparent reason), I would hold the little box at an artistically correct angle and voila! a reasonable facsimile of what I spent bent hunched over the counter for the last hour working on. And if the pictures didn’t turn out all that well I’d tell myself that it’s just because I am not a particularly good photographer.. (although in all actuality – I am), and not because I was using a crappy camera best designed for snapping candid shots of Zippy jumping for a Frisbee as opposed to capturing the fine crackle in the sugar crust of a creme brulee. At any rate, I didn’t give it much thought. Shoot, transfer, Photoshop to oblivion, publish. It had become old hat… comfortable – you might say. And …