Instant Pot

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas; to be honest I didn’t even know it was a thing much less a full movement in cooking. I had been talking about getting out the pressure cooker I store in the basement (I’m fairly certain it’s older than me) to figure out how it works so my husband suggested to my MIL that it would make a good gift.

The first week I just looked at it in the box, uncertain, it simply wasn’t a tool I knew how to incorporate in my cooking. I’m still not fully sure, but I’ve done a bit of reading, joined a couple of facebook groups, and eventually started trying.

I began with Detroit Free Press’ Susan Selasky’s recommendation for Beef Barbacoa. I followed it exactly and was very pleased that it came out well.

I neglected to mark it as a tested recipe and thought that this would be a week to try it. It was so good, that today I came directly here to my blog to write it up and post it and found this half completed post.

If you are looking at your instant pot and debating what to do, this is the reason to use it. The meat used is a chuck roast, not an expensive meat, it takes a lot of work to get it tender. It is one of the meats that I like to use for crock pot recipes since they cook long enough to make it tender. The instant pot reaches this accomplishment with much less work and time and an equally amazing result.

Today I served it with a homemade salsa using tomatoes from my mini-garden, even my husband and eldest who are anti-fresh tomatoes enjoyed it thoroughly. Both recipes are originally from Epicurious.com, one of my favorite sources.

Grilled and Fresh Tomato Salsa

Appetizers, Sauces and Marinades, Tested and Approved!

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Servings: About 3 cups Source: epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

4 medium tomatoes (about 3 ounces), divided

Olive oil (for brushing)

1 large white onion, cut into 1/4″ rounds

1 jalapeño, seeded if desired, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Slice 2 tomatoes in half and brush each half with oil. Brush onion with oil. Transfer onions and tomatoes halves to hot grill and cook, turning occasionally, until slightly charred and softened, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Remove seeds from remaining 2 tomatoes and cut into 1/4″ cubes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add jalapeño and salt and toss to combine. Finely chop cooled onions and tomatoes, then add to raw tomato mixture and toss to combine.

Do Ahead

Salsa can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Instant Pot, Mexican, Tested and Approved!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour Servings: Yield 6 servings Source: epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of most fat and cut into large chunks

1/2 cup reduced-salt chicken broth or All-Purpose Chicken Stock

2 bay leaves

Small (6-inch) corn tortillas, for serving

Salsa or pico de gallo, for serving

Cotija cheese, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cloves in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Press Sauté and use the Sauté or Adjust button to select the highest temperature. Place the vegetable oil in the inner pot. Wait until the display reads “Hot,” about 5 minutes, then add the beef. Cook with the lid off, turning the beef every 2 minutes, until the beef is browned on most sides, about 8 minutes.

Add the vinegar sauce and the chicken broth, and then the bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing. Press Cancel, then press Manual or Pressure Cook and use the Pressure or Pressure Level button to select High Pressure. Use the – or + button to set the time to 30 minutes.

When the cooking cycle ends, press Cancel. Allow the appliance to cool and release pressure naturally, about 20 minutes.

Remove the lid. Discard the bay leaves. Use tongs or a large spoon to remove the beef from the inner pot and place it on a cutting board. Shred the beef using two forks: Use one fork to pull off a chunk and then use two forks to shred that piece, holding down the meat with one fork and pulling at it with the other. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Serve the beef hot, piled into corn tortillas and topped with salsa and a sprinkling of Cotija cheese, if desired.

NOTES

Beef Barbacoa and its juices will keep, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the beef in a shallow baking dish with enough of the juices to reach a depth of about 1/4 inch. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until hot, about 15 minutes.

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Linguine with Clam Sauce

It’s summer and the eldest will be headed back to college soon, with a new challenge: apartment living. Both of these are pushing me towards a simple food portfolio. For a recent Sunday dinner I elected to make an antipasto salad and linguine with clam sauce.

An antipasto salad is really simple and incredibly delicious, it can be served as a salad course or on its own. I found this recipe and modified it just a touch to make it perfect, the original recipe was a bit onion and pepper heavy, this allows you to taste all of the independent flavors. The “lettuce” of the salad is the basil, so the trick is to be gentle with the leaves when washing them so as not to bruise them.

Antipasto Salad

Italian, Salads, Tested and Approved!

Servings: 4 servings Source: bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove, minced

cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ tsp. crushed dried oregano

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 Cubanelle or Shepherd peppers, thinly sliced into rounds

½ small red onion, thinly sliced, rinsed

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry, halved

8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

¼-⅓ salami, preferably fennel, thinly sliced

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 lemon

2 cups basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

Mix garlic, oil, vinegar, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add sweet peppers, onion, artichokes, mozzarella, and salami and toss to coat; season with salt and black pepper. Let sit, tossing occasionally, at least 15 minutes.

Zest half of lemon over salad and add basil; toss to combine. Season with more salt and black pepper if needed.

Do Ahead: Salad (without lemon zest and basil) can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Linguine with Clam Sauce is a little more complicated, but there are some tricks to make it simpler. The biggest time saver is frozen clam meat: no scrubbing and they are typically precooked. With the eldest’s fish allergy, I skip the anchovies, but enjoy them if you can. With any pasta dish, the most important ingredient is the pasta, select a good pasta, Italian if available, and for a simple sauce like a clam, a rustic (rough) pasta that the sauce will stick to is best.

Linguine and Clams

Entrées, Italian, Pastas, Shellfish, Tested and Approved!

Servings: 4 servings Source: bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more

10 cups water

12 garlic cloves, divided

4 ounces sourdough or country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

cup dry white wine

2 pounds littleneck clams (about 24) or cockles (about 32), scrubbed*

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

½ cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Bring salt and water to a boil in a large pot.

Meanwhile, pulse 3 garlic cloves in a food processor until chopped. Add bread and pulse several times until fine crumbs form.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add breadcrumb mixture and cook, stirring often, until crumbs are golden and crisp, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add lemon zest, season with salt, and toss to combine; set aside.

Wipe out Dutch oven. Using a mandoline if you have one (if not, use a really sharp knife), very thinly slice remaining 9 garlic cloves. Heat ¼ cup oil in Dutch oven over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add anchovies, if using, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden all over and anchovies are dissolved. Quickly stir in wine and simmer until only a couple of tablespoons of liquid are left in pot.

Add clams and toss to combine. (If using clam meat, add and proceed to next step.) Cover and cook until clams are open, 5-7 minutes (about 4 minutes for cockles). Uncover pot and transfer clams to a medium bowl, leaving liquid in pot. If any clams are still closed, cover pot again and cook a few minutes longer, then transfer to bowl with others (discard any that have not opened at this point). Tent clams with foil.

Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes. Using a ladle or heatproof measuring cup, scoop out about 2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with clam liquid. Add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid a splash at a time if needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce is glossy and thick enough to cling to noodles, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add parsley and butter and toss until butter is melted. Sprinkle about one-third of breadcrumbs over pasta and toss to combine (you can add more or less depending on how much liquid is in bottom of pot-you want them to absorb some of the sauce but not make it dry). Give pasta a taste; you probably won’t need additional salt, but you can add some if you’d like. Divide pasta among shallow bowls and top with reserved clams, more breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of oil.

NOTES

*Fresh clams can be replaced with frozen meat: ¼ lb. frozen meat/ 1 lb. fresh clams