A New Kitchen Tool Well Worth Having
You know, I love Craig’s List. I’ve found so many bargains on things that are brand new and never used, that have been so useful to me. Kitchen things are on sale by the ton every day. I have found such things as dehydrators, coffee makers, a wheat grinder, mason jars, cast iron skillets, …you name it. All these things purchased new or nearly so were done so for usually 25% of what the cost would be in a retail store. My most recent purchase was a Wolfgang Puck signature electric pressure cooker for $30. New it was $90. The man who owned it previously said he used it once. This baby is worth it’s weight in gold to me! I have a stove top one but I’m not sure the seal is so secure these days. The rubber is old and I don’t know where to go to replace it since it is 65 years old. Not only that, but it doesn’t have a thermostat or a pressure release valve like the electronic one. I have used it but I think she’s ready for retirement. I’m not as confident with it as I am with this lovely modern one with all the safety features.
Several days ago I volunteered to cook a luncheon for 30 pastors having a meeting at our church. Using the pressure cooker took the pressure off of me and made it very easy and very delicious, saving hours of cooking time. The main course was BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, using a very good recipe I found on YouTube to cook the meat which received many compliments (Thanks Noreen!). I made bean soup with the cooker as well, which gave me time to make corn bread, slaw, Caesar salad, and a pretty platter of fruit with the help of my friend Carolyn. The thing that surprised me the most was how fast the pressure cooker cooked the beans. I would normally have soaked them over night, then spent at least three hours cooking them on the stove top but the pressure cooker made it happen in just one hour start to finish. It was amazing how tasty tender and creamy the beans turned out to be. I’ll never cook them any other way.
The pulled pork was done almost the same as in the video except I used 1/2 cup broth and 1/2 of a beer and omitted the garlic because some have a sensitivity to it. The beans were the easiest thing I’ve ever made though. The ingredients were as follows: 4 cups Great Northern beans, 2 thinly sliced carrots, 2 stalks of slice celery including the foliage chopped, one onion diced, a teaspoon of pepper, a teaspoon of liquid smoke, and one gallon plus 4 cups of water (water to beans 5 parts to 1). The salt is always added at the end to beans to not make he hulls too tough. I used 1 and 1/2 tablespoons for this amount of soup and let the men add more at the table if they needed.
In the cooker I browned off the vegetables or aromatics as they call them in a spot of olive oil. I added the beans after sorting and rinsing them then added the water, seasonings, and closed the lid. I set the thermostat for 350° and let it cook for about 45 minutes. After turning off the heat I let the pot rest until the pressure released which took about another 15 minutes. After that time I checked to see if there was still some pressure using the release valve and there was still a bit more steam to release. I did so, removed the lid. and gave the pot a good stir. Everything looked great and so I gave a few beans a taste test. They were as tender as could be with creamy insides and the broth was quite nearly perfect. That’s when I added the salt, but not too much. When cooking for a crowd of various aged people I like to leave room for those who have sodium restrictions. Adding salt in the beginning tastes no different than adding salt at the table so in some cases it’s good not to take salting very far in the begenning.
It was a good meal all in all. Everyone had plenty of good food to eat (including the helpers), and then had plenty of energy to continue doing God’s work.