I didn’t need the tiny house trend to convince me life is easier when you live small. In my 20s I lived on a boat for a few years.  You basically had one of everything:  One spork, one mug, one (very small) dog… you get it.

Because I didn’t have space for kitchen gadgets on a boat, I didn’t really learn to covet them. With the exception of the tiniest espresso maker ever carried by Target, my kitchen was a mostly gadget-free zone until about a decade ago.  Still, I never got beyond the basics.

That was, until FOMO set in. You know, the Fear of Missing Out?  Anyway, it was instigated by posts that started popping up on my Facebook.  ‘Cook a 3 pound chicken in 18 minutes!’  Wait a second!  What?!?  I love to cook and one of my favorite Sunday suppers is a roast chicken.  ‘From Counter to Table in 1 Hour – Beef Stew!’  How could this be possible?  Homemade mac –n-cheese in minutes.  Steamed rice in seconds (well, five minutes, but you know what I mean).  The speed with which the Instant Pot accomplishes these things is down to the Pressure Cooker function and it really delivers.

My memories of pressure cookers harken back to the 1970s when my mom would make us leave the kitchen before she opened her pot. “Just in case it explodes”, she would say.  Um, yeah, you don’t need to tell me twice!  The fact that she had been burned by it on one occasion stuck with me, as did the fear of owning one. I never considered pressure cooking until I started hearing about the Instant Pot.  I began to investigate, and apparently I’m very late to the party, the Instant Pot party, that is.  This thing is ridiculous.  It’s got 14 custom cooking programs and even makes yoghurt.  Yoghurt!  With over 27,000 reviews on Amazon and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, it seemed like something worth trying.

I’m not disappointed. I’ve cooked three things so far, all turning out far better than I imagined, all three done in a far speedier time frame than traditional cooking methods.  My favorite of the three was this glorious beef stew.  I subbed red wine for the tomato juice and added four cloves of garlic and a couple large handfuls of torn up kale.  Finishing it in the oven as Ms. Ostrom suggests is really an inspired touch.

One recipe I can’t wait to try is the home made Ricotta Cheese recipe on Hip Pressure Cooking’s site.  I’ll probably stir some watercress and basil into it and then grate some lemon zest over the top.  I’ve purchased a couple of pressure cooking cookbooks, but I could use some good web resources.  What are your favorite websites for pressure cooking?  Any particular advice you have for pressure cooker newbs?  Other pressure cooker brands to check out?  Please let us know in the comments below!

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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