I’m sorry but “because they have good salad” is not a valid reason to convince me to try a new restaurant. I’ve had friends tried to lure me before with the promise of a great salad, and they fail every time. I’ve never been a huge fan of salad because many of the ones I’ve […]
Celebrating the World of One-Pot Cooking
I have a bit of a tradition every Saturday night. My party days are long behind me so I’ve taken on a few “old people” habits. One of them happens to be slow cooking or making stew for dinner. I know it might be weird for a guy in his 30’s to look forward to something like that, but there’s just something comforting about it. I usually start cooking at around 4pm, and feast on deliciously tender meat by seven or eight. Or I might pull out my pressure cooker and speed up the process for something scrumptious like lamb shanks or a whole fish.
I just love the idea of a piece of meat absorbing all those flavors over the course of several hours. And without fail, the final product makes me smile like nothing else. Have you ever seen that show “My Strange Addiction”? That’s the one where they have people addicted to eating things like chalk or dry wall (no kidding, it’s real). I guess I might fall into that category but luckily my addiction is slow-cooked meat.
And during the years I’ve built up my recipe list and tested various techniques and products, I’ve amassed quite a bit of experience. One day I realized that I was a bit of an expert which is why I started this site. I’ve tried out different cookers and recipes over the years, and I’d like to share them with you. And I promise you, if you do things right and experiment carefully, you can make some truly remarkable dishes that you can’t get at a restaurant. Yes, I’m a guy who likes to cook and I’m here to show you why “one-pot cooking” is the best way to go. Even if it’s the only method you ever use, you’ll have an endless array of recipes and dishes at your disposal.
For a person who doesn’t know much about cooking, Slow cookers, Crock-Pots, and Pressure Cookers might seem interchangeable. After all, they’re just big pots that you used to boil things right? Well, that’s not right right and there’s a big difference between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. But let’s establish this first:
A Crock-Pot is actually a brand of slow cooker developed by Rival. It’s a term that’s become synonymous with slow cooking which is why the two are interchangeable for some. It’s kind of like how people refer to Coke when they might be talking about soda in general. So it’s a matter of popularity and demonstrates how well one line of products has successfully been branded.
The Best Slow cookers do exactly what is implied by their name – they cook things slowly. So if you’re looking to make something like a stew or chili, you would pick this for the job. It has the ability to maintain temperatures for a long period of time while keeping heat inside. It works great when you’re using a lower quality cut of meat that needs more time to tenderize. The gentle heat applied over a long period helps to break down connective tissues which results in great tender and juicy pot roasts that crumble with the touch of a fork. You can also use them successfully for soups, curry, or congee depending on the recipe.
Now as for Pressure Cookers, there’s nothing slow about them at all. They are also used for tougher cuts of meat, but the pressurized nature of the cooking process speed things up a lot. Inside, you gets the right conditions where there is nothing getting in between your food and the appropriate level of heat. So whereas something might take you hours to prepare using a slow cooker, the best pressure cookers cut down the overall time to more manageable levels.
You might be asking yourself why would anyone continue to use slower methods when they could simply cook with pressure? That’s a good question, but the answer reveals itself when you take a look at certain recipes. You need to remember that you can’t exactly open up the lid and had different ingredients when using pressure. Well, you can but it gets cumbersome and possibly hazardous. Using the slower method allows you the opportunity to make more complicated recipes with ingredients that have varying cooking times. For example, you might get perfectly cooked meat if you put a stew into a pressure cooker, but everything else could come out completely mushy.
Is Safety and Issue?
Sometimes you’ll hear urban legends of pressure cookers exploding and taking out someone’s kitchen. But even if you trying to achieve this the fact, it’s really hard to do with modern products. Most cookers produced today are incredibly safe and made of extremely durable components. And as long as you take the time to maintain your product properly, there’s really not a lot to worry about.
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