Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I've become one of THOSE people (Instant Pot speaking)

This past Christmas, my husband bought me an Instant Pot, much to the chagrin of my daughters.  My daughters were chagrined because they wanted to get me the Instant Pot, and he took their idea!   No fair!
(Okay, sort of funny back story about how this happened.  I was having a conversation with my husband about "If you were a millionaire and could buy anything you wanted, what would you buy?" For him, it was plane tickets to far away places.  For me, I said, it was an Instant Pot.   
My husband then snapped out of game mode and said, "Honey, we ARE millionaires!  If you want it, why the heck don't you actually BUY it?  Why deprive and torture yourself if we can actually get something that would make you happy?!?".   I answered, "Because if I got myself everything I wanted, what would anybody ever get me at Christmas?  My kids want to buy me *something*, after all!"   
Somehow, he didn't latch on to the part that it would be a gift to my *daughters* that they could be able to get a gift for *me*, and so he bought the Instant Pot.  And boy, were they miffed.   And I had to come up with something else to want, just so I wouldn't disappoint them.   Sigh. )
Like others who write about their Instant Pot acquisitions, I had put this off for years and years.  Who needs another kitchen appliance?  I already have a pair of slow cookers; I already have a pressure cooker.  My life is really quite lovely, and adding extra stuff to my cupboards isn't necessarily going to increase the loveliness quotient of that life.

In fact, I bought an Instant Pot for Y, the student who'd lived at our house for 18 months, as she was heading off to medical school.  And I did so without buying one for myself, telling her that I'd heard it was amazing, while being willing to live un-amazed myself.

Okay, so now I have an Instant Pot.  And while I'm not going to start composing songs to this machine, I am probably going to ditch one or both of my crock pots soon.  And it *has* changed what I eat, and I use it several times per week.

Just  FYI, here are my weekly Instant Pot concoctions:

  • Hard boiled eggs.  We now make about a dozen a week, and it's been really nice having grab-n-go protein in the house.   [Recipe: put a dozen eggs in with 1 cup of water, hit "steam 5 min". ]  I love how the eggs practically jump out of their shell when I go to peel them.
  • Yogurt.  I used to buy yogurt, because my previous attempts to make it were so uneven.  I just couldn't hack keeping the mixture at the right temperature for 8 hours.  Now I save scads of money by making my own, to the tune of about 3 pints of yogurt per week.
  • Sabbath Soup.   On Saturday nights, I round up stuff in danger of being lost to the back of the fridge.  I saute what needs sauteing.  On Sunday, I do slow-cooker sabbath soup.  This not only feeds us on sabbath, but becomes lunch later in the week. I deliver jars of soup to K-daughter and a neighbor or two, also, as a way of thinking about weekly generosity.
  • Less frequently, but still useful:  grains.  It's not just that I can make rice easily, but this pot makes it easy to make a low-fuss risotto.  The pot is also okay, but certainly functional, at making pasta.  
  • Sabbath soup, black bean hummus, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs.
    Instant Pot, meet my canning jars. 
    Canning jars, meet my instant pot.
  • Beans.  I mean, I *know* now how to do dried beans in a pressure cooker, and dried beans in a regular slow-cooker overnight are even easier.   So it's not worth buying an Instant Pot just for beans (at least, not for me), but nowadays if I have to choose between the various methods, I'm more likely to hit the Instant Pot than either of the other methods. 
Here is one of the things I recently learned that I hadn't known, but that I love:  when you take the lid off, you can make it stand up on the side of the pot, because there's a "lid holder" slot on the side.  That's pretty cool.  (Thanks, grasshopper!)

Is there anything else I'm missing?  If you have a favorite Instant Pot recipe and/or trick, clue me in!


  1. OK... perhaps I'm the last person left who's never heard of an Instant Pot, but what exactly is it? Like a hot plate with sides? You make it sound life altering, so there must be more to it than that, but I'm not sure I understand the excitement.

    1. It's an electronic appliance --- like a crockpot that happens also to be a pressure cooker. But it has various programming modes, so you can tell it to pretend it's a rice cooker, and it will cook rice just like a rice cooker does. Or you can push the "yogurt" button, and then "8 hours", and it will keep stuff at yogurt temperature for 8 hours.

      Unlike standard crockpots, it has a stainless steel tub, so it's a bit easier to clean. And unlike standard (stovetop) pressure cookers, it has sensors and timers, so if you say "pressure cook these beans for 8 minutes", it brings things up to pressure, then cooks for 8 minutes, then stops . . . so there's less need to be there watching over it and paying attention to clocks and such.

      Many people love it for making one-pot meals quickly. One friend tells me she sautes hamburger in it, then adds tomato sauce, then spaghetti noodles (dry); seals the pot, hits "go", and 15 minutes or so later, she has dinner ready.

  2. I got a different brand version of the instapot from my in-laws as a present. We haven't been sure what to do with it. The recipes that came with it have all turned out to be meh and we haven't really needed crockpot food without the time to crockpot (like, either we have all day or we need food faster than what the instapot can provide). We will have to try hardboiling eggs to see if it's an improvement over the stovetop. DH basically said it would be great if we were living in a tiny apartment without a crockpot or stovetop, but it doesn't seem worth it given our current setup. That said, I do have an instapot indian food cookbook on my amazon wishlist and that might help-- our repertoire doesn't contain pressure cooking, but we might add new things we hadn't before because we didn't own a pressure cooker.

    1. I think there's a reason "yogurt" and "eggs" are at the top of that list of things I make . . . notice that there's no veggie dishes up there (except hidden in soup), even though I eat LOTS of veggies. The set up makes this baby good at stews, soups, sauces, and other such meals, but not good at grilled, crisp, etc (from what I can see so far). I think that's one crucial reason some people find it less useful. My friend who has TWO of these and uses it a lot has 6 kids, and does a bunch of rice-and-beans, or other feed-a-lot-of-people-with-minimal-fuss kinds of meals.

      That said, I also think from everything you've written that I have more plebeian tastes than you do. My main "spices" are salt and garlic, with occasional curry or chili tossed in. Or basil. (ooog, but not all together).

  3. Well, this recipe just popped up in my feed so I thought I'd share. I do not have an instapot.

    1. Looks pretty! It's just amazing how many instant-pot recipes there are out there nowadays. I have a few rice-and-beans-in-one-pot recipes that I'd like to try some day.