Say Cheese(cake)

My dad’s birthday was on Sunday and he had been dropping hints since I made my mom an Instant Pot cheesecake for her birthday that he wanted one as well.

I made this Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake for my mom’s birthday. It was a huge success and she declared it the best Birthday Cake she has ever had! To beat my grandma’s baking legacy is a huge accomplishment in itself!

For my Dad’s cake I made the #17 New York Cherry Cheesecake as he loves cherries.

The #17 name comes from the person testing the recipe sixteen times before deciding it was perfect.  So it should be foolproof right?

This is how I made New York Cheesecake #17:

First the crust:

1 cup of graham wafer crumbs

Pinch of Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

Then add 3 tablespoons of butter (melted)

Mix together. Crumbs should stick together. If not, add more butter.

Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with Pam.

Pour crust mixture into bottom of pan and press with fingers until evenly distributed across the bottom.

Place the crust in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter.

For the cheesecake batter use a small bowl and add:

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

2 pinches of sea salt

2/3 cup of white sugar

Stir

In a medium bowl add:

16 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)

Use hand beater on low speed to break it up. Beating for 10 seconds.

Add half the sugar mixture from above to cream cheese. Beat to incorporate (20 to 30 seconds).

Use spatula to scrape sides of the bowl to incorporate all batter.

Add remaining sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated (20 to 30 seconds).

Use spatula to scrape sides then mix with spatula.

Then add:

½ cup of sour cream

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Beat (20 to 30 seconds)

Blend in eggs one at a time! 20 to 30 seconds. The recipe says not to over mix the eggs as this will affect the outcome of how it bakes and tastes at the end.

Use spatula to scrape sides and ensure everything is mixed into batter.

Remove the crust from freezer and pour batter on top of crust.

Tap and shake the pan so the surface smooths out and pops the air bubbles.

Running a fork on the surface of the cheesecake helps pop more of the air bubbles. However, popping all air bubbles is impossible!

Then tap and shake some more to smooth the surface.

Now it is time to cook the cheesecake in the Instant Pot.

Place 1 cup of cold water and the trivet into the pot.

Use a foil sling to place the spring form pan into the pot.

Pressure Cook for 26 minutes and then a full natural pressure release which takes approximately 7 minutes. I set an alarm for 7 minutes and then released the rest of the air but there was very little left.

After lifting out pan with foil sling I dabbed the excess water off the surface of the cheesecake with a piece of paper towel.

It came out beautifully. However, when cooling it cracked in the middle. Which I read is common and there is a bunch of theories to “help” it not crack but it still might!

I let it fully cool, removed it from the pan and put it in the fridge overnight.

Normally, I would just buy a can of cherries to put on top. However, since it was my dad’s birthday and I was striving for the “favourite child medal,” I made a cherry compote.

I used an entire package of frozen cherries.

I poured a ¼ cup of sugar on them and let them sit for 20 minutes.

After sitting in sugar for 20 minutes I added 2 teaspoons of orange juice.

Cooked on high pressure for 1 minute and natural pressure release for 15 minutes. Released the remainder of pressure before opening pot.

This cherry compote can be used on other things, such as yogurt, ice cream, etc.

So now you are probably dying to find out how it tasted?

It got rave reviews from the family. They said the texture was perfect and the cherries were to die for!

The Birthday Boy and his Cheesecake.

An Instant Pot cheesecake is now expected for every birthday, whether I like it or not!

via GIPHY 

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Let’s Get Cracking!

This week my instant pot and I partnered with Julia Papic on her keto journey.

We made hardboiled eggs in the Instant Pot

We used the 5-5-5 method that can be found at this video.

1) Pour one cup of water and place trivet in pot.


2) Place as many eggs as you want to cook on top of the trivet. Does not matter if they are touching or piled on top of one another.


3) Put lid on, make sure it is flipped to sealing.
4) Cook on high pressure for five minutes.


5) When finished do a natural pressure release for five minutes.
6) Then pour cold water on eggs and let them sit for five minutes before peeling.


7) In the video you will notice that the shells practically fall off.

8) Cut open and enjoy!

If I have learned anything from cooking in the Instant Pot, is that it is worth purchasing one for the hardboiled eggs alone!

Julia agrees and is keeping her eye out for a sale! Converting people to this “pothead lifestyle” post by post!

Go Bananas!

This week I tried baking banana bread in my Instant Pot.

Ingredients

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

3 medium bananas mashed

2 cups All Purpose Flour

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

In a bowl mix together butter, sugar and eggs.

Beat on high with hand mixer until everything is combined.

Peel and break up bananas into a separate bowl. Mash them and add to a different bowl.

Add all of the dry ingredients

Mix all together with hand mixer

Add the chocolate chips fold in using a spatula.

Spray spring form pan with Pam and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Pour the mixture into the spring form pan.

Gently shake the pan to even and smooth out the  mixture.

Lightly cover the pan with paper towel and then tinfoil

Add 1 ½ cups of water to the Instant Pot and add trivet in the bottom of pot (see previous post).

Make a tin foil sling (see previous post).

Put the pan into IP using the tinfoil sling and place on top of the trivet.

Put the lid on and seal pressure valve (see previous post).

Cook on high pressure for 55 minutes and then 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release (see previous blog post).

Note:  My banana bread was not fully cooked so I put it in again for 10 minutes and another 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release.  This time it was cooked perfectly.

This is the recipe that I followed is:

This above recipe is from the Facebook group This Old Gal. When I first got my Instant Pot I joined a variety of Facebook pages as this is the easiest access to Instant Pot recipes. At the time, I thought it was the only way. However, since having my Instant Pot, I discovered that there are Instant Pot cookbooks and magazines in print.  Unfortunately, the reviews I have read and/or the FB comments about these resources have not been extremely positive and many of print resources are not readily available in Canada.  Due to these poor reviews, and the fact that I am enjoying learning from the Facebook groups, various blogs and videos, I have not pursued looking into the print resources.  The online resources are an effective way for me to sift through all of the information quickly by searching for specific help and recipes as I need. Plus there is no shortage of online information as the Instant Pot is quickly gaining “celebrity status” in cookware!

I enjoy the Facebook pages as there are many IP user comments with tips and tricks to help others when first trying the recipes. In addition, those posting often include an informal rating of the recipe, including things such as how they liked it and whether they would make the dish again.  The popular “must try” recipes come across the feed multiple times which makes it easier to decide what to try next as it can be overwhelming at first with the number of postings in the group.  Another reason I enjoy using the online recipes is that I can easily bookmark them on my computer. Now that I know most of the Instant Pot lingo I find the recipes are clear, well laid out and easy to follow.

Instant Pot Lingo 101

This post is to introduce you to many of the different terms that can be confusing when first using the Instant Pot.  The scariest thing for me when I first got my Instant Pot was the lingo used in the various Facebook groups and recipes.  It was like another language!  My mom has an Instant Pot so she was able to give me the run down on what each term meant!

Natural Pressure Release (NPR).  NPR occurs when the Instant Pot to is left to release naturally when the cooking time is done. Leave the pot sealed for the amount of minutes the recipe says, usually it is 10 to 15 minutes. I always set a timer so I don’t forget! The steam releases gradually when the timer goes off, then flipping the switch to vent quickly releases any of the steam left.  However, after 10 to 15 minutes there is not much steam left to release.

Quick Pressure Release (QPR) is the term that refers to releasing the pressure immediately when the cooking time is done. Immediately flip the switch to vent and all the steam quickly releases (can take several minutes). It is advised that you do not release pressure under a cupboard as it can ruin the finish over time. I cover my IP switch with a tea towel so that most of the steam is absorbed into the towel.  To be extra safe, I also use a handle of a cooking utensil to flip the switch to avoid being burned by the steam.

Tinfoil Sling

The tinfoil sling is a great invention. It allows you to take a pan in and out of the pot as soon as it is done.

First you start with a large piece of tinfoil.

Then you start folding it into pieces.

Until it is all folded and it is long and skinny.

Then you put it into the pot on top of the trivet. Place pan in center and fold over the excess edges of tinfoil.

Grab the two ends and lift the pan out.

Sealing and Venting Switch

Sealing occurs when the IP is building up pressure.

Flipping the switch to venting allows all the steam to release when done cooking.

Trivet in the Pot

This is the trivet.

This is the trivet in the pot with water at the bottom.

To steam vegetables I use this foldable metal steamer with the water underneath. Placed in the pot the same way as the trivet.

I hope this introduction to this Instant Pot lingo helps you when reading my blogs or when you give in and buy your own Instant Pot! 🙂

Shredding It!

Shredded chicken has never been easier.

Most Instant Pot recipes require one cup of some type of liquid.  I have always used a variety of sauces as my liquid. This recipe features teriyaki sauce.

Instant Pots can cook meat from both a frozen or unthawed state quickly. I normally just cook meat from frozen since I usually forget to take it out to unthaw in the morning.

For this recipe, I poured one cup of teriyaki sauce into the pot, added three frozen chicken breasts and cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes. I then did a quick release (flip the button to vent and all the steam releases within a few minutes) and opened up the lid to three perfectly cooked chicken breasts.

This is where it gets good . . .

Use a hand mixer to shred the chicken.  It finely shreds the chicken in seconds and mixes in the excess teriyaki sauce keeping the meat moist.

I normally eat the shredded chicken on salad without even bothering to add salad dressing.  However, it can be also be eaten alone, on rice or with anything else you wish.

I used this recipe as a guide but made a number of changes as described above.

Instant-Ly Becoming a Pot Head

The topic of my learning project is “Cooking with the Instant Pot.” For those not familiar with the Instant Pot, it is a kitchen appliance that is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and frying pan all in one. My learning project will feature a wide variety of recipes including recipes for comfort food, homestyle food, low carb meals, meals suitable for those following various diets (example:  keto), breakfasts, desserts and even baking.  The recipes featured will range from quick easy meals to others that may take a little more prep work. However, nothing really takes that long with the Instant Pot, which is one of the main reasons for its growing popularity.

I have had my Instant Pot since September but have not been very adventurous with it. This learning project will challenge me to try a wide variety of recipes and become comfortable with all the features the Instant Pot offers.

My plan is to first try a variety of recipes for myself that will include healthy low carb/diet meals, in addition to using many of the different cooking features, such as the yogurt button to make homemade yogurt.  After becoming more proficient, I will share the recipes and “the results” with my family and friends.  My hope is to help family and friends that own an Instant Pot to become more comfortable using the appliance, as well as sharing the benefits of the Instant Pot to others not familiar with it.  No guarantee but I may even turn my dog into an “Instant Pot Head” by cooking delicious, homemade dog food!

Laura’s Instant Pot