This post may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure here.Almost a year ago I wrote on this very blog that I would not bake hamantaschen for you. I had been too intimidated, citing reasons founded in my childhood for why I refused to bake. Yet, here I am posting a recipe for an excellent Chocolate Stout Hamantaschen. What gives?
In the past year, a lot has changed. I have finished a whole college school year, the then-fiance became the now-husband, and I have had a lot of time to read. Specifically, I’ve been reading a lot about baking. I’ve been experimenting and tasting. Trying to break that mystery which has eluded me for so long and–finally!–I broke through. I can’t tell you when I exactly reached that a-ha! moment, only that I did. And thanks to that breakthrough, the recipe I’m sharing with you today now exists.
Disclaimer required by Federal Law: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase an item from a product link, we’ll receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and helps us keep this blog running. Rest assured that if we include a link, it’s because we trust and/or recommend the product. Read our full disclosure for more information.If you follow our page on Facebook, then you already know that I’ve been struggling cooking for our household of two. It’s been especially difficult now that we’re blogging and I cook more often. I’m starting to experience that we’re wasting a lot of fresh produce. My heart breaks every time I throw out a sad carrot that I had promised I would use.
And it just so happens that I’m having trouble cooking consistently lately. Workload has been forcing me to work a bit later on the weekdays, which pushes my school study time later, and…come on…honestly? Do I really want to cook tonight? Yes, I hope my new Instant Pot will help to solve or–at least mitigate–some of this struggle.
My latest obsession: Persian Food
This becomes kind of a problem as my cookbook addiction continues. While I still primarily lean on Google to find new recipes, I can’t get the inspiration that can be gleaned from a well-written and expertly photographed cookbook, such as Naomi Duguid’s Taste of Persia. Continue Reading…
This year I received the adult/blogging equivalent of that homemade Valentine’s just you know someone’s crafty mom had worked all night to make perfect. An invite to participate and share recipes from bloggers all over the world for our best Valentine’s Day recipes. Organized by the super talented Laurence Makano (check out her strawberry pancakes below), all twelve of us came up with what we thought to be the best of our arsenal for showing love. Check it out below and follow the links to your newest Valentine’s inspiration. Continue Reading…
Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Pressure Cooker
- 9-minute chicken legs, need I say more? Seriously, the speed of the pressure cooker is mindboggling.
- Close to no evaporation. No evaporation = fewer lost nutrients.* (updated 3/8/17 as a result of better research)
- No-soak beans are super easy in the pressure cooker.
- Super tender braises, stews, and soups in a fraction of the time of other methods.
- Pressure cooker cheesecake. I know I mentioned it before and I haven’t made it yet, but I’ve had others make it for me.
To wrap up the series, I’m going to share a roundup of all of our pressure cooker recipes to date. Hopefully, you find something new to try! Continue Reading…
What are you doing for Valentine’s day?
We initially didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but suddenly I saw a cute blog post about an idea for Valentine’s day. Next thing you know, I’m buying gifts and making arts & crafts. Damn you, Pinterest! Naturally, this means I also started thinking food. There is nothing better than a decadent, boozy French beef stew, ala Boeuf Bourguignon, for a romantic evening. In initial testing for this recipe, the husband confirmed this.
Pressure Cooker Boeuf Bourguignon
I’m going to give you instructions for both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker boeuf bourguignon, but I’ll give you a tip: they’re nearly the same. I first starting making boeuf bourguignon (the French name for the same dish known as beef burgundy) after receiving a copy of America’s Test Kitchen 2001-2013 seasons cookbook. In it, they had a recipe for a slow cooker version that was pure genius. Continue Reading…
Chinese New Year meal – top left: noodles with meat and veggies; top right: steamed dumplings; bottom: mian bao, steamed and then fried dough with sweet condensed milk
The husband hasn’t celebrated Chinese New Year in a long time, but the last two years I wanted to celebrate it with him. So far, we’ve only eaten out. I’m too intimidated by the preparation of such a grand feast to do it myself.
Pressure Cooker Mongolian Beef
Our first year together, I asked to celebrate Chinese New Year with the then-boyfriend. We weren’t really sure where to go or what to do, so I searched Chinese New Year in our city. It turns out that P.F. Chang’s was having an affordable deal for the holiday. He laughed, said it was somehow symbolic of his background and we went. It was delicious! One of the dishes we had was a Mongolian beef that he really enjoyed. This pressure cooker version is our copycat version. Continue Reading…
3 surprising uses for your pressure cooker
We absolutely hate clutter in our household. In fact, just last night I had a nightmare revolving around clutter. So, of course, we also hate one-use products. When I first got into sous vide, I set out to prove to myself that it can do so much more than just cook a good piece of salmon or steak. Luckily, pressure cookers carry their weight in the kitchen, and not just the aforementioned Instant Pot.
All pressure cookers are capable of being multitaskers and don’t feel limited to just doing braises. Here are our favorite uses for the pressure cooker:
- Cooking dried beans without the usual 12-hour presoaking.
- Throw away your rice cooker…unless you have a Zojirushi. Pressure cookers make wonderful rice cookers.
- Pressure cooker cheesecake, anyone?
The Pressure Cooker: Just Another Trend
Or is it? For what feels like decades the hot kitchen gadget has been the slow cooker. And why not?! The slow cooker has been every busy adult’s saving grace by basically giving us another hand in the kitchen. Just throw some ingredients into a pot in the morning and dinner is ready by the evening. However, the slow cooker has had some misgivings. 1. It’s slow. Yeah, that’s kind of the point, but sometimes we haven’t planned a meal. Sometimes we need something we can pick up on the way home from work or school and throw together–quickly–to feed our families; 2. not all models of slow cookers are created equally which sometimes leads to failure via too much evaporation of cooking liquid or, even worse, burning of dinner; and 3. all that evaporation = loss of valuable nutrients.
This is where the pressure cooker comes in. Pressure cookers work magic by trapping in the moisture in your food via a very tight seal. Since the moisture, or more accurately, water can’t leave, it’s forced to stay inside the pot as the heat rises and the water molecules get very excited building up heat. This brings the temperature in the pressure cooker to skyrocket beyond the boiling point even within the food itself. Because of all this, pressure cookers are one of the fastest methods for cooking out there. Imagine an 8-hour braise taking just 20 minutes or less. The science behind pressure cookers is not as simple as all of that, but that’s the general idea of them.
The modern marvel: the Instant Pot
And, if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the Instant Pot, the multitasker electric pot that has a resume of skills most of us can’t boast. In fact, NPR just ran a piece on the sudden rise of popularity of this new kitchen gadget. For full disclaimer, I don’t own one of these and honestly, don’t know that I would. I wouldn’t tell this to Instant Pot fans, though–they recently tore into America’s Test Kitchen for giving it a meh review on Facebook (I can’t find the thread, or else I’d link it for your viewing pleasure). But I have been cooking with a pressure cooker for years and definitely can tell you it is worth the hype.
Just don’t take grandma’s secondhand one. These things haven’t always been perfectly safe.
But first…about balancing school and work
The new semester has started, which means my time has become a little more pressed. As you may recall, I’m taking a full-time schedule this semester. This is on top of my full-time work schedule. I’m trying to find some way — any way — to fit more hours into the day. I’ve failed. However, what I have done is found ways to be more efficient in other areas of my life. So far, these are the things that have saved me the most time and hassle: Continue Reading…