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Me vs. The Pressure Cooker

08 Feb

Me: 4, Pressure cooker evil devil: 1.

pressurecooker.jpg

I think I’ve never before actually been excused from work officially by a doctor. Certainly it is a “luxury” that one will never get in the USA, and I’m grateful to exercise it once in 5 years here in Germany. I’ve had a good week to recover from what turned out to be a nasty case of BPPV (I didn’t know what it was either), or alternatively an infected nerve between the brain and the inner ear. The doctors (and there were many – too many in the end) didn’t quite know what it was. I gave up before they did. Will have one or two more appointments…but then that’ll hopefully be it.

Anyway, I’m working a bit from home today, which is a break from doctors and from an admitted dose of boredom. Thankfully the room doesn’t spin anymore when I look at the computer. Read a great post by Avinash Kaushik about today’s best digital marketing experiences, which led me to find a really wonderful new website: songza (don’t bother clicking unless you are in the US/Canada or using an IP address that shows you in the US/Canada – it’s not available in Europe or Asia). I’ve already hyped it on facebook, but a second plug here (yeah, I have one of those IP addresses that shows me on the east coast of the US).

It’s frankly totally awesome. Check out the home page when you land on it:

songzapick

Super simple. And it looks to my computer to see what day of the week it is and what time of day. Then rather than sending me down a long route of filtering exactly what genre I want (although it offers me that option too if I what it), it starts off with offering me some easy options. When I work and write, I’m not able to listen to music with lyrics, it’s just way too distracting for me – and I guess a bunch of other people aren’t as well, because that is one of their categories (Working, no lyrics). A few clicks further, I had picked out Acoustic Guitar to listen to and I was on my way.  Really nice music curation – at least to my taste.

songza

Now back to that pressure cooker…

Actually there isn’t much of a story to tell yet. I am not an expert yet. But I have cooked with it 5 times already:

1) Chicken soup: great and fast as promised. Cut the cooking time down by about 2/3.
2) Chana Dal: ummmmm great. Very creamy and tasty. Again, cooking time down significantly – at least 50%
3) Black beans – sort of mexican style. Solid, not great – I could have let them go longer. Flavor not as developed because of the shorter cooking time (I think).
4) Chickpea and spinach soup. MAJOR DISASTER. By this point perhaps I was a little too cocky, I dunno…but what happened was that this soup is supposed to be pureed when you’re done cooking the chickpeas and only after that do you add the spinach and pressure cook it for *one more minute.* It seems like that was where the mess came in. I must not have thoroughly mixed the soup up enough. So the bottom of the soup – heavy with unpureed or partially pureed chickpeas – burned. And I don’t mean just a little burned. I mean CHARCOAL. As I waited for the pressure cooker to heat up the second time I could smell something burning and I was hoping that it was just a tiny bit on the bottom worst case. Nope. Soup went uneaten. 😦 Pot was a wreck. Took me 30 minutes to scrub the charcoal from the bottom of that thing – and that was after the recommended baking soda and vinegar treatment.
5) Tomato Broad beans (yeah, I know, there is a bean trend, but I think broccoli will be next): Whew – back to success. These suckers take at lease 3 hours in boiling water when you don’t soak them overnight in advance (which I hadn’t). In a pressure cooker: 1 hour. Nice. Those were lunch today.

So all in all, it’s been fun experimenting. Now I want a slow-cooker. 😉 If I come up with any brilliant recipes in the next weeks, I’ll be sure to pass on the wisdom.

The part I hate though: that you can’t open the pot until it’s done. Very frustrating and something to really get used to for someone like me, who is used to opening the pot every 5-10 minutes to check on progress. Learning patience.

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