The number of my kitchen “toys” has grown over the last two years. Christmas of 2013 George gave me a panini grill/griddle and a stove top smoker. Over the past year I have made good use of my panini grill, making a wide variety of panini and grilled sandwiches – think Reuben! My smoker has had a fair amount of use as I have smoked trout, pork chops, and ribs in my smoker.
This year my mother gave George and I (ok, really just me) a pressure cooker. I recall a pressure cooker from somewhere in my childhood. I can’t remember if it was used by my Mom or one of my grandmothers. I only remember that it scared the living daylights out of me. My new pressure cooker doesn’t look at all like the scary thing I remember so I was really excited to try out my new toy. Shortly after I got my pressure cooker I made a Cuban black bean dish from the recipe book included with the pressure cooker that was really good.
I want to expand my repertoire of dishes making use of these tools so I did a little research and discovered two cook books – one dedicated to stove top smoking and one to pressure cooking – that I absolutely needed to add to my collection. And here they are!
My UPS man dropped them off late Friday afternoon so I am just beginning to explore the books.
The stove top smoker book, Smokin’, begins with basic information about using the smoker; why medium heat vs high heat, what woods to use with which foods and why (truly crucial knowledge), and how to use the smoker as a steamer (not too likely in this household as, as you can imagine, I have steamers). The book provides information on smoking fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and cheese. It also includes recipes using those smoked products. It like getting two cookbooks in one – I love a bargain!
The pressure cooker cook book, Pressure Cooker Perfection, is put out by America’s Test Kitchen; the same people who put out my favorite cooking magazine Cook’s Illustrated. This book begins with a general discussion about pressure cookers and, in true Cook’s Illustrated fashion rates both electric and stove top models: my new stove top model was highly recommended – thanks Mom! Then it quickly moves into recipes for all manner of dishes and meals that can be done in a pressure cooker. I was astounded at the number and variety of dishes that can be made in under 45 minutes!
My plan is to pick one recipe from each cookbook and put it on the menu for next week. I’ll keep you posted on my adventures!