Aug 18, 2015

under pressure

I had a really dorky moment a few years back in grad school, when I got a CrockPot and some of my classmates had also recently aquired slow cookers, and we were all geeking out a bit. How great it was you could leave it on all day and come home to a hot meal after studio, how great beans and soups and stews were in them, etc. etc.  Probably every generation goes through that moment where slow cookers suddenly change from that sad cooking utensil from your parent's college years  to this somewhat miraculous thing that enables you eat cooked meals like a real grown up.

Probably I wrote a few blog posts about how great they are, too.

Pressure cookers, on the other hand, are like discovering a never-ending stash of cocaine, or a portal to Restaurant With Linens planet. It is difficult to quantify my level of nerdines over pressure cooking, but let's just say that my introduction to pressure cookers ranks right up there with my time in Mexico and Kraft Mac'n'Cheese in the milestones of my culinary development.

Sunday night, I made steak carnita soup. Basically you pan fry a bunch of beef stew meat to brown it, and then dump it in the cooker with an onion, a lot of diced chili peppers, garlic, cumin and ground corriander, and a cup and a half of stock. 40 minutes later, the soup is done and its phenomenal. Meat falling off the bone. The soup flooded with rich beef flavor. The chilis lose most of their sharpness in the heat and pressure so you are left with the flavor and a deep, quiet heat. Especially with some fresh avocado and cilantro tossed in.

Saori invited an old classmate of hers from the language course to join us, Kenji. He told her that he was running late because he wanted to wear his "flashy" shoes. I thought they were slippers first becuse they had giant stuffed gorillas inegrated into them. Actually, they are Adidas shoes, basketball shoes designed by Jeremy Scott who has done a really bizzare line of shoes. Seriously, check it out.

Anyway, Kenji enjoyed the soup and we chatted for a long time. He is apparently very lonely and bored. We actually gave him the last of the soup to take home with him since he lives alone.

Monday, after work, I made BBQ pulled pork. It takes about an hour and a half. Saori had picked up a kilo of pork butt from the grocery store and I browned the surface in oil before sauteeing onions and garlic in the same pan. Meat goes back in, along with a cup of water and a cup of BBQ sauce. Lid, lock, and kick back for an hour. Out comes chunks of BBQ flavored meat so tender you merely touch it to shred it. Mix the BBQ soup in the pot with more BBQ sauce and its fantastic.

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