Remember the days when women were depicted as the sole inhabitants of the kitchen, getting SO excited about receiving new appliances that helped her make tasty meals for her “men” much faster?
Today everyone gets into the kitchen and we are still excited about new and innovative appliances, along with our desire for easier and faster ways to deal with meal preparation.
Innovative electronic appliances from companies such as Chefman and Instant Pot really do make cooking easier, faster and a more satisfying–almost magical done with the mere touch of a button!
I tested 2 pressure cookers/programmable cookers that do more than you can imagine: the CHEFMAN Electric Pressure Cooker Programmable Multicooker 2.5 Qt, and the Instant Pot Ultra Pot 10-in-1/6 quart Pressure Cooker. I also tried the CHEFMAN 5 Tray Round Food Dehydrator to make almost magical work of a process that used to take weeks or months.
Why Use A Pressure Cooker?
My grandmother had a pressure cooker that terrified me. It had no gauges and a steam release top that whistled ominously until it shook and emitted a high pitched shriek!. She always seemed to burn her pulling off the steam cap.
However, if you cook under pressure, you can reduce cooking time up to 70%. More than that, today’s pressure cookers are electronic, safe, efficient, use pre-programmed buttons if you wish, and the pots cook recipes so quickly you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.
The Instant Pot
The Instant Pot Ultra Pot 10-in-1 6 quart Pressure Cooker ($150) is an entire kitchens’ worth of appliances in one pot.
It’s not just a pressure cooker, it’s can replace up to 10 commonly used kitchen appliances – Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing Pan, Steamer, Warmer, Sterilizer, and the Ultra program. There are 16 Smart programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Cake, Egg, Slow Cook, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Sterilize, Yogurt, Warm, Pressure Cook, and Ultra (custom programming).
Six quarts is a family sized pot. There are so many uses, bells & whistles, I can’t even list them all.
Consider: for new moms, it’s great to pasteurize dairy products, sterilize baby bottles, and also jars, and utensils. For the rest of us, tired and often over-worked, using an Instant Pot like this one is a great way to make tasty meals that used to take hours, and get out of the kitchen and do something else with our precious time.
Drive My Pot!
You don’t need a driver’s license to work an Instant Pot, but learning to “drive” the functions takes a little bit of practice to ensure your safety.
After my experience with my grandmother’s scary old pressure cooker, I never felt safe using a pressure cooker, but the Instant Pot has 11 safety mechanisms and a new Quick Release Button ensures the safer handling of the steam release after cooking is completed.
There’s also a Cooking Indicator to provide a visual on the progress of the dish from preheating, through the cooking phase, and Keep Warm; and, Altitude Adjustment to adjust recipes for cooking at altitudes above 2000ft/610m with an automatic altitude unit conversion.
Tip: Use a Recipe:
The chicken and lemongrass dish I made for my first test with the Instant Pot looks fancy, but it took almost no time to prepare. I just put the ingredients in the pot, set it, and it came out amazing!
When you’re learning, using a recipe that has been tested by experts certainly can help. For my chicken dish test, I didn’t wing it (pun intended). I used a recipe from the new book: Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast Fresh and Flavorful by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia is a must (Saint Martins Press 2014). This book was created for instant-pot users (read my review of the cookbook on advicesisters.com)
To be honest, I’m still learning and some of my dishes are better than others, but the Instant Pot is a miracle for people who love to cook in new and more efficient ways, and also for those who hate to cook and just want to make great meals, easily and quickly
The Following appliances from CHEFMAN reduce the amount of time you need to do chores that used to take hours !
They are AMAZING!
CHEFMAN 2 qt. Cooker
If you think you have all the appliances and pots you need, you haven’t met the Chefman Electric Pressure Cooker Programmable Multicooker!
This 2.5-quart size (larger sizes are available) multi-cooker/pressure cooker ($60) is the perfect size for singles and couples.
Not everyone needs a big pot but still, it functions like the larger ones, offering versatility as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, food steamer, browning-sauté pan, yogurt/soup maker, and more! The electric pot with 9 built-in programmable features; high pressure, low pressure, rice, soup/stew, chili/beans, beef/poultry, slow cook, steam, and sauté.
There is also a 24-hour delay timer and warming feature. This pot is small enough to sit on a counter without taking up all the space on it. Like the larger pots, you have to practice just a bit with any pressure cooker/ instant pot style electric device.
Tip: Watch Proportions
I tried turmeric rice as my first recipe, but I couldn’t find a good one so I tweaked a recipe for a larger pot. Everything seemed to be going well until I was ready to release to pressure guage (now completely safe–you don’t touch it with your hands). When I did this, excess liquid leaked out all over the place.
Yup, it made a mess even though the rice was yummy. Not every recipe translates perfectly. After checking with the product development team, it was clear that I either put too much rice in the pot, didn’t turn the steam vent to airtight, or did not lock the lid correctly.
When using a pressure cooker it’s necessary to add at least 1.5 – 2.5 cups / 355 – 473 ml (depending on quart size) of water or other liquids with a thin, watery consistency so enough steam can be generated to cook under pressure. These liquids include cooking sauces, wine, beer, and stocks. Oils and oil-based sauces do not have sufficient water content and do not account for the required liquid volume.
With smaller pots, you can use the max line inside the pot that says cup 3/5 which is for rice, and a max full line for everything else. You can scale down most recipes made for a large pressure cooker to about 1/3, and a little less than recipes for a 3qt. and there are those indicator lines in the pot to help guide you.
However, for now, I’m sticking to recipes sized for smaller volumes….at least for now. With a good recipe, the CHEFMAN instant Pot is nearly effortless!
CHEFMAN Food Dehydrator
In the past, one way to dry and “cure” the harvest was to hang it from the ceiling, perhaps in the barn. However, the more efficient way to dry jerky, fruit, or veggies or preserve herbs, is with an electronic dehydrator.
I always wanted one, but they used to be almost industrial in size, and priced just as large.
The CHEFMAN 5 Tray Round Food Dehydrator ($40) isn’t much larger than a dinner plate at 10.4 x 10.4 x 7.4 inches and 1.2 ounces but it does a good job of dehydrating just about any type of foods easily, quickly, cleanly and efficiently.
Five lightweight dishwasher-safe trays stack, so you can pack a lot into one dehydrating session.
I grow a lot of herbs but I can’t use them up right away, and drying them make a mess on the floor and the flavor often faded as they were drying.
With the CHEFMAN Food Dehydrator I can preserve herbs so that they stay at their peek of flavor. I tried it with cilantro and in just a couple of hours I had weeks’ worth of herbs for everything from seasonings to Guacamole (you can re-hydrate as you wish).
My photos above show my success with pineapple rings. These are delicious but expensive in most stores. I used canned pineapple (you can use fresh, of course) and again, the results were stunningly successful. All I did was place the rings on the tray, turn on the machine, and wait.
The Chefman doesn’t require an advanced degree to operate. Just place your produce in the trays (you may pre-treat some fruits and veggies for color preservation) and turn on the CHEFMAN. Within hours (or overnight in some cases) your items will dehydrate. Then you can pack them in containers.
Cleanup is easy, even though some items may have liquid in them. My test with strawberries confirmed this!
Now that I have this electronic food dehydrator I use it all the time. If you want to eat healthier or just pack fruit in your children’s lunches that are all natural, this dehydrator will be your most favorite appliance ever! It would make a fabulous gift for the new graduate, home-owner, or bride/groom.
You can get CHEFMAN Food Dehydrators in a wide variety of places on and offline. This is the most compact size with 5 trays, but there are larger CHEFMAN food dehydrators ranging in price from $99-$150 on places like Amazon.com. For more information visit the CHEFMAN website