By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Chief Wife
My husband always says that everything has been invented already. Most oftentimes, I disagree vehemently because that's just a depressing thought. That there would be nothing new for us to discover? If something is completely REinvented, does it have to count as something that was already invented… Hummmm, that's a philosophical discussion for another time. At the moment, I want to share with you my favorite reinvention of the season.
The Pressure Cooker. Yes! Remember that scary device that was in our mothers' kitchen and threatened to explode if you so much as looked at it, not even the wrong way? In our home, it was actually my dad who used it to make soup. I don't think my mom was brave enough. And, for some odd reason, I'm the one, out of the three sisters, who inherited the family's old aluminum pressure cooker. And all I ever made in it was soup. It's a big pot to keep around just to make soup twice a year. I guess that I kept it for sentimental reasons. Soup will do that to you.
But, I only kept it until I could take this photo (sorry, Dad). Because Fagor sent me one of their “modern” pressure cookers. I saw their pressure (presto) cooker lineup at a recent trade show and remember asking the rep if these “things” were making a come back. I think I used a snarky, dismissive tone too. This old “dangerous” cooking method, who would ever want to try that?
Me, it turns out.
And what a wonderful, delightful surprise. Indeed, the REinvented Fagor pressure cookers have built-in safety features that eliminate any of the perceived “dangers” of the old pressure cookers. They are made of high gauge stainless steel, have lids that lock in place and an automatic pressure release system. They have three safety valves that permit any possible excess pressure to escape. No guess-work needed. Completely safe.
But here's what's really great about pressure cooking:
- Reduces cooking time by 70%. I made a risotto the other night. On a SCHOOL night! My family loves risotto but I rarely make it because I simply don't have the time to babysit it while the liquids are absorbed. But, in the pressure cooker, just as the recipe said, in 7 minutes (and those were hands-off minutes which I used to prepare a salad) the risotto was done. Tender and perfectly moist.
- Keeps the vitamins. Cooking foods under pressure (the cooker's pressure, not yours) helps foods retain more vitamins and minerals. They retain more of their natural color too (no more khaki colored broccoli).
- Cooks everything from soups to desserts. You can cook pretty much anything in it: soups, stews, vegetables, beans & grains, meats or fish and desserts. Cheesecake and flan are on my list to try next.
You can find Fagor Pressure Cookers on Amazon or shop for them at Macy's or Bed Bath & Beyond. Prices vary depending on the unit.