Authors: Pamela Rice Hahn
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Pamela Rice Hahn
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Like you, I'm always looking for ways to improve how I prepare food — and how it tastes. Using a pressure cooker helps me do just that.
A pressure cooker not only lets me take inexpensive cuts of meat and turn them into succulent entrées, it also saves me time. In the summer, it provides a way to simulate baking without raising the temperature in the kitchen by heating up the oven.
Today's assortment of safe pressure cookers adds to their versatility. Pressure cookers are available in four-, six-, and eight-quart pressure saucepans, as pressure skillets and braisers, pressure stockpots and canners, and countertop models.
This is my fifth cookbook for the
series. I truly enjoy finding innovative methods for fixing and adapting traditional methods to create tasty food. I'm fortunate that I get to pass that information along through the recipes in my cookbooks. The recipes were tested using the Cuisinart six-quart programmable electric pressure cooker and an assortment of Kuhn Rikon Duromatic and B/R/K models. (See Appendix B for information on pressure cooker manufacturers.)
Throughout the book I provide tips and suggestions to help you cook an endless assortment of family-friendly dishes. My sincere wish is that the time you spend cooking will be more enjoyable because I've helped make the food that comes out of your kitchen not only delicious but also easier to prepare.
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Visit the entire Everything
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For their help and support, I would like to thank everyone at Adams Media. For all of their hard work and perseverance, I would like to thank my agents, Sheree Bykofsky and Janet Rosen. Special thanks also go to my daughter, Lara Sutton; her husband, Randy; and the other joys in my life: Taylor, Charles, and Courtney; Ann, Andrew, Dennis, and Tony Rice; my mother; my sisters Kim, Tam, and Connie and their families, with special thanks to my nephew Brian Teeters; and Eric J. Ehlers, David Hebert, everybody at
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THE PRESSURE COOKER MAKES it possible for you to prepare great-tasting food in ways that save you time and effort.
Pressure cookers aren't a new phenomena. In fact, pressure cookers were especially popular in the 1950s. Back in those days, the typical pressure cooker had a noisy rocking pressure valve on the lid. But because a pressure cooker didn't have an emergency mechanism in place to prevent the cooker from building up too much pressure, it had the tendency to have accidents. Those accidents forced the food inside the pressure cooker out. In other words, that sizzling hot food became sloppy, hot, airborne projectiles. Therefore, while it may not be technically correct to say that the pressure cooker would explode, the accident pretty much amounted to the same result. It's bad enough that you have to wash the dishes after you fix a meal; you don't want to have to wash gunk off of the ceiling, walls, and floors, too.
As you'll learn in Chapter 1, today's new generation of pressure cookers are much safer and easier to use. You'll find evidence of that when you take a quick look at this book. When you do, you'll see that there are recipes for food that can take you from breakfast to lunch to dinner. You can also make snacks, desserts, and dishes for special occasions.
While every effort was made to create foolproof recipes for this book, it's impossible to anticipate every factor that can affect cooking times. For example, a pressure cooker filled with cold, dense food is going to take longer to come to pressure than one that has room temperature or warm food. Regardless of the cooking method, ingredients at room temperature will cook faster than those just out of the refrigerator, and even faster than those fresh from the freezer. Granted, with the exception of some uses for the microwave oven, any food will cook faster in a pressure cooker than it will using any other method. But because it's impossible to predict the overall temperature of the food in all situations when it goes into the pressure cooker, overall cooking times aren't given. In other words, while each recipe will explain how long the food should remain at pressure, it won't state how long it will take that food to come to pressure, because it's impossible to predict.
Convenience isn't a constant either. A pressure cooker isn't practical in every situation, but it is a helpful substitute for other appliances. For example, the oven isn't always practical in the summer, so there are many instances when you can create a similar — if not identical — result in the pressure cooker. Most often, you will be able to achieve this in less time, and you'll always be able to do it without heating up the kitchen. Pressure cookers are perfect for those occasions when you need to do other chores around or away from the house, and the stovetop certainly isn't practical even for the most organized master at multitasking. At these times, an electric programmable countertop pressure cooker is the more practical solution. Different methods will suit your needs at different times — even when it comes to pressure cooker practicality.
Just like when you fix something using any other cooking method, adapting a recipe for the pressure cooker doesn't mean that there is only one correct way to fix each dish. For that reason, this book also includes sidebars that have bonus recipes, tips, and suggestions on how to alter some of the recipes.
Last but not least, it is also worth noting that the exact measurement for salt is seldom given in this book. Unless otherwise indicated, when a recipe calls for salt, sea salt was used to test the recipe. The recipes are designed according to personal preference, so as little salt as possible was added during the cooking process with the assumption that gray sea salt would be available at the table to season the food.