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My cooking during this time relies heavily on the pressure cooker and slow cooker: two appliances that earn their weight in gold. I've been a fan of the pressure cooker for many years but only recently obtained an electric model. I feel comfortable with it already, mostly because I've used it a couple times a week since I've gotten it. I'm planning a post comparing my electric and stovetop pressure cookers, but for now I'll say that, despite a few limitations, I really love the ease of the electric.
Anyway, knowing that for the next eight weeks or so, dinners will be mainly tried-and-true easy dishes, this week I made three new recipes. I consider each one a success. I made some changes, as I'll point out, but I think you could make them just as written. These recipes are pinned to my Recipes: Tried and Liked board, so you can find them easily. (Note: all photos come from the pins.)
First up was Fennel Gratin with Walnut-Thyme Breadcrumbs from Bon Appetit magazine, which I served along with grilled salmon. We really loved the flavor of this, especially with the fish. Although I rarely cook with heavy cream, I indulged for a change and was happy with the results. The only problem was that it made too much for the two of us to eat in one sitting, and neither of us loved the way it reheated. Next time, I'll cut the recipe in half or make sure we have company.
The Black Bean & Kale Tortilla Soup is a Rachel Ray recipe. The accompanying photograph makes this look like a salad, but really, it's soup; apparently the photographer went wild when styling this pic. I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, and of the suggested soup toppings, we used scallions, radishes, limes, and Cheddar cheese. Oh, and I simplified the tortilla part. Rachel Ray has you slice corn tortillas, salt them, and then bake until crisp. I simply crushed some premade white corn tortilla chips; I didn't feel the need to make my own.
Finally, I made Hungarian Beef Stew, which is an Ellie Krieger recipe and appeared in Cooking Light magazine. I didn't change anything about this recipe, except I cooked it in my new electric pressure cooker. But I'm sure that it would taste just as awesome if it were made in the oven as the recipe suggests. Next time, if I make it in the pressure cooker, I'll use about a cup less liquid because nothing is boiled off during the cooking process. This was also great reheated the next day. For those who want to know how I made this under pressure: I followed steps 1 and 2 using the Instant Pot's saute setting, then I put everything else in (including veggies) and cooked at high pressure for 14 minutes. Then I turned the cooker off and let it release pressure naturally for 15 minutes, after which I turned the valve to release all the remaining pressure instantly.