30 May 2020

Weekend Cooking: The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook by Jeffrey Eisner

Review of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook by Jeffrey EisnerHappy Saturday. I hope all of you are still safe and healthy. We're still doing fine.

The Voracious Ambassador program is on a pressure cooker roll. I have no complaints, but I'm going cut to a spoiler right here: many of the recipes in the cookbook I'm reviewing today could work on the stovetop. So if you don't own a pressure cooker, don't turn away yet!

I use my pressure cooker several times a week and am always happy to get new recipes or inspiration. Thus I couldn't wait to dive into Jeffrey Eisner's The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook (Voracious; April 14), which I received as part of the Voracious Ambassador program.

The first thing I noticed when flipping through the book is that every recipe is set up in clear steps and each step is accompanied by a full-color photo. I love the way Eisner makes the dishes foolproof.

I also appreciate the tips, which are found both in the recipe introductions and in separate well-marked paragraphs. Best of all, I love the real timing for each dish. The total time is broken down into prep, pressure building, pressure cooking, and release time. I hate it when a pressure cooker recipe says "done in 15 minutes," when the truth is that the dish cooks under pressure for those 15 minutes. Thank you, Eisner for giving me the real time.

Review of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook by Jeffrey EisnerOkay, so what kinds of recipes are found in The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook? All the things that the pressure cooker does best: soups and stew, pasta, rice, beans/legumes, and side dishes. There's also a section on making bone broth, and a handful of desserts. Vegetarians will find a few delicious dishes, but this cookbook is definitely geared to the omnivore.

I made Beef and Barley Soup (see my photo), Tex-Mex Brown Rice and Beans, Hungarian Goulash (see my photo), Ultimate Baked Beans, Refried Beans, and Chicken Oreganata, All the dishes were really delicious, and I have a bunch more marked to try.

Now, here's the rest of the spoiler: While Eisner's recipes worked beautifully and were really tasty, I had to wonder about the need for the pressure cooker for some of the recipes. I love my pressure cooker, but I don't use it, just because I can. Many dishes come out just as yummy and just as quickly on the stovetop as they do in the pressure cooker.

Review of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook by Jeffrey EisnerIn fact, I didn't use the pressure cooker to make the chicken recipe. This recipe required some sauteing, and then pressure cooking, and then back to sauteing to thicken the sauce. Finally, the chicken and other ingredients were put into a casserole to be slipped under the broiler. I made everything in a single ovenproof (cast-iron) skillet and had only one pan to clean and didn't have to wait for the cooker to come up to pressure and to release the pressure. *Shrug* It just worked better for me to use the stove.

Is that a criticism of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook? I don't think so. It's more of an observation and a preference on my part. On the other hand, if I had an RV or if I were headed off to a rental cabin or beach house, it's great to know that I could make the chicken (or other recipes in this book), even if I didn't have a stovetop or oven.

Recommendation: Jeffrey Eisner's The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook is prefect for both experienced and just-learning electric pressure cooker lovers. The recipes are flavorful and easy to follow. Vegetarians should look before buying.

The recipe I'm sharing is an example of one that could be made on the stovetop. I would add all the ingredients to a skillet and cook until the beans were how I like them. I have this one marked to try soon.

Szechuan String Beans
Serves 4-6

  • Review of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook by Jeffrey Eisner1 1/4 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or garlic broth
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons siracha
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Put all the ingredients in the Instant Pot and stir well.

2. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, and hit Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release when done.

3. When the lid comes off, you're ready to serve.

Note: recipe and scan used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holder. Thanks to Voracious for the review copy.
Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Mae Travels 5/30/20, 7:55 AM  

"String beans" seems like a retro name for this dish -- I wonder how long it's been since they hybridized the strings off of this vegetable! Now if only they would do it for snow peas. But it sounds really good.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Marg 5/30/20, 8:12 AM  

I totally agree about not using a gadget just for the sake of using a gadget! Less washing up wins for me!

rhapsodyinbooks 5/30/20, 9:02 AM  

Great point about having kitchen cooking gadgets for when you are in a non-stove situation! I hadn't thought about that but it makes so much sense!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 5/30/20, 9:18 AM  

I find my regular recipes very easy to convert to making in the Instant Pot and visa versa! The string beans look delicious..

Jackie McGuinness 5/30/20, 9:22 AM  

I don't have an instant pot, do have a show cooker which is enough for me. I agree, even slow cooker recipes can often be done on the stove. I'm all for saving steps and dishes!
That string bean recipe I learned MANY ( like mid 80s) in my first cooking class which was a very exotic (back then) Szechuan lesson. I still do them with ground pork stir fry!

Tina 5/30/20, 10:18 AM  

Yes to the Szechuan string beans! Right now I am not allowed spicy foods so it's all I want, lol. Doug uses the IP in our house so I'll see if he wants to make anything from this book. That being said, I can adapt for slow cooker or stove top, as you said.

Vicki 5/30/20, 11:18 AM  

I need to get a copy of this book. I love my IP's but I agree with you that some recipes are easier to make on the stove.

SuziQoregon 5/30/20, 12:30 PM  

Real timing should be far more common than it is.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 5/31/20, 9:59 AM  

I agree with your assessment also, when I view some Instantpot recipes I wonder why. Also the tendacy to cook EVERYTHING in the latest appliance. But with that rant completed, I really enjoy mine for the recipes I do cook in it! I want to try the green beans however!

Laurie C 5/31/20, 2:10 PM  

I agree about using the stovetop for slow cooker recipes, too. I guess sometimes the idea is that in a timed electric appliance it won't burn even if you go in the other room and forget it's cooking or leave the house for an errand and wouldn't want to leave the stove on. Of course, we're not doing much besides cooking these days!
I don't have an InstaPot; I think if I were to get a trendy appliance I'd get an air fryer instead. But I probably won't end up with either!

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