FOOD: Two trendy kitchen gadgets to try now

Air-fried chocolate cake? Yes, please!
Air-fried chocolate cake? Yes, please! Photo courtesy of Philips Airfryer
Food consultant Linda Funk calls the Instant Pot “a pretty amazing appliance.”
Food consultant Linda Funk calls the Instant Pot “a pretty amazing appliance.” PhotO by Blair Gable | www.blairgable.com — courtesy of Instant Pot

Pressure cooking 101

Chef Johanna Outwin shared these tips for pressure-cooker success:

 Read the manual. All the pressure cookers work the same way, but operating each one is different.

 Always have at least 1 cup of liquid when cooking and don’t overfill it.

 Clean the air pipe and the vent pipe very well after each use (a pipe or straw cleaner works great). It will not be safe to cook with clogged vents.

 Oil the rubber gasket or sealing ring every time you use it, so it doesn’t dry out.

 Cooking frozen food is not recommended, but if you do, the cooking times are going to vary a lot.

 Watch the heat. Some stoves are not calibrated correctly. Medium-high on one stove can be high on another, and that will ruin whatever you are cooking. Just keep an eye on it and never walk away when using a pressure cooker.

 If you have a new pressure cooker, don’t be afraid to use it. Read the manual and practice. The more you use it, the more you’ll love it.

It’s Valentine’s Day. And while kitchen gadgets don’t rate high on the list of romantic presents, here are two you’re bound to love — an air fryer and an electric multicooker like an Instant Pot.

“It’s pretty much the big rage,” said food consultant Linda Funk. “You can make yogurt in there. You can make rice. It’s a pretty amazing appliance.”

Whip up steel-cut oats or slow cook osso buco.

“It can do almost anything,” she added. “I gave away my Crock-Pot. You don’t need it anymore. It becomes a Crock-Pot. It’s also a pressure cooker that’s not scary.”

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And pressure cookers save time.

“The pressure cookers and electric cookers are becoming really popular because people want to cook quickly,” said New Jersey chef Johanna Outwin, who recently taught a pressure-cooker class with “fall-off-the-bone” chicken and beef stew.

“The beef stew if you make it on the stove or you make in a slow cooker, it takes hours,” she explained. “It took us 35 minutes for the beef stew. It is really, really good.”

Outwin favors a stovetop pressure cooker because “they’re not dangerous anymore,” and “I have everything else,” she said. However, “if people are starting on their own or don’t have much equipment, the electric cooker would be great for them because they can do a lot.”

Want to eat healthier, but can’t resist fried foods?

With an air fryer, “you’re not using any extra oils to make it nice and crispy,” described Funk. “You would not believe how good it tastes!”

Think cheeseburgers, Cajun shrimp and even chocolate cake.

“It’s easy, easy, easy,” she said. “It’s forced hot air. It’s almost like convection, if you will, but it’s this little air fryer that sits on the counter.”

Sure, you can make chips and fries, but veggies taste great too. Try “the brussels sprouts you will fight over” by Christina Verrelli, a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner, food blogger and Kitchen Aid on-air guest for QVC.

The bottom line, according to Funk: “People who don’t have big, expensive kitchens can still do fabulous things in these appliances.”

Pressure-Cooker Beef Stew

Ingredients

1½ pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups beef broth

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1½ cups canned diced tomatoes

2 to 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 to 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Instructions

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge the beef, shake off the excess flour and set aside. Combine the beef broth, Worcestershire and mustard in a measuring cup and set aside. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning frequently, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate and discard any excess fat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil to the cooker. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the beef broth mixture and tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the beef to the cooker and bring the mixture to a simmer, raising the heat if necessary.

Cover the cooker, lock the lid into place and bring it to high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure, then remove from heat, release the pressure, taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the potatoes, carrots, turnip and thyme leaves. Cover the cooker and lock the lid in place. Bring the cooker back to high pressure and then cook the stew for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the cooker from the heat and allow the pressure to drop naturally before opening. Spoon the stew into bowls and serve immediately.

RECIPE COURTESY OF CHEF JOHANNA OUTWIN

Fall-Off-the-Bone Pressure-Cooker Chicken

Ingredients

1 whole (4-pound) chicken

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1½ cups of chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

6 garlic cloves peeled

Instructions

In a small bowl, combine paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Rub seasoning over outside of the bird. Heat oil in the pressure cooker to shimmering. Add chicken, breast-side-down, and cook 6 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and add broth, lemon juice and garlic cloves. Lock pressure cooker lid and set for 25 minutes on high. Let the pressure cooker release naturally. Remove from pressure cooker and let stand for 5 minutes before carving.

RECIPE COURTESY OF CHEF JOHANNA OUTWIN

Easy Osso Buco

Serve over saffron risotto, just plain rice or polenta. Place the veal shanks on their sides, so that the meat can fit in the Instant Pot in a single layer.

Ingredients

1 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrot

½ cup finely chopped celery

¼ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 (14 ½ -ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 teaspoons olive oil

6 (10-ounce) veal shanks (2 inches thick)

¾ cup chardonnay or other dry white wine

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1 small garlic clove, minced

Instructions

Combine first 8 ingredients (through garlic), ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper in the inner pot of a 6-quart Instant Pot. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle veal with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add half of veal to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Place veal in cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining veal. Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a simmer; cook until reduced to ½ cup (about 2 minutes). Pour wine mixture over veal in cooker. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Turn the steam release handle to “Venting” position. Press “Slow Cook” and use “Adjust” to select “Less” mode. Press [-] or [+] to choose 4 hours cook time. (Cook additional time, if necessary, until veal is very tender.)

Remove veal from cooker; keep warm. Skim fat from surface of cooking liquid; pour cooking liquid into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 3 cups (about 13 minutes), stirring occasionally. Combine parsley, orange rind and 1 garlic clove in a small bowl. Divide veal among 6 shallow bowls; top evenly with cooking liquid and parsley mixture. Serves 6.

RECIPE COURTESY OF INSTANT POT

The Brussels Sprouts You Will Fight Over

Ingredients

1 pound fresh brussels sprouts

5 teaspoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Roasted garlic and thyme dipping sauce (optional):

½ cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons roasted garlic, smashed

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Remove any tough or bruised outer leaves. Trim the stems. Cut in half vertically. Rinse and shake dry. In a bowl, toss with olive oil and salt.

For air frying with the Philips Airfryer: Set Airfryer to 390 degrees and preheat. Add prepared sprouts to basket and set timer for 15 minutes. While cooking, occasionally remove and shake basket or stir. The sprouts are done when the centers are tender and the outsides are caramelized and a bit crispy. Enjoy!

For the dipping sauce: Combine ingredients in bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made a day ahead of time.

To roast garlic in your Airfryer: Place foil-wrapped garlic in basket and cook at 390 degrees for about 30 minutes.

RECIPE COURTESY OF CHRISTINA VERRELLI, WWW.EPICURICLOUD.COM

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

3 eggs

½ cup sour cream

1 cup flour

2/3 cup caster sugar (white or fine)

9 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

Chocolate icing:

5½ ounces chocolate

3½ tablespoons unsalted softened butter

1 2/3 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Preheat the Airfryer to 320 degrees. Place cake ingredients into a food processor or bowl and mix well. Transfer to an 8-inch round oven dish. Place the oven dish into the basket of the Airfryer. Slide the basket into the Airfryer and set the timer for 35 minutes. Once the time is up and the timer rings, prick cake with a wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through. If it’s still sticky, place the cake back into the Airfryer and set the timer for another 5 minutes. Remove dish from the basket and leave the cake to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate au bain-marie (water bath or double boiler) or in the microwave. Leave to cool a little, then mix all of the icing ingredients together. Remove cooled cake from the oven dish and place on a plate. Cover with chocolate icing and serve.

RECIPE COURTESY OF PHILIPS AIRFRYER