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Culinary designs for living - Instant pot salted caramel cheesecake · 17 March 2019 by colin newell

Salted caramel Instant Pot Cheesecake 2019

I don’t rant much about kitchen appliances. They are all tools and they have a job to do. Few tools, however, are true time and energy savers. The Instant Pot (a digital pressure cooker no less…) has been a revolutionary game changer in our busy little kitchen. We’ve made pastas, BBQ ribs, hot and spicy South Asian creations, cajun classics like Jambalaya, healthy breakfast standards like steel cut oats and eggs (any style) and a very passable risotto! Finally whipping up a delicious and creamy classic New York style cheesecake has been the crowning achievement for the Instant Pot. Here’s how you can do it too!

The recipe for the caramel sauce (which is one of the toughest steps) will be featured in the very next blog entry

Some tips to make the perfect Instant Pot cheesecake

  • Pre-baking the crust will make it crisper and crunchier than freezing.
    • In order to avoid lumps in your batter, ensure that all of your ingredients are room temperature.
  • Take the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you plan to start.
    • Mixing is key to a perfectly smooth cheesecake free of air bubbles and cracks.
    • Do not overmix! 30 seconds of mixing tops per step!
    • Mix on low speed, and add the eggs in one at a time.
  • A springform pan or round cake pan with a removable bottom works best
  • If you line both the bottom and the sides of the pan with parchment paper, you should be able to get that perfect, smooth look along the outside of your cheesecake.
  • The size pan you choose will depend on the size of your Instant Pot. An 8″ pan works well with the 8-quart, while a 6″ to 7″ pan is perfect for the 6-quart.
  • Wrap a sling made of foil around the pan to make removal easier. Fold a long piece of foil in at least thirds, lengthwise. Place the pan in the middle of the foil strip and pull up over either side. When placing the pan on the trivet in the inner liner, make sure the ends of the foil sling are sticking up over the sides.

    Ingredients and process

The Cheesecake:

  • 28 graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
    Graham wafer - the secret to great cheesecake!

The Crust – Spray your 7-inch springform pan lightly with cooking spray.
Cut a piece of parchment paper in a circle to fit the bottom of the pan, then spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the graham crackers, white sugar and butter, and mix well.
Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. I used a whiskey glass – flat bottom – very handy.

Bake at 350F for 13 minutes. Remove and set aside.

The Cheesecake mix
In the bowl of your stand mixer, blend the cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Don’t exceed 30 seconds.
Add in the sour cream and mix until smooth. Don’t exceed 30 seconds.
Add in the flour, salt and vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Don’t exceed 30 seconds of mixing!
Add in the eggs, then mix again until just smooth. At this stage, don’t over mix the batter. 30 seconds per step!

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust.

Water - the key to cheesecake success!

The Instant Pot Process
Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the trivet that came with the pot into the bottom. Cut a piece of aluminum foil the same size as a paper towel. Place the foil under the paper towel, then put the springform pan on top of the paper towel. Wrap the bottom of the pan in the foil, using the paper towel as a barrier.

Next, take another piece of foil about 18 inches long folded into thirds lengthwise. Place this under the springform pan, and use the two sides as a sling to place the cheesecake into the pot. It will also make it very easy to remove the cheesecake from the Instant Pot when it’s done.

Once the pan is in the Instant Pot, secure the lid and press Manual.

Adjust the pressure to high and set for 35 minutes, ensuring that the vent value is in the closed position.
Cook the cheesecake in the alloted time, and when finished, allow the pressure to release naturally.

Remove the cheesecake from the pot using the sling you prepared, and place on a wire rack to cool the cheesecake for an hour.

Cover the cheesecake in the pan with foil, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, top the cheesecake with the caramel sauce (recipe coming) and sprinkle with sea salt.
Using a butter knife, loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the pan and release the sides of the pan. Expect cheers of applause from the folks lucky enough to be sampling your cheesecake!

Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Instant pot living - General Tsao chicken · 27 January 2019 by colin newell

I am a sucker for tasty ethic cooking – whatever it might be. This fairly liberal interpretation of General Tsao Chicken in the Instant-Pot is a good example of one of those dishes. It is cheap to make. You can make it quickly. You can feed a large horde with just one or two Instant Pots. Dig in. Enjoy!

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Winter is coming - Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Soup · 10 November 2018 by colin newell

Instant Post Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This time of year I really enjoy hearty vegetable soups – on dark and dreary late Fall and early Winter weekend evenings, there are few things more satisfying that healthy and filling wholesome vegetable soup. This new Instant Pot recipe feels like it’s destined to be a classic.

Ingredients
3 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 large Carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Coarse Salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground Nutmeg
2 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, low sodium
1 1/2 lbs Broccoli Florets, fresh (chopped-shredded, about 6-8 cups)

Roux To Thicken

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter

To Finish
6 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups Half and Half

Instructions

Gather all ingredients, and prepare all of the vegetables, and shred the cheese. It’s easier if you have it all ready to go.

Turn on the Instant pot’s Sauté setting.
Add the butter and olive oil when it heats up. Then add the onion and cook for a few minutes.
Add the grated carrot and cook for a minute to soften.
Add the pepper. paprika, salt, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring.
Add the broth, and stir.

Add the broccoli, but don’t stir. Put the lid on and lock it in place. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Cancel the Sauté function.

Then press the Pressure Cook/Manual button or dial. Then the + or – to select 5 minutes (High Pressure).

When the cooking cycle is over, let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes (5 minute Natural Release).
Then Quick Release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to the Venting Position.
Turn off the pot.
If you want a creamier consistency, use an immersion blender. I like the slightly more rustic finish.

Mix the flour and butter together in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 15 seconds. Then mix very well until it is smooth.

Turn the Sauté setting back on and mix in the flour/butter mixture and stir until it starts to thicken.
Add the cheeses and stir in. Cancel the Sauté function and add in the half and half. Stir well.

Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.
Serve with some nice sourdough or cheese bread/buns.


Colin Newell is a resident of Victoria B.C. Canada and an active member of the Canadian Media Guild – he enjoys cooking and talking about it.

Enjoy some audio tracks from the brilliant local talent of Jeff Albert… Lonely Love

If the Ocean was Whiskey

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Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta · 25 August 2018 by colin newell

Fresh Tomato Basil pasta with Balsamic crema

It’s a sure sign of summer’s forward motion towards fall when the garden baskets fill with cherry tomatoes and basil plants bow under the weight of their own bounty.

This simple pasta dish is vegetarian/vegan and is a delight paired with a voluminous red white.

Ingredients –

Fettuccine for pasta – fresher the better.
Olive oil
Cherry tomatoes – around 1 cup or so. Halved.
1/2 cup chopped basil (Fresh!) – and chopped fresh garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chili flakes
Balsamic crema
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Process

Put on salted water for pasta (enough for two people…)
Heat a saute pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.
When heat achieved (medium) put in 3/4 of the halved tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper)
Saute for around 2 minutes – then add heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes to taste
Stir for another minute or so and add a 1/4 cup of white wine.
Turn heat down to low medium.
Take half of the chopped basil and throw it into the saute pan. Mix or stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta.
Add it to your Saute pan. Mix to combine. Add 3/4 of the cheese and the remaining basil. Mix to combine.
Divide between two plates and garnish with remaining cheese.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee lover who appreciates simple dishes served with love… and wine…

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Chicken Ramen BBQ for the Thrifty · 16 July 2018 by colin newell

BBQ Chicken Ramen

This Chicken Ramen makes a delicious and flavorful ramen in about half an hour in your Instant Pot digital electric pressure cooker! I used the left over bits from a $9 BBQ Chicken from local grocery Thrifty Foods.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup Fresh Miso
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 whole baby bok choy, both white and green parts diced
1 cup of leftover chicken bits.
4 cups low sodium chicken home made chicken stock
2 servings fresh Ramen noodles. We get our Ramen noodles in the produce section of the local Fairways chain.
Optional 1 soft boiled egg.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add the noodles and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water. Toss with just a little oil if necessary to keep them from sticking (mine already had a little oil on them, so I didn’t need to).

Set aside.

To prepare soup broth:

Add all ingredients except for noodles and bok choy to instant pot. Set to manual, high pressure for 8 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure. After cooking, use the quick release to release pressure. Open pot and stir in bok choy. Allow bok choy to cook in the hot soup for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in Miso.

To serve the ramen
In a bowl, place a serving of noodles, then pour the soup over them. Top soup with ramen egg (if desired), sliced green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds if desired.

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Spiked Sourdough Hybrid Dinner Rolls · 11 March 2018 by colin newell

Victoria B.C. Sourdough Hybrid Rolls

I have a Sourdough starter that goes all the way back to 2008. I did not create it but got a sample a couple of years ago – and I have managed to not kill it.

Which is astounding because I hurtle every form of abuse and indignation in its general direction; starvation, neglect, disinterest… etc. OK, maybe it’s not that bad because it lives on.

For those who don’t know what a sourdough starter is: In its simplest terms, it is flour and water (those are ingredients that you provide…) The environment (or the World around you…) provides the “natural” yeasts. It is easy to say that they “exist” within the flour that you provide, but yeasts (and molds) are everywhere around us.

And in my case, my Sourdough starter which was created in a neighbourhood around 12 km away from where I live must have evolved after it was relocated. Which is to say, while there are “yeasts” everywhere, they are not all the same and they each (collectively) impact different flavours on the different creations (breads, rolls, scones, even pancakes!) you come up with.

So: Sourdough starter is flour, water and a wild yeast that, yes indeed, creates a ferment. Ferment creates alcohol and gas, which is the leavening that we are looking for.

The ferment in the bread making process also fundamentally changes the flavour and the structure of the gluten in the finished product. I could devote 100 pages to what is going on with bread starters and natural bread making. It’s all on the internet but I will integrate my spin on it here if anyone is interested (use the comment field!) Anyway. Onwards.

This recipe is a “spiked” sourdough – meaning there is some powdered yeast that is going to accelerate the process – significantly – reducing some of the nutritional benefits of the longer “ferment”.

Ingredients

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1⁄2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 -4 cups flour (1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat.)
butter, melted

Instructions
Lightly oil two 1/2 dozen muffin tins (or 3 for smaller rolls)
In a large mixing bowl combine starter, water, yeast, salt, sugar and oil.
Stir in flour, adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is manageable.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well.
Place dough in a bowl and cover, set in a warm place to double in size.
When double, punch dough down and with lightly floured hands, form into rolls.
Place in muffin tins and let rise until doubled then bake approximately 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Last 5 minutes of baking, brush with melted butter and return to oven.

These are mad delicious right out of the oven – this recipe makes 12 big rolls or 18 slightly smaller rolls. You can freeze them as well, but trust me: They are not going to last!

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