I have been looking for a new set of dishes for, literally, years. I have looked everywhere within a 50 miles radius of my hometown. I haven’t found anything that has appealed to me. Its all been to dainty and delicate. If there is one thing I am not it is dainty and delicate. So I have kept looking and looking for something, anything, that appealed to me.
A few weeks ago, my friend, Steph, gave me a set of dishes for helping her move for the 4th time in four years. Her dad bought the set from an estate sale and gave them to her for her new apartment about 3 moves ago. The dishes weren’t really Steph’s style so she never unpacked them. She thought I might like them since I was having such a hard time finding something I like. I think she just didn’t want to move them again. LOL.
All I had seen of the dishes was the salt and pepper shakers. I had a vague memory of my mom having a set just like them except in a green color when I was a kid so I said yes, I would take them. I am so glad I did. I absolutely love them!! They are so me!
I have done some research on them and found they are from a company called Pfaltzgraf, based in York, Pennsylvania. The design is called Brown Drip and came out in the 1950’s. The set wasn’t as complete as I hoped but that just means I can have fun hunting down the pieces I still want when I go to flea markets and antique shops. My youngest brother, Russell and his family live in York so I’ll be able to see what I can find when I go visit them.
I am so excited about having a set of matching dishes and the nice silverware I got for Christmas from my parents. I actually feel like a grown up.
On Black Friday I finally bought a 6 quart pressure cooker. No, it wasn’t an Insta – Pot. Even when Insta – Pots are on sale they are still a little too expensive for my budget. I bought a 6 quart Farberware pressure cooker. It was literally, half the price of the Insta – Pot on sale and it works beautifully.
So what happened to my 2 quart pressure cooker? Don’t I love it any more? Yes, I still love my little 2 quart pressure cooker. I still use it for the majority of my pressure cooking. However, as I learned more about pressure cooking and what they can and can not do, I realized there were a lot of things that my 2 quart pressure cooker just couldn’t do due to its small size. So I decided to go big or go home.
The first thing I made in my 6 quart pressure cooker was the taco soup recipe that came in the recipe booklet with the pressure cooker. I love soup so I make it year around. 90 degrees above or 40 degrees below zero soup is awesome. The only change I made to the recipe isn’t really a change. I used my homemade ranch dressing and my homemade taco seasoning instead of the store bought packets. You can use the stuff out of the packets if you want too.
Oh, I should really answer the question I posed in the title of my post. I you can only afford one pressure cooker, I would go with the 6 quart pressure cooker rather than the 2 quart pressure cooker to begin with. According to the instructions included with my 6 quart pressure cooker, which were only marginally better then those with my 2 quart pressure cooker, as long as I have a minimum of one cup liquids and 1 cup solids I can cook a small meal in the 6 quart pressure cooker.
1 lb ground beef
2 (16 oz) cans pinto beans
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (1oz) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 (1 oz) package taco seasoning
4 cups water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a 6 quart pressure cooker, saute your ground beef until no longer pink. Drain the fat from the hamburger. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, dry ranch salad dressing mix, and dry taco seasoning. Pour over the ground beef. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, and stir to combine. Lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Use a natural release. Top each serving with cheddar cheese.
Last week was a soup kind of week. It isn’t cold but I have been incredibly lazy in the kitchen so I made soups all week long. Soups are quick to throw together and I don’t have to pay much attention to it while it cooks, especially if I do it in the pressure cooker. However, a cup of soup isn’t a whole meal so I needed a little something more. I decided to try a recipe for corn bread muffins I had seen in Christina Lane’s Comfort and Joy Cookbook. I am not usually the biggest fan of corn bread. It is usually too sweet, too dry and too crumbly for my taste but Christina Lane has never let me down so I decided to give it a try. Christina’s cornbread was none of those things. I really liked it and will make it often.
Have you ever been to Christina Lane’s awesome blog, Dessert for Two? If you haven’t, go now, really, what are you waiting for? GO!!!!! I have been a Dessert for Two follower for years and tried, literally dozens of her recipes and they are always awesome. Although, if you do go to her blog, I take no responsibility if your pants don’t fit at the end of the week.
A Small Batch of Corn Muffins
1/2 cup cornmeal, stone ground blue or yellow
1/3 cup flour
2 TBS white sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a six cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well to combine. In a small bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and let sit for a minute or two. Fill each muffin cup 2/3’s full with batter. Bake 12 – 15 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Today I lost my beautiful Budgie boy, Annie. I knew he was sick for a while and there was nothing I could do to make him better but nothing prepares you finding his bright spirit has left this world.
Annie spent the last few days sleeping next to his bff, Harper. Now that Annie is gone, does Harper understand what happened to Annie? Do Harper and the other birds miss Annie? All I know for sure is I will miss Annie.
Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup cheese, shredded
2 TBS mayonnaise
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
Combine the turkey, panko bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Using your hands shape the turkey into the 3/4″ patties about 4 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add patties and cook until well browned, 6-8 minutes per side.
On the box my Aroma Turbo Rice Cooker came in it says that my pressure cooker holds 2 to 8 cups of food. That number is rather misleading because it doesn’t take into account the amount of empty space needed for the pressure cooker to come to pressure.
Most pressure cookers recommend not filling them more that 2/3’s full. This includes all the ingredients and liquids combined. They also recommend not filling the pressure cooker more than 1/2 full if you are cooking things that expand in volume like, legumes, rice, and other grains.
If you aren’t sure what 2/3s of your pressure cooker is simply take the number of cups your pressure cooker holds and multiply it by .66. For example, my pressure cooker holds 8 cups of food. 8 x .66 = 5.26. My pressure cooker holds a maximum of 5 1/4 cups of food. I know that doesn’t seem like much until you realize that all my recipes are for 2 -3 people. I rarely cook more than 5 cups of food at a time.
So why does all this matter? A pressure cooker needs a certain amount of empty space in order to come to pressure. If it doesn’t have that empty space your pressure cooker never comes up to pressure and your food never cooks. If you over fill your pressure cooker with ingredients that expand, you can possibly clog the pressure release value and cause other safety mechanisms to malfunction at best or shoot scalding hot liquids out the pressure release valve when you quick release your food. This could cause severe burns. According to my research, the most common reason for malfunctioning pressure cookers or injury to a cook is over filling your pressure cooker. Yeah, I learned this one from personal experience. I wasn’t burned but it was an absolutely awful mess to clean up. Since I have learned about maximum fill lines I haven’t had any more accidents.
This week’s recipe is for a simple refried beans. Since I got my pressure cooker I have stopped buying cans of cooked beans and started buying bags of dry beans. Cooking beans is one of the places that pressure cookers really shine. I hardly ever cooked dried beans because I don’t usually have 60 minutes to 3 hours to cook an ingredient before I even start cooking a meal. In the pressure cooker, most soaked beans cook in under a half hour and most unsoaked beans cook in under an hour. Go to Hip Pressure Cooking for a list of beans and their pressure cooking times both soaked and unsoaked.
1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup pinto beans, soaked
1 cup water
In a small frying pan, saute the onions, until soft, 2-4 minutes. Add the onions and the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker liner. Bring to pressure on high and cook 7-10 minutes. Open with a natural release. Sprinkle beans with 1/2 tsp salt. Mash the beans with a potato masher until the desired consistency is reached.