I haven’t posted a spice blend in a while because I am trying to use up the 18 spice blends I bought from Primal Palate this summer. Yeah, I might have gone a little over board but they are so damn good I couldn’t help myself. One thing Primal Palate doesn’t have is a seasoned salt so when I had a recipe that called for it I needed to find a recipe.
Fortunately, my friend, Audrey from Lady Melady: My Castle, My Food, had just posted a recipe for seasoned salt on her blog. Audrey had already reduced the recipe and I reduced it even further because I don’t use seasoned salt very often.
Welcome to Instant Pot week here on A Solitary Feast. This week is dedicated to everyone who got an Instant Pot for Christmas and aren’t sure what to do with it or, maybe, even a little afraid to use it. My mom was convinced I was going to blow up my apartment when I got mine 5 years ago. The good news is I have made 100’s of meals in my pot and I have never blown up anything.
This week is going to be all about recipes and resources I love and use when I cook with my instant Pot. First up, is the hands down, best pressure cooking resource for beginners or experienced people using the pressure cooker. The blog is called Hip Pressure Cooking. It has reviews for different brands of pressure cookers, lessons on how to cook with pressure cookers, community forums and tons of recipes. But the best, most useful thing on the site full of useful things is the detailed cooking time charts for just about every food imaginable. If you ever wonder how long to cook something, if you should cook on low or high pressure, or what kind of pressure release you should use these charts will give you the answer to those questions and more. I printed these charts out and keep them in a binder on my cookbook shelves because they are so useful.
One of the most common complaints I hear about pressure cooking is that by the time you bring the pot to pressure, actually cook the food and release the pressure you haven’t really saved anytime and might as well cook it on the stove. In some cases that is true, the recipe would get done faster on the stove. In these instances, the way the pressure cooker shines is in its ability to be totally hands off once the food is in the pot. I don’t have to watch it at all. I can go get ready for work, watch tv, do laundry or whatever. When the food is done cooking it will flip to the keep warm setting and be hot and ready to eat when I am ready to eat. I love tossing my oat meal in the pressure cooker, getting ready of my day and then sitting down to my hot breakfast with no effort on my part.
Preheat heat the pot on the saute function. When hot, melt the butter. Add the oats and stir until toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the water and salt. Lock the lid and set the timer for 4 minutes. When the oats are done cooking, turn off the instant pot and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure. Serve with whatever toppings you like. I personally like milk, brown sugar and 1/2 tsp apple spice.
Almost immediately after posting the first part of my favorite things post yesterday, I got people asking how I cook steak in the air fryer. So I thought I would post it. Please note this technique isn’t my creation. I got the technique from Bailey Fisher at her wonderful blog, The Whole Kitchen Sink. It’s not a small batch cooking blog but you should go check it out anyway. Bailey’s food is always delicious. You are going to want to adjust the cooking time according. To the thickness of your steak and preferred level doneness.
Your choice of seasoning blend, my favorite seasoning blends are magic mushroom powder and just about any seasoning blend from Primal Palate
Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees while you prepare your steak. Pat your steak dry. Brush with a little oil and liberally sprinkle both sides of the steak with your choice of spices. Place the steak in the basket and set the timer for 6 minutes then flip the steak and cook for 6 more minutes. Let stand a few minutes before eating.
2020 was not a year that allowed me to go out and find new foods to try and new gadgets to explore. However, I did find a few things I absolutely loved even in the midst of the pandemic.
Primal Palate Seasonings and Seasoning Blends
I have 29 small batch spice blend recipes on the blog and dozens more waiting for the small batch treatment so why on earth would I buy spice blends. The first time I purchased a few Primal Palate Spice blends it was because they were a small company I had heard of and I wanted to support them through the pandemic. I was also very bored with my meals and was dying to try anything new. All the rest of the times I have ordered from Primal Palate is because they produce a damn good product. So much so I have ended up buying a jar of all 18 of their spice blends to try, both the vanilla and almond extracts, 5 of their single spices and 3 of their salts to experiment with. I probably won’t keep all 18 spice blends on my shelf but I will always keep a bottle of my favorites in the pantry.
If you are wondering what to do with all the spice blends, check out the recipe section of Primal Palate’s website. They have tons of recipes using their spicate blends. The ones I have tried have been really good. Or you could be like me, most of the time, and just grab a random bottle and sprinkle it over everything.
I know you are all probably going “What the heck is that?” I was in the same boat when I first read about Furikake in one of the cookbooks I bought this fall. Furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend that was used on rice. I am told it was originally created as a calcium supplement. It is now as common on the Japanese table as salt and pepper. The blend contains sesame seeds, some kind of seaweed, and some kind of dried fish. It wasn’t something I was going to buy but when I found it when I was at the Asian market looking for some other things, I couldn’t resist trying it. I am glad I did it’s amazing on everything, eggs, vegetables, popcorn, chicken, pork, beef as well as rice.
Spinddrift Sparkling Water
I am not a fan of sparkling water. I read something that compared it to drinking static and most of the time I don’t think the comparison is inaccurate. However, I keep trying new brands of sparkling water because I want to find something I enjoy besides tap water when I am on my next Whole 30 and give up my diet Dr. Pepper and Arnold Palmer Half Tea Half Lemonades.
I tried Spindrift because they offered a sampler pack of all their flavors this summer. It was one can of all their flavors except their newest flavor, pineapple, you got two of those. I figured if I wasn’t crazy about them it wouldn’t be too hard to finish them up.
The good thing is that Spindrift isn’t so heavily carbonized that it tastes like static. It also has distinct flavors to each different type of flavor. I think that is because Spindrift flavors their seltzer with actual fruit juice instead of just natural flavors. My favorite flavor, to the surprise of no one who knows me, is the cranberry-raspberry.
Gourmia 7 Quart Air Fryer
I put of buying an air fryer for along time because I wasn’t sure I would use it enough to make spending the money. I just don’t fry a lot of things. My other concern was the size of the basket. Most I had seen were not even big enough to feed one person much less two or more.
On my 50th birthday I was strolling around Best Buy and saw a 7 quart Gourmia air fryer. It looked big enough for me to cook enough food to feed me at one time and it was on sale. It came home with me that day.
My only complaint about my air fryer is that I didn’t find it sooner. Air fryers are much more versatile then it seems on the surface. I have baked muffins and cookies, made steak, lasagna, casseroles, tons of vegetables and so much more. Pretty much anything you make in the oven can be made in the air fryer if you can find a pan that fits in the basket. I am absolutely amazed at how often I use it.