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From: Guy (adsl-63-195-90-90.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net)
Subject: Re: am really thinking of getting a PC - need help and encouragement
Date: December 13, 2004 at 4:52 pm PST

In Reply to: am really thinking of getting a PC - need help and encouragement posted by sunnyside on December 13, 2004 at 1:42 pm:

When I bought my first pc about 15 years ago I had buyer's remorse for about 24 hours. Since then I have used pc'sbout 10 times per week and would not want to cook without one. Foods cooked in a pc, to me, simply taste better than either regular steaming or cooking in standard pots & pans. I especially like cooking with an insert inside of a pc because using one prevents scorching and allows much greater control over the amount of liquid needed to cook any particular food. The use of an insert is also a great way to heat up leftovers. It is more of a hassle than a microwave but foods like rice or oats come out thoroughly heated and moist when re-heated in a pc. One final reason I like to use an insert is that foods are less beaten up during the cooking process which, to me, makes them more attractive and palatable for use in salads.

As far as any particular brand, I prefer a pc with two valves, one for pressure regulation and one that allows a pc to vent steam for a minute or two just after closing the lid. I have posted this before but it is worth repeating that venting a pc after shutting a boiling lid will eliminate foaming and subsequent clogging without the use of any oil when cooking foods such as rice or oats. I believe that most Fagors have this second valve built into the handle. Aeternum is another brand with the second valve. Some pc's have one valve but can be vented by holding the valve down while steam escapes for a minute or so after closing the lid or by choosing zero pressure on pc's with a lever to choose a pressure level. Another function of the second valve is that it allows air to be sucked into a pc after room pressure has been achieved when running under cool tap water. This prevents negative pressure and the hissing of air being sucked into the pc is an audible signal that it is safe to open.

As far as recipes, I suggest checking out what Sabrina and others have posted on this board. Here is one of mine that I like for split pea soup:

2 cups dry split peas (rinsing optional)
6 cups water
3-6 shredded carrots
1 chopped onion (ed or yellow)

Bring water to boil
Add ingredients
Mix and seal pressure cooker

Allow pc to achieve top pressure and turn heat down to just high enough to maintain top pressure (trial and error will show you the best settings)

Depending on your pc, it can take 10-25 minutes to cook

When time is up a "natural release" can be used by turning off the burner and allowing the unit to reach room pressure or by placing the pc under running cool water to de-pressurize. Write down times and procedures so you can repeat any good results or adjust less satisfactory outcomes.

I have a 10 liter pc & use an insert so it takes about 25 minutes from sealing the unit until the peas are done. Larger pc's take more time to reach top pressure as will a pc with a double boiler insert.

One more suggestion. I have 4.5, 6 & 10 liter pc's. For a first pc and when cooking for several people the size that I suggest is a 6 liter. Hope this helps.



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