Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Instantpot, Take 2

I am still super on the fence about the instant pot. I'll admit it makes super great hard boiled eggs, but it's an expensive way to do that. As for regular food I've definitely had mixed results. The one chicken dish I made came out fine (it was the recipe that needed tweaking for more flavor, not the instant pot). I cooked dried beans, total mixed bag, literally. Some of the beans were still hard, some were perfect, some were overcooked. I took my favorite black bean soup, read a similar recipe on Food Network so I could adjust mine to the instant pot and it came out great, even starting with dried beans.

I've seen people say that they throw frozen food in, adjust the cooking time a bit longer, and it comes out fine. Didn't work so fine here. Last night I was going to make sesame chicken and my chicken thighs were frozen. Looked at some recipes, estimated the cooking time, threw in the ingredients, and hoped for the best. Big fail! I'm just glad dinner was edible. After I released the pressure and took the lid off, the chicken was only partly cooked and the sauce was seriously starting to burn on the bottom of the pot. Big bummer. I took the thighs out and finished them cooking on the stove and rescued what sauce I could. At least with the finish of the pot it cleaned up easy. I think the main problem last night was that the thighs were frozen in a block, not individual, and I couldn't get them apart. Although really, I'm not sure it would have gone any better if they were individual frozen blocks; I think the sauce still would have burned anyway.

At this point I think I'll keep it and keep searching out recipes, trying them but I'm not wowed by the instant pot.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Key Lime Bars

Happy Easter! For dinner today we had grilled pork tenderloin (just salt & pepper on the grill, so good!), bacon wrapped asparagus, and rice with leeks. I totally forgot to put out the fruit salad that my mom made. For dessert my mom brought pineapple upside down cake and I made key lime bars. I had made them a while back for something at church and they were so good. They're a quick and easy take on key lime pie, which I love, and they also are just the right portion size. Actually I should probably call them "key" lime bars since I used regular limes, not key limes. The recipe is sort of a combo of two different ones from Martha Stewart.

Key Lime Bars
makes 9-16 bars depending on how small you cut them

4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 c sugar
1 sleeve graham crackers, broken
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime

2 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
whipped cream (optional topping)

Preheat oven to 350*. Blend graham crackers in a food processor to get crumbs. Mix all crust ingredients together. Butter the bottom of an 8x8 pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Press crust into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, about 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan, then chill at least an hour before serving. Lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into 9 medium or 16 small squares. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream before serving.