Fresh Purple Hull Peas in the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

So, I’ve been playing with the new gadget. Overall, the Instant Pot is pretty handy. While I think some recipes I have seen go overboard in trying to make it the end-all-be-all, “lets cook everything in it” wunderkind, I still can see using it a couple of times a week. Thus far, it’s worth the investment.

My awesome neighbor dropped by a couple of days ago with a big bag of freshly shelled purple hull peas from the farm. Score! Local food and purple hulls I didn’t have to shell myself? Can’t beat that with a stick. I knew these would work fairly well in the pressure cooker, so I tossed them in and ended up with perfectly cooked, delicious peas in record time. Here’s how I did it:

Fresh Purple Hull Peas in the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

  • Time: about 40 minutes total
  • Print

  • 6 cups shelled purple hull peas
  • 1 ham hock
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1/2 TBS plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (divided)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • splash olive oil (supposedly this helps beans/peas not foam like crazy, so I added it as a precaution)

Place peas, ham hock, chicken broth, 1/2 TBS of salt, pepper, and olive oil in the Instant Pot/pressure cooker. Attach lid and set pot to “manual” for 20 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Taste peas for seasoning and add remaining salt if needed.

One thing I really appreciated about cooking the peas in the pressure cooker was that I did not steam up my kitchen by simmering them on the stove for hours. The heat index is 102 degrees today, so you can see how that also helps tip the scales onto the “it’s ok I splurged on a trendy thing” side. At least, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

Down the Rabbit Hole–Yes, I Bought an Instant Pot, Tell Me It Will Be Ok?

Y’all, I’m not an impulse buyer. I am also from the Alton Brown school of thought in that my kitchen has no room for “uni-tasker” gadgets. I don’t fall victim to infomercials, nor do I see the value in random items such as a perfect pancake silicone insert, countertop rotisserie, or even the microwave omelet cooker. I’m fairly old-school in that my electronic kitchen gadget staples include:

  • Kitchen Aid professional mixer (yes, it has to be a professional with the arms and clip-on bowls, not the screw-on bowls. If that’s what my grandmother and mother used, that’s what I’m using. My mom’s lasted 20+ years)
  • Cuisinart food processor
  • basic hand mixer
  • blender
  • immersion blender (for hot stuff, as I’m accident prone)
  • slow cooker (and even then, I have a Hamilton Beach model where you can put the metal pot insert on the stove top to sear meat then transfer directly to slow cooker so you aren’t dirtying up a separate pot/skillet)
  • a waffle maker (in which I waffle way more stuff in than waffle batter. Doughnut, ham, and cheese paninis anyone?)

As far as non-electric gadgets, the most eccentric I get is a slap-chop device which I need to finely mince stuff when my knife skills won’t cut it and the food processor can’t handle that small of an amount of garlic, jalapenos, or shallots consistently. It’s like the middle child between my knife skills and food processor. Ultimately, my drawers are full of multi-use basics with no “as seen on TV” foolishness to be had.

So, back to this whole Instant Pot craze (which we all know is a brand name for an electric pressure cooker). I’ve seen a ton of recipes using it on popular food blogs and Facebook. It was one of the most purchased Black Friday items last year. But surely, it’s just another gadget craze that shall pass, right?

Well, dang it if I didn’t get sucked in. I read recipes, reviews, applications, and kept shrugging it off as a splurge I don’t need. That is, until this weekend at the camp…oh this weekend…when a bad bout of heat stroke and plenty of time resting on the couch led me back down the Instant Pot rabbit hole. After two delirious and dehydrated hours scrolling through Google hits (while trying to keep my stomach from permanently exiting my body), I decided I just had to have it. And so, I bought it today, because those delirious conclusions hung on like a leech despite my recovery.

Now, what the heck am I supposed to do with this thing? I Pinterest-pinned a bunch of stuff, but I better put my shiny new Instant Pot to good, successful use fast in order to redeem my detour into random kitchen gadgetry.

Any ideas? Send help fast!

 

The Summer of the Fish

It’s no secret that we love to fish, and now that Bean is older and a wee bit more patient, we get to go a lot more often. Thus far this summer, we’ve fished the waterways of south Louisiana, a local lake, and down on the shores of Galveston. We still have plenty of side trips planned (assuming the brutal Louisiana heat doesn’t cook us to death), so I hereby declare this the Summer of the Fish!

Finished Knit–Straboy Sweater

My knitting opus is complete! I fell in love with this pattern a while back and  it took me nearly a year of on-and-off knitting, but I finished it for the husband (just in time for summer, right?). I probably will need a long break from cables and trinity stitch, but I could not be happier with how this turned out.

Pattern: Straboy from the book Contemporary Irish Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed in Orca Colorway

Needles: Size 7 and 8 circular needles and DPNs for parts of the sleeves

Size: 44-inch chest circumference

Notes and Mods: The only adjustments I made were to lengthen the sleeves by a couple of inches. The husband has abnormally long arms, so much so that I have to order his shirts online because stores typically don’t stock his sleeve length. I did have some issues with the instructions, but the pattern author is very active on Ravelry and answered my questions very quickly. This took way more yarn than I anticipated, and I had to reorder twice! Luckily, the yarn did not vary too much between dye lots, so it’s not noticeable. The husband loves it, and hopefully, we will have some semblance of a winter this year so he can wear it.

Also, this project was my first using the Knit Companion software for the iPad, and I am so glad I bought it and watched the tutorial. This software was invaluable in managing the charts, because me and paper charts do not get along so well.

 

Things I’m Into This Week

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We are deep in the heart of Mardi Gras season, which means lots of crawfish, parades, and King Cakes. When I’m not overindulging, I’m enjoying time with family and friends, making memories and celebrating everything good about my neck of the woods.

In the meantime, here’s a round up of the things I’m into this week, which are clearly food related given my current climate:

Watching: A Chef’s Life. I guess I am late to this PBS gem, but I now binge watch it on the weekends. The combination of a character-driven documentary that still focuses on southern food culture is like crack for peeps like me. If you need some inspiration for your own garden, this show also delivers on that front. Bonus: It’s free to watch online via PBS.

Reading: Speaking of which, I’m reading Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard, the chef in the aforementioned show. This cookbook is an opus, and I love every page. I found it after hearing about the documentary, and it’s one of the most well-executed cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time. However, I will give the disclaimer that it’s more of a 40/60 balance between recipes for home cooks and wannabe chef/foodies, so flip through it before you buy. I’m really particular about the cookbooks I will drop cash on (versus online spelunking for recipes), so I understand if this brick isn’t for everyone.

Listening: I’ve gone down the podcast rabbit hole, and I was probably last to know about The Sporkful. I come from a family that talks about our next meal while we are eating the current cuisine, so I appreciate a podcast that constantly looks at food and culture with the same obsessive eye that we do.

So there ya have it. A snippet of my indulgence for your foodie pleasure. Back to the kitchen, and that leftover piece of King Cake.

**Disclaimer–This post was not sponsored in any way, and none of these people know who I am. I’m not that cool, dude, just tunnel-vision afflicted.**

Finished Knit–Azel Pullover

azelI have been working on a sweater for my husband for months now. It’s this lovely, intricate, cabled pattern that I now refer to as “The Sweater of Doom.” Why? When I started the project, I forgot that he’s a tall man with extra-long, monkey-like arms. And no, I’m not being facetious. I have to special order his dress shirts and he can’t wear off-the-rack long-sleeved shirts because the sleeves end at his mid-forearm.  This sweater has become the opus I may never finish.

Anyway, as I trudge along, I occasionally have to take a break and knit something, ANYTHING else. This is a popular pattern that has been making the rounds, so I whipped one up for Bean, who, of course, never wants to wear it. She’s about to go on the banned knitting list if she doesn’t get with the program.

azel-2Pattern: Azel Pullover (available for purchase on Ravelry)

Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky is Wine colorway

Needles: Size US 13

Notes: I made the 8/10 size and am glad I did. Bean is 4 years old and wears a size 6 in clothes. As you can see, it fits as intended, so if you are making this for a small human, I’d go up a size. Also, I typically stick to bargain, machine-washable yarns when I make anything for the kids. I save the good stuff for me.

Super Bowl Snack–Bourbon Meatballs That Will Make People Love You More

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Ya know, for the life of me, I do not understand why the Super Bowl is on a Sunday night. Rumor has it that many of us have work and school the next day, so staying up late, partying, and feasting would probably be an event best served by a Saturday timeslot. Alas, since we all do have to do that whole responsible work/school thing, we usually keep our festivities low-key. I make some snacks, maybe have a family member or two over (if that), and put on my fat pants. I love an excuse to have a menu consist entirely of appetizers, because I like variety…and not having to construct a singular meal that at least one picky eater is going to complain about.

Rather than the fancy Crab Mornay or Lamb Chops from holiday parties, the big game is all about hearty, easy-to-make (and eat) food. These Bourbon Meatballs are just that. Stir everything together, cook for a bit, then settle down and watch your attendees go bananas over them. You can transfer them to a slow cooker to keep warm, making them an easy, hot appetizer for any event. I even took them to a Mardi Gras parade last year. My husband thinks these are manna from heaven, and no one ever needs to know how freaking easy they are. It’ll be our secret, ok?

Bourbon Meatballs


Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce package of frozen, Italian-style meatballs, thawed
  • 2 cups good-quality barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays or KC Masterpiece for this. Just avoid the $1 bottle crap)
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Procedure

  1. In a large pot, combine barbecue sauce, bourbon, honey, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add meatballs and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Provide toothpicks to your hungry guests and give them death threats if they even think about double-dipping.  Oh, look, there some bourbon left in the bottle! Whatever shall we do?

gmanI’m baaaacck. When I ended my summer, I never had any idea how far my fall would go off the rails. I could give you the gory play by play, but let’s cut to the chase: the Hubs woke up one day in pain, this carried on for weeks, he lost the use of an arm, had a spinal surgery, then had another surgery when that first one failed epically. So, in sum, the Hubs was out of commission for a long, long time, he scared me to death, and I am still waiting on my free pass to throw a toddler-like tantrum as a result. Not really……..but maybe. Good news is that this last scalpel party seems to be successful. He’s recovering by bits and pieces, and I managed not to lose my s—t along the way.

In the meantime, I’ve been knitting, cooking, crafting, and cooking some more. But more than that, I’ve been embracing those small moments with the people I love most. The past few years seem to have been fits and starts of both feelings and voices. Grief is really hard to process when what you hear it in your head is a scream, but everyone around you hears  it as a whisper.

 

Yeah, long story.

 

 

Summer’s End

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imageimage image imageimage imageAfter the past two crappiest summers ever, I was determined that this summer would finally break the curse and help me not want to curl up whimpering under the covers until October. I’m happy to report that we managed a great couple of months, and in the end, I accomplished a singular goal–To live this season in the moment, enjoying my family, and making connections with my extended family.

At the close of this summer, I can say that there were: swimming, pools, pool games, waterslides, rivers, bonfires, barbecues, cookouts, card games, cabins, road trips, fishing, going-away parties, fire works, block parties, family reunions, and much more. Alas, however, I am ready for fall, and I foresee many Halloween crafts in the near future!

A Fish and a Finished Knit.

DSC_0011We ran down to south Louisiana this weekend for a little fishing and catching up with friends. Despite the fact that it was eleventy-million degrees, we still had fun.

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Despite the fact that I am working on my husband’s epic sweater, I needed an easy project for travelling so I whipped up a hat for charity. My cousins participate in a big Christmas project for the Seamen’s Church Institute  and I promised to send some hats their way. Overall, we caught many fish and had a blast. We’ll definitely go back when the weather cools off a bit.

hat

Pattern: Oliver’s Cap

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Forest Green

Needles: Size 8 circulars and DPNs

Notes: As many other knitters noted, this pattern runs small so I added about 3/4 of an inch before starting the decreases. Next time, I may add another inch or so of ribbing as well.

 

 

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