Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quick Pickled Vegetables in your Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker)

In today's edition of What crazy thing is Donna cooking? we have some quick-pickled vegetables courtesy of a new cookbook that showed up at my door.

The book is called How To Instant Pot, so obviously it's taking advantage of that particular brand of cooker, but these recipes should work for pretty much any electric pressure cooker. There might be some differences in terms of what buttons the cooker might have, but that's also true among the Instant Pot cookers.

So, yeah, it's a cookbook specifically for electric pressure cookers.

The first thing I tried from this book was risotto. Which was kind of silly because I've made risotto a bazillion ways already, so there was nothing to be surprised about here. Risotto cooked in a pressure cooker is good, but it's not as good as other methods where stirring is involved.

So ... I decided to give the pickled vegetables a try. Pressure cooking makes sense to jump-start the pickling process. And it sure as heck was quick.

The recipe called for either carrots or cucumbers or both, but I didn't have any cucumbers and I didn't have enough carrots. So I started rummaging in the crisper and pulled out a cauliflower. I figured it would work, since cauliflower is about as dense as carrots, and it tastes good pickled.

The process worked, so I'm pretty sure I'll do this again, but I think I'll adjust the tartness. For eating as a snack, these were pretty tart (yeah, I'm weird - I eat pickles as a snack) so next time I'll try a ratio of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water or even 1/4 vinegar to 3/4 water.

Also, this basic recipe could be tweaked a zillion ways, by adding some hot peppers or chili flakes, or by adding some garlic, turmeric, or even some herbs.

But that's the great thing about quick pickles. Since these aren't meant to be canned, you can mix and match flavors in a whole lot of different ways, and still get a good result. You know, to your taste.

I'm actually thinking I might use this technique to make a spicy pickled cauliflower recipe that I'm quite fond of.

Quick Pickled Vegetables
Adapted from How to Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski
Makes about 1 quart

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt or pickling salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces (I cut mine a little smaller) or a combination of vegetables you like

Place the vinegar, water, sugar, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in the inner pot of the pressure cooker and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the vegetables and stir.

Put the lid on the pot and lock it. Set the vent to closed. Set the pressure to high, and set the timer for 1 minute. Yup, that's it. Just one minute.

When the cooking is done (a bit more than a minute, since it takes time to get to pressure), turn the vent knob to release the steam and when the pressure has been released, remove the lid. Transfer the vegetables and liquid to whatever container you're going to use. Mine fit well into a 1-quart canning jar.

Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled. The flavor will continue to develop over the next few days, but you can use these as soon as they're cool.

I received this cookbook from the publisher at no cost to me.