First attempt at induction cooking & pressure cooking

publickmanApril 2, 2013

My Fagor pressure cooker set arrived yesterday - thanks to Arley for recommending that - it was the perfect addition to my induction burner, and I got to try them both out last night. Perhaps there was too much new for me to get used to at once - I was a bit put off by the controls on the induction burner because I had no idea exactly what the numbers meant, and I really could not relate the temperature settings to a gas burner either, and so it just became an experiment to see what would work.

My first dish was pinto beans, and I was excited to learn that I would be able to cook beans in 10 minutes in the pressure cooker! That wasn't exactly true because they had to be soaked first (I used the quick soak method), then put in the pan with new water, brought up to temperature and then cooked at a lowered temperature for 10 minutes with the pressure on. Next they had to rest for 10-15 minutes with the pressure on and the heat off, and then they were supposed to be ready. I left them with the pressure on with no heat for 30 minutes, and that may have been too long, but they were definitely cooked. I started the induction burner on the "10" setting (the highest) to get the pan started, and then when I turned it down, I switched to cooking temp instead of abstract numbers and chose between 250 and 280 degrees. When I set it to 250, the steam stopped making noise, and when I set it back to 280, the steam made a lot of noise, but I left it at 280, and it seemed to work okay.

Fortunately, the steamer came with very good instructions for cooking beans, but it also came with a DVD with some very bad recipes. However, the cookbook that came with it has very good recipes, and I will be using some of those.

I think I am more excited about the pressure cooker than I am about the induction burner, but they seem to make a really good combination, and now I have extra stovetop space. My next induction experiment will be boiling water for pasta, and I have some lasagna noodles for that. I do not plan to use my pressure cooker on my gas burners because it fits so perfectly on the induction burner, and I really like them in combination. I like the size of the pressure cooker pans as well, and the large one will be perfect for boiling the water for pasta.

I had a tragic accident while cooking the beans that got me very depressed, however. While I was getting the four cup measuring cup out of the cupboard (and I hardly ever use this measuring cup), I knocked an antique etched glass cream pitcher out of the cabinet. This cream pitcher had belonged to my great grandparents in Alsace, and they brought it with them to Texas when they immigrated. My mother gave it to me because she knew how much I liked it, but now it is shattered into dozens of pieces. I still have the glass sugar bowl, however.


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Ugh I HATE when something like that happens. You just made me feel better about my LC DO's that I dropped last week. One broke and had to be thrown out, the other just needs a new knob. At least they're replaceable.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Have fun with your new toys, Lars!

I can feel your pain about the antique glass cream pitcher......a few weeks ago I dropped my grandmother's green Depression glass mixing bowl while trying to multi-task getting stuff out of the cabinet. It too shattered into a dozen pieces. I have had it since she died in 1982.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Lars, most important--I'm sorry to hear about the family treasure.

I have 3 PC's, I've yet to check them to see if any of them are compatible.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Lars, I'm so sorry about the broken creamer. I understand your feeling depressed. I've had a lot of such losses recently and can really relate. I've still got a box full of destroyed family things in the garage that I can't yet bring myself to toss although I know it's what needs to be done.

There is a bit of a learning curve with induction. I hope you embrace it. The PC sounds like a very nice way to start.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 1:49PM
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If you find all the broken pieces, glass and ceramic can be glue back together using Super Glue (the thin kind). If you are careful, you almost cannot see the cracks.

No, you cannot use it as a glass cream pitcher anymore, but for display and for memory, why not.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Dcarch, there were way too many pieces and slivers for me to glue it back together, and I have glued plenty of glass items back together. There is a special glass glue that cures in UV light, and afterwards, you can hardly tell that it was ever glued together.

Fortunately, we do have other pieces from our Alsatian great grandparents, including furniture items that my GGF built and a cast bronze cat doorstop that they brought from Germany.

Cathy, you must love PCs to have three of them - I hope you can use some of them with your induction top.

I'm definitely finding out about the learning curve for induction. Eventually, I may go beyond pressure cooking and boiling water. I've thought about using it to make quesadillas in my cast iron skillet, but I'm pondering what temperature to use. I might go back to the numbers and pick a "5" - I'm still not used to the fahrenheit temps, beyond what I learned cooking beans. It's infinitely better than a regular electric cooktop, however.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Lars, so sorry to hear about the broken creamer. I have some things that came to me from my mother, silly things I don't use, but they have so many memories.

I'm still learning how to adjust to the induction power levels, and I've been practicing for a year! The PC makes cooking beans or chickpeas very easy. I normally do a pound at a time which makes a lot of beans, use what I need now, and freeze the rest.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:34PM
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One of the beauties of induction cooking is the instant responsiveness of temperature changes. So if you think 7 is too hot, try 5 and the cooker will change instantly. Any time lag will be due to the retained heat in the pot (not much if it's not cast iron) and heat of the contents.

If my boiling pasta is about to boil over, I just tap a lower heat and it averts the boilover almost instantly. Try it without food in the pot and you will become a believer! I don't know what the mass of the current pc's are like these days, but, it should change quickly. Cast iron doesn't change quickly, which is another reason why I don't like cast iron, other than for baking.

As I recall, of your existing cookware, only your cast iron was induction compatible.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Sorry about the mishap, Lars.

You might be surprised as to how handy the saute pan in the set is; without any recipe, you can easily brown some tough piece of meat and then add a little liquid and pressure cook it into submission.

I've posted a recipe for pressure cooker curry over on the Indian food thread. Enjoy the new toys! I'll never go back to a kitchen without a pressure cooker. (Steamed artichokes in 15 minutes instead of 45! No-fuss risotto which cooks while you're doing other stuff!)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:01PM
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I cooked brown basmatic rice yesterday in my PC with a bit of frozen corn and peas, and it came out like risotto, which is not bad, but not what I was expecting. I can see that you could get quick and easy risotto in a PC. I added cooked (smoked) chicken breast to the rice after it was done, as I did not want to cook the chicken further, but I can see that it would have cooked the chicken meat very quickly. I'm going to check out your curry recipe also.

I'm beginning to have fun experimenting with these two new items, and I'm beginning to appreciate the induction cooker more, but I am still very far from wanting to make a complete switch - there are too many things I like better about the gas.

I plan to make quesadillas tonight or tomorrow, and I'll see how those turn out. I suppose I could try the induction burner with my cast iron.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Lars sorry about the loss of your treasure. Especially hard when it is something that holds memories and is irreplaceable.

I have an electric pressure cooker, which will do the basics o.k. such as soups, stews etc, but I would really like one that has more control.

The Fagor has been on my radar, I might have to break down and order one.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I grieve when something like this is broken. Someone knocked over a Spanish mosaic vase that my late aunt purchased on her six month long European tour honeymoon when she was nineteen in something like 1924. The break happened in 1990, long after my aunt's death. I hate to think of it to this day.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:01AM
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What induction burner do you have? Is is a single hob unit that plugs into 120v? I'm interested in getting one.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:29PM
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John, I've used a couple of off brand 120v hobs during a kitchen remodel. Neither was 1800 watts, which is the max that a 120 v circuit can handle. I'd definitely go with 1800.

Might check out the link--go to 'residential countertop units' In general, higher wattage is good, number of levels of heat is good, too. One of my hobs only had 5 heat levels; more is better.

I've never cooked with one, but Max Burton makes several 1800 watt countertop units which I assume have similar guts but different cases (stainless instead of plastic, for example), ranging from around $75 to $220--all available on Amazon. The Max Burton 6200 has 10 levels and goes for around $87 including shipping--looks like a good deal.

If you have access to a 220v outlet, you can get a thirteen level 3000 watt Max Burton for around $275 or a 20 level 3400 watt Sunpentown/Mr. Induction unit for around $390.

Here is a link that might be useful: induction site

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Lars, I'm sorry about the broken glass (ceramic) (you didn't walk on it to validate the lyrics of the song, did you?) I drop everything I touch, so I know how it feels! Luckily, the only nice piece of glass I have is a uranium glass vintage citrus juicer and I don't keep it anywhere near the kitchen... so the only greiving I do when I drop something is for the mess it makes!

I remember how excited I was when I got my pressure cooker and induction burner so I'm really happy for you! They are both such fun! My pressure cooker is aluminum, so I can't use it with induction... it is great that yours are compatible.

Ribs and maple sweet potatoes are my favorite things to do in the pressure cooker, but I have made stock in it too. Never beans, yet, anyway. Meat sauce for spaghetti and lasagna and pulled pork and chicken are great too. It infuses flavors in a way you just can't comprehend until you really play with it.

What induction burner did you get (if there was a thread about you getting one, I missed it!) If you are like me, you will soon find yourself going straight for the induction burner and bypassing the gas range completely unless you need an auxiliary burner! I got the induction burner for a back up and loved it so much that it became my "daily driver" and made the gas stove become the "auxiliary burner"!

Mine only has wattage settings and it was difficult at first to guage the temperature... many also have temperature settings and low, medium, and high settings which may make it more familiar, but you learn quickly and adjustments are instant.

Have fun with your new toys! I can't wait to read more about your experiences and learning curve because great stores are often born from learning curves! And again, sorry about the pitcher!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:48PM
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Thanks for the sympathy for the pitcher, and I feel a bit better knowing I'm not alone with breaking things. When I was four years old, and sister and I were having a tea party and our grandmother's house and used some of her antique German demitasse cups that her parents had brought from Europe. When I broke one of them, I felt like the world was going to end from the scolding I got from GM. I was extremely careful as a child and do not remember ever breaking anything else after that. My GM broke her nephew's antique German porcelain bowl some time afterwards when we were at his house and she insisted on helping to do the dishes after dinner.

I am using my induction cooker (see link below for the one I got) when the pans I bought will work, but I haven't used it with cast iron yet. I think I'm more excited about the pressure cooker, however, and I have been amazed with the results that I've gotten with it. My mother had one when I was a child, and it was rather dangerous, as the valve on top could come off by itself. Also, once my sister was trying to make popcorn in it (and she was a teenager by then) but did not get the lid on properly. Shortly after the corn started popping, she started shaking the pan, and the lid came off, and popcorn went flying all over the kitchen. She never did get the lid back on, and we were finding stray popcorn for days! I have to admit that I did find the incident quite amusing, at my sister's expense.

I received an Indian cookbook from Amazon today (Kevin ordered it for me), and I think it has PC recipes in it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Duxtop Burner

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 12:50AM
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I love my pc's and have 3 . The most used is the electronic one I bought a number of years ago now because it really is set it and forget it. No timing required as it beeps when the food is cooked and goes into keep warm status. Still though you have to relieve the pressure right away because it will continue cooking with the retained heat and until the pressure drops.
If you're making a vegetable soup in a pressure cooker it's wise to leave the potatoes whole if they're small ones and just cut in half if larger because they will overcook and fall apart otherwise . Also put them in last so they're on the top not fully submerged in the liquid.
Once you open the lid it's easy to thicken the soup by using a stick blender right in the pot.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:39AM
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Lars, that looks like a nice model. The 1800 watts is good, mine only as 1300. A word of caution though about models like yours that I've gleaned from the millions of reviews I've read about these things... the control panel is on the same plane as the cooking surface and if you get a hot pot too close to the controls, or heaven forbid on the controls, you can melt them! Always keep the pot inside the circle and don't let it creep toward the control panel and don't use a pot that is too big! One of the many things I love about mine is that the controls are at an angle and not on the same plane as the cooking surface and the main control is a knob instead of a button or touch slider.

The timer function is really nice for boiling tea or something, very much walk away and forget it kind of thing, so take advantage of that!

You may never love it more than gas, but you may like it more once you get over the learning curve. I love mine so much that I won't even buy a pot or pan that isn't induction compatible now! I'm meeting Cathy on Tuesday to adopt some of her non-induction pans and that is a good thing because I still have to use the gas range sometimes as one burner isn't always enough, but at the same time, I don't want to spend money on things that aren't induction compatible! I was lucky in that two of my stainless steel stock pots worked with my induction burner and I only bought 2 cast iron pans (one is way too big and the other way too small) and one 8 inch non-stick pan (that is already peeling). I have enough to get by for most things, but I simply won't buy anything that won't work with induction. If my portable unit died, I'd replace it the same day!

I love the popcorn story!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:36AM
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Bobby, I'm sure you will have a great time with Cathy on Tuesday. Kevin and I are thinking about a trip to Florida ourselves because he has a friend in Tampa he went to graduate school with, and she has been begging us to visit and stay at her house. I think it would be a nice trip, but as Gina noted before, there aren't good flights between L.A. and Tampa, and so we thought we might fly to Orlando, rent a car there, and then drive to Tampa. I have no idea when we will get around to this.

I have to say that I am extremely careful about pot placement on my induction cooker, and so it is always centered in place. The PC pots are exactly the right size for this burner, and so I have not been concerned about the control buttons, but I will keep that in mind. I do love the timer, and yesterday I cooked a bunch of potatoes with some onion plus one cup of water. I closed the lid, set the cooker to #10 (highest heat) for two minutes and then turned it down to 250 degrees on the temp scale and set the timer for 10 minutes and let it go. I was waiting for sausages in the smoker, and when they were done, so were the potatoes, and oddly enough, there was no water left. I think it escaped as steam when I opened the steam valve. That was a new experience for me! So we only had potatoes and sausage last night, but we also smoked a large boneless turkey breast that I will use for sandwiches, etc. We also assembled our Big Green Egg (much more of an ordeal than we expected, partly due to insufficient/faulty instructions) and put up lights in the pergola. I can see that we will be spending a lot more time in the pergola, now that it is properly lit.

I'm looking forward to cooking more things in the PC! I really like the conbination with the induction cooker, since it will turn off from the timer, and so I can sort of forget about it once it is set.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Lars, I'm glad that the PC and induction cooker are working so well in combination! I always have trouble getting the gas flame right with my pressure cooker... it takes a while to find the right balance to make the petcock rock properly, I usually get way too fast or not at all! If I could use the induction cooker, I could remember the wattage setting and have that consistent, precise, even heat, with a timer!

I'm glad that you are already loving the timer function.

That would be awesome if you came to FL and we were able to get together... maybe you could see Cathy too or we could all meet somewhere...

I'm anxiously anticipating my visit with her tomorrow. I'm sure we'll have a blast!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:27PM
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