Pressure cooker

If you have expressed interest in purchasing a pressure cooker, you have undoubtedly stumbled upon some examples of them being unsafe and prone to exploding. You are absolutely right to take those examples into consideration, and further educate yourself on the safety issues, or lack thereof, regarding pressure cookers. You wouldn’t want to put yourself in danger while cooking by being exposed to an explosion caused by them.

These types of accidents were caused by a number of reasons. For example, older models had to be placed in the sink before the lid was opened, covered in cold water. And that meant that you had to carry the hot pressure cooker around the kitchen, which was a dangerous thing to do in the first place. It was also possible for them to accidently open while cooking.

pressure cooker explosion

However, while those stories may have been true for certain pressure cooker products from certain brands, today’s technology advancements have greatly contributed to the extermination of such safety issues. So, if you have been longing for the best pressure cooker you can afford, take the following tips and guidelines about how to use it once purchased into consideration.

Make Sure To Inspect the Condition of the Pressure Cooker

As the name itself implies, pressure cookers rely on high pressure in order to cook food efficiently and quickly. Every time before you use it, make sure to check the rubber gasket. If it is cracked or ripped in any way, you need to replace it. It is normal for gaskets to deteriorate due to wear and tear with time.

Although you probably clean the pressure cooker every time you use it, it is advisable that you visually check and ensure that there are not leftovers from the previous meal you prepared. Once you are sure the cooker is in a good condition, you can put your ingredients for the next meal inside.

Follow the Recipe to the Letter

Pressure Cooker Recipes

There are proper ways to use a pressure cooker and there are bad ways to use a pressure cooker. You should be aware of how much ingredients it can take at the most and follow your pressure cooker recipes accordingly. There have been many occasions where people put too much food inside which causes the product to malfunction, thereby raising the risk of a potential hazardous situation.

So, always follow your recipes to the letter and avoid overfilling the pressure cooker. The best way to use it is to never fill more than one third of its total capacity.

Take Extreme Caution When Using Oil

Pressure cookers require little to no amount of oil for cooking, which is why you should never use it to fry food. While it is completely true that you can prepare almost any kind of food with them, some meals should simply be prepared using another method.

The Importance of Releasing the Pressure

Once the food is done, you shouldn’t simply open the lid. Some newer models release the pressure automatically once you remove the pressure cooker from the range, but you should still make sure that the pressure built inside is released before opening the lid. Do not put hour head directly above it in order to avoid steam hitting you directly in the face. Also, use appropriate cooking gloves to avoid getting burned.

Always Clean It After You Are Done

Every time you prepare food with your pressure cooker, be sure that you have thoroughly cleaned it after you are done. Pay special attention to the rubber gasket.

Now you can consider yourself educated enough on how to use a pressure cooker properly and stay perfectly safe while doing so. Remember that problems don’t always happen on its own, it is always imperative that you handle your pressure cooker properly.

firewood cooking

The majority of people have never actually cooked with real firewood. And that is perfectly understandable given the endless cooking options that technology has enabled utilizing all sorts of cooking utensils and appliances. Most people use gas and electric stoves, and for outside cooking they use either electric grills or easy-to-light charcoal.

firewood cooking

Grilling with easy-to-light charcoal is the closest thing to cooking with real fire, however, the fact is that it is still just a replacement to real firewood cooking. Granted, it is not as easy and quick, but cooking with a real fire you prepared yourself can provide a lot of enjoyment and sense of pleasure, while also preserving the taste and flavor of your food a lot better.

If you wish to experience the pleasure of cooking with real firewood check out the following tips and guidelines on how to achieve it.

Get Proper Hardwood

Cooking with Firewood

Cooking on real fire enhances the taste of the food thanks to the smoke which comes from the wood. This is why it is imperative that you avoid softwoods for your cooking. You need hardwoods which are going to burn a lot longer, thereby ensuring your food will cook to perfection.

It is true that softwoods are easier to ignite, and provide a lot of heat. However, as it was already mentioned, they don’t last long. A good example of a softwood is pine. Burning pine will release additional piney smells, which are not particularly bad, but do not mix well with food smells. The best idea would be to use softwood as fire starters and then add hardwoods.

Hardwoods burn longer due to their density. They are harder to start a fire with, but once you get it going you will see that your efforts are worth it. Different hardwoods release different smells and aromas which further compliment the flavor of the food. A perfect example of a good cooking hardwood is oak. It releases a rich, smokey smell.

Furthermore, fruit trees are also convenient since they release a more pleasant aroma. Choices include: apple wood, pecan wood, pear wood and almond wood. If you can get your hands on old grape vine cuttings it would be the perfect solution for starting a quick fire with quality wood.

Prepare and Start the Fire Ahead

As it was already mentioned on a couple of occasions, starting a fire with hardwoods can take some time. Depending on how much food you are going to cook, and how much time it will take to get done, you need to plan your fire and the amount of hardwood you are going to use to ensure that there is enough heat for the entire time. This is especially important since are going to need embers, which can take hours to build. And then you need to make sure you keep feeding the fire properly.

Why Cooking with Embers is Ideal

It has already been established that you are going to need embers for cooking. Embers are much better than normal fire for cooking, especially because they produce a lot more heat than normal fire, and also last for a long time. Furthermore, normal fire flames are not what you want to use to cook your food with.

If you are using a fire pit, start building your ember core a few hours before cooking. Keep adding wood until you are satisfied with the core, and let the remaining fire go out before you start placing your food over it.

Additional Firewood Cooking Alternatives

Using Rotisseries – Rotisseries are used to rotate the food over a fire. They can be motorized or hand-turned. They are convenient for cooking larger roasts since the rotating effect ensures that the meat will be equally roasted on all sides. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t place them too close to hot embers because you will end up with having the surface overcooked while the interior part will remain uncooked.

Fireplace – Modern fireplaces are not designed for cooking, so in order to achieve this you would need special equipment. These include fireplace cranes and fireplace grills. Also there are fireplace rotisseries available on the market.

If you wish to start cooking with real firewood now you have the essential information. Follow these tips and guidelines and take your cooking a step further.

TV cooking shows

Sometimes at a party or a dinner at someone’s home, your taste buds will love a certain appetizer, main dish or dessert. Now, you’ve just got to have the recipe. The host or hostess usually grabs any sheet of paper and jots it down quickly for you. But when you later try the recipe yourself, it usually doesn’t taste the same.


What happened? For one thing, meals often taste better simply because someone else makes them. More importantly, however, it often happens that critical parts of recipes are forgotten by the recipe writer. Sometimes the cook puts in a dash of this and a dab of that without thinking, because he or she had made that recipe so often. More often than not, you don’t get the dashes and dabs in the scribbled notes.

The Recipe Video

Today, we can easily videotape another person making a favorite recipe. Likewise, we can also do a self-video of our own cooking. Either way, a permanent record is made to help others when they try to re-create your mouth-watering dishes.

If you want some guidelines for making an Epicurean video project, I present here a list of important steps.

Setting Up To Videotape

Check your camcorder to make sure you have fresh tape and that the battery is fully charged.

Also check the lighting and take test video to see if it’s adequate. If your kitchen is not well-lit, you’ll need auxiliary lighting.

If you have a remote, put your camcorder on a tripod with the monitor screen swiveled toward you. Using the remote, you’ll be able to zoom in on various steps of the recipe as it unfolds. If you don’t have a remote and must have a steady frame for your entire video, set up your “master shot” that all the action will be visible. Then shoot sample footage to see if this steady frame works well.

Make sure your microphone is not too far from the main scene. Otherwise, your voice will not be clear enough for your audience. If you can, wear a wireless mike close to your mouth, because this will give superior results. Again, take test footage to ensure that your voice is heard well!

There is no substitute for being well-prepared when shooting any videotape. The extra time you take will pay off in the final product. Do not rush this process.

Setting up The Area

Before you begin, set out all your tools, measuring devices and ingredients. Don’t forget things like wooden spoon and whisks. Also, don’t bother with getting brand-new tools because you think they’ll look better to the camcorder.

If your recipe calls for a cup of flour, have that filled cup right there and ready to be put in the bowl. Don’t waste time measuring the ingredients during the videotaping. Take a piece of paper and type or print every ingredient of your recipe. Videotape this list at the beginning of your production and refer to it as you create your dish.

TV cooking shows

For example, if you specify one cup of flour, go to the recipe page and show it as you proceed. Of course, at the end of the tape, you should again show the whole recipe. Watch a cooking show on television and see how it’s done!

Helpful Hints

Try to always face the camcorder, even when putting things in the oven or on the stove. This may not be possible to do because of the layout of your kitchen. But do try, because nobody likes to see the backs of people obscuring their view. (Also, not many people look great from the rear!)

Try not to be too artificial when presenting your recipe. Let your personality shine through. Don’t use bad language or any offensive gestures. Speak to your audience as you cook.

If you can, tilt the bowls toward the camcorder so that people can see inside them. Make sure–whether you’re making a self-video or taping someone else–that you remember to include cooking pointers. For example, show all steps in juicing a lemon: First, roll it with your palms; and then poke a small hole in the top; and then just squeeze the juice right in the bowl or pan.

Use items that connote freshness, such as a pepper mill rather than ground pepper from a can or bottle.

Finally, show off the finished product at the end of your video recipe. Make it look good by garnishing the plate with colorful vegetables or fruits, and present it on good dinnerware. To suggest a wonderful dining experience, you might show it on a table with candles.

Real People, Real Recipes

Chef Bonne, who makes her own cooking videos, advises care when it comes to clothing. She says, for example, that bright colors with busy prints will distract the viewer. Proper grooming is also important. No one wants to see a video with the chef wearing a dirty shirt. Wearing an apron is optional, but a good idea, if only to keep spills offs your clothes. Plus, aprons make you look professional.

Bonne stresses that the cooking area must be clean and uncluttered. She also suggests talking a little about good health practices at the start of any cooking video. This, of course, is up to you, but is worth thinking about, for sure! And make sure that your utensils, pots and pans are clean, too.

Chef Jane, who once owned a restaurant, likes to make entire meals on her barbecue. When I visited to get her on video, she was preparing to make a steak dinner. As I set up my equipment, I saw that there was little clutter.

Jane then took me down to her garden area to gather fresh vegetables. I felt like I was Martha Stewart in action. I watched as she put the steaks on the grill, along with her biscuits. These biscuits are mouth-watering delights, and she shared her recipe with viewers. She had all the ingredients ready, and she whipped up the biscuits quickly and easily. I asked Jane if she had a hint for making recipe videos. She replied, “Just make sure you follow the recipe exactly, so that the viewer doesn’t get mixed up. Also, make sure that a printed copy of the recipe is available to go along with the video.”

Good chefs are sometimes reluctant to share their special recipes. But often they can be coaxed, if they’re given a good reason. One such reason is that they are giving a gift to future generations.

Other Thoughts about Videotaped Recipes

Your videotaped recipe can be part of your legacy. I suggest that you endure the time-consuming rehearsals and extra efforts, so that your tape will be cherished for many years.

Videotaped Recipes

Something else to consider: Convince your aged relatives to let you videotape them making their favorite recipes. How about that great stuffing you ate at your mother’s house? Get her to make it on tape, because I’m sure there will be at least one step that wouldn’t show up in a handwritten recipe. It might just be the “tiny” thing that makes the stuffing taste just like you remember.

My friend Edna tells of her mother working in the kitchen. Edna would see her mother use unmeasured handfuls of flour and other ingredients, even though her mother owned many measuring tools. Edna would ask if she could officially measure the ingredients, but her mother would always reply, “Maybe next time.” Unorthodox cooking methods like this are much better revealed on videotape than in handwritten form.

Consider this: Make a live family cookbook. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to make their favorite recipes on videotape. Then make a long anthology video of everybody’s individual tapes.

When doing a family cookbook, have the presenter give you his or her name on the tape, a short history of the recipe, and when it was used the most. If the recipe requires special utensils or tools, point them out.

To repeat an earlier suggestion, make sure the family videos always include the finished product: Show it emerging from oven or refrigerator, in all its glory! The camcorder can’t smell or taste, so make sure the chef takes a piece and tries it. Make sure the chef exclaims about the excellent smell and taste.

Recipes on videotape make wonderful gifts, and they’re entertaining, too! Don’t put off making your own tapes. Start gathering your recipes today and get cooking!