Using vintage pressure cooker recipes

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Joined Oct 21, 2015
Firstly, hello to all. This is my first visit. Here is my deal. I am a collector (and user) of vintage cooking pamphlets/booklets. I even started a little blog to talk about my experiences.  My upcoming pamphlet I will be using is a vintage Presto pressure cooker recipe book, circa 1946. I selected two recipes from it and purchased my very first pressure cooker to try them out. I purchased a brand new Fagor, as I understand it is potentially dangerous to use the vintage models.

Here are the first two problems I have: The first section in my vintage cookbook is all about various cereals (corn meal, oatmeal, cracked wheat, etc.). I was going to make one of those recipes. Then I see that one of the first instructions with my new Fagor is "NO CEREALS". They apparently gum up the works. What gives? It was fine then, but not now?

The second problem is the second recipe I chose which is for Swiss Steak. My recipes instructions call for 1/4 cup of water. The Fagor instruction manual (and accompanying dvd) say to use never less than 1/2 cup liquid. So.. do I follow the original recipe and use 1/4 cup water, or do I follow the Fagor instructions and use 1/2 cup water, potentially ruining the recipe?

Are there any pressure cooker experts out there that can answer these questions?  I sure would appreciate your insight.

Thank you.
 
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Always follow manufactures safety instructions.  Does your recipe call for other liquids than water?  What is the total volume of liquid?  You can also blow a gasket cooking pasta in a pressure cooker and it hard to cook without having mush.  I have several pressure cookers and usually use them to braise pot roast, chicken..ect.    
 
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
I agree with @Jimyra  ....follow the instructions that came with the appliance.

If (when the dish is done) the sauce looks /tastes watery or bland then just drain it off into a saucepan and reduce/thicken.

Gosh I have not had Swiss Steak in ages.

/img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif

OBTW.... welcome to Chef Talk!

mimi
 
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3
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Joined Oct 21, 2015
The only other liquid is a Tablespoon of cooking oil. That's why I was worried.

It's too bad about the cereals, though. I mean the vintage booklet has a whole section on them. I wonder what has changed?

Well thanks for the advice.
 
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... Then I see that one of the first instructions with my new Fagor is "NO CEREALS". They apparently gum up the works. What gives? It was fine then, but not now?

 ...
What's different? Years of experience and lawyers who are more risk-adverse than they once were.

Regarding the recipe - if you are testing vintage recipe I would use the quantity of that recipe. Quarter cup sounds right to me.  The meat is going to give off liquid too. There are many recipes available that use a lot of liquid - saw one that has a can of tomato soup, a can of crem-o-mushroom soup, and 1.5 cans of h2o. I suspect that would make a swiss steak soup rather than a swiss steak!
 
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phatch

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Staff member
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When you say cereals do you mean all grains? Because you can certainly still cook grains in a pressure cooker. It's my preferred method for making risotto for example. 

There are issues with cooking grains, certainly. They foam up and will clog the pressure release which leads to dangerous pressures. The work arounds are not always desirable. In the case of the risotto, there's enough fat to help reduce the foaming. But you may well not want fat in many cereals. Or you can cook in generous excess liquid, but this is not always desirable, or may ruin what you're attempting. 

The best alternative for these more sensitive dishes is to steam them  in the pressure cooker, a pan in pan (PIP) method usually. This prevents or minimizeds the foaming, the addition of oil, or too much liquid. 

You'll need a trivet that will lift the item to be cooked. Your Fagor likely came with a V shaped wire gadget for the steaming basket to rest on. This will do fine. The basket may be helpful, or it may be deeper than is convenient. 

You can read more and see some other suggestions at Miss Vickie's, a very good pressure cooking site.

http://missvickie.com/howto/grains/grainframe.html
 
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