The “I Love My Instant Pot” Recipe Book – Michelle Fagone (Adams Media) $22.99

As I have recently admitted in these pages, I have fallen in love with my terribly zeitgeisty Instant Pot, and am currently using it three or four times a week to make food for my apparently ever-hungry family. I’ve been through the webpages of the dreadfully named (but actually rather good) Hip Pressure Cooking site, and dabbled in a couple of the standard pressure cooking books courtesy of Toronto Public Library. Although I do tend to find myself drawn to some of the fancier and aesthetically pleasing of cookbooks, I’m also rather fond of some of the more utilitarian examples, and this unofficial Instant Pot cookbook certainly falls into that category.

Written by Paleoblooger Michelle Fagone of Cavegirl Cuisine fame, this book covers everything from Southern Grits, through Beef Biryani, to Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and a lot of stuff in between. Having previously stuck to some of the more traditional pressure cooker tropes of soups, stocks, and stews, this book certainly made me think a little more outside of the box when it came to new ways to utilise my Instant Pot. And it has certainly made me realise that if you are going to be cooking sweet stuff as well as savoury it is better to have two separate rubber pressure seals for each, unless you like your Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake tasting of garlic that is… I discovered that the hard way.

The recipes are all pretty straightforward, and then ten or so that I experimented with were foolproof as far as I could perceive…. well… apart from “user error” when I was making the Mongolian Beef BBQ [sic] where I inadvertently pressed the cook function again whilst using the fast pressure release. This is not a good thing as the Instant Pot is continually trying to reach pressure whilst letting all of the pressure out through the valve. I almost burnt the absolute arse out of my Instant Pot, but this was no fault of this cookbook, and wholly my clumsy butterfingers.

The aforementioned Mongolian Beef recipe made clever use of the unit’s sear function both at the beginning of the process (to sear the beef), and then in the final stages after pressure cooking, when the addition of arrowroot firms up the delicious coconut aminos, maple syrup, and ginger sauce. This was a big hit with the family, the beef being made wonderfully tender through the pressure cooking, and all in around 20 minutes. This is most probably my favourite recipe from this book, and I can see myself making this often in the future.

Another recipe that was a real winner was the Lucky Collard Greens, which I chose to switch with Kale as the book suggested and worked extremely well in a pinch. I hadn’t really considered making greens in a pressure cooker previous to perusing this book, and the results were so consistently delicious that I can see it become a healthy family favourite, even with that little smidgen of hot sauce in there. With a 10 minute hands-off cook time (once at pressure), it’s the perfect accompaniment for a weekday supper or Sunday roast. Any new way to get our three year old to eat “leaves” is a good thing around these parts.

Also, as much as I love making risotto, there are many things I prefer doing more than stirring and adding for ages, and this book shows you that the Instant Pot is capable of producing a risotto that is more than passable. I honestly would never have thought of even attempting that myself.

In keeping with her Cavegirl Cuisine writing, a good chunk of these 175 recipes are both Paleo and gluten free, if that’s your sort of thing.

Although The “I Love My Instant Pot” Recipe Book isn’t the most good-looking of cookbooks, it more than makes up for this shortcoming with its ingenuity when it comes to making the most of your Instant Pot.

Addendum: I’ve just added an extra half apple to my score as the Banana Nut Bread Oatmeal was just met with a “This is the tastiest thing ever, Daddy!”.

4 apples out of 5
(Four apples out of a possible five)

Jamie DrummondEdinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And this book is well worth a gander if you have an Instant Pot.