I have to disagree with Dave about pressure cooking not being suitable for "gourmet" cooking. In one of my recent posts on another pressure cooking thread I posted my recipe for lamb shanks in the pressure cooker. It sure tasted gourmet to me. I have seen pressure cookers used many times on Food Network gourmet cooking shows. - Sailor Trisch
Maybe my choice of the word "gourmet" or our definations or standards for gourmet differ. Some of the TV Chefs ( many of whom I have met and cooked with) and the Food Channel are not what I use for criteria for "gourmet" cooking. This in now way denigrates them or their recipes
. Many of those chefs are true televison personalities adapted for TV. Many have been qualified restauranteurs and chefs in the careers on their way up the ladder, but what you see on television on the "food Channel" is no more a true representation of the profession, than Greys Anatomy is a representation of what happens in a true hospital, or Law and Order is truely how the police and lawyers act. The Food Channel is a commercial
enterprise for the personalities to make money
as well as the network through sales of commercials as well as kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, etc. Again this is not meant to demean them or that the recipes they produce are not good ones, it is not what culinarians or professionals who are chefs use as their standards of excellance. It is not about food snobbery either. The difference in standards between a professional tailor and a housewife/ househusbands sewing usually are no comparison.
Cooking with a pressure as I stated cooker surely has a place on a boat for its ease, safety
, timing and for use in canning. Many good meals can be made with them and recipes can be tweaked in order to adapt for use. Certainly having a sealed pot on top of the stove is advantagous safety
wise over a open braised pan in the oven in passage
making, and ceratainly the cabin is way cooler with the sealed "pot" on for 1/2 hour vrs the oven on for two hours.
There are quite a few good pressure cooking books written.
Re: Pressure Cooker Size
This is absolutely correct. The breaking down of the connective tissue in a low grade cut of beef like a chuck roast ( which comes from one of the most exercised muscles in the steer) works better if done with slow low heat. That way the meat doesnt change texture. Real chefs are taught except in grilling to apply the least amount of heat to meat over the longest period of time to increase taste and quality and reduce shrinkage.
True chefs in restaurants do not use pressure cookers ( although you may see a verson of a high tech one on the Iron Chef- TV show of course). In 40 years I have never seen a restaurant kitchen ( family
or upscale) equipped with one. Slow stewing/ or braising of meat is a far superior way of cooking then presssurized ( which is another form of boiling meat by the way- The temperature inside the pressure cooker is in excess of 212 degrees). Cooking in many ways is chemistry. Heat coagulates ( solidifies) protein at different temperatures. Real chefs are experts at finding these points out for what they are cooking and staying right near the edge without going over. Case in point why a lot of people cannot cook fish correctly and they tend to overcook it, same with products with eggs incorporated in them.
I have written this not to be argumentative but just to draw the line between percieved quality vs actual quality. Cooking is combination of art ( creativity) and a science ( technical chemistry and timing skills), and true chefs use both the left and right sides of their brains
I too have a 5 qt pressure cooker (ss of course- aluminium will react with acid foods and leach minerals) on board for canning and for safety at sea, however I tend to cook classically as I was trained that way, and use it sparingly.