I'm a big believer in the pressure cooker. For one thing, it's a green appliance -- once you build up the pressure, you can turn the heat way down, and the cooking time is much shorter than standard methods for most things. It's also efficient and effective. And these new and improved pressure cookers are much safer -- you can usually tell they are about to explode about 1.5 seconds before they actually do (don't ask me how I know this).
Despite my near-death experience (it was last year, I've recovered from the trauma, no one was actually hurt, we eventually got all the black beans off the 9-foot ceiling and the cats are almost finished with their therapy sessions), I continue to advocate for the pressure cooker. In fact, I'm working on a story about the many uses for the pressure cooker and how it, this old-fashioned relic of the '50s, is getting some serious traction in modern kitchens.
I've cooked plenty of things in the pressure cooker, but today's test drive was with something new and simple and, it turns out, pretty cool. Hard-boiled eggs. I had read they're much easier to peel, cook easily and, well, are more impressive in a blog post than your mother's method (boil water, submerge eggs). These eggs, technically, were not actually boiled. They sat above the water in the interior basket atop a trivet, both of which generally come with the pressure cooker when you buy one.
I first encountered this method at a blog called Hip Pressure Cooking by Laura Pazzaglia. You add a cup of water into the pot, add the basket and the eggs, put on the lid in the locked position, bring it up to pressure on the low setting, set the timer for six minutes and then turn down the heat. When the six minutes are up, turn off the heat and let the pressure go down on its own (should take about five minutes more).
Dunk the eggs in cold water for a few minutes or more, then start peeling when cool. My first attempt at peeling didn't go perfectly. With that one, I merely tapped one end of the egg on the counter and started peeling. It took a bit to get the shell to come off. With a few technique tweaks, I started tapping the egg on the counter on one end, then gently tapping and cracking the egg all the way around. The shell came off wonderfully.
I had one, sliced in half with a pinch of salt, while standing at the counter. The dogs split one. I put the rest in the fridge for salads or as a quick snack, high protein and healthy.
If you have a pressure cooker, give it a try. If you don't, consider getting one for the reasons listed above. They're cool again and, unless you neglect to regularly clean the pressure release spout (I learned this after the black beans went all Jackson Pollock on our ceiling), they're pretty safe.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.
Try this technique for scrambled eggs