Tell us what you have cooked lately (that's interesting)


Aka the exact thing a new parent needs!

I’m definitely eying one myself. The speed is a definite plus, as a lot of things I cook take a while.


The Instant Pot sounds interesting as a magical cooking device. We have had an air fryer for a year or so and it seems magical as well. It does a fantastic job with steak and chicken, and frozen foods cook great in it as well.

For just the two of us the air fryer could just about replace an oven and many of the frying pan foods. I could see us living small someday and using the air fryer and an electric frying pan and not needing anything else. Maybe a toaster oven for toasting.


In the Instant Pot? Oooh, share what you’re doing there.

I’m -assisting- in making pork tamales tonight. By assisting, that means mostly being out of the way and lending a helping hand when I can. It’s important to watch a master work her magic to add to your own knowledge. On the flip side, we have a good amount of great Maseca masa flour to use for fresh corn tortillas. Woot!


Okay, the tamales are done. I took what notes I could. She did share some secrets. In her ranking order:
#1 - The -filling- is the most important part of the tamale. Without a powerfully flavorful filling, most people walk away from tamales saying, “they were so-so,” or, “not really flavorful.” Filling is key. There are a ton of different common ones. She used shredded pork roast.

#2 - Ensuring you key the masa to the filling you are using. This seemed kinda fishy but it made sense. You use a little bit of the flavor of the filling in some way when making the masa that will cook up around it. She used a little bit of the fat from the pork juices that had firmed in the fridge overnight, along with a bit of rendered bacon fat and just a little butter.

#3 - Steaming the tamales long enough that they don’t stick to the wraps. We had about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes for this batch in the steamer. You sacrifice a few early to check.

Previously, she pressure cooked a pork roast with some canned chipotles, course chopped onion, some garlic cloves, and previously grown and stored peppers (jalapeno and habanero, it’s all we had.) She pulled the roast out to shred it, and strained the leftover juices into a container she put in the fridge. This was chilled overnight.

Today started with soaking the corn husks in very warm water while the masa was made.

She started with masa flour in a large bowl. Part of the fat from the pork roast runoff was scraped off and incorporated into the masa, something she says is part of keeping tamales separate flavors based on their fillings. Mixed with that was a little rendered bacon fat (lard would be traditional) and a small amount of butter. She hand mixed that into the masa. Then some of the pork broth and water to get the masa to the consistency for tamales. She then spread about a 4-5" squarish section on one of the large corners of the corn husk. It was maybe 1/4" thick, then ladled a couple of tablespoons of the pork inside. The masa was folded in the husk in half over itself, then the rest of the husk wrapped around the outside and the small end tucked back. She tied hers with pieces of husk made into string but mentioned that you can be lazy and lay them on top of each other to keep them together but it makes getting them out of the steamer intact a risky proposition.

Steaming took quite some time. A lot comes into play but hers ran over an hour with the second batch almost 75 minutes. They are done when they DO NOT stick when unrolled.

That being said, I suck at unrolling hot tamales, and got scolded after breaking two apart. You can see the third one which she did with ease, making me look like I have all thumbs. These were served with homemade salsa that was also quite good. They were delicious. The filling was spicy and flavorful enough that it shined through quite well.

In progress:

She tested a few along the way, this one was, “almost done.”:

The two I murdered getting out of the husk and the one she deftly opened and plated with ease:


That’s nice, dude.


Oh holy yes, Skipper. This is one of those projects I’ve never tackled and always been intimidated by… ALL the respect dude!


All the respect to her, I helped just a little with the pork and rolling mostly. My pictures do not do them justice, they were fantastic. I took her knowledge to heart.

I should mention we took a class for some Mexican food and they happened to make tamales in the class and she mumbled, “that’s wrong,” under her breath the entire time. Now I know why.


Recently got a pasta roller and for my first attempt I tried to make little ricotta filled agnolotti. I think they turned out adorable.
However they were not the greatest things in the world because my dough was too wet (accidentally bought jumbo instead of large eggs), my filling was too wet, and I let them rest too long before cooking it. Also I should have used spooned amounts instead of one continuous line and pinching them closed. I was thinking this would lead to less air pockets but all it really did was stretch out the dough too much over the filling.

For my first attempt though I was very happy because it all was easier than I thought and the issues were all easy to diagnose.

Rolling pasta is fun and much easier than I thought. The dough is nothing like a wet bread dough, it’s just a delight to work with. Made pressure cooker bolognese yesterday with fresh fettuccine and it was delicious. Going to reduce the leftover bolognese even further and try and make the agnolotti again with it.


Hey I saw a recipe for that on Serious Eats, same one? It sounded so awesome, cutting the time for bolognese waaaay down.

I think your agnolotti look awesome. You mentioned too wet, did they break apart during cooking or just not hold together?


Yep, serious eats version. I really liked the end results, and most importantly my son loved it. I grossed him out when I blended the chicken livers but that didn’t stop him from devouring the entire plate.

Some of the angolotti broke apart when cooked, most held together though. The dough was kind of gummy though even after cooked and was almost plastic wrap transparent. I made spaghetti with the left over dough and it had similar issues. For my second batch I used large and not jumbo eggs and that made all the difference in the world for the fettuccine. Now that i know what the dough is supposed to be like I can adjust it more easily going forward.

I was thinking angolotti and ravioli was going to be difficult but it’s really pretty easy. The pasta wheel I just bought that you can see in the corner makes it stupid simple and fun. Just watch a couple of youtube videos and boom, Bob’s your uncle.


Dough issues aside, those look great, and the bolognese recipe has been tempting me for awhile now. Really nicely done!

Did you get a manual pasta roller, or, like, a Kitchenaid attachment? I was astonished at the prices on the latter, which stymied a burgeoning desire to give it a shot, and always figured a manual one would be sort of a pain to work with, but you make it sound like whatever variety you have was pretty easy to use :)


I have only ever used a manual pasta roller so I can’t really compare them, but a manual one isn’t really that hard to use.


I really thought I would want that kitchenaid attachment but I have a cuisinart stand mixer that’s old enough you can’t even get their version of the pasta roller anymore. It just looked really difficult to make pasta, and you have to run it through multiple times just to get started at 0. So like 4 minimum to start. Then you have to run it through again once on each setting, which for ravioli and angolotti requires 7 more times.

I couldn’t imagine doing that with out a motorized attachment long term so I picked up this:

You can purchase a motorized attachment for. I figured I would try making pasta first before springing for the motor to make sure I liked it.

Glad I did because I doubt I will get the motor now. The take home for me was how easy it is. Rolling the pasta is, for now, super fun. My son insists on doing it all for me, which frees up my hands to guide the pasta with two hands but as it turns out that isn’t necessary. If you flour the pasta right it doesn’t stick at all.

My favorite thing though is how easy it is to diagnose issues. It’s not like making bread where trying to figure out what went wrong and were can be counterintuitive or at least certainly not obvious. While making my first batch I already identified a ton of things I did wrong and was easily able to correct them for my next batch.


Honestly, I think we just threw eight potatoes in there on the rack and manually set it for 15 minutes. She did mention that it’s important to pierce the potatoes a few times so you don’t get any explosions (which was my immediate concern when she suggested it in the first place). They came out better than any oven-baked potato I’ve ever had.


Similar to microwave then, but I’m betting a LOT more evenly heated internally. I’ll give them a shot, I have some potatoes to use up this week. Thanks man!


Last night I made sous vide salmon with crispy skin chips in a spicy asian marinade, with a side of greens and a side of roasted root veggies (not shown).


Oooh, I’m digging the crispy skin chips. Way to use everything from the salmon. What’s the texture like after sous vide and do you even finish it after or serve as-is after? I can’t tell from the pic.


I didn’t finish it, just as-is, following the recipe. But next time I think I’ll quickly sear the top and bottoms.

The chips aren’t easy as you have to carefully pull the skin off when it is raw (that’s the hard part). Then you salt and pepper them, lay em out, sandwiched between parchment paper and two baking sheets (top one keeps it flattened and heats it evenly) and bake for 15-30 min (that’s the easy part).


Cool, I’m trying the fish skin chips next time we cook salmon. Never did that before. What temp did you use?


It called for 410 F but I had the oven at 450 for the roasted veggies, so i just used that and checked it at 15 min, then every 5 min after. Took it out at 30. The recipe says be careful the skin can burn easily.

This is what I based it on, just didn’t do it with noodles because we had the root veggies: