under pressure

As experienced and knowledgeable as I may feel in the kitchen, I am dumbfounded when I reflect on the techniques, tools, ingredients and types of cuisine still unknown to me.  I must put every effort to explore these unfamiliar culinary realms to properly prepare for my hopeful MasterChef Canada journey. My experience in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves has taught me proper planning and preparation prevents p!ss poor performance – and I’m determined not to perform that way!

There are definite constraints in the MasterChef kitchen – a masterpiece must be plated usually in less than 60 minutes.  The brave chefs use daring techniques to develop flavour profiles and manipulate their ingredients through the use of a sous-vide, smoke guns, blast chillers and pressure cookers, to name a few. I must familiarize myself these new tools and techniques to be an effective participant in the MasterChef process.

I am lucky to live on a street that is more than a street – it is a real community.  A core group of neighbours are quite close and get together throughout the year for potluck dinners or appetizer nights.  We had such an occasion just recently and was the perfect opportunity for me to break in my newest kitchen purchase – a T-Fal Clipso Pressure Cooker – and an opportunity to make my first pulled pork shoulder!  With a bit of research, I found just the directions and inspiration I was looking for: an Asian inspired pulled pork.

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/05/166417870/learning-to-cook-under-pressure

The NPR site has a good warm-up for your first ventures with a pressure cooker which lists four recipes of varying complexity.  The sweet yet distinctly Asian broth melted away all connective tissue of the pork shoulder resulting in a mound of delectable shredded meat.  Our contribution was served with slider-sized ciabatta buns and elicited many ‘oohs‘ and ‘mmms’ through the night.

I believe my love affair under pressure has just begun.

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