Technology has made today's pressure cookers quieter and safer, and pressure-cooked foods are prepared in one-third the time of traditional cooking methods. These easy-to-follow recipes enhance any cook's ability to cook under pressure with ease.
I am addicted to Toula Patsalis's "Split Pea Soup with Ham", best eaten the second day. My husband declared that her Chicken Noodle Soup was superior to any I had served him before. He went ape over the Italian Potato, Rice & Spinach Soup; Corned Beef Brisket with Vegetables & Horseradish Sauce; Hunter's Beef Onion Stew; Chicken with Arborio Rice & Peppers; Chicken with Two Peppers & Noodles; and Tortellini & Chicken in Parmesan Cream Sauce. He thought Vegetable Soup with (breakfast) Sausage Bits would have been better without the sausage, and I haven't had the nerve to try the Paella again, yet. I am intrigued with her technique of cooking noodles in the pressure cooker, as it always takes so long to boil water to cook pasta, so I plan on making Fettuccine with Parsley Butter and Noodles Alfredo soon.
I don't recommend making the Split Pea Soup with a 4-quart electric pressure cooker, as the split peas can clog up the vents, but my 6-quart Cooks Essentials electric programmable pressure cooker works like a charm for her recipes. In fact, with the electric pressure cookers I have bought, the heavy pot allows me to skip the heat diffuser that Ms. Patsalis calls for frequently, which never worked all that well for me anyway.
(Written 5/11/00:) As a beginner in pressure cooking, I was wrong to make Paella as my first dish from this cookbook. The instructions confused me, and I overcooked the shrimp and scallops. Oops, that was costly! (Added 3/31/04: Read carefully whether she says "maintain pressure and cook" or whether she says "secure lid and cook over medium-low heat" to avoid my mistake.)
(Written 3/31/04:) I wrote the preceding paragraph almost 4 years ago. At this point, I am working through all the recipes because my husband and I enjoy them so much! Ms. Pasoulis has several recipes which cook pasta right along with the meat; my husband put me on notice that I must be prepared to make chicken with asparagus and cheese tortellini at a moment's craving (by allowing a few extra minutes, I can use frozen boneless chicken breasts!). And with a 6-quart programmable electric pressure cooker, I can skip the often recommended heat diffuser, with great success!
Ms. Pasoulis frequently begins a recipe by sauteing bacon, onions and garlic in olive oil. If you love that combination, you will love her recipes.
All in all, it is an interesting collection of recipes, but I urge beginners to exercise caution. Learn to use the pressure cooker with simpler recipes, but come back to this cookbook when you are comfortable!