on April 10, 2004
Now that I have more experience with pressure cookers, and collected a shelf of pressure cooker cookbooks, this is the cookbook I can't get enough of! I have learned to read carefully about when to bring to pressure, and when to heat without bringing up to pressure. If you like olive oil, garlic, and onions, you'll love her recipes.
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.
on May 21, 2000
This was one of my first two pressure cooker cookbooks, selected per reviews by p.c. manufacturers as a good counterpoint to the heavily touted "The Pressured Cook" by Lorna Sass. Patsalis's book takes a Mediterranean approach, so there was little duplication.
(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!
on February 26, 1997
This book breaks away from the old stews and jumps into truly creative uses for pressure cookers. Chicken Piccata, Creme Caramel(Flan), Bread Puddings, Soups, etc. give you a new perspective on an old appliance. Plus, there is a section in back devoted to modifying recipes, troubleshooting, caring for your cooker and the rules of cooking with pressure
on April 29, 2000
I own 5 Pressure Cooker Cookbooks and I like this one best. If you like Greek food, like I do, you will love this cookbook. Her recipe for Lamb Stew with green beans tastes as good, or better than those I have gotten in the best Greek places, and another reviewer already mentioned her wonderful lamb shanks recipe. Some of the spice combinations sound a little unusual, e.g. the Stew has spearmint in it, but when it is cooked it is wonderful. With this cookbook I have the best of both worlds, great food, often Greek, and very fast. The Stew only takes two 8 minute periods at high pressure to cook and the lamb shanks takes less than a half hour or so. There are lots of other great recipes too, besides the lamb. This cookbook is well worth buying.
on January 11, 1999
I recently got a pressure cooker and wanted to know how to use it for everyday cooking. With 3 small children we rarely eat gourmet! I collect cookbooks, but rarely use them! This cookbook however is open for every meal. It acts as a great instruction manual for how to cook any ingredient, plus tells you how to translate an old favorite recipe to the pressure cooker.