Sunday, November 29, 2020

Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook

  Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook
Author:  Urvashi Pitre
Publication Information:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2020. 256 pages.
ISBN:  0358379334 / 978-0358379331

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "I have been cooking with pressure cookers for over thirty-five years."

Favorite Quote:  "Make each recipe once as written and then feel to experiment."

Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook is the latest cookbook offering from Dr. Urvashi Pitre. She is the recipe creator for a popular blog. Her background is in experimental psychology. Her cooking style pulls upon the fact that she lost 80 pounds on a low carb, keto diet that also restricted calories.

Her recipes sometimes focus on keto ingredients and sometimes highlight the tools such as a pressure cooker or an air fryer. As the title of this book indicates, this one focuses on vegetarian cooking in an instant pot.

The introduction provides the following qualifications:
  • "There are no pseudo meats or meat substitutes." I appreciate that as I am not a fan of pseudo meats. 
  • "Tofu is only used in three recipes where you would traditionally find it."
  • "I use whole, unprocessed ingredients as much as possible." I appreciate this as well.
So far, I am completely on board. The book includes about a 100 recipes, some of which may be found on her blog. That becomes a question of economics. I, for one, love cookbooks and browsing cookings. So, I make the investment realizing that the recipes may be available elsewhere.

The introduction also indicates the target audience for the book with assurance that the recipes are simple enough for a fourteen-year-old and the stipulation that the reader may not be familiar with the ingredients or cuisines featured in the book. I am not fourteen and am quite familiar with cooking dishes from around the world. More and more, cooking is global with ingredients becoming readily available. So, that characterization sets a tone and target audience for the book.

The book is organized into sections
  • Vegetables
  • Lentils, beans, and legumes
  • Rice and grains
  • Eggs and cheese (so clearly vegetarian not vegan)
  • Desserts and Drinks
  • Sauces & spice mixes
It's interesting to see the main section of a vegetarian cookbook be vegetables. What else would it be? I expected perhaps an organizations around meals or main dishes versus accompaniments. For example, the recipe for braised cabbage pasta follows one for sweet-and-spicy glazed brussel sprouts. I would see one as a main dish and one perhaps as a side. That distinction would increase the usability of the book. The recipes themselves and a listing at the back provide information on categorizations such as egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, low carb, cooking time, and number of ingredients. The book also indicates an index which is not present in the version of the book I have. The table of contents and the lists in the electronic version of the book that I have are also not hyperlinked which would improve usage (but that could be just an issue with the advance reader's version).

The individual recipes are mostly formatted to fit on a single page which makes for easier use. They are also clearly laid out as to categorization, servings, pressure cooker settings, ingredient lists, and instructions. Given Dr. Ptire's background, I do expect to see nutritional information which is not provided.

The color pictures are appetizing, and the individual recipes tried work.  I look forward to trying more, but I do find it amusing the the book specifically points out, "... if a recipe doesn't work for you, it's unlikely to be the recipe and more likely to be be something that you could do differently." Interesting approach again setting a tone and a target audience!

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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