Author Spotlight: How to Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski

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Wondering about the Instant Pot craze that everyone seems to be talking about? We sure are! That's why we recently caught up with cookbook author Daniel Shumski to get the skinny on this modern-day techno marvel that makes cooking as easy as 1, 2, 3! Learn all there is to know and more in his latest book release How to Instant Pot available wherever books are sold.

Why do we need an Instant Pot?

It really has the potential to take mealtime to the next level, both in flavor and simplicity. I was skeptical when I first heard about the Instant Pot because it promised so much. But it’s safe to say it won me over — I mean, I wrote a book on it, right?

The real magic of the Instant Pot is that all sorts of things that would typically take hours to cook — stews, dried beans, tough cuts of meat — can be made in a fraction of the time with pressure-cooking function.

And then you also get all the benefits of a slow cooker, plus an easy way to make rice. And you can make yogurt from scratch too, which is super cool and can save money.

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What is the best way to utilize your new cookbook, How to Instant Pot?

I really love the fact that How to Instant Potis divided by function. Because the Instant Pot does so many things, it can be hard to know where to start. But I say pick a function and take a look at its chapter introduction, maybe pressure cooking for instance. It’ll lay out the basics and give you useful tips.

It is not like reading an appliance manual. I tried to keep it informative and amusing. (My editor and my mom — those are two separate people — tell me I succeeded!)

From there, pick a recipe that looks good and dive in! Everyone worked really hard to make these recipes accessible to Instant Pot beginners. So experienced Instant Pot users will appreciate the flavors and beginners will appreciate the instructions and the flavors.

For a first-time user, which recipes in your book do you recommend testing?

Great question. I say go for tacos: Try out the pressure-cooking function with Beef Barbacoa Tacos. Or maybe take advantage of autumm and try the Creamy Butternut Squash.

Definitely try out a slow-cooker recipe, too. One favorite of mine: the Maple-Mustard Pork Roast or the Miso Sesame Chicken. (OK, that's two favorites.)

I have to point out how easy it is to make yogurt at home, too. It’s cool to see it come together and it can save money. Of course, there are step-by-step instructions in How to Instant Pot.

Basically, if you see a recipe that looks good, dive in! There will be step-by-step instructions to guide you.

What are some pitfalls to avoid when using an instant pot?

I think it pays to think in terms of the Instant Pot’s strengths, which I talk about in How to Instant Pot. So, think tough cuts of meat, dense vegetables, dried beans — things that typically take a long time to cook on the stovetop or in the oven. The Instant Pot will tenderize and cook those things quickly with the pressure-cooking function. Really delicate things like many types of seafood or cooking greens may overcook quickly in the Instant Pot’s pressure-cooker function.

Of course, the Instant Pot is a slow cooker too, so you can always go that route for some more delicate heat. There are plenty of slow-cooker recipes in How to Instant Pot, too!

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