7/21/16

0 10 Steps for Teaching A Pressure Cooking Class

Mexican Shredded Chicken


Amazon Prime Day sold a record 215,000 Instant Pot Duo pressure cookers in one day. It was a killer deal at $69, and I seriously contemplated purchasing another pressure cooker to join my new Instant Pot Duo. As I still have a working Cuisnart, I decided that 2 pressure cookers is plenty for my family of four.

There is a FaceBook group: Instant Pot Community that is a great resource for anyone wanting recipes, sharing recipes, and questions. It is quite a large group, almost 87,000 members! With that many members, comments/questions can easily be lost further down a long list of new posts and spammers love to hit large groups. 

So many questions from so many new members flooded this community FaceBook page and I thought about my learning style.
Read from a manual? Nope.
Watch a video? Better, but what if I have a question?
Hands on learning is definitely my style.

Frozen to Fabulous Chicken

That's when I decided to launch a small pressure cooking class. Here is what I've learned and how YOU can teach a successful pressure cooking class, even if you are new to pressure cooking.


1. Gauge the interest. Do people have a pressure cooker? Is it collecting dust somewhere? If they don't, are they interested in learning about pressure cooking? I put a post on my personal FaceBook page and found several people that were interested. Based on their responses, a beginner class was in order.

2. Day of the week and time. Looking at my friend's comments on the FB post, evenings worked better as some work during the day or have children at home. Weekends (Friday-Sunday) are busy for most families, so I picked a Wednesday night, 7 pm. Six was too early for some as they needed to get dinner on the table for their families.

3. Handouts. You will want to have something that your students can look at, refer to, write notes in, and have recipes to take home. Have an extra one printed out for you to follow along. I wanted to have basic items that are not mentioned in their manual. On my handout, I have:
  • Terminology/Definitions of PC, NPR, NP, QR, PIP, Trivet, Sling, 6-6-6, Nut bag
  • Equipment with description/purpose: Trivet, Sealing ring, Pot Liner
  • Safety measures: Keep pc away from cabinets, don't place on stove, pouring liquids in pot instead of liner, overfilling, etc.
  • Buttons to use: 90% of the time, you will be using Manual/Sautee/Off/Keep Warm plus the (+) (-) Adjust buttons. A short description of these buttons were included.
  • Tips: Water test (manual doesn't have a good description of how to do this)
      • 1 cup of hot water in the pot.
        Lock the lid
        Vent to SEALING
        Press Manual
        2 minutes – use the (-) button to bring down the time to 2 min
        Display will say ON
        Some steam will come out the venting knob
        Pin will come up to lock the lid
        Display will say 2, Timer will start counting down
        When finished, you will hear 10 chimes and Display will say 0:00, timer counts UP
        You can choose to QR or NPR
    • Additional tips such as starting the pot on saute to speed up the pressure time, always have 1 cup liquid, caution with thickeners, Rice button only for white rice, NPR with meat and why, PIP cooking, browning meats in pot, and most importantly, keeping notes of what you cook, how much, time, pressure, and outcomes.
  • Resources. I listed some great blogging pressure cook websites and cook books they can check out at the library before purchasing. 

4. Lesson Plan. Since this was a beginner pressure cooking class, I wanted to cover the basics and use recipes that were simple and fool proof.  Use recipes that demonstrate different techniques and methods of using the pressure cooker. You will want to save more challenging recipes that have lots of ingredients or different cook times or user failure rates for another class. Pot Roast, Yogurt, and Cheesecake are good for a second class once students get the hang of basic pressure cooking. For this class, I chose:
  • Bread Pudding - demonstrates Pot in Pot cooking with a sling
  • Frozen to Fab Boneless Chicken - demos frozen meat and purpose of using NPR
  • Hard Boiled Eggs - demos low pressure setting and use of cardboard egg carton for stacking eggs. Let students peel the eggs. They will be impressed. Guaranteed.
  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes - purpose of uniform size of veggies and knowledge that different veggies require different cooking times. Veggies keep nutrients and taste is so much better. Potatoes can be mixed with beaters and not get gummy because they are steamed and the starchy liquid is at the bottom below the trivet.
  • Creamy Mac & Cheese - cooking pasta with no boil over on stove, know what goes in your ingredients instead of chemicals from a box. Use cooking oil/butter to control foaming.
All of this was covered in just under 90 minutes. Pretty impressive, but in hindsight, I think 4 recipes would be better. I had 4 pressure cookers and when the eggs were done, I made Mac & Cheese in it. It did give me the opportunity to talk about cooling the seal if you are making a second recipe in the pc right away. The eggs are done on low pressure, so the seal wasn't too hot and I didn't need to stick it in the freezer to cool. (sealing rings soften during pressure and if you try to use it right away for a second meal, the pc may not seal).

Once you have your lesson plan and recipes, send it to your interested students with a day and time. I did this on FaceBook and got a confirmation of who was able to come. If you have a small group of 5 or less, I would suggest 3 recipes. 5 recipes was great, but there was a LOT of food, even after they sampled and took some home. 

5. Recipes. Use recipes that you have personally tried. They can be your own or ones that you have found online or in a cookbook. Please cite the source and share the link/name of cookbook.

For the shredded chicken, I made a chicken salad and served it with homemade dinner rolls. An even easier presentation would have been to mix the shredded chicken with bbq sauce and serve with with rolls.  For the hard boiled eggs, I made stuffed eggs and showed them a neat tip for stuffing the eggs with a decorating bag and tip. They were impressed!




6. Prep. A successful class begins with a lot of prep work. It is worth it, though! 
  • Borrow pressure cookers if you need extra or have a student bring theirs to class.
  • Shop for ingredients. I had most of the ingredients and only charged the students to cover the cost of the ingredients. 
  • Wash, cut, measure, prep. I labelled all the covered containers with the name of the recipe "Chicken Salad," "Bread Pudding," etc. Measure spices and put them in a little bowl or Ziploc baggie. This is a HUGE time saver at class time! Remember, the purpose is to demo the pressure cooker, not the method of putting the recipe together.
  • Plates, bowls, spoons, napkins, cups of ice water. I chose paper plates and bowls for easy clean up. Have your strainers, knives, and other equipment out, ready to use. 
  • Just before class, gather your items and place them next to the pressure cooker you will be using them in. This will save you from scrambling around the kitchen, looking for a item. 
7. Start on Time. If you say your class is 7 pm, start cooking by 7:05. I started with the recipe that cooks the longest in the pc, Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding. You can discuss what is in your handout while food is cooking. 

8. Get to know your audience/students. Have they done pressure cooking before? What is their experience? What do they like about it? This opens a great discussion and lets you, the teacher, know which direction to take the class. After a brief introduction, I discovered half my group had cooked with pc's before and the other half were newbies. The experienced cooks were happy to share their experiences with the new students! Even the experienced cooks learned a thing or two.

9. Relax. Enjoy the process. If your students see you happy and relaxed, they will be, too. Ask for help during the presentation. I had them peeling eggs, cutting the rolls, and mixing items together. 

10. Ask what they learned and what they want to learn for another class. They loved seeing the pressure cookers in action. Yogurt and cheesecake were the top contenders to learn in the next class. I had them sample some creamy Greek yogurt that I made earlier and they were in LOVE....




So, there you have it. Everything you pretty much need to know to teach a class or learn with a friend. Getting together with a group of people and cooking is SO much fun. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!






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