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Dorothy Dean Cooking Show: Laurel Randolph dishes on the pleasures and practicality of the Instant Pot

Laurel Randolph, author of the runaway best-seller “The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook,” has been a food writer for 10 years – and home cook and food enthusiast long before that.

On her website, she introduces herself as “a writer, recipe developer, and crafty person.”

She writes: “I believe in eating local, eating fresh, eating smart, but also eating your feelings. Your stomach and your heart are connected, and cooking and sharing a meal is special but should happen almost every day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be good.”

Randolph lives in Los Angeles and has written for numerous publications including The Spruce, Paste Magazine, Serious Eats and Table Matters. She also creates recipe zines.

Her new cookbook, “The Instant Pot No Pressure Cookbook,” was released May 1.

What most excites you about your latest food project or book?

The Instant Pot has become such a phenomenon, and I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of it. With my new book “No Pressure,” I’m showing the Instant Pot not just as a one-stop-pot, but as a functional part of the kitchen. You can use it for hands-free cooking while you fry something on the stove or toast something in the oven. You can make steel-cut oatmeal while you get ready in the morning. I want people to have fun with their pots and use them time and time again.

What is your approach to storytelling through your food?

I love food from all around the world, and I like making dishes inspired by international cuisine while putting my own spin on classics. “No Pressure” really showcases the wide range of dishes you can make in a pressure cooker. I want home cooks to go on a bit of a trip with these recipes and to maybe try something new.

What first inspired you to cook or become a chef?

I’ve been cooking since my mother would prop me up at the kitchen counter and let me mix the brownies. She was always cooking for us or making dishes and treats to take other people. Because of her, I’ve always seen food as the perfect gift.

What dish or ingredients best represents you?

A bowl of perfectly cooked and creamy steel-cut oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are incredible in the pressure cooker. They cook up faster and hands-free without scorching and are the perfect palette for fruit compote, nuts and chocolate chips, or even wilted greens and a soft-boiled egg. I like reliable and nutritious food that I can change up as I see fit.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare at home?

Risotto. I’ve always enjoyed making risotto, but would reserve it for special occasions because it took a lot of time and attention. Now I make it regularly with my pressure cooker. Instead of standing over a hot pot and stirring for the better part of an hour, I set it and walk away, giving me time to make a salad or prep any toppings. I love mixing in different ingredients at the end – sausage, greens, roasted veggies, fresh corn, asparagus. There are so many options. Sometimes I change out the classic arborio rice for short-grained brown rice or farro.

What’s your favorite piece of advice to share with home cooks?

Have fun. Try not to think of cooking as a chore. Think of it as a time to decompress and be creative, all while nourishing yourself in the process.

What has been your great food adventure (so far)?

Writing a cookbook from start to finish is my favorite food adventure. I love the process from the initial idea, to the recipe development and testing, writing, photography, editing – all of it. It’s so satisfying to work on recipes until they are just right and then see your hard work in the physical form of a book.


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