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Instant pot living Mushroom Risotto · 5 February 2019 by colin newell

2019 Instant Pot Risotto

Authentic and brilliant Mushroom Risotto in less than 25 minutes from start to finish? Oh yes!

This recipe produces creamy, perfect risotto every time.

This is best served right out of your Instant Pot to experience the best silky texture of the risotto.

Reheating with a little extra water and pad of butter helps recreate the creamy original texture, for you leftover lovers.


1/2 pounds mushrooms thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, rough chopped or diced to your liking
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice or other short grain rice, but arborio is preferred
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups beef broth + 1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded. Plus additional for serving.
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped. May use chives if desired.


Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms directly to the pan without oil or butter. As the mushrooms begin to release their natural liquids, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to help the moisture continue to release. My mushrooms were drier so I tossed in 1 tbsp of butter.

Stir occasionally until mushrooms become browned to your liking. You shouldn’t need to add any butter or oil to the pan but if you like, you can add about a teaspoon during browning.

Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside.

Turn the Instant Pot to Saute’ and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chopped shallots.

Stir frequently until shallots begin to slighly caramalize, about 3 minutes.

Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with the oil that’s already in the pan.

Add 1/2 cup white wine. Stir and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. This takes less than a minute.

Add the beef broth/water medley to the rice mixture and stir briefly, making sure the rice is submerged.

Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn steam release nozzle to Seal.

Using Manual button and High Pressure, set time for 5 minutes. Pot will take about 3-4 minutes to reach desired pressure before starting to count down the 5 minutes. Once the cooking has completed and the Instant Pot beeps, let pressure release naturally for 4 minutes before turning nozzle to Vent to finish releasing the steam.

Remove lid from Instant Pot. Add, salt, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 4 tablespoons butter, and the sautee’d mushrooms. Stir until butter and cheese have melted. Add fresh chopped parsley. Stir again. Taste and add fresh ground black pepper and additional salt to your liking.

Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Instant pot living - General Tsao chicken · 27 January 2019 by colin newell

General Tsao Instant Pot Chicken

Prepare your chicken first by cutting boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized cubes.

Start cooking your rice or vegetables when you turn your Instant Pot on.


400G chicken breast skinless and boneless, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp ginger fresh, grated
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

Optional Garnish
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 green onions chopped


Add the chicken pieces to the Instant Pot then dump the rest of the ingredients to it, excluding the cornstarch and water.

Stir everything well with a spoon.

Close the lid. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook setting – set the timer to 5 minutes.
Add 10 minutes of natural release.

Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot.

Switch the Instant Pot to the saute setting (do not put the lid on). Transfer the chicken to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and water together then pour over the sauce and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken back to the Instant Pot and turn off your Instant Pot by pressing the cancel button.

Garnish the chicken with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over rice.


The Ten Best Cities for Coffee in the United States of America · 10 January 2019 by colin newell

Habit Coffee and Culture Number Two Yates Street Atrium

Living on the West Coast of North America in an area dominated by coffee culture, I cannot imagine not having the best of cafe culture within an easy walking distance. And in my 25 years of writing about the bean scene in Canada, I have traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast, with many stops along the way, looking for the best of the best in the brewed cup of joe.

Two decades ago there would have been larges swaths of land between hot spots and thankfully that has changed. Most towns, large or small, in Canada have grown with the times and it’s now downright challenging to find a whistle stop completely free of a hot cup of java or a great latte or cappuccino. And while this is a rule in Canada where there are a finite number of pathways East to West, it is not that simple a quantification in the U.S. of A. Here are some stats about the coffee scene in the U.S.A. – by the numbers!

Top 10 cities based on coffee businesses per resident

It’s no surprise that the Pacific Northwest is well represented on our list of the best cities in America for coffee lovers. These 10 highly caffeinated locales have the most coffee shops per resident, so that quick fix is never too difficult to find.

Number 10. Ann Arbor, Michigan – One cafe for every 2825 people.

With a total enrollment of more than 44,000 students, plus one professor for every 12 students, the University of Michigan is a likely inspiration for the many coffee shops scattered across Ann Arbor. Coeds have plenty of places to get that all-important caffeine infusion to help them cram for exams.

Coffee drinkers living in Ann Arbor can expect to pay an average of $1,331 for a one-bedroom apartment. Ouch!

Number 9. Everett, Washington – One cafe for every 2752 people.

Located 25 miles north of Seattle (or as Coffeeville as it’s also known!) on the Puget Sound, Everett is the first of four Pacific Northwest cities on our top 10. The military town is home to Naval Station Everett, and a slew of local roasters keep around 6,000 sailors and civil servants assigned to the base alert at all hours.

Living in Everett is considerably more affordable compared to Seattle just a few miles to the south. The average one-bedroom rent here is $1,307.

Number 8. Pittsburgh, PA – One cafe for every 2607 people.

Coffee may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Steel City, but the caffeine scene is growing fast in this proud Pennsylvania town. From cappuccinos at the buzzing Espresso A Mano to curry ginger lattes at eclectic Biddle’s Escape, Yinzers have a wide variety of coffee shops from which to get their daily jolt.

In addition to all of the coffee options, Pittsburgh residents have it pretty sweet (comparably) on their rent as well. A one-bedroom place here averages about $1,282 a month – which is cheaper than most cities on our top 10 list.

Number 7. Minneapolis, MN – One cafe for every 2427 people.

With an average snowfall clocking in around 60 to 70 inches annually, the country’s coldest urban center tends to Jones for java. Locals escape sub-zero temperatures and blizzards (in April!) with cozy caffeinated beverages in warm independent coffee shops and the beloved local chain, Caribou Coffee – founded in nearby Edina.

Minneapolis renters may be able to splurge a little more on their espresso machines – the average monthly price for a one-bedroom here is $1,468.

Number 6. Salt Lake City, UT – One cafe for every 2387 people.

Even with the significant LDS population abstaining from coffee and tea, Salt Lake City has some serious coffee cred. From single-origin espresso to green bean brew, pioneers like the Salt Lake Roasting Company and Millcreek Coffee have been paving the way for creative coffee purveyors for decades.

Salt Lake City is also one of the more affordable places to live compared to the rest of our top 10 list. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,260 a month.

Number 5. Portland, OR – One cafe for every 2322 people.

Home of the beloved Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Portland’s coffee culture is strong – arguably the strongest in the country. The city trumped coffee rival Seattle multiple years to take Travel + Leisure’s title of America’s Best Coffee City. Alas, judging by the number of coffee outposts per capita, Seattle edges out Portland by a hair on our poll.

Coffee lovers looking to settle down in Portland can expect to pay about $1,550 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Number 4. Seattle, WA – One cafe for every 2308 people.

Starbucks was born here in Pike Place Market back in 1971, opening the door for a flood of Seattle roasters to follow, from Tully’s Coffee to Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Company and many, many more. Whether they’re searching for Bulletproof Coffee or the perfect pourover, Seattleites have a diverse array of excellent coffee shops to choose from.

Seattle also comes in as one of the more pricey cities on our list for rent. Your average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle will cost $2,139 a month.

Number 3. San Francisco, CA – One cafe for every 2297 people.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the “third wave of coffee”? Powered by high-quality artisanal coffee, the latest trend started with roasters like San Francisco-born Blue Bottle, which only sells beans that have been roasted within the last 48 hours. Locals also swear by third-wave pioneers like Ritual Roasters, Sightglass Coffee and Four Barrel Coffee.

In what’s probably no surprise, San Francisco is the most expensive place to live compared to the rest of our top 10. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment here will set you back $3,704 a month.

Number 2. Vancouver, WA – One cafe for every 2224 people.

Located just across the Columbia River from Oregon, Portland’s largest suburb is equally devoted to coffee culture. In fact, Vancouver edges out its sister city on our top 10 thanks to a slew of places to sip, from Relevant Coffee to Compass Coffee.

Vancouver is also the most affordable city on our top 10 list. One-bedroom apartments average $1,167 a month.

Number 1. Berkeley, CA – One cafe for every 2037 people.

Many brew aficionados trace coffee’s third-wave back to Peet’s Coffee, which started selling hand-roasted small batch beans in 1966 near the University of California. Today, Berkeley takes the title of the best city in the U.S. for coffee lovers, with more coffee shops per capita than any other city in the country.

Berkeley also comes in toward the top for rental prices compared to the rest of the cities on our list. The average one-bedroom apartment in Berkeley runs $3,106 a month.

Inspiration for this article


Winter is coming - Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Soup · 10 November 2018 by colin newell

Instant Post Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This time of year I really enjoy hearty vegetable soups – on dark and dreary late Fall and early Winter weekend evenings, there are few things more satisfying that healthy and filling wholesome vegetable soup. This new Instant Pot recipe feels like it’s destined to be a classic.

3 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 large Carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Coarse Salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground Nutmeg
2 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, low sodium
1 1/2 lbs Broccoli Florets, fresh (chopped-shredded, about 6-8 cups)

Roux To Thicken

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter

To Finish
6 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups Half and Half


Gather all ingredients, and prepare all of the vegetables, and shred the cheese. It’s easier if you have it all ready to go.

Turn on the Instant pot’s Sauté setting.
Add the butter and olive oil when it heats up. Then add the onion and cook for a few minutes.
Add the grated carrot and cook for a minute to soften.
Add the pepper. paprika, salt, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring.
Add the broth, and stir.

Add the broccoli, but don’t stir. Put the lid on and lock it in place. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Cancel the Sauté function.

Then press the Pressure Cook/Manual button or dial. Then the + or – to select 5 minutes (High Pressure).

When the cooking cycle is over, let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes (5 minute Natural Release).
Then Quick Release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to the Venting Position.
Turn off the pot.
If you want a creamier consistency, use an immersion blender. I like the slightly more rustic finish.

Mix the flour and butter together in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 15 seconds. Then mix very well until it is smooth.

Turn the Sauté setting back on and mix in the flour/butter mixture and stir until it starts to thicken.
Add the cheeses and stir in. Cancel the Sauté function and add in the half and half. Stir well.

Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.
Serve with some nice sourdough or cheese bread/buns.

Colin Newell is a resident of Victoria B.C. Canada and an active member of the Canadian Media Guild – he enjoys cooking and talking about it.

Enjoy some audio tracks from the brilliant local talent of Jeff Albert… Lonely Love

If the Ocean was Whiskey


Coffee in the 21st Century · 6 September 2018 by colin newell

1950's coffee trivia

For those who hearken to the 1950’s for a simpler time need only look at an assortment of sexist, mean-spirited ads that seemed to define a generation.

The reality of the time was – coffee quality had declined so much in the 40’s and 50’s that no amount of talent would have fixed it. In that era, as well, people were brewing coffee in percolators which is the single worse way to brew coffee – by running boiling water through the ground coffee and recycling the brewed coffee through the filter a half dozen times before it’s poured.

My mom and dad were still brewing percolated coffee into the late 1960’s until something of a renaissance started to develop – filter brewing coffee with hot water and a single pass – or manually pouring into a Melitta carafe.

For those of us, over 50 years of age, who have been drinking coffee for decades, these are simply the best of times for coffee culture and coffee lovers!