Smart Home Solutions for a Smart Studio

by Tuesday, March 06, 2018

One fun thing about my studio is that I get to play with automation, aka Smart Home Stuff, a lot. My goal from the beginning was to make things run as smoothly as possible even when I am not there to troubleshoot. Yeah, sometimes technology just complicates things (and I've had my share of hiccups already), but hopefully in the long run it will make the studio a more comfortable and enjoyable place for everyone with minimal regular intervention in some areas.

Case in point: The Warehouse came with a very dumb thermostat--like, I haven't seen one like it since I was a kid. Also, it is a VERY big room, and this winter I learned that in colder months, it costs a lot to maintain a palatable temperature, and it takes several hours to raise the temperature even a few degrees. We're working on better insulation to help with these issues, but in the meantime, I was having to show up two to three hours prior to my classes to turn the heat on. I was trying to figure out how to deal with that when other people rent the room, so I don't have to go down and turn the heat on for them, or expect them to arrive that early.

So far I have a two part solution; pardon me while I geek out a bit:

First, Chris gifted me a Nest. I wasn't going to splurge quite that much on a smart thermostat, but the pricing has come down on their lower end model, and it's a familiar ecosystem for me since we have one in our home. This allowed me to set schedules by day of the week, so I was able to stop coming in so early so often, and this worked well for other regular weekly renters as well. However, there is no app currently available for scheduling by date (why is that?! this is a no-brainer!). So I had to wonder, what about a one-time rental? Was I going to have to set myself reminders for every event, make sure I was near my phone or computer to turn the heat on personally for every renter? That was not going to fly...

Second, enter IFTTT, aka If This Then That. It's an incredibly robust platform for programming specific triggers to perform actions--known as "applets"--seamlessly integrating systems which don't necessarily "talk" to each other natively. There are many technologies which partner with IFTTT, and make pre-programmed applets to perform functions, from simple to complex. In this case, I leveraged multiple applets to achieve what I was trying to accomplish. I am now able to use my Google Calendar to trigger my Nest thermostat. But my situation was unique, and I needed a trigger to happen BEFORE the event takes place. Thus I was able to use my Google Calendar, talking to my Gmail, which IFTTT then recognizes and then sends a command to my Nest. The solution wasn't immediately obvious, but here's how it works:

I have set up separate calendars for each room I rent out at the studio. This allows me to see availability at a glance when renters are inquiring about renting. Additionally, I preface every calendar entry with a room designation, like "JB - Shay Rental" for me renting the JewelBox studio, or "OR - Susie Rental" for Susie the Orange Room, WH for Warehouse, etc.

Each calendar has various settings you can tweak, and in this case, I set this calendar to e-mail me a reminder notification two hours before the start of any event added to that calendar.

Over in Gmail, I set up a filter such that any e-mail that comes in from "google-notifications@google.com", and has "Notification: WH" in the title, gets immediately labeled "Warehouse Nest Trigger" and is archived (aka skips the inbox). This is so it doesn't ping my inbox and send me push notifications every time it happens, nor do I have to go archive them all the time. This is important because I hope to have more smart thermostats in the future, all with similar automation in place, and I don't want my inbox clogging up and "ding! ding! ding!"ing me notifications constantly.

I set up an applet in IFTTT to regularly scan my Gmail for anything with the label "Warehouse Nest Trigger". If it finds a new message with this label, I instructed it to turn the Nest to 65 degrees.

Thus, two hours before an event in the Warehouse, my Google Calendar sends a message to my Gmail, which IFTTT then sees and triggers the Nest to turn up the heat. Not the most elegant solution, but it means all I have to do is enter rental times into my Google Calendar as I normally do (no change in behavior on my part from here on out), and the thermostat takes care of itself.

And to make this all a nice neat package, there was already a native applet which will trigger Nest to turn the heat back to its lower holding temperature at the end of any event. So when BillyJo's event ends at 5pm, IFTTT tells the Nest to lower the temp back down.

In related Smart Studio news, I already have some smart plugs in place which schedule lights and space heaters to go on at certain times related to when I or other renters are regularly there. In particular, I have a set of lights that go on at dusk every day and then shut off at midnight, so there are always some lights on when it's dark out, making us feel safer as we come and go. But when I visit the studio, I like to have some of those lights on even in the daytime, just for inviting pooled lighting in darker corners of the space. While tweaking my smart apps, I have finally set up some presence triggers at the studio such that when I arrive, key lights will turn on no matter what the day/time. Unfortunately, a limitation in the system is I can't do the reverse, and have them turn off when I leave. Otherwise if I leave them on for a renter and then go away...they will turn off. So I will have to remember to turn them off manually.

It is interesting to probe the logic which drives smart technology, to suss out the strengths and weaknesses. Unexpected outcomes are certain, and thinking through what a given string of triggers will accomplish is necessary to also reveal unintended consequences. I often read posts on forums by people who want to use presence sensors to unlock their front door, for instance. Sounds pretty cool, except in my personal use case with triggers at home, there were times I was driving past my house (not even on my street, but close by) and my house recognized my "presence" and triggered automations. In this case, harmless ones like turning on lights and a push notification, but if it were unlocking my front door...!!

It's been an interesting journey, studio ownership thus far, and this is just one fun facet I am working on to make Studio Deep Roots even more unique, special, and welcoming.

Cheesemaking With Sous Vide

by Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Thanks to Sous Vide Everything's recent video on making Queso Blanco cheese with sous vide (see video at end of post), I decided I wanted to give it a try. All I needed was a gallon of milk, which was easy enough. I already had the vinegar, cheesecloth, and circulator. In researching a few other similar methods, I also discovered some options for goat cheese, which I also wanted to try. So I stopped by Central Market, where I knew I could get good organic cow's milk as well as goat's milk. On the way home I swung by a homebrew shop to get some chevre starter and a mold/form similar to the one in the video. I also grabbed some rennet for future cheesemaking attempts, and grabbed a couple chef pans from Seattle Restaurant Supply to make the process a little easier to set up now and in the future, since I don't have a good large shallow pan for larger sous vide operations.

Once home, I set straight to work on the Queso Blanco. Immediately I got the sense the this was a more labor-intensive way to do this than the good old fashioned stovetop. Setting up sous vide is worth it for the right applications, but is just trading stove-tending time for set up and break down time in other cases, as well as a lot of wasted water (in summer I will water my garden with it and it isn't so wasted, but in winter...it tends to just go right down the drain, which I am not pleased about). Such was the case here. I simply had to bring the milk up to about 180 degrees without scalding it, then add the acidic element--in my case apple cider vinegar--to form curds. Then strain with cheesecloth, season, and set into the mold. Voila.

I started with hot water from the tap, but in a large shallow container like this, it was cooling as I was filling. So it took a bit of time to get the water up to temp, and even longer of course to get the milk to come to 180. I just went and watched a movie, knowing that I couldn't possibly scald it or overheat it--that was the one good reason to have it sous vide. Unfortunately partway through, our Nomiku decided to just stop working. Luckily I was nearby to see the screen tell me as much, as it gave no other warning. Luckily, we had our Anova nearby so I swapped it out and kept going, but now we may have a dead Nomiku? Hrm... No time to troubleshoot.

Basically everything went just as demonstrated in the video. I added significantly less vinegar however, as most recipes I saw called for 1/4-1/2 cup compared to their fully 1 cup serving. I ended up using a half cup and it was plenty. Any more and I think the cheese itself may have tasted vinegary. At this point, we had plenty of curds...and a very bland cheese.

I poured it into the cheesecloth, squeezed out excess moisture, then turned it into a bowl. I seasoned with Kosher salt, stirred with my fingers to incorporate it, and pressed it into the mold. Today I have a beautiful little cheese. Probably a beautiful little bland cheese.

Edited to add: I did finally try the cheese. Despite feeling like I salted the hell out of it, the salt is very very light. I remember this from a cheese-making class we took maybe 10 years ago, now. Salt it more than you think, as it will mellow. The vinegar flavor is coming through, not in an entirely bad way; but if we had used an entire cup I think it would have been unsavory to us. Ultimately, the cheese is pretty...plain. I mean, I guess that's the point of queso blanco--to be a more neutral kind of base cheese? I think if I made it again, I would a) add more salt definitely and b) herb it up. We're going to try it on tacos for dinner tonight (using the whey from the process to marinate the chicken, which is also a new thing we're trying), and will see how it goes. I can also make a flavored dip from it

I can say the mold was nice to have, for aesthetic results, but is entirely unnecessary.

So on to the goat cheese. This one needed to be heated to a much lower temperature, 87 degrees, and then had to be held at 73-ish for 12+ hours. This is where I thought the sous vide would really shine, being able to hold the cheese at a precise temperature all night long, letting the cultures do their work in an optimal environment.

I washed the the inner liner from the cow's cheese and poured in the goat cheese. Since the water bath was coming down from over 100 degrees, and the milk coming up to try to reach 87, I set it in right away. After 45 minutes, the milk was getting close to 87, but the bath was still over 100, so I dropped in some ice cubes and voila. The happy medium occurred and I hit 87. Dropped the sous vide temp, dropped in more ice cubes to bring it down, and then added the chevre starter. I THINK this may be where things went awry...?

I don't buy cookbooks, because most everything you want to make has free recipes online. Cheesemaking is no exception...except! Lots of people using lots of different methods and different products, all which require subtly different treatment of the materials at hand. So I had a chevre starter which didn't require rennet or extra citric acid, but doing searches for "goat cheese home made with starter" and similar, I was getting a lot of people who had different starters, or combinations of starters. Looking without the starter or culture in the search terms, I got the same farmer cheese methods as the queso blanco, with lemon or vinegar to trigger a curdle, which supposedly has less flavorful results. Only a couple had done theirs with a chevre starter, but none mentioned the brand, so I couldn't be sure it was the same. But both of them used half the volume of milk the packet was to cover, so they used half the starter. That seemed logical and I did the same, erring on the side of more starter.

I set it to go for the night, watched some television, and went to bed, expecting a "goat yogurt consistency" by morning. 13 hours later...it was very very thin. Some culturing (is that a verb?) had occurred, but it seemed like a watered-down yogurt at best. But looking at videos, other people's results were from a regular yogurt to a thicker custard consistency. I tried to find ways to fix it, but none of the recommendations had any insight for me other than "next time", including one site I found that I hadn't the day before saying using less than a packet of starter, even if you use less milk, will cause it to fail. So perhaps my culture was more like the one in that company's line, and I should have used the whole packet? I don't know. But as soon as I started spooning out the "curds" it was dissolving into slippery milk. It wasn't holding.

I tried pouring it through a cheesecloth, and it was thickened enough that it wouldn't go through without squeezing, but it was not whey coming out but plenty of the fats as well that hadn't properly cultured/curdled. I tried adding some lemon juice to see if it would curdle further, but it didn't do a thing.

I gently squeezed a while, getting goat milk all over the inside of my sink as it squeezed out of any ready hole in the cheesecloth. I got it down to about half volume and decided to string it up and hang for the morning anyway, to see what comes of it. Probably I will just have a pot filled with milk and a limp wet cheesecloth, but we'll see in a few hours...

So ultimately? I don't think the sous vide is necessary. Even the goat cheese, which could be held at precisely 73 degrees, most people just set the pot on a counter with a towel over it and the residual heat, while sitting at room temperature, does the trick. So the water, power, and effort to set up/teat down sous vide for that seems unnecessary.

Sadly, the non-homogenized organic local goat milk cost me $10 for a 1/2 gallon, so I am not just running out to the store to try again when I can get really delicious local, organic, farmstead cheese sold to me in a neat package at my store for less. I will try again sometime, but at that price point, I am not sure the result will be "roll my eyes back in my head so worth it" kind of cheese...?

IT WORKED! My goat cheese actually turned out! I may even have had more of it if I hadn't so aggressively squeezed the cheesecloth at the outset. I let it hang out for most of the day yesterday and then turned it out of the cheesecloth into a small ramekin before I went to teach, leaving what looked for all the world like a tiny scoop of ice cream (photo left). It was still quite wet and not as dense as I would like, and I wasn't certain it was "turning out". I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight. And today? The texture is sooo smooth, earthy flavor, a hint of the lemon I added at the end of the process to try and get the curd to solidify better. I have salted it with some kosher salt, stirred, and stored it to have later with some crostini!

Here is the video from Sous Vide Everything, for those interested

Stupid Simple Instant Pot Mac n' Cheese

by Sunday, January 21, 2018

I think it's safe to say that if it involves cheese, I'm into it. What is "it"? Anything, so long as "it" involves cheese, of course.

I also am a big fan of pasta, and lately you may have noticed I am into experimenting with my Instant Pot. So a marriage of cheese, pasta, and my IP is pretty much heaven-sent. And all I can say is RUN, don't walk, to get the ingredients to try your very own version, stat. Because it is STUPID simple and STUPID fast. How does prepped and cooked in under 15 minutes grab you? Yes, that includes mis en place, coming to pressure, cooking, releasing, and plating. Bonus: truly only one-pot will be dirty when you're done (well, and your plates and utensils... stop being so picky).

I have included lots of suggested variations, which in some cases would lengthen your cook time, but many are ingredients you can finish prepping while the IP is doing it's thing so it adds no additional time. Even then, it's gonna be fast and it's gonna be delicious. For me, the pasta was perfectly al dente--to the tooth! Unlike the box mac n' cheese that often comes out mushy/too soft for my taste, this had the mild chew of a perfectly done pasta. Prefer it softer? You can easily let the pasta sit for a minute before releasing pressure to add a little extra cook time, or simply sauté a minute, lid off, until you get the texture you prefer.

Some bloggers make big claims about this being a "blue box but better" experience. First of all, why would I want that? I don't think anything compares to the powdered neon yellow-orange of the mac n' cheese so many of us grew up with, and if that is what I am craving, that is what I am making. But if that's what you're going for, stick to American cheese in your version, as nothing else will really compare otherwise. For me? I wanted home made mac n' cheese with ingredients I can stand by, and fast as fast can be. Done! Now I'm kinda obsessed with all the different ways I can riff on this recipe, the sum of this mental roller coaster is outlined below:

1 lb bag of elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
4 cups water
2 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper

1 cup heavy cream, evaporated milk, or even 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup half-and-half (consistency will vary, but any will work)
16oz shredded cheese of choice
      - I used pre-shredded cheese for speed: 8oz of sharp cheddar and 8 oz of a mixed Mexican blend we had on hand with Monterey Jack, Oaxaca and Asadero
OPTIONAL: 1 cup cream cheese

  1. Dump macaroni, butter, water, mustard, salt and pepper into the IP and stir together. Close, set to high for 4 minutes. 
  2. Quick release and stir to make sure noodles are cooked to your liking. If not, you can sauté a minute to boil it a little longer, but mine was perfect.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, AKA TEH NOMS. All the creamy goodness and cheeses melt together.
  4. That's it. Really. All done. Serve it and eat it. Voila. Finis.
Okay, so if you want to take this a step further, you could casserole it. Spray a 9X11 pan with Pam, load in your mac n' cheese. Sprinkle some more cheese and some breadcrumbs over the top and broil in the oven until melty and browned on top.

The variations are simply endless. I can't stop spinning on ideas!
  • Stir in spinach or broccoli, peas, artichokes, or other veggies of choice
  • Cube and oven-roast seasonal veggies (squash, peppers, etc) to add in final step.
  • Stir in bacon, sausage, ham, or shredded or chopped chicken from a previous meal or a pre-cooked store-bought bird
  • Hit with some garlic powder or garlic salt, cayenne, Italian blend, or any other seasoning of choice for a punch of flavor
  • Use chicken broth instead of water to cook the pasta for a little more flavor
  • Use mozzarella, gruyere, fontina, gouda, havarti, parmesan, and/or other mixed cheeses for different flavors. Smoked gouda mac n' cheese?! Yes! Blue cheese? Yes yes! Brie and camembert? Hell yes. And don't be mad, but American cheese/Velveeta is of course right up there as well.
  • Swap out the pasta for kicks. Bowties (farfalle)? Penne? Gemelli? Shells? Just about anything should work. One of my faves is orecchiette, so I want to try that next.
  • Seafood! Crab or lobster mac with chives and Old Bay? White cheddar and gruyere, asparagus, and smoked salmon, anyone?
  • Stir in pre-made pesto, top with pine nuts and parmesan, maybe even dollops of goat cheese
  • Use the Mexican blend cheese from the store, maybe add some Pepper Jack. Add black beans, corn, and chiles for a Mexican flavor. Top with avocado, cilantro, and green salsa.
I love this recipe for adding sweet potato and making them into cupcake-sized mac n' cheese bites. I bet pumpkin or butternut squash would work well here, too. They can even be made ahead and frozen for later enjoyment.

This one has peaches and prosciutto! Over orecchiette, even. Now I'm thinking butternut squash and blue cheese with sage...Mmmmm

This genius over here gave me another leftover option, namely mac n' cheese quesadilla. Makes me want to make the Mexican variation I was thinking about above to start with. Should I do this, I am not ashamed to say I will devour this in a spectacularly messy fashion.

And this fancy-pants appetizer made with mac n' cheese in little prosciutto cups is up my alley.

I have to stop now. All this is making me hungry. I think I'll go have some cold leftovers to start my day...

All About Eggs in Instant Pot

by Sunday, January 14, 2018
I can sum up cooking eggs in an Instant Pot in two words: easy and frustrating!

Cooking eggs conventionally, we have boiled, baked, steamed, poached, and fried, to name a few. Among the "in the shell" methods, we call them "two-minute eggs", or whatever length of time you want them cooked to get the yolk the way you like it. Sounds easy enough.

With Instant Pot, we have different models/sizes to contend with, but we also have altitude and psi to take into account.

Altitude because the temperature of boiling water changes depending on your altitude, and pressure cookers cook with pressurized boiling (above boiling, even) steam. So if someone in Denver, Colorado is telling you to cook for 30 minutes, in Seattle you're gonna cook it for a little less time. A handy little cheat sheet lives here, if you happen to be curious.

On top of that, different models of pressure cookers operate at different psi, pounds of pressure per square inch. Stove top models and many electric models cook at 15psi on high, while inexplicably most Instant Pot models top out a little over 12psi. So the intersection of altitude and model can make differences in cook times, which you can geek out about over here, if you wanna know the ins and outs of that (and funny enough, uses the same comparison of Denver, CO in altitude adjustments that I chose to).

So what does this mean for me, an Instant Pot user at sea level? Not much for most recipes, honestly. I will be trying to make a note of online recipes and where the author is from in future, at least. But it makes a big difference when we're talking about a very short cooking window, as with eggs. Literally one minute difference, can produce runny or hardened results. Add on manual or natural release, and whether you shock the egg after to stop cooking and you have a handful of steps where the finished product can vary widely. Based on ONE MINUTE of cook time. No pressure, would-be Julia Childs (I made a punny! "No pressure, " get it?!" *ahem*)

Recently I followed a comprehensive blog post where a home cook took beautiful photos of her 1-5 minute "poached" eggs. Specifically I was looking sidelong at her images of a perfectly drippy 5 minute high-pressure egg, when I get similar results at 2 minutes in-shell. How could 5 minutes come out gooey in a silicone cup, and with no ice bath to follow? I decided to try 4 minutes and came out with just-this-side-of-hard boiled, confirming my skepticism. Which is what went me down a rabbit hole to try and suss out why her results could be so different from mine. And it turns out that while we were using the same model of IP, and I used the exact same silicone cups even, she is a few thousand feet above sea level. Could that be the difference? I am going to find out!

Next experiment is LOW pressure poached eggs, as outlined on The Kitchn when briefly discussing the purpose of low-pressure settings on our pressure cookers. Up to now, I have been doing 2 minute eggs on high pressure, followed by an ice bath. The results are a gooey yolk, which I love, but sometimes the whites don't set all the way inside which I do NOT like. So the next test will be a low pressure setting for 3 minutes with manual/quick release and see what we get. I will try to report back soon!

Some inspiring recipes I found while looking for info on my blog post:

Egg Papin - Poached Eggs in Bell Pepper Cup
Eggs En Cocotte - "French Baked Eggs"

Instant Pot Killer Cheesecake

by Sunday, January 07, 2018
I have been using my IP for a little over a year now, and so far I have only ever done savory dishes/meals. I keep running across recipes for baked goods, but they require a small springform pan to go into the IP, which I didn't have. Well, the other day I was ordering something small off of Amazon, such that it was an "add on" item and required I bring my total to over $25. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to pick up that pan I always wanted. Bonus, I also wanted a bundt pan for another recipe I wanted to try out, and this sweet little number came up in my searches-it's both! And it comes in two adorable colors: orange and turquoise! I snagged the turquoise one and it arrived the other day.

This week has been a bear, unfortunately. Hubby is sick again (still sick? Who can tell any more?!), and my studio flooded in the rain and we have spent the past several days UN-installing all my beautiful bamboo floors to chase down the trouble. Unfortunately, the water intruded far further than we could have imagined and we are having to take the ENTIRE floor up, and not just a section. Cue call to insurance, and we'll see where we land...

So yesterday, I was feeling despondent and tired and cranky and sore from lots of unhappy physical work. We were at the grocery store to get some staples when I remembered I had this little pan at home and I wanted to try my hand at making a salted caramel cheesecake. Cheesecake of all flavors happens to be one of my and my husband's favorite desserts, and I thought maybe if I had the energy left when I got home, I would bake us one to cheer us up. Ooooh, and I had some leftover Ginger Snap cookies I could make a crust with, I bet! So I tossed some extra cream cheese and sour cream in the basket.

Hubby went into shut-down mode and I set to my task. My spirits lifted a bit as I changed my focus to something fun. He walked into the kitchen, hearing the bashing about, wondering what I was up to. I commanded him to go sit down and offered to make him a hot buttered rum to soothe his throat and maybe lift his spirits as well. Which is when inspiration struck. Cheesecake. Ginger Snaps. Salted Caramel. Hot Buttered Rum. I need to put these all together!

After scouring the Googles for some versions of cheesecakes with some of the ingredients I envisioned--in order to get the ratios at least somewhat correct--I altered course slightly, and this is the result. Hubby gobbled it down, complimenting me repeatedly on success. The crust really was noms in particular. We both agreed the caramel sauce was fairly unnecessary as the cheesecake itself was so yummy, though I might add a tad more sugar to the filling next time. Hope you enjoy it!

Instant Pot Hot Buttered Rum Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Salted Caramel Sauce

7" springform pan
parchment paper (optional)
Cooking spray
Paper towels


~20 gingersnap cookies
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar

2 packages cream cheese (16 oz), room temp is best
1/2 cup golden brown/light brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsps rum -OR- 1 tsp rum extract (or vanilla if it's all you got)
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon*
1/8 tsp ground cloves*
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg*
2 eggs
*shortcut, you can use pumpkin pie spice if you like, close enough, IMO.

I cheated and used a salted caramel sauce I already love from Delicately Sweet Confections which I got from The Handmade Showroom.
If you need to make a sauce, try this simple salted caramel sauce, or alternately this rum caramel sauce.


The foil sling thing, in Step 8
  1. Mise en place - set out your cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and spices for the filling right away so the cold ingredients can come to room temp and you're ready to whack out the filling when your crust is done. If you have a second silicone ring for your IP which hasn't been used for cooking meats/savory things, swap it in now so your dessert doesn't taste like last night's dinner.
  2. Prepare your springform pan. Spray inside of springform pan lightly with cooking spray. Line bottom with a circle of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom and spray lightly again (optional, but this second step makes getting it out of the pan even easier)
  3. Make crust. Using a food processor, or the handy plastic bag and a rolling pin method, break up your gingersnap cookies until finely ground. Combine with melted butter and sugar and blend thoroughly. Using a flat bottom glass or other similar tool, press gingersnap crust into pan bottom and working half way up around the sides as well. Allow to set in freezer while you make the filling.
  4. Blend all ingredients except for the eggs in a stand or hand mixer, scraping down sides and making sure everything is blended evenly. (If you let the ingredients warm to room temperature, this should come out smoothly. If you didn't, you may get a more lumpy textured filling. I'm okay with this, but fair warning to you.) Add two eggs and blend just until combined, don't over-mix.
  5. Pour filling into prepared crust, smoothing the top
  6. Take a piece of paper towel and a piece of foil of similar shape/size, place foil on counter, then paper towel, then your cheesecake pan on top of both. Mold the foil/paper towel around the base of your pan (prevents water from getting to your crust).
  7. Take a second length of foil and loosely cover the top of your pan - this keeps water from dripping down from the lid onto your cheesecake top
  8. One more foil thing! Take a length, about 18 inches long, fold into  a 4" strip. Slip under the pan like a sling--this makes it easier to lower your pan in and lift it out when you're done.
  9. Pour 2 cups into pot and place metal trivet in the bottom. Lower your pan onto the trivet. (Tip: using boiling water and closing the IP quickly thereafter saves time coming up to pressure. Works with anything you cook this way.)
  10. Lock lid, make sure it is sealing, press "Manual" and set for 35 minutes on high pressure. Allow to release naturally.
  11. Lift out cheesecake, remove all foil and set on a cooling rack for a bit. When cooled, release from pan (use a knife around the edge to help as needed), put in refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  12. Slice and plate with half a gingersnap cookie on top, drizzle with sauce of choice.
Feeling impatient about that cream cheese and eggs coming to room temp? Full a bowl with warm water. Drop in eggs. Put cream cheese in a ziplock bag and submerge as well. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

When preparing your crust, only go up the side of the pan partway. The more exposed your crust is above the filling, the more opportunity it will have to absorb moisture and come out spongey.

Do not forget to release the cheesecake from the pan before refrigerating. I got lazy and just stuck it in there, so our crust lost all crustiness, sitting in its own steam. For a crispier crust, get it outta there!

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On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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