Meandering Musings

Everything not fit to publish

Ninja Foodi

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For a single male, I can cook surprisingly well. I do have some professional training and experience but I am an amateur that only needs a recipe book for baked goods or when trying something for the first time and often not even then. I only need some pots and pans, knives and a stove and oven and can cook anything. From perfect eggs over easy(yuck) to prime rib roast to soups and sauces to cream puffs, breads and even candy. I can cook pretty much anything. The only thing I can’t ever seem to get right is croissants, they are really time-consuming and difficult!

What I typically don’t do is buy gadgets, they are unnecessary and clutter my kitchen. I do have small things like apple cutters and this awesome pineapple cutter and mandolin slicer which I use in the rare times I have a lot of company. I also have a Ninja smoothie blender. So, it is unusual that I bought a large, expensive gadget. I had money put away that no longer has a purpose so I took a small amount of it to buy this and a laptop that I will review later.

The Ninja Foodi seems to do everything but it is really just a pressure cooker and convection oven. It can steam, roast, sear, crisp, sauté, air fry, bake, dehydrate and slow cook.

I don’t typically deep fry things so I have not tried air fry functionality yet but I have used the pressure, steam, roast and crisp functions. It works very well with no babysitting so I can cook and do other things at the same time. I enjoy multitasking, it keeps my mind busy.

I have the 6.5-quart model that I bought at the VA hospital, no sales tax and slightly cheaper than elsewhere. The biggest negative is its size. It is both very large when storing and small when cooking. If you consistently cook for more than three or four people, this is not for you. There is an 8 quart model but I doubt it has significantly more rack space. A whole chicken will cook in it and can cook a fair amount of things like potatoes and soup. However, if cooking chicken breasts or steak there is little space on the rack.

You will need a lot of storage space. It is bulky and the pressure lid is not attached, you also can not store both the rack and steam container in it so that is more space needed.

It is true the cooking time in the pressure cooker is lower than baking in the oven, but there is a caveat: time to build and release pressure. It takes 10-15 minutes to build pressure and another 3 or so to release it. For a whole chicken, it is still faster than baking but for boneless chicken pieces, it is not. The advantage is that it is much harder for whatever you are cooking to end up dry.

A whole chicken takes about 30 minutes once the pressure cooker is at high pressure and then 8 minutes with the crisper setting to make it turn out perfect. Pork chops and boneless chicken breasts take 2 minutes. Diced potatoes also take 2 minutes before it is ready to mash, that makes it so much faster and simpler than doing it on the stovetop. I tried out an interesting Thai-ish pork and sweet potatoes recipe that came with it and the potatoes were perfect. It is nice in that you can cook the meat and potatoes at the same time if you do not mind juices dropping into the potatoes.

I made a nice New England clam chowder in less than 15 minutes pressure and cooking time. I might try some fish next. Pacific cod or catfish sounds like a good trial fish before risking fresh halibut.

It can steam rice but why bother? Rice cookers seem like the most pointless gadget ever. For all rice, except really hard rice such as black rice. It is so simple: 2.25 parts water to 1 part rice, salt if you wish. Boil the water on the stove, add rice and salt, bring back to a boil, take it off the heat, cover tightly, wait 15 minutes. That works for small and large batches of rice. Cooks perfectly and no scorching.

The Foodi is also very easy to clean. Nothing sticks, except the rack a little bit. It comes with some recipes and basic guides for people like me that like to experiment. There are lots of recipes online and cookbooks available.

Is it worth it the cost and space? I think so if you enjoy cooking but don’t have a lot of time. If you can use it at least 2-3 times a week consistently, you would probably get enough out of it. I haven’t done the math but it should be cheaper to run than the stove and food turns out much better in it than a microwave and at least marginally better than using a mediocre oven, which I have. I should put a Viking range on my to-buy list.

As I create recipes for it, I might post them. Well, if I can get an exact amount of ingredients, I typically eyeball it instead of measuring. That would be far more useful than a lot of my recent posts.

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