Need a great idea for a gift? How about a pressure cooker along with a new cookbook.
Pressure cookers are not so scary. In fact, they are pretty awesome.
I have mentioned it only in passing, but Rob gifted me a pressure cooker for my birthday and I have been experimenting with it over the past few months. At first, I was experimenting with cooking different beans and grains. It felt awesome to think “I want some cooked chickpeas” and an hour later, after adding the dried beans to the pressure cooker, I had myself some chickpeas. The no-soak required beans has alleviated my freezer congestion (I oftentimes freeze leftover beans) and made me more creative in the kitchen.
First of all, let me not mislead you: Pressure cookers need time to come up to pressure. In my machine, it takes 20 minutes. So while it may seem incredible that you only need to cook black eyed peas for 6-8 minutes, that is in addition to a 20 minute warm up and more minutes cool down (unless you release the pressure manually). I have an electric machine, so that benefit is that it does not need a burner on the oven and you can safely walk away while it does its thing. The downside is that it does not come up to as high a pressure as the stovetop ones, which is what most cookbooks cater to. Also, any recipes that all for sauteing need a separate skillet. There are pros and cons of each, as JL points out in her fabulous new cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking (available online now! it arrived early!).
In addition to her approachable FAQ on how to begin pressure cooking, she also has a host of recipes to start you on your new pressure cooking journey. She answers your looming fear: How can I avoid blowing up my pressure cooker? as well as Why do cooking times vary? Which pressure cooker should I buy? and How does an electric pressure cooker differ from a stove top pressure cooker? She has reference tables for pressure cooking vegan staples (vegetables, beans and grains) and her recipes are categorized similarly.
In her Beans and Grains chapter, she includes basic recipes like Italian lentils but also (slightly) more involved recipes like Dill Long-Grain White Rice; Oat, Amaranth and Carrot Porridge and Cinnamon-Curried Chickpeas. In her Soups and Stews chapter, her recipes span Chik’n Lentil Noodle Soup, very Veggie Split Pea Soup and Tofu Chickpea Artichoke and Potato Soup. Personally, those looked like one-pot meals to me, but JL has even more one-pot meals in chapter four including Gingered Adzuki Beans, Greens and Grains; Vegan “Bacon” and Cabbage and Soy Curl Mac ‘n Cheese. If you thought this was all beans and grains (yes, all the beans are dear to my heart), she also has a chapter for meal helpers and veggie sides which highlights recipes like steamed kabocha squash, savoury root vegetable mash, rosemary and thyme Brussels sprouts, and jackfruit and sweet potato enchiladas. Chapter six is for sauces and dips, and JL has a trick for her pressure cooker hummus and other savoury options like dal dip and ginger-cinnamon white bean gravy. And when you thought there was nothing more to make in the pressure cooker, the last chapter is for dessert! JL uses beans in a coconut-gingered black bean brownie but also includes recipes that rely more on the pressure cooker such as easy applesauce and peachy butter.
I think you know may understand why I may want another pressure cooker. I want to make all the things. Thankfully, I have had the cookbook for a while and managed to squeeze out a new recipe each weekend. In theory a pressure cooker may help me cook more often, but old habits die hard and I like my weekend batch cooking. Thankfully, I was able to share my favourite recipe thus far: JL’ Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili. Only after I got the photos, did I realize it was from her cover. Good choice, JL, good choice. Also it is a good thing I am not your photographer.😉
In any case, I even added JL’s suggested 2 cups of celery and as a confessed celery hater, it was still very good. I still really liked it. The tomato sauce was deliciously savoury and worked well with the black eyed peas. This recipe, like nearly everything in the cookbook, could easily be adapted to use without a pressure cooker. You would just need to wait a bit longer. With that being said, I really think this is a good, solid vegan cookbook, pressure or no pressure cooker. I love its focus on quick and easy cooking featuring whole foods.
Recipes from Vegan Pressure Cooking found elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have a pressure cooker (and if so, your favourite thing to make in it). A bonus entry for a second comment telling me about your favourite recipe by JL. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2014. Good luck!
PS. I am sharing this with this week’s Virtual Vegan Potluck.
Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Chili
Reprinted, courtesy of Vegan Pressure Cooking
JL’s note: The combination of this legume and leafy green sounds like a typical Southern dish and understandably, because in the South it is considered good luck to consume together on New Year’s Day. A colorful dish, the protein-rich black-eyed pea and calcium-rich collard greens are also high in iron.
4 large collard green leaves
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (80 g) diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (260 g) chopped carrot
2 cups (240 g) chopped celery
2 tablespoons (12 g) chili powder (Janet’s note: I substituted Ancho chile powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon (3 g) dried oregano
1 teaspoon seeded and diced fresh jalapeno
2 cups (400 g) dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
1 can (28 ounces, or 784 g) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces, or 224 g) tomato sauce (Janet’s note: I used 1.5 cups)
2 cups (470 ml) vegetable broth
1 cup (235 ml) water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1. Halve each collard leaf lengthwise with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting out and discarding the center ribs. Stack the leaves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch (6 mm) wide strips.
2. In an uncovered pressure cooker heat the oil on medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the collard greens, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, and jalapeno and saute for a minute or two. Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and water. Stir to combine.
3. Cover and bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow for a natural release.
4. Remove the cover and taste the black-eyed peas. Add salt to taste. If they are not thoroughly cooked, simmer on low, uncovered, until done. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Fair Winds Press © 2015