Living the WELL Life


Cooking Under Pressure - by Christina Pirello

Friday, February 26, 2010

Are you one of those people who say they have no time to cook? No time to get a healthy meal on the table?  After all, there is all that cooking time, right?

Or are you one of those people who is terrified of pressure cooking? Aren’t they those awful pots our grandmothers cooked with that resulted in geysers of tomatoes or chickpeas in the kitchen?

This month, our special menu is here to solve both your problems. Pressure cookers cook efficiently, preserve nutrients, enhance flavor…and save time…in many cases by 50%! And safe? New pressure cookers have enough bells and whistles to safeguard them against a nuclear meltdown!

Here are some great…easy…delicious…time-saving recipes to wet your pressure cooking appetite.

Menu

White Bean Soup with Spelt
Curried Red Lentil and Cauliflower Dahl
Almond Rice
Escarole and Winter Squash
Sweet Chinese Cabbage
Custardy Rice Pudding
Lemony Applesauce

White Bean Soup with Spelt

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
sea salt
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced butternut squash, do not peel
½ cup spelt, rinsed well, soaked for 1 hour, drained well
1 cup cannellini beans, sorted, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
5 cups spring or filtered water
2 teaspoons sweet white miso
3-4 leaves fresh kale, finely minced
½ red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, finely minced

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a medium pressure cooker over medium heat.  When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in carrot and squash, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add spelt, beans, bay leaf and water, seal the lid, and bring to full pressure.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.  Allow pressure to reduce naturally. Remove a small amount of broth, dissolve miso and stir it, along with minced greens into soup.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes to activate the enzymes in the miso.  Remove bay leaf and discard.  Serve garnished with roasted pepper. Makes 4-6 servings.

Curried Cauliflower and Red Lentil Dahl

Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
sea salt
½-2/3 teaspoon curry powder
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 cup red lentils, rinsed very well
1 bay leaf
1 cup plain soymilk
3 cups spring or filtered water
¼ cup dry white wine
1-2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely minced

Place about 3 tablespoons oil, garlic and onion in a medium pressure cooker over medium heat.  When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and curry powder and sauté for 2-3 minutes to activate the heat of the curry.  Stir in celery, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute.  Stir in carrot and squash, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute.  Add lentils, bay leaf, soymilk, water and wine, seal lid and bring to full pressure.  Reduce heat to low and cook until lentils are quite creamy, 7-10 minutes. Allow pressure to reduce naturally. Carefully open lid and season to taste with salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve garnished with parsley. Makes 4-5 servings.


Almond Rice

1/3 cup almonds
1 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed well, soaked for at least 1 hour
1 ½ cups spring or filtered water
pinch sea salt

Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Drop almonds into the hot water and boil for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and cool until you can handle the nuts.  Simply slip the skins off the nuts, discarding the skins.
Place rice, almonds and water in a pressure cooker and bring to a boil, loosely covered.  Add a pinch of salt and seal the lid.  Bring to full pressure, reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and allow the pot to stand, undisturbed for another 25 minutes.  Open the lid, stir gently and transfer rice to a serving bowl.   Makes 3-4 servings.

Escarole and Winter Squash

1 large head escarole, rinsed well, leaves removed, cut into large pieces
1 large red onion, diced
1 small butternut squash or kabocha squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup spring or filtered water
Generous pinch each of dried cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
Generous pinch sea salt
Generous drizzle brown rice syrup

Combine ingredients in pressure cooker, seasoning to taste. Seal the lid and bring to pressure over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove pressure cooker from stove and release pressure.
    If any liquid remains, return pot to stove and cook over high heat until any remaining liquid is absorbed into the dish and the greens are wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste, stir gently and serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sweet Chinese Cabbage
1 Chinese cabbage
spring or filtered water
sea salt

Rinse cabbage and leave whole. Do not drain it after rinsing. Place it in a pressure cooker, sprinkle it with water and several pinches of sea salt. Seal the lid and bring to full pressure. Lower and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to reduce naturally. Remove cabbage and slice into bite-size pieces. This dish is so sweet and delicate in taste that no dressings or garnishes are necessary, although some toasted black sesame seeds can be quite nice. And I won’t discourage you from making a luscious lemon-tahini dressing either.

Custardy Rice Pudding

4 cups unsweetened soy, rice, grain or almond milk
1 cup amasake (optional. You can use all milk, but make it 5 cups)
5 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Scant pinch ground cardamom
Pinch sea salt
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed well, soaked for 1 hour, drained
½ cup dried fruit of choice, currants, raisins, cherries, coarsely chopped apricots, etc.
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Combine ingredients in a casserole dish that fits in your pressure cooker with about an inch around. Cover tightly. Set the steam rack in the cooker with 2 cups water. Transfer casserole to the pressure cooker and seal the lid. Bring to full pressure; reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow cooker to stand undisturbed until pressure naturally reduces.
    Carefully remove casserole from cooker and stir pudding well to combine and loosen. It will be creamy but not too liquidy. Makes 4-6 servings.

Lemony Applesauce

3 pounds apples, quartered and seeded, peeled, if desired
½ cup apple juice
4 thin slices lemon
Pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup

Place ingredients in pressure cooker and seal the lid. Bring to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pressure cooker to stand, undisturbed until the pressure naturally reduces. Open lid carefully and remove lemon slices. Whisk briskly with a fork for a coarse applesauce or put apples through a food mill for smooth applesauce. Makes about 4 cups.

Like this meal? Let me know what you think and comment below. I love hearing from you!

 



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