So, yes, I have to admit that I am one of those people that have been terrified, and I do mean terrified, for years at the sight of a pressure cooker. Visions of it exploding on the stove, dousing ceiling to floor with the pressurized contents gone awry abound aplenty.
It wasn’t until about ten years ago, when a dear friend introduced me to using a pressure cooker to make Daal, Indian lentils, that one of those contraptions made its arrival into my kitchen arsenal. What a score! I embarked on my journey of using my pressure cooker, albeit still somewhat trepidatiously, cooking a variety of beans. But, alas, my journey pretty much stalled at that point….well, that is, until JL Fields’ “Vegan Pressure Cooking”. A whole new world of culinary skills and delights entered my gastronomic sphere.
JL’s Chapter, Pressure Cooking 101, is nothing short of brilliance. In several pages, she walks us through quelling all of our concerns and answering all our queries before we even asked them. If you are a pressure cooker novice or a pressure cooker extoller, this cookbook is a must-have in any kitchen, whether it be vegan or not. Honest!
For me, my love affair with this cookbook started with some of the basics. For example, I was of the belief that I could only cook dry beans straight up in only water in the pressure cooker. I had no idea that you could create such amazingly tantalizing one-pot dishes such as her Cinnamon-Curried Chickpeas. Such a simple, straight forward dish that packs a punch of flavor. Served over brown basmati rice with a salad or braised greens, I’m in absolute heaven-on-earth.
Grains, such as rice! Who knew! I surely didn’t. Rice cooker be gone! Pressure cooker handily replaces a rice cooker if you follow JL’s glorious plethora of recipes for rice, quinoa, barley, oats, etc. Have a hankering for a savory, stick-to-your-ribs while not feeling stuffed breakfast? Try her Couscous, Oatmeal, and Veggie Porridge. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! Absolutely divine as it is, for sure; but I must own up to, on occasion, stirring in a bit of non-dairy unflavored or vanilla yogurt for a tad more decadence. Yum!
And while a go-to kitchen appliance had been my crock pot for those cold winter soups and stews, it, became relegated to the back of the cabinet, also being replaced by my pressure cooker. The Black Bean and Sweet Potato stew is not only glorious to behold but also is a joyous concert of harmonious flavors on your palate. In a beautiful tureen, it becomes the centerpiece of your dinner party meal, served along with some fresh whole grain crusty Italian Bread and a salad.
One of my favorite main dishes to serve for brunch is tofu scramble. There are so many variations to this dish; but I would not have ever thought of preparing it in a pressure cooker….but JL did! Now, rather than pulling out the large sauté pan and being held a captive audience to the stirring, everything goes into the crock pot; and in literally minutes, tofu scramble! Stellar!
I absolutely adore a good gravy atop a lentil ‘meat’loaf, smothering mashed potatoes and sweet corn, or a key component to poutine (French fries-fried using the air fryer*, brown gravy, and vegan cheese). JL’s Ginger-Cinnamon White Bean Gravy takes Poutine to an entirely new and elevated level.
As astounding as all these glorious finds that are now a part of my repertoire are, nothing, and I do mean nothing, prepared me for JL’s Coconut-Gingered Black Bean Brownies! I had heard that black beans make for a very fudgy brownie, but it had gone untested in my world. I had serious doubts about this recipe, to say the least….so, as you might expect, when they came out of the oven (the brownies, themselves, are actually baked in the oven after prepping the beans in the pressure cooker), I became a believer, a black bean brownie convert. The ginger and coconut come through as wonderful counterpoints to the chocolate fudgy-ness. A definite winner!
If you haven’t already added “Vegan Pressure Cooking” to your cookbook shelf, I would encourage you to do so.
*JL Fields cookbook “The Vegan Air Fryer: The Healthier Way To Enjoy Deep-Fried Flavors”, published by Vegan Heritage Press, will be out June 2017; however, it is available for pre-order via Amazon.com for $13.78, which is an $8.17 savings off its list price of $21.95 https://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Air-Fryer-Delicious-Deep-Fried/dp/1941252362/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1477009354&sr=8-11&keywords=the+vegan+air+fryer&linkCode=sl1&tag=jl03e-20&linkId=baa6c863eaabaedd3b7291cdcc1e05ea