Posted by: lornasass | December 20, 2013

PRESSURE COOKER FEATURED IN NY TIMES!

I couldn’t be more excited!

A major food feature in this coming Sunday’s New York Times magazine (12/22/13) is an enthusiastic piece by Mark Bittman on the pleasures of pressure cooking.  

Variations and Transformations teach a lot about how to cook as well as cook under pressure!

Mark came over to my Manhattan kitchen about six weeks ago and we cooked up a storm.  You’ll see what it all looked like in the accompanying videos and you’ll have four recipes adapted from Pressure Perfect:  Beef Short Ribs, Lamb Meatballs in Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce, Porcini Risotto, and Black Bean Soup with Chorizo.

For a preview of the pressure cooker article, to print out the recipes, and to watch the videos, here’s the link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/magazine/apply-a-little-pressure.html 

Feel free to comment below the article to increase the enthusiastic response.  And please e-mail the article to friends so we can spread the word about the joys of pressure cooking.

Happy cooking and happy holidays to all!

Posted by: lornasass | December 12, 2013

NO NONSENSE CHICKEN BROTH

The older I get, the less I want to fuss–so I’ve pared down chicken broth to chicken bones and water.  If I’m feeling flamboyant and have some celery in the fridge, I throw that in, but it’s really not necessary.  

Chicken bones in my house get collected in the freezer.  When I have enough of them to fill the cooker halfway, I pour in enough water to almost reach the top of the pile of bones.

30 minutes under pressure, then the natural release.  When cool, lift out the bones with a slotted spoon.  Refrigerate the broth for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.  The broth is mineral rich and I often sip a mug-full with breakfast–a nourishing and soothing way to begin the day.  (I know this may sound strange, but after I heard the observation that Americans have dessert for breakfast, I switched to savory choices: eggs, kale, and maybe a little quinoa– and I don’t have an energy crash in the late morning.)

And guess what?  The broth is helping to keep my bones strong enough so I can make more.

Posted by: lornasass | April 17, 2013

SPREADING JOY WITH THE PRESSURE COOKER

It has long been my mission to have pressure cookers on the minds of all cooks, but with all of the sad news coming out of Boston, this has not happened in a way I could ever have imagined.

With people associating pressure cookers more than ever with blow-ups, this is a good time to take out your cookers and make something nourishing and delicious to eat for yourself and your loved ones.

Tell everyone you know that the pressure cooker was always intended to help folks get a healthy meal on the table in record time, and nothing more.  Joe Yonan, of The Washington Post, got it right in the piece he just posted, so aptly titled Take back the pressure cooker, and cook. 

Joe interviewed me for this piece and you’ll read more of my thoughts in it.  You’ll also have my recipe for Boston “baked” beans which Joe is planning to make this weekend for some Boston friends coming to DC.   Go Joe!

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be nourished.

May peace prevail on earth.

Happy Cooking to All!   Lorna

Posted by: lornasass | January 22, 2013

PRESSURE COOKER GAINS ON WALL STREET

Well, The Wall Street Journal anyway.  How exciting is this?  Here’s what they had to say in print and on line on January 18, 2013.

“Get ready to fall in love all over again with the pressure cooker. Gone are the explosive devices of generations past: Today’s pressure cookers—which cook food superfast with the help of steam built up inside a sealed container—won’t set your house on fire, but they will whip up first-rate meals in the blink of an eye.”  They follow this intro with their review of the best cookers.

I’m glad that the Wall Street folks finally noticed that pressure cookers are safe–only about 30 years after the newly designed cookers were introduced to saavy American cooks.  I don’t know how stocks did today, but my Amazon ratings ratings zoomed up for Cooking Under Pressure and Pressure PerfectGreat Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is building up steam too.

Happy, speedy, delicious cooking to all!

Posted by: lornasass | November 9, 2012

PRESSURE PERFECT: LAMB SHANKS WITH WHITE BEANS

Variations and Transformations teach a lot about how to cook as well as cook under pressure!

I wanted to celebrate and share with you the stellar review of Pressure Perfect written by Laura Pazzaglia, founder of the exciting blog, Hip Pressure Cooking.  With her innovative recipes, Laura is doing so much to establish the pressure cooker as an essential tool in the contemporary American kitchen.

At the end of the review, Laura runs my complete recipe for Lamb Shanks with White Beans, the variations, and the 3 interesting Transformations as well.  With the Transformations, I show you how to make a very different dish by adding or subtracting a few  ingredients to the main recipe.

Those of you who don’t yet have your own copy of Pressure Perfect will get a chance to see what you’re missing.

Happy cooking!

Posted by: lornasass | June 21, 2012

PRESSURE COOKER CORN-ON-THE-COB

I have very fond memories of steaming unhusked corn in the microwave.  It was easy, convenient, and an absolutely reliable technique for maximizing corn’s delicious flavor. 

But last year I decided to put my microwave to rest, having read enough to convince me that nutrients are destroyed when food is cooked in that strange little box.

So, when pressure cooker devotee Rita Yaezel wrote me about using the same basic technique in the pressure cooker, I was delighted.  Here are Rita’s thorough instructions.  Thanks Rita!

RITA’S EASY-SHUCK CORN FOR THE PRESSURE COOKER

(Developed in a 7-quart Kuhn-Rikon stovetop pressure cooker.)

Using this method, the husks will easily pull off the corn along with all of the
silk! Pristine, super-flavorful, corn-on-the-cob with no messy husking and no
scrubbing to remove the silk!  How easy can corn-on-the-cob get?  The timing below
should work for any number of ears.

Credit:  My adaptation for the pressure cooker is inspired by Ken’s charming and
inventive video for microwaved corn: “Shucking Corn–Clean Ears Every Time
Thanks, Ken, for the inspiration!

Ingredients:

1 to 6 whole ears of corn in the husk (as purchased), outer first layer of leaves
removed for cleanliness sake, stems trimmed 1/4- to 1/2-inch from cob, and pointed
end trimmed to about 1 inch from end of cob

1 cup water, for the cooker

Directions:

1. Insert rack into a 4-quart or larger pressure cooker and add the 1 cup water.

2. Place prepared ears of corn on the rack of the cooker, criss-crossing them if
possible, but it’s not absolutely necessary.  (My Kuhn-Rikon 7-quart pressure cooker
will just barely hold 6 large husk-on ears of corn.)

NOTE FROM LORNA:  you can also stand the ears upright; trim them as needed to fit, and be sure they are not blocking a vent or the pressure cooker regulator.

3. Seal the lid and bring to high pressure.

4. COOK at high pressure for 3 minutes for crisp kernels or 4 minutes for
crisp-tender kernels.

5. Use a Quick Pressure Release (cold water release for stovetop cookers) and
carefully remove the lid.

6. Remove corn from cooker with tongs.  When cool enough to handle, cut off the stem end of each ear at its widest point close to the stem.

7. Hold the ear by its husk at the pointed end and shake gently until the ear slides
out of the husk…pristine, totally naked, without any silk attached, and ready to
serve!!!!

8. Serve plain or slathered with butter, aïoli, or anything else you love to serve
with corn-on-the-cob.

Posted by: lornasass | May 22, 2012

THE MARRIAGE OF PRESSURE COOKER AND COOKTOP

There may be occasional trouble in paradise… 

Go to this link and read the thorough “low-down” from Hip Pressure Cooking. 

Learn about the adjustments you need to make when you use a “pc” on an induction cooktop versus gas or electric.

Posted by: lornasass | February 2, 2012

BUILT-IN PRESSURE COOKER CHICKEN BROTH

Here’s a great tip for making chicken broth at the same time that you are making a soup:

Whenever you eat bone-in chicken, freeze the bones with a little meat still clinging to them. 

Once you’ve accumulated a nice handful of bones, throw them into any soup you are pressure cooking.  (For ease in removing the bones after cooking, numerous readers have suggested tucking them into a cheesecloth packet and closing the packet with a silicon cooking band.  I think this is a great idea!)

Case in point:  over the weekend, I made a nice bean soup using 1 pound of large (unsoaked) limas.  I made the broth from 8 cups of water, a sauteed chopped onion, 4 large sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable broth powder plus the chicken bones, of course.  To all of this, I added the dried limas.

10 minutes under high pressure plus the natural pressure release: the limas were meltingly tender and the soup broth had a strong, deep chicken flavor.

After cooking, I removed the bones, then stirred in lots of fresh dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  I also added some cubes of roasted chicken. The soup was a big hit. 

Happy cooking!

Posted by: lornasass | January 5, 2012

PRESSURE COOKED 15-MINUTE BEEF CHILI

Here’s a very popular recipe from my best-selling Pressure Perfect.   Be sure to check out the Transformations below suggesting different ways you can take this basic recipe and create three totally new dishes.

By using ground meat instead of cubes, the cooking time of this flavor-packed chili is dramatically reduced. I’ve added diced sausage to enhance the texture and give the chili extra kick. Cocoa powder deepens the flavor.

Serve the chili accompanied by rice, polenta, or corn bread—or spoon it into taco shells and serve with one or more of the optional garnishes.

Yield : Serves 5 to 6
Cooking Time : 4 minutes high pressure

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, pork, turkey, or lamb (or a combination)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ pound chorizo or other spicy cured sausage, finely chopped (use a food processor)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • One can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with green chiles (with liquid)
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a press
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

FOR THE OPTIONAL GARNISHES

  • Sour cream and chopped cilantro
  • Grated cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce
  • Chopped red onion
  • Tortilla chips

Directions

Heat the oil in a 4-quart or larger cooker. Stir in the cumin seeds and toast for 20 seconds. Add the ground meat in small batches, stirring vigorously after you add each batch. Use a long-handled fork or spoon to break up and crumble the meat. Continue cooking over high heat until the meat is brown.

Stir in the onions and water. Take care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to bottom of cooker. Blend in 3 tablespoons of the chili powder and the cocoa. Add the chorizo and bell pepper. Pour the tomatoes on top. Do not stir after adding tomatoes.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.

Stir in the garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, plus the additional chili powder if needed. Simmer the chili uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are integrated, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve in bowls or lift mixture with a slotted spoon and set into taco shells. Accompany with the garnishes of your choice.

Variations

For a hotter chili, add a pinch of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper after cooking—or stir in chopped fresh jalapenos.

Transformations (Follow basic recipe except as noted.)

Chili with Beans: After pressure release, stir in 1½ cups firm-cooked pinto, kidney, or black beans, or 1 can (15 ounces) drained and rinsed.

Cuban-Style Chili (Picadillo): Reduce chili powder to 2 tablespoons and add 1/3 cup raisins. After pressure release, stir in ½ cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed olives along with garlic. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve over rice.

Curried Lamb or Beef with Potatoes (Keema Alu): Use ground lamb (sometimes sold as lamb patties) or beef. Omit chili powder, cocoa, chorizo, and green bell pepper. Add 2 pounds scrubbed or peeled Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes that have been cut into ¾-inch chunks and 10 ounces fresh or frozen cut green beans. After adding tomatoes, sprinkle 1½ tablespoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon salt on top. After cooking, eliminate garlic and oregano and stir in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (optional), and more curry powder, if needed. If you wish, thicken stew by stirring in ½ to 1 cup yogurt. Serve over rice. Instead of optional garnishes, accompany with mango chutney or an Indian pickle, such as lime or eggplant. (I recommend Patak’s brand for both.)

PRESSURE POINT

The flavor of ground cumin doesn’t survive the high heat of pressure cooking. Use whole seeds for authentic taste and texture.

Posted by: lornasass | December 29, 2011

PRESSURE COOKER ASIAN SPLIT PEA SOUP (VEGAN)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe to enjoy when you want a break from rich holiday fare.

Dried shiitake mushrooms provide depth of flavor and star anise lends its unique tangle of licorice, resin, and smokiness to this Asian-inspired split-pea soup. Ginger juice and watercress leaves offer bright finishes of taste and color to the soothing, familiar backdrop of split peas.

Yield : Serves 3 as main dish or 4 as appetizer

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce dried shiitake (about 10 small)
  • 2 whole star anise “flowers”
  • 2 cups boiling water, plus 4 cups additional water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced (keep white and green parts separate)
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1½ cups split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5-inch chunk fresh ginger (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 to 3 cups loosely packed watercress leaves (from 1 average bunch), coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (Shoyu or Tamari)
  • 1½ to 3 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Place the shiitake and star anise in a large glass measuring cup and pour the 2 cups boiling water over them. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender enough to cut, usually about 10 minutes. Lift out mushrooms and star anise with a slotted spoon. Slice the caps thinly, discarding any stems (they are too woody to eat) as you go. Set the shiitake, star anise, and soaking liquid aside.

2. Heat the oil in a 6-quart or larger pressure cooker. Add the white part of the sliced scallions, the onion, and the garlic, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the sherry evaporates, about 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups of water, split peas, sliced shiitake, star anise (discard any broken pieces), and salt. Pour in the shiitake soaking liquid, taking care to leave behind any grit on the bottom of the cup.

3. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.  Allow the pressure to come down naturally.

4. While the soup is cooking, prepare the ginger juice: trim and grate the ginger. Once you have about a tablespoon, press to grate ginger, use a porcelain grater, available in Asian groceries, or the side of a box grater with rice-sized holes.

5.  Once the pressure is down, remove the lid and stir in the ginger juice, scallion greens, watercress, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oi to taste.  Garnish individual servings with black sesame seeds, if you wish.

Notes

The generous supply of meaty shiitake makes this soup substantial enough to serve as the main course. Opt for small shiitake-with dried caps no more than 1 inch across-if you can find them, as they rehydrate quickly. (About 10 of this size weigh ¾ ounce). If using larger ones, you may need to soak them longer; chop them into bite-sized morsels. You’ll find dried shiitake and star anise in Asian groceries and in some health-food stores.


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