Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pressure Perfect: A Cookbook That's Not Even Close to Vegan but...

...its got a lot of useful information just the same (if you can get past the turkey carcass on the cover.) I took this out of the library yesterday because I'm looking to learn more about using my pressure cooker. I've already learned somthing useful from the book.

According to the author, Lorna Sass, you don't have to soak dried beans to cook them in a pressure cooker. Since this runs contrary to everything I've ever heard, I gave it a try last night. I followed her recipe to make Minestrone Soup. Well, I mostly followed her recipe. I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, lima beans instead of cannellini beans and bulgur instead of pasta.

According to the recipe, the dried beans would cook in 28 minutes plus the time it takes for the pressure to come down naturally, about another 15 minutes. I'm shocked and delighted to report that this works. The beans were tender! Adding the remaining ingredients and heating them through, only added only another 10 minutes to the cooking time. So in about 1 hour, I was able to get a soup made from dried beans on the table.

The only down side is you need to be in the kitchen to monitor your pressure cooker. I used this time to make Peanut Noodles and banana bread so it was time well spent. I'm looking forward to mining this cookbook for more useful tips.

BTW, according to Pressure Perfect the time to cook dried beans in the pressure cooker varies based on the type of bean you're using and the recipe you plan to use it in.


Anonymous said...

i looooooooove how you arent afraid to look in ANY book to get must be an inspiration to other vegan/ a meat eater (sorry) but love your blog...and read it daily and laugh and smile and learn new thanks....and keep at it

Debbie said...

Actually, soaking beans is always optional, no matter how you cook them -- soaking them does cut down on the cooking time and many think it aids in digestability, especially when you discard the soaking water and rinse them. I usually cook my beans in a slow cooker and I've never soaked them first.

P.S. Sass has a vegetarian pressure cooker book, but I've not read it yet -- your post prompted me to look and see if my library has it, and they do!

Katie said...

Thanks for the compliment and you don't have to apologize to me for being a meat eater. As long as you can respect my position on food, I can respect yours. Sometimes, I think veg*ns do more harm than good when we get militant. Alienating people never works. On the other hand, tempting them with tasty food can work wonders.

Glad you enjoy the blog.

I knew that for other cooking methods but I'd always heard it was a must for the pressure cooker. I also frequently use the slow cooker and never presoak the beans.

Its funny that you mention that vegetarian pressure cooker book. I just discovered that Sass wrote four cookbooks that are vegetarian. One of them is vegan! Here are the titles:

The New Vegan Cookbook

Lorna Sass Short-Cut Vegetarian

Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen

I'm not clear if they are all pressure cooker based but I'll be checking my library for these titles also.

Ruthie said...

How bizarre Katie, I checked that EXACT SAME book out last week. It's sitting on my dining room table right now, being very unappetizing. I like the fact that they have 3 or 4 variations on each recipe. So even though there are only a couple of chapters of veggie foods, there are endless ideas to try.

I knew about the not soaking thing from (5 cups of water, 2 cups of beans) but we never do it because the two times I tried it we were INCREDIBLY bloated and musical the next few days, if you know what I mean. Plus Russell's stomach is just too sensetive for that. But, ya make do, right? :-D

Katie said...

That is strange. Great minds really must think alike.

We didn't notice any increase in musical aptitude around here and it didn't bother Jim's stomach but I know what you mean.

Spice Island Vegan said...

I just bought my new pressure cooker about a month ago. The cookbook Pressure Perfect was included for free. This book is useful to learn about pressure cooking but I bought her vegetarian cookbook Great Vegetarian Under Pressure.

I love pressure cooking. This is my new learning experience. I was able to make vegetable curry in 9 minutes. It's also a good way to save money by buying dry beans instead of canned.


Katie said...

Hey SIV,

The basic info is very useful. I just put Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure on hold at the library.

I think pressure cooking can be a bit addictive, as well as a big money saver. I mean how exciting is it to make a dried bean dish in 9 minutes!