Fellow Registered Dietitian, Dina Aronson, MS, RD, saw me this past summer at Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She walked up and said (and I am paraphrasing here), “I want to thank you for encouraging me to get a pressure cooker. It took me a little while to develop a relationship with it but now things are great. It has really changed my life.”
I cannot explain this any better than Dina did. In my book The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes I describe my pressure cookers as my “boyfriends”. I do this because I talk about my first pressure cooker and our relationship and how I loved it because I didn’t know any better. But I digress…
Pressure cooking is different than regular cooking. You have to get used to what your pressure cooker can do, your stove, your food and what happens. You MUST pay attention to what is happening .
Now, this is not so much the case with an electric pressure cooker because the timing is not likely to be as precise. What I have found is that most people who are using the electric pressure cooker (and please correct me if I am wrong, electric PC users), tend to cook beans, soups, stews, chili and less often cook mixed vegetable dishes that potentially need multiple quick releases, which for me is the joy of using the pressure cooker – getting food cooked just perfectly. I understand that many people don’t care quite as much as I do. That’s fine.
You must still develop a relationship with your cooker. The first step is either to do the water test: putting in 1 or 2 cups of water and bringing the cooker to pressure to determine how much liquid is lost or to make stock to see what happens. Either will result in you spending some time with your pressure cooker.
If you take the time to develop the relationship, it will result in many wonderful meals, prepared to perfection, or as close as you can get in “real life”.
The pressure cooker world is heating up these days: Modernist Cuisine recommends using a pressure cooker for many recipes, America’s Test Kitchen is coming out with a new pressure cooker cookbook and a number of bloggers (and not just JL of JLGoes Vegan or Laura of Hip Pressure Cooking but others, too) are mentioning the pressure cooker. It probably helped that America’s Test Kitchen did what I wanted to do: send out pressure cookers and their cookbook to bloggers to check out. (Unfortunately, I lack the ATK budget so never got around to that.)
I hope to encourage so many more vegans, vegetarians and other eaters to adopt pressure cooking. I see it as a great way to preserve personal and planetary health.
So, take the time for that relationship. If you already have it, please post below and let me know.
Here’s what Madeline Baum of Chicago just shared with me:
I want to thank you for your pressure cooker cookbook. It and my pressure cooker have made a huge difference in my life (your book and DVD got me over my pressure cooker phobia). In particular they’ve helped me find ways to eat greens that I actually look forward to. Just made your spicy African Groundnut Stew the other day — I love that recipe!
Keep the comments coming. Please post below.