Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pressure Cooked Hoppin' John to Start the New Year

Take a look at my blog post on my other blog ( for my version of Hoppin' John which I call Jumpin' John because I obviously do a vegan (no ham bone) version. It tastes great.

Happy New year to y'all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pressure Cooking DVD Gets Two Good Reviews

It brings me great joy to get people actually using their pressure cookers. It's a tool that can change your cooking life and lead you easily to healthier and more delicious eating, all while saving time and energy. It's green, lean and delicious -- a truly unbeatable combo.

Read what others have to say about my DVD. At GoDairyFree.Org Sarena made the black beans and loved them and the fact that they took about 10 minutes to cook, from start to finish (after presoaking). On Lisa Reviews you'll need to scroll down the page to see that Lisa realized I was telling the truth when I said, "If you can boil water, you can pressure cook."

If you've been afraid of the pressure cooker, I want to encourage to take the next step. Buy one and try it. It's one of the best holiday and New Year's gifts that you can give yourself.

But if you want to wait, Valentine's Day is a good time, too.

I am always happy to answer pressure cooking questions at My DVD is available on my website at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Veggie Queen's Black Lentil, Winter Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup

For many people, including me, yesterday was a cold day. I am not complaining but 40 degrees F. for us Northern California weather weenies is cold. But it's perfect soup weather. And if you've read any of my blog posts, you know that it's likely that I will pull out my pressure cooker and get to work making a fast soup.

I actually spent a bit more time (maybe 2 more minutes) thinking about this soup because I would have preferred barley but my husband doesn't really like it, or at least he doesn't think that he does. He actually prefers white rice but I'm not using that so...

Wild rice seemed like a happy compromise. I also wanted to use lentils and the black ones called to me. They are called Beluga black lentils because they look like caviar. I realized that my soup was going to be awfully dark, so I also added carrot, parsnip, celery and celery root, along with purple potatoes. After the initiail cooking, a peeled and ready to use kabocha squash showed up on my doorstep (you ought to see what shows up here -- usually edible, delicious and free) and that also got added.

Here is my best stab at the recipe. It's a highly adaptable soup so take what you like and leave the rest.

Takes 20 minutes at high pressure with a natural pressure release.

Black Lentil, Winter Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup
Makes about 2 quarts

1 tablespoon oil (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
2 medium purple potatoes, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
1/2 cup diced celery root (also called celeriac)
1 medium carrot, diced
1/3 cup black beluga, or other, lentils
2/3 cup wild rice
6 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups diced squash
Salt, pepper and herbs to taste

Add the oil to the cooker over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a minute or 2. Add the garlic and celery and saute another minute. Add the remaining ingredients except squash,salt, pepper and herbs and lock on the pressure cooker lid. Bring to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

Open the lid carefully and add the squash, salt, pepper and your favorite herb blend. I used organic vegetable rub but Italian or your favorite seasoning would be good, too. This is a blank canvas, waiting for you to add color.

Lock the lid back on and bring to high pressure for another 3 minutes, or simmer on the stove top until the squash is done. Quick release the pressure. Serve hot. If you have any fresh green herbs such as parsley, cilantro or chives, they would make this soup look and taste even better (than it already is).

Do NOT do what I did, which was stir the soup and then put it back on the heat. The cooked lentils will sink to the bottom and burn.

Add more stock or water, if the soup is too thick. I like mine thick. It's a meal in a bowl. Serve with salad and/or bread.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Perfect Pressure Cooked Millet for VegNews

This past Tuesday I was the guest chef at VegNews magazine for their special Cafe VegNews lunch. You can read more about it on their website: http://

I made my prize-winning recipe for Spicy African Sweet Potato and Ground Nut Stew which wasn't very spicy that day. What goes along with it is millet. And I must admit unabashedly that it was the best millet that I've had in a long time.

Here is how I made it. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.

Basic Pressure Cooked Millet
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups millet
2 1/2 cups water
salt, to taste, add after cooking

I heated the pressure cooker over medium heat and added the millet, stirring it often until it began to pop. When I could smell that it was toasty, I added the water and locked on the pressure cooker lid. I brought it to pressure. Turned down the heat to maintain high pressure and cooked it for 10 minutes. I took it off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, which took about 5 minutes. When I carefully opened the pot, the millet looked great. But I had to travel at least 20 minutes to get to the VegNews office so I just grabbed the cooker and went.

When I was finally ready to serve, I could tell that I had completely nailed the millet. Wooo hooo!

I've found that the key to cooking great grains is to keep them from stewing in liquid. So I add the suggested amount for the first cup and then decrease the liquid by 1/4 cup for each additional cup of grain. It seems to work just about every time.

If you don't eat millet, give it a try. It's the "bird seed" grain that's popular in Japan, China and Africa. It's gluten-free and non-acidic, which means that it's easy to digest. Not expensive either.