Saturday, February 21, 2009

Veggie Queen Cooks Under Pressure with John Ash

I am rushing off to the farmer's market to buy ingredients so that I can appear on the radio this morning. I will be demonstrating live, how to use a pressure cooker to make 2 of the recipes on my DVD Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes. I will be on KSRO, 1350 am here in Sonoma County, on the Good Food Hour with John Ash and Steve Garner at 11 am PST.

I will be making Shane's Fabulous Lentil Soup and Market Fresh Breakfast Tofu, Potatoes and Vegetables. I have not yet done live radio pressure cooking but I am sure that all will go just fine. It's a beautiful day and we will be out at Bassignani's Nursery in Sebastopol on a live broadcast.

I am really excited to see what gems appear at the market this morning to go into my vegetable dish. That surely will help relieve the pressure.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pressure Cooker Accident Implicated in Burned 14-year Old in Florida

With so much fear surrounding pressure cookers and pressure cooking, why would I be telling you about something so tragic?

The story that I read in The Miami Herald said that the girl was cooking with an adult when the accident happened. No further details except that the girl was seriously burned about the face, hands and neck. That is just awful.

My best guess is that she and the adult with her were using an old-fashioned pressure cooker. And that the pressure got too high or they weren't patient enough to wait for the pressure to come down before removing the pressure valve -- and BOOM, a horrible explosion of burning hot food spewed from the cooker.

I am no detective (possibly perhaps of the Columbo type) but I am surmising that impatience was the cause of the incident because the girl was obviously close to the cooker to get burned in that manner.

My advice -- unless you feel completely comfortable using an old-fashioned pressure cooker that you have used faithfully for years, ONLY use a modern spring-valve type cooker. I have used them successfully with my students for about 8 years at Santa Rosa Junior College and we have not had one incident of explosions or burns (the latter of which can easily happen with the 250 degree F. steam). It's not due to my luck because I have had other things happen in class which have involved paramedics and nurses, but I won't divulge here.

There are many of us online, and out in the world, who agree that tragedies like this can be prevented. We successfully use our pressure cookers almost daily (I'll speak for myself here.) The modern pressure cooker is built with safety in mind. Once you've achieved pressure you cannot open the pot and this prevents any kind of explosions and accidents. So, do yourself a favor and cook the modern pressure cooking way.

I'd love to hear your comments and questions.