Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 The Year of MY Pressure Cooking Cookbook

While this blog has been abandoned for quite some time since I am now blogging at my main website, it feels like time to do a little update here about what I have been up to in the pressure arena.

I have been glued to my chair and chained to my kitchen (all in a good way) as I complete the final journey of writing my pressure cooking cookbook. My title is The New Fast Food (TM): The Veggie Queen Cooks Whole Food Meals Under Pressure (or something like that.
The publisher will likely rename the book and that's fine with me.). The book contains more than 100 vegetarian and vegan recipes for the pressure cooker which are suitable for anyone who eats. Before the book comes out in print, I will be releasing an ebook version of it, so keep your eyes and ears open.

What I have learned in the writing of this book that was not evident to me over the past 15 years of teaching thousands of people about pressure cooking, is that the pressure cooking leaders, including my mentor Lorna Sass, Rick Rodgers, Laura of Hip Pressure Cooking and Miss Vickie among others, cannot agree on pressure cooking times. While I find this a bit surprising, I suspect that the reasons that I outline below might make sense of it.

Why the differences in cooking times? Here are my guesses:
  1. We like our food cooked to a different consistency. I tend to like my vegetables al dente, on the firm side, while I like my beans and grains cooked thoroughly but not drowning in liquid.
  2. I prefer to under cook and put my pot back on pressure, if necessary, or cook on the stove top if more time is required. This relates to number 1.
  3. We use different sizes of pressure cookers although that shouldn't really make much difference in cooking times since you don't start timing until your pot reaches pressure, and while the size of the cooker will influence how long it takes to reach pressure it doesn't affect the cooking time although it potentially could. There might be less steam circulating well with 1 cup of rice cooked in an 8 quart cooker than there is in a 4 quart cooker. This is just an off-the-top-of-my-head intuitive guess.
  4. We use different makes and models of pressure cookers. Although I have found very little difference in cooking times among my cookers, which now include Fagor, B/R/K, Fissler, Magefesa and Kuhn Rikon, some of the pots might have better heat retaining properties which cause faster cooking. This is just a guess.
In my mind, a pressure cooker is a pressure cooker, even the jiggle top models that I won't go near. It does a job. With that said, there are differences in the various brands of cookers, most of which are cosmetic but some effect efficiency and ease of use.

I explain it as the difference between driving a Honda or Toyota or Ford (if you want American) and driving a BMW or Mercedes. They will all get you to your destination.

The weight of the pot is a big issue for me. I prefer a medium weight pressure cooker versus a heavy weight one, yet I stay away from aluminum. With that said, a smaller pot that is heavy works as well for me as a medium weight medium sized pot. Most of you don't likely have that choice which is why you need to choose your first cooker to your liking. Once you are hooked, though, you'll likely find yourself ogling other pressure cookers, just like I have.

I will be telling my pressure cooker love story in my book so stay tuned. I am still in love with pressure cooking and what it can do, more than 15 years after starting the process. I hope that I can inspire you to jump into using the greenest way to cook for your health and that of the planet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at