Wednesday, August 14, 2013

C'mon, be Hip! Pressure Cooked Quinoa, courtesy of the Hip Pressure Cooker

I don't eat a lot of grains or potatoes, so it stands to reason I don't cook them that much.  I do cook a lot of beans, mostly in chilis, stews and soups, and my one "go to" grain is oats, in every form from steel cut, thick rolled, and even quick oats.  But with summer comes fresh and seasonal vegetables in abundance and hot weather, perfect for eating cold foods, like salads.

Mark can eat anything because he never overeats.  He can eat potatoes, he can eat bread, he can eat candy and pastries...oh and ice cream, let's not forget ice cream!  And lucky for me I don't like the same kinds of foods he does, not even the same kind candy or ice cream!  I love potatoes, but there are so many other foods closer to the top of my list I'm rarely tempted to eat them, much less overeat them.  So weekly I make a batch of potato salad, and although really really yum yum yummy I won't eat it, or I'll serve myself a very small dish full.

Another salad I've been making regularly is my quinoa salad.  Again, quinoa is not a favorite (until maybe now!), so if I make a large carb based salad I'll be careful to portion out a small serving.  I do tend to be careful about my carbs, never trying to eliminate them completely, but as I write about in my book, The Swing, I still, to this day, mentally organize my diet/nutrients in a certain order.

Vegetable, protein, fat, carb/dairy, sugar.

Oh, sorry, this blog post is about pressure cooking, not diet!

Yesterday I did something I never ever did before! I pressure cooked my potatoes for a salad!  Duh!  Why the heck did I not think about that before?  I started to get my big 'ol pot out to boil potatoes and then I thought...hey wait a minute!  (literally)  I should be able to pressure cook these babies and save myself a lot of time!  So that's what I did!  I still have to work out the details but I can't believe I never thought of it before!

Basically I filled my 4 qt PC half way with water, placed 4 med russet potatoes, cut into 1/3 pieces (skin on), placed the lid on, locked it, turned on the heat, let it come up to high pressure, turned down the pressure and cooked them for three minutes.  At this time I turned off the PC and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes I released the remaining pressure (manually) unlocked the lid and looked inside!  I poked the potatoes with a bamboo skewer, and it slid through like butter!  I drained the pot and left the potatoes to sit to cool and until I could get to them.  Now all I have to figure out is how to cook the eggs at the same time (I have an idea, so you'll be the first to know if it works out!)  But I can totally see myself using my PC to cook mashed potatoes for holiday meals. (the only time I make them)

So...this evening I went to get a regular pot out of my cupboard to make some quinoa.  Whoa...wait a minute! Don't I have recipe from the "Hip Pressure Cooking" genius Laura Pazzaglia?
I was fortunate to meet her in person last year and watch her make quinoa in the PC!  Not only did I meet her and watch her, but I still had her handout of recipes, including the quinoa recipe, on the side of my refrigerator!  Score!  I'm smelling the deliciousness of it right now!  I can never make quinoa again the old fashioned way!

To be honest I screwed it up the first time 'round!  But if you have ever committed yourself to learning something you never give up. And in the case of pressure cooking more than likely you just have to put the damn thing back on the stove for a little more time, which is what I had to do!  I did not cook it long enough so when I took the lid off it was still watery.  Back went the lid, up went the pressure, on went the kitchen timer and voila!  Part of the problem was that her recipe called for 1 1/2 c. and all I had was 1 c., so making my own adjustments based on experience took a little trial and error!  Here is her exact recipe found on her site (linked above)

It's delicious!  And smells divine!  (I did not use tumeric because I didn't have any, but I had everything else, and it took two minutes at high pressure)

PC-ing the potatoes will still take some trail and error, but why, or how, could I labor for almost an hour cooking either one again?  Silly.  Pressure cooking doesn't take anything away from the flavor, the nutrients or the appearance of foods, it just takes away the time that it takes to cook and prepare delicious homemade meals.  And in fact many foods benefit from pressure cooking in taste/flavor and nutritional value.  When you commit to becoming confident using a modern pressure cooker you can't imagine a whole new world of versatility opening up for you.

From making your own baby food and pet food to using inexpensive ingredients to make entire one pot meals, like certain cuts of meat, dried beans and legumes...or how about an artichoke in less than 10 minutes?  I'm not personally an artichoke fan, but now that I think about it, maybe I could become one in less than 10 minutes!

There are few days that go by that I don't use my pressure cooker and I own three of them!  A 4qt / 6qt combo and an 8 qt...oops I guess I own 4!  A 10 qt too!  One of these days I'll learn how to can, but until then I've got a pretty good thing going on!

Herby, Eggy, Potato Salad

Russet potatoes, cooked until soft, peeled, large dice (4 med size)
6-12 boiled eggs, med dice
1/4-1/2 c white wine vinegar
fresh herbs chopped, lots! (I used dill, chives and parsley)
2 stalks celery, med dice
mayo (1/2 - 3/4 c.)
mustard (1 tbl.)
dill pickle relish (1/2 c including juice, optional)
salt and pepper (potatoes need a lot of salt, don't be shy)

Pour/drizzle white wine vinegar over potatoes and eggs, once they are cool enough to dice, but still warm.  Add all other ingredients and mix.  If the salad seems "thick" add more vinegar, not mayonnaise!  Lots of salt and good grind of fresh pepper to season.

PS I cook my potatoes with the skin on and peel afterwards.  The skin come right off.  To cook eggs I put them in water, bring to a boil with the lid on (5-8 min).  The second they come to a boil turn the heat OFF, but keep the lid on!  Set your timer for 7-10 min depending on how cooked you like them.  Never "boil" eggs.


Maribel said...

In Mexico I had a potato sale that was cilantro, lemon juice and peppers, like jalapeño. Salt and pepper. This reminds me of that.

Tracy Reifkind said...