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Cookbook Review: Pressure Cooker How-To & Recipes

The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen™ Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes

New Fast Food Pressure Cooker Ebook

From Jill Nussinow MS, RD aka The Veggie Queen™.

This downloadable ebook has everything you need to know about pressure cooking: what to look for when buying a pressure cooker, how they work, how to pressure cook successfully (easy & fun), and more than 100 delicious pressure cooker recipes to make in under 30 minutes.

Jill packs over 15 years of pressure cooking experience into 222 pages of pressure cooker info, how-to's, timing charts and recipes for grains, beans, vegetables, soups, stew, chili and other mixed dishes, as well as desserts.

Learn how to save time, money, personal and planetary energy with the greenest, tastiest and most eco-friendly way to cook. Print out pages only as needed.

When Jill wrote and asked if I'd like to review her new pressure cookbook, that prompted me to finally order the new pressure cooker I've been meaning to get for over a year to replace my defunct Magefesa.

I found a good deal on the Fagor Duo 5 piece set on Amazon - 8 qt and 4 qt pots with interchangeable glass and pressure cooker lids, plus a steamer insert. Beautiful heavy shiny stainless steel. I love this pressure cooker set, and use it constantly.

Fagor Duo Combi Pressure Cooker Set

Now I wish I had 2 pressure cooker lids so I could cook beans and grains at the same time! I can see how it would be handy to have 3 or 4 pressure cookers in different sizes, each with interchangeable lids.

I've had pressure cookers before, and I know their time saving benefits. Happily, they're so much more user friendly than in my early exerience. I've encountered pressure cooker cookbooks before too. I'm familiar with Lorna Sass, the Pressure Cooker Queen (Jill graciously cedes that title to her, because she was there first).

But I haven't experienced the MAGIC before this pressure cooker and Jill's pressure cookbook. It's amazing, because I don't even like ebooks! I download them, then I don't read them. Not this time! The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food lives on my desktop and is almost always open.

Red Lentil Soup

I've got 4 charts stuck up on my fridge now - timing charts for grains, beans, soups and vegetables. I've been enthusiastically trying out Jill's recipes, cooking up big batches of beans and grains to freeze and fridge, and converting my own recipes, e.g. Spicy Red Lentil Vegetable Soup, which took 30 minutes from start to sitting down to eat, compared to the hour it usually takes - a big plus with people dying of starvation in the next room (I don't let them in the kitchen - too distracting).

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I can't believe I haven't been using a pressure cooker daily myself for the last 15 years! I'm constantly thrilled by the speed and ease of cooking in my new pressure cooker. Brown rice in 20 minutes! Quinoa in 5 minutes! Lentils in 6 minutes! Black beans in 8 minutes! Veggies in 2 minutes! Soup in 6 minutes! And it all tastes incredible! I can still see how I might still use the crockpot for some things, but basically, it's goodbye slowcooker, hello pressure cooker. Thanks to the Veggie Queen.

In her new pressure cookbook, Jill Nussinow briskly, directly, and cheerfully tells you every important detail about using a pressure cooker. And thank heaven, she tells you many times, in many ways. So you don't have to scratch your head trying to remember what page she said about this or that, because yay! She just said it again. Repetition is key to effective learning, and the skilled use of that tool is the hallmark of a successful teacher. That would be The Veggie Queen.

Chapter 3 was especially useful to me, because it gets into the practical nitty-gritty of actual pressure cooking which results in fabulous food. In other words, exactly what everybody really wants to know. Here are a few gems of pressure cooker wisdom from Chapter 3:

"Here's pressure cooking at its simplest. You use a metal pot with a special locking lid that contains a gasket. You add liquid to the pot and use high heat, causing the liquid to boil, which turns into steam. The steam seals the pot and the food cooks quickly and efficiently, in 50 percent less time than on the stovetop. The cooking temperature of boiling water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit while the temperature of steam is around 250 degrees Fahrenheit."

"My goal in pressure cooking is to end up with the 'perfect' texture, which for me means that my food is not swimming in liquid. I use as little liquid as I can get away with, sometimes using less than the manufacturer's directions. Some manufacturer's recommend using much more liquid than necessary, as protection, so that you don't burn your food or your pot but you end up with soggy food. You will likely need to do some experimentation with your cooker to determine how much liquid to use. "

"Here's what you can do in your pressure cooker:"

"Brown or sauté before adding other ingredients. I often do this to increase the flavor components in a dish. I either sauté with oil or perform dry-sauteeing which uses the hot pot without oil. This is great for anyone who follows an oil-free diet such as those taught by Drs. McDougall, Fuhrman, Ornish, Esselsytne and the Engine 2 Diet. The caution is to be sure that nothing is stuck without oil, and add liquid as necessary to insure this."

"Braise, which is cooking with a little fat and then adding liquid for cooking. This is one of my favorite things to do in the pressure cooker. The liquid can be water, stock, wine, juice or anything else."

"During the natural release method, the food is still cooking. With beans and other legumes, you need this additional time to continue cooking, and don't want to do a quick release as it will cause the beans to split. This is also the time that soups and stews develop flavor so follow recipe instructions for natural release, if that's what's called for."

Brazilian Brown Rice and Black Beans

"If your pot was burned, for whatever reason you might think that your pressure cooker is done. This not true. I can tell you from experience that unless you've burnt the outer part of the pot causing the triple-ply bottom to melt off, the inner part of your cooker can be salvaged despite how it looks. First thing to do is figure out what you'll be eating for dinner."

And then, the wonderful recipes! I want to make every single one of them - eventually - but for this review, I tested and posted two of Jill's New Fast Food recipes, Brazilian Brown Rice and Black Beans, and Vegan Munggo which is a very simple recipe for mung bean soup.

Vegan Munggo Soup

Since I cook rolled oats every morning, with a 20 minute cooking time, I naturally want to try Jill's recipe for 3 minute steel cut oats with all my usual added goodies. Plus risotto, which I've been wanting to make for ages, and all the risotto variations. And curried quinoa apple salad - new quinoa recipe! Yippee! And polenta in the pressure cooker - half the time and no stirring! And tomorrow I'll try making my stewed fruit in the pressure cooker. I can't wait to try more of my favorite soups and grain dishes.

If you're new to pressure cooking, Jill's book is the best introduction you could get. If you tried pressure cooking before and it didn't turn you on, this book will turn you on. If you're a pressure cooker veteran, you'll find that Jill Nussinow's fresh and unique approach will take your pressure cooking to a whole 'nother level of goodness.

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