Don’t ever underestimate the benefits of using a pressure cooker! Once you become accustomed to using one, you will soon realize what a valuable addition it could be to your kitchen.
I recall my mother using a pressure cooker when I was quite young. To make what? Who remembers! I think she may have used it to make pot roast. I do remember my fear of the treacherous looking appliance which was jiggling, rattling and steaming, and seemed like it might erupt like a dangerous volcano at any second. If you have similar childhood memories, please know that pressure cookers have come a long way since then. They are sturdy, safe and very easy to use. I use a FAGOR pressure cooker which makes several models and is a very reputable brand.
Since I recently pulled my pressure cooker out of the cupboard to make my favorite 5-Minute Spiced Sweet Potato Stew, I have fallen in love with it all over again.
Why would anyone fall in love with a pressure cooker?
There are so many benefits to preparing your food with a pressure cooker…
1. Food cooks 50 to 70 % faster than most other cooking methods.
2. Since less liquid is needed to cook with a pressure cooker, it is more likely that the food retains more color and flavor and that more nutrients remain in the food when the dish is finished.
3. Cooking with a pressure cooker affords you energy savings of at least 50 percent compared to stovetop cooking.
4. Since pressure cooking is so fast, you can decide what to have for dinner at the last minute if you keep a well-stocked pantry. You can double or triple your recipes for beans and grains and freeze them for future use.
5. If you have a boat or RV, there is often limited storage space and limited fuel; therefore, a pressure cooker would provide the ability to cook great meals quickly in one pot with just a few ingredients.
There are so many great cookbooks on the shelves pertaining to preparation of vegan meals using a pressure cooker. I examined quite a few on the shelves of the bookstore before I decided to buy The New Fast Food…The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals In Less Than 30 Minutes by Jill Nussinow, MS, RD. In this book, Ms. Nussinow discusses just about everything you could possibly want to know about preparing food with a pressure cooker. Additionally, the recipes are short, simple and delicious and, therefore, user-friendly.
There are so many recipes in this book which I plan to make soon, including the Coconut Almond Risotto, the Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder and the Orange Glazed Broccoli with Carrots and Kale.
Since it was freezing cold in New York yesterday, I woke up craving a hearty bowl of steel cut oats. As I’m sure you already know, steel cut oats are usually a royal pain in the neck to make because they take so long. Not anymore! With the pressure cooker, I whipped up the perfect batch in just 3 minutes. Yes, you heard me correctly…just 3 minutes! I followed the liquid-to-oats ratio from the book and my oatmeal came out perfect!
Although Ms. Nussinow used 1/2 vanilla bean in her steel cut oats recipe, I omitted it since I did not have one stocked in my kitchen. I also added raisins after the oats were cooked since my son dislikes raisins. Ms. Nussinow cooks her oats with the raisins in the pressure cooker. I hope you enjoy this recipe. For the record, you can find more recipes on Jill Nussinow’s wonderful website The Veggie Queen.
*Remember to read your pressure cooker’s instructions carefully before first use (different rules may apply to electric stoves) and always use a timer for cooking because times must be exact when preparing foods with a pressure cooker.
THREE-MINUTE STEEL CUT OATS (Made In A Pressure Cooker)
2 cups water
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
Pinch of salt
1 cup steel cut oats (I used Bob Red Mill’s Gluten-Free)
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
Toppings of your choice:
Raisins, dried fruit, ground cinnamon, toasted walnuts, almonds, chopped apples, blueberries, flaxseeds, maple syrup or agave nectar
Add the water, non-dairy milk, salt, oats, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick to the pressure cooker. Lock on the lid and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower the heat and time for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally.
Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick and set aside. Stir and add whatever toppings you desire!
Refrigerate leftovers and eat another morning or two. This will last about 4 days in the refrigerator.