Sunday, May 29, 2016

A New Twist on Kale

I am an unfussy cook so I generally like simple methods. I decided to rinse a head of kale after I trimmed the ends off and not chop it into one-inch pieces like I usually do. I left the leaves intact. I filled the pressure cooker with water up to the steamer tray and curled the leaves in. Then I pressure-cooked the kale for 3 minutes. Afterwards I made a sauce of olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and mustard and poured it over the bowl of greens. Leaving the leaves whole was a fun discovery and the stems were perfectly tender. It was like eating asparagus. I saved the kale steaming liquid for soup or steaming pasta, or drinking as a cold broth. It was delicious.

Colorful Coleslaw with Apples and Raisins

I filled a huge bucket with two heads of cabbage chopped fine one red and one green then I added chopped carrots celery and onions. I made a sauce with a quart of low fat buttermilk, ample Hellman's mayonnaise, regular mustard, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, black pepper and rooster hot sauce. Then I added apples and raisins and raw sunflower seeds. My original inspiration for coleslaw was from Marion Cunningham's Supper Book. I have made her recipe a million times. Later I learned about the magic of buttermilk and I have never stopped using it in my coleslaw.

Grilling Broccoli

We just experimented with grilling broccoli over a hot hardwood charcoal fire. We cut the broccoli into large 'trees' and dipped the florets into various sauces. We found that a mixture of olive oil and soy sauce and a bit of rooster hot sauce was a perfect dipping mixture for grilling the broccoli. Broccoli isn't naturally sweet, so charring wasn't necessary. We dipped the broccoli into the mixture and placed the heads over the coals with the tails pointing out for about a minute or two. Olive oil is flammable - be prepared! There was no need to turn them over. We discovered all this after a few trials and many errors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Remembering the Rewards of Pressure Cooking

I finally replaced the rubber gaskets on our three PRESTO pressure cookers. I am back up and running with STEAM HEAT. Do you remember Doris Day singing that song?

Anyway I am sorry I didn't buy my gaskets 10 years ago. Nonetheless it's been a sweet reunion.

I forgot how amazing the leftover concentrated broth is after pressure cooking vegetables. This is liquid GOLD. I call it vegetable liqueur. Save it in a jar in the fridge and use it to make a quick broth or add it to a soup or a stir fry. It is full of flavor and vitamins.

Years ago when I taught a pressure cooker workshop I told people, Don't be scared. It's not any more dangerous than driving a car. There are many safety features built in to the modern cookers but just like with driving be alert when you are using this tool.

A friend of mine traveled to Tibet. When she came back home to Rhode Island she said, I thought of you because the first thing I saw on top of the mountain was a gigantic pressure cooker being used to cook barley and yak meat. I was honored.

I am always trying to convert people to the joys of pressure cooking.

If you have delicious food, give it to your guest.
If you have important things to say, say it at a wedding.
—Tibetan proverb

Eleven O'clock Tea

I love black tea with milk and honey but if I drink it after noon the caffeine gives me a fitful sleep. A friend sent me this tea called Eleven O'clock and it is just as good as black tea. Read more about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Scrambled Hearts of Art

Lately I have been buying the large wide mouth jars of marinated artichoke hearts at Price Rite. This morning I made two scrambled eggs with six quartered hearts and a few heaping tablespoons of Greek yogurt. It was delicious.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Secret to My Best Granola

I have to make something a million times before I devise the simplest and best-tasting method.

The secret to my best granola is not toasting it but drying it out in the oven. This way the flavor of the vanilla and molasses are not overshadowed. Bake in a preheated oven 250 degrees for 35 minutes and let sit for an hour or overnight to absorb residual heat.

One cup of corn oil, Grandma's Molasses, teaspoon of real vanilla extract, one heaping teaspoon of kosher salt (half this amount if using fine grain salt). Maybe I should just admit it, two teaspoons of kosher salt.

Heat the oil, molasses, salt, and vanilla, in a large spaghetti pot and stir until bubbly then turn off the heat. Then add one (42 oz, or 2 lb 10 oz) large cylindrical container of old fashioned rolled oats and stir like mad. It's like tossing a salad of oats with molasses and oil dressing. When the oats are evenly coated pour them onto two baking trays or into two large cast iron frying pans and bake for 35-45 minutes at 250 F. Then after it has baked for 35-45 minutes turn the oven off and keep the oven door closed. Just let the granola dry out by itself. This is the important secret discovery. Come back a few hours later or the next day when it has dried and cooled and break it up and store the granola in an airtight container.

This is my favorite travel and snack food. I often carry a little bit with me just in case I get peckish when I am out on a long walk. Sometimes I add raisins.

Pressure Cooking Pasta

I tried pressure cooking pasta today. It's a REVOLUTIONARY technique. It took only six minutes under pressure. This is going to be my new go-to method. All you do is cover the dry pasta with water or stock and add a bloop of oil to prevent foaming/ clogging vent pipe and cook under pressure for half the time normally needed. Use SHORT pasta; ziti or twisty pasta not spaghetti, fettuccine or linguini. Have fun!

Pressure Cooker Romance

I have rekindled my pressure cooker romance. Last night I made kale and potato chopped and steamed for 3 minutes in the pressure cooker then tossed in frying pan with olive oil fresh garlic, ginger root, rooster hot sauce and soy sauce. I call it 'Asian meets Southern' style greens.

Right now I am pressure cooking chick peas in my leftover kale stock. The pressure cooker stock is GOLD and must be saved for making soups rice or beans.

Next I must try pasta under pressure.

UPDATE: I tried pressure cooking wholegrain pasta and it was great. It took 6 minutes. This will be my new go to method.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Irish Weather: Boiled Dinner

We're having Irish weather! Maybe this is why I thought of making a boiled dinner. I chopped a bunch of potatoes, carrots + cabbage, then I dug out my pressure cooker and put in the steamer tray and water and chopped vegetables. When the pressure came up to full steam (with the pressure regulator rocking), I timed three minutes and then fast cooled the cooker under the faucet for quick pressure release. We enjoyed the hot vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper on top. It was delicious.