It’s vacation time!!! I could not be happier to have a few weeks off from school; after all, this semester kinda kicked my butt. Alan and I made the long drive out to Palm Springs yesterday. It was uneventful except for Xena got carsick and, once we arrived, we found that our water heater, oven and microwave have been blown out due to a power surge that must have happened while we were gone. So, I’ll be making due without those appliances for a few days, although hopefully the water heater will be fixed this afternoon. If not, then I’ll be going to the gym to shower. TMI?
Anyway, being the overachiever I am, I have put together a little to-do list for myself to accomplish during my winter break. First on the list is kind of random, but it’s something I’ve been telling myself I would do for almost a year, and that is to learn how to use my pressure cooker! I was reminded of this goal when I got a Facebook message a few weeks ago from the talented cookbook author, Jill Nussinow, aka, The Veggie Queen. Jill is a registered dietitian, talented chef and an all-around accomplished person who I admire greatly. She is also a reader of my blog and noted that I had not mentioned my pressure cooker for a long, long time. Based on her encouragement, I dusted off her incredible book that I already owned, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cook Whole Food Meals, and decided to try making something in the PC again.
I skimmed through the book and decided to make a soup inspired by a combination of her recipes for Shane’s Fabulous Lentil Soup and Spicy Thai Carrot Coconut Soup. I knew it was a gamble to go out on my own and create a new recipe so early in the game, but I was careful to research each ingredient and make sure that the cooking times would match and so I wouldn’t have another disaster like this one or this one. I was also conscious of how much of each ingredient to use and how much water to add; these are basic pressure cooker rules, I have learned.
I decided to try using these ingredients: carrots, onion, lentils, coconut milk, ginger, lime juice, water and spices:
I started by water-sauteeing my carrots and onion in the pressure cooker and then adding the lentils:
I added some cumin, no-salt seasoning, red pepper flakes and chopped ginger, and then six cups of water (I probably could have gotten away with four cups of water, but I was nervous since this was my first soup). The mixture looked like this:
I should note here that I am using a 7 quart, stove-top version of a pressure cooker, I also have an electric one that I have used in the past. It is a personal choice which version you decide to get, I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this in the future. I locked on the lid and set my gas to high:
This is the part that freaks me out using a pressure cooker because I have an irrational fear that the whole thing is going to explode. It didn’t. My version has an indicator that pops up when the full level of pressure is reached which is when you are supposed to start the timer:
I set my timer for six minutes, let it do its thing and then set the cooker on a cool burner when it was done. It took an additional 20 minutes for the pressure to come back to normal so I could open the lid. I then poured in my coconut milk and lime juice and used my hand immersion blender to get this lovely soup:
As you can see, I served it with some steamed kale and lime wedges on the side. The flavors were fantastic together. Although I’m not sure that I saved a lot of time making this soup in the pressure cooker, I can say that it was delicious and I was very pleased with the results. The flavor was sweet with a little bit of spice and zing and I absolutely loved it. I even brought some leftovers to Palm Springs with us to have for dinner last night. I mixed in some chopped kale and tofu last night which made for a chunkier texture and also changed the color a bit:
Here is the recipe:
Pressure Cooker Carrot Ginger Soup
2 bunches carrots, chopped (about 2 lbs. or 5 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons no-salt seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
6 cups water
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 large limes)
In a large pressure cooker (at least 5.5 quarts), heat up a few tablespoons of water and water-saute the onion and carrots. Add lentils and stir. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, no-salt seasoning and ginger and water to pot. Lock lid in place, bring to pressure and cook for 6 minutes. Let pressure come down naturally and carefully remove the lid. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice and use a hand-immersion blender to blend soup. Serve hot.
Score!!! I am excited that I finally made something good in the pressure cooker. In honor of this achievement, Jill has offered to do a giveaway for one of you lucky readers for an electronic copy of her book, The New Fast Food.
To enter, just leave a comment on this post with the name of an ingredient or a dish that you’d like to see in a pressure cooker format; I’m looking for suggestions for future PC recipes! I’ll randomly select a winner of the ebook on Friday, December 21st, at 7 a.m. PST. This giveaway is open to everyone.
[Editor’s note: this giveaway is now closed]