I have a new favorite cookbook and it's all about the almighty pressure cooker.
It's a cherished thing of mine, to look at cookbooks...but I rarely make anything out of them. There's a variety of reasons for this. For one thing, it's my absolute biggest pet peeve when authors have a recipe within a recipe. You know how it goes. Here's a recipe for pancakes, but first you have to make this vegan egg creme and for that please turn to page 35. Oh, you wanted frosting with this cupcake recipe? That's on page 98. It just really irks me. Why can't everything be included on one page? It's a silly thing, but as soon as I see this Russian doll nonsense...recipe dismissed. Second, I use what I have on hand and use recipes as a loose outline mosty. This is a large departure from my teenage days of cooking where I always followed the recipe exactly as stated. It wasn't that I didn't have a lot of experience cooking, I just didn't have a lot of kitchen confidence.
Enter the pressure cooker. I got my fancy pants one, many years ago (at least eight now) from a dear aunt. I confess it sat, unused, for a great while. Nowadays, I'd venture to say it's one of my most used kitchen pots. I use it for my Friday Soup, and to cook things up in a snap. It's used at least two to three times per week! Applesauce, lentils, quinoa, assorted vegetables, you name it. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out about a vegan pressure cooking cookbook!! This was a cookbook I must have!
I feel very fortunate to have been gifted this book to review. Usually, when I first receive a cookbook, I go through and tab all the recipes that I want to make in the future. There's usually about five I'm interested in. No joke. I find many to be too complicated, too simple, and/or not healthy enough. Oftentimes, Alaska just doesn't lend itself to exotic ingredients. Tamarind paste? Been searching for the stuff for months! This cookbook though? I couldn't stop tabbing everything!
I've made JL's pressure cooked tofu scramble five times now! I used to make my tofu scramble in a frying pan. It was kind of crispy and left a giant mess to clean up afterward. It was good, but not exceptionally eggy. This scramble though is light and fluffy and wet, just like I remember my scrambled eggs. I'm already planning on making some of her soups. And I even made seitan! OMG, you guys! Homemade seitan is a new staple.
Okay, I need to have a heart to heart with my vegan and veg friends here. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you might be feeling a little sad right now. Understand that I am somewhat minimalist and working towards becoming even more so (get rid of all the stuffs!!!) However, I am telling you that you might really want to consider getting a pressure cooker. These bad boys are absolutely the most handy if you consume a lot of soups, grains, beans, and or vegetables - like a health vegan should! It's a really fast, nutritious, and flavorful way to prepare foods in a short amount of time. Pressure cookers can cut cooking times by 70%! So you can prepare your favorite foods in 1/3 the time they would normally take!
I really like that JL Field's first chapter in her book is Pressure Cooking 101. It explains a lot of the misconceptions regarding pressure cooking and addresses old fears of using such a contraption. She informs you how a pressure cooker actually cook things so fast and some things to watch out for, as well as what cooks well in the cooker and what does not. She also goes over the different types of pressure cookers. This is really handy if you're planning on buying one, or have one but it's just been collecting dust because you don't really know how to use the thing. The chapters are divided into categories like beans, soups, sides, sauces, one-pot meals, and she even has a dessert chapter! Oh my.
Today, I am very excited to have been granted permission to share her seitan recipe with you. If you've never made your own, holy smokes, is it good. The stuff is quite expensive to buy in the store and you'd never guess how easy it is to make at home. Not to mention fast with the help of a pressure cooker! I'm already planning on make more tonight!
Seitan actually starts out as...dough! Who knew?
It's not going to win a beauty pageant or anything but...it's damn delicious!
There were a few changes I made when making my seitan. First, I didn't have blackstrap molasses (and I had run out of regular molasses as well), so I used agave nectar. I actually did have avocado oil, but I don't see why olive oil wouldn't be okay to use. I found the dough to be a bit wet after looking online at some other seitan making videos (yep, I'm that person), so next time I might add a little less broth to the dry ingredients. I found the dough hook on my electric stand mixer to be of no help, so I just kneaded the dough in the bowl. Save the cooking broth for use next time you make seitan (or use it in a soup), so as not to waste it. Stay tuned very soon for a stuffed seitan recipe.
A note on the vital wheat gluten and chickpea flour. For the gluten, I had to buy it on Amazon.com because my local stores here in Alaska either didn't have it or were out. As for the chickpea flour, I've seen other seiten recipes that call for the same amount of a different flour or it's just omitted altogether, using extra gluten. The chickpea flour is used to make a lighter and fluffier seitan. However, it's not "vital"...get it? Hehe.
I don't think I'll ever buy seitan from the store again. It's just too easy to make myself and I love that I can customize it. I've read it freezes well too, so don't worry about making huge batches of the stuff!
Have I convinced you to buy a pressure cooker? Or if you already have one, this exceptional cookbook? Just click on the right to purchase your own copy from Amazon for $17.35.
You can also enter below to win a copy! Hurray! And in case you weren't aware, I'm doing another giveaway here. Don't miss out!