I thought I would begin concluding this month’s focus on Lorna Sass by giving you a quick tour of her wonderful cookbook Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Of course, the month is not over yet, so you can still look forward to more delights from Lorna’s Short-Cut Vegan before month’s end!
Over the last month I have blogged about three delicious recipes from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure: Thai Chickpeas, New Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, and Caribbean Rice and Beans. All these dishes turned out fantastic and both EPC and I loved them. Unbeknownst to you, while I wasn’t blogging about the great dishes from this cookbook, I was making more of Lorna’s pressure cooker creations on the sly. In fact EPC even got in the fun!
One Saturday, I whipped up Quinoa Vegetable Soup for lunch. This was EPC’s favorite recipe out of the cookbook (so far)! He couldn’t put his finger on why he loved this dish so much, but I think he really enjoys the taste and texture of quinoa. Quinoa has more protein than other grains, plus it is gluten-free and makes a great quick-cooking substitute for brown rice.
On the following weekend EPC made the Zucchini Bisque with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil. One of his favorite vegetables is zucchini, so I wasn’t at all surprised when this dish came under his radar. The following day I came in from a walk, intending to have leftover soup for lunch, when to my surprise he was finishing off all the leftovers! It is nice to see my husband excited about Lorna’s book and wanting to get on the pressure cooker bandwagon. He is always up for making recipes that are as easy as they are delicious. However, I do wish he wasn’t as excited about eating them, so I could have at least a small bowl of leftover soup!
Over the last month I only had one mishap. This occurred when I made the mistake of using the bean cooking chart from my pressure cooker instruction booklet, instead of the one located inside the cover of Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. The beans were so soft, they were unsuitable for the dish I had in mind. Of course hindsight is 20/20, so when I took at look at Lorna’s bean cooking chart inside the front cover of this cookbook and noticed her cooking times where bit shorter, I realized that I should have used Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure as a reference, which would have left me with an intact bean rather than the resulting mush. I will know better for next time.
That brings me to the great thing about this cookbook, not only is it chock full of over 150 delicious vegan recipes, but it also includes grain, bean and vegetable cooking charts. She also discusses pressure cookers at great length, covering such topics as How to Care for the Cooker, The Language of Pressure Cooking, and What Size Cooker Should I Buy?. I found all these tips quite helpful and the format considerably engaging in comparison to my instruction manual.
In the introduction Lorna devotes a few pages to menu combinations, such as Vegan Thanksgiving, Curry in a Hurry and American Creole, which gives you an idea about which direction to head if you have a certain flavour craving. The cookbook is well-organized and I am glad that it sticks to a traditional layout. Although quite popular these days, I will confess that I do not enjoy when a cookbook is organized according season or menus. Perhaps I am behind the times, but I think a cookbook is more functional when you can browse through the soup section if you are feeling like soup, rather than having to flip from page to page using the index as your guide. Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is divided sensibly into soup, grain, bean, vegetable, sauce and dessert sections.
That’s right, I said dessert.
Lorna does feature a section on vegan pressure cooker desserts. It definitely piqued my curiosity and I had to try one. She provides thorough instructions on how to make a wonderful steamed blueberry pudding cake. I was blown away that I could make a cake in the pressure cooker and have it turn out fantastic! The great thing about this cake is there is no oil, it is sweetened with fruit juice and maple syrup and it is totally vegan. Although not a dessert, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure even has a recipe for steamed Boston Brown Bread. How much fun is that!
I have really enjoyed using my pressure cooker to make Lorna’s great recipes, so I am disappointed that she does not have another vegetarian pressure cooker cookbook. I figured my pressure cooking adventures would be limited to one cookbook. Luckily, when I was browsing through her other cookbooks on Amazon.ca I noticed that Complete Vegetarian Kitchen has pressure cooker instructions for many of its recipes.
I guess I need to make room for another cookbook!