Starting As I Mean To Go On…

Actually, this May Day started out with a tentative plan to make a roast of pork in my new pressure cooker. But the plan morphed into one of making a batch of split pea soup, instead.


It was around 2:30-ish this afternoon. I’d been doing basically nothing, like I do every day. Flitting around from one recipe site online to another, learning about pressure cooking, gathering tips and lessons in my head. Then I stumbled onto a recipe for pea soup in the pressure cooker. Oh, yeah. One of my all-time favourite soups. And didn’t I happen to have a couple of bags of raw split peas in my pantry? Why, yes I did!


And, as you can see, in about 30 short minutes, I was ladeling up a small bowlful of what appears for all the world to be a very yummy supper. (The bowlful was just for photographic purposes. I’ve put it back in the pot, put the cover back on it and it’s staying nice and warm til it’s time to eat, in about another 45 minutes.)

Hey! This is starting to be fun. I am slowly feeling more confident with my pressure cooker. I still have to sit out there on the stool for the ENTIRE 8 minutes that this soup pressure-cooked… gee, a whole 8 minutes. It takes more time to cut up the veggies than to cook the soup. And since I started with SPLIT peas, and not whole peas, I didn’t have to soak them for 8 hours before cooking them. I’m not really sure you actually HAVE to do that anyway, the way this little baby does it’s job.

So, the pea soup is actually my THIRD recipe using the pressure cooker. On Saturday, late in the afternoon, oh, around 3:30, I pulled out the stew beef Paul had picked up at the market and cut it up into smaller chunks, cut up a bunch of the usual veggies: 2 potatoes, a few carrots, a large vidalia onion, some celery… you know… and after lightly cooking the onions and some garlic in some oil in the bottom of the pot, I put in the rest of the veggies, plus about 14 oz. of canned cut-up tomatoes, (which is ALL the liquid I used according to a recipe I was following), and covered it up and waited for it to come up to pressure, as they say in the biz.

That’s actually the hardest part. Sitting there on my stool waiting for the pressure to come up to speed. When that round cap on the top starts to jiggle, I turn down the heat to simmer, set the timer to 15 minutes, and wait.

So far I’ve spent the waiting time in the kitchen just because I like to keep an eye on things. When the time was up, I carefully lifted the pot over to the sink and ran cold water over the top, which is how you quickly depressurize it. The locking mechanism came undone and off came the lid and Presto! I had the most beautiful beef stew I’ve ever made. Sorry about no pictures… I forgot.

This was the day before yesterday I made the beef stew. Then, since I only had enough for about one serving of the stew leftover, I cooked up some penne pasta, sauteed a half onion and some more cut-up tomatoes from the can, and added all that to the leftover beef stew which made a really nice penne-tomato-stew thing. A little Parmesan cheese on top and we called that dinner last night.

Today, I wanted to learn how to make perfect rice. Plain rice, though. Not fancy stuff. I want this for the dogs, you see. I’m changing their food over to a better brand, and I want to add a big scoop of rice to their dinner bowl in the evenings.

I did exactly as one man suggested, putting only 1/2 cup of water in the bottom, then the little trivet, then a stainless steel bowl with the rice in that with water covering the rice. But there wasn’t enough water down in the bottom and my little jiggler cap never jiggled. I almost burned off every speck of water and I shut it off early. When I looked at the rice, it was done and just right in the bowl, but I hadn’t even cooked it the whole 4 minutes. The thing is that you need liquid in the pot, and I have looked at multiple other recipes, and I think a good cup to 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom will work better. I do not want to ruin my cooker!

~ ~ ~


This is what the fuzzies were doing all day while I was slaving away for the 30 minutes or so it took me to make pea soup.

And, on another subject, this is what my baby celery plant is doing for me…


By just sitting it in water for a week or two, I have a whole new bunch of celery growing! It’s still not too warm outside yet but I will get it into a pot of dirt out on the back deck one day soon. At the price of celery these days, why not grow your own?

So that’s all from the culinary cottage by the sea…in the rain…on the hill, under the trees…


This was taken just a few minutes ago looking through the storm door into the front garden. It’s so green and colorful.


I just love spring. I even love a rainy day now and then, and today was just that.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Our entry to it is naked and bare;

Our journey through it is trouble and care;

Our exit from it is who-knows-where;

So if we’re all right here, we’re all right there.”

[Jack Rosenthal]

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

[Anatole France]

“There are only two seasons – winter and baseball.”

[Bill Veeck]

Jazz & Bex

2003 – 2007 Archives ~ 2007-2009 Archives ~ 2009 Archives ~ 2010 Archives ~ 2011 Archives ~ 2012 Archives

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10 Responses to Starting As I Mean To Go On…

  1. Oh, thank you, Bex! I’m sold! I think I’ll get a pressure cooker very soon now.


  2. Bex says:

    Oh, and one more thing, the beef stew AND the pea soup were the BEST I’ve ever eaten or cooked and I’ve done quite a few stews and soups in my day…they both exceeded anything so far…


  3. Bex says:

    Michael, surely you can wait 8 or 10 minutes for a fabulous soup to be cooked! You really should get yourself a pressure cooker (Betty Lou? Xmas present for Michael?)(hint hint). I said to Paul yesterday that I just can’t believe I’ve never had one all these years. All the great meals we’ve missed. I am a true believer now and think every household should have one. A pot in every house! If only I had a lot of money, I’d buy you all one, but I don’t.

    And the best part is that ALL the nutrients in the foods cooked in the pressure cooker remain IN the food, not out in the air like on-the-stovetop cooking. You get it all.


  4. Bex says:

    Yes, Nina, I feel “part of a community” but too much so. Neighbors are too close for my liking. Give me your set-up any day where there are no neighbors to worry over. I am a solitude-loving person and I long to live out in the country away from it all. Salem is a “city”. We are lucky that we live at the tail end of the city, near the conservation area, woods that go for a few miles back, but it’s all too urban for my liking. Just driving anywhere takes forever because of the backed up traffic here.


  5. mz. em says:

    My hand is waving for an invite for pea soup – one of my favorites. It’s good to know you are becoming more comfortable with your cooker.

    I love all the photos you provide and especially the one of the “fuzzies.” Love our fur children.


  6. Rhubarb says:

    Another nice thing is that you can make a BIG pot of pea soup and freeze some for later. It’s even better re-heated, IMHO.


  7. Michael says:

    Sounds like pressure cooking takes more patience than I have these days. I think I’d rather stand and stir than sit and wait, but I guess it depends on the end product. The split pea soup does sound pretty wonderful.


  8. Nina says:

    Me too! (Love spring.) (BTW, can’t put in the bush you suggested — way too much shade.)

    How’s the layout of where you live? Do you feel part of a community around you? Curious.


  9. Betty Lou says:

    Reading your journal makes me ALMOST want to cook.
    I’m glad you are having fun with your new “pot”.


  10. sandy from iowa says:

    yum yum …Busy girl with your cooker.


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