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!
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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.
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“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.”
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
“There are only two seasons – winter and baseball.”