Friday, December 05, 2008

L and other updates

As I was washing out my pressure cooker the other day, I remembered what I had forgotten to blather on and on about in my last post.  The pressure cooker, of course.  When my wonderful sil was here, I was reminded about her forays into cooking with the pressure cooker.  My sil comes up with the most fab ideas and drags me kicking and screaming in with her, but this is one that I hadn't ventured to try.  Until this week.

I bought a used pressure cooker and canning jars from the neighbor behind me who used to have a giant garden and can a lot of veggies.  Now it's just her and she's cleaning out so I got a phenomenal deal from her for the rest of her jars, the water bath canner and the pressure cooker.  Naturally, my garden didn't do squat this year so it sat in the back of Friend Husband's car, lonely and sad (because you know that it can't enter the house unless and until I'm in a crisis mode-tearing hurry to get something done).  I wanted me a good pot of beans this week.  I make yummy charro beans and I just had a hankering for them.  Sadly, I didn't leave enough time to make them.  Enter the pressure cooker.

See, once upon a time, I also had a thing about The Passionate Vegetarian cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon.  Then life overwhelmed me and I haven't done much about the PV lately.  But I did remember Crescent talking about how wonderful and life changing it is to cook beans in a pressure cooker.  So I decided to go for it.  And honey, was she ever right! 

Charros are made with either pinto or black beans.  I put about 2# of pintos in with water to cover by 2 inches, some celery I had lying around, and a bunch of peeled garlic.  Maybe some pepper too, I don't remember.  And I brought that sucker up to 15 pounds of pressure.  And I made everyone stay out of the kitchen because I'd heard rumors that those things blow sometimes.  Plus it was nice to have the kitchen to myself for a change rather than having David in every 2 minutes asking for yet more food.

But I digress.  After the pressure was to the correct place on the gauge, I set the timer for 12 minutes, which was right in the middle of Crescent's estimate for "hard" beans.  After 12 minutes was up, I turned off the stove (no explosions!) and waited for the gauge to indicate that the pressure had dissipated.  After a time, I opened it up and tasted a bean.  Perfect!  So I added tomato, peppers, cilantro, and some salt (I forgot that I added onion before I boiled the beans), let them simmer a bit more and it was perfection.  And I estimate that it took about an hour.  Can't beat that.  SIL wins again, and so do I!

I made another batch of cardamon bread yesterday, which brings me up to 16 loaves in two days.  Know how many are left?  Three.  No, we didn't eat them all (I gave 8 of them to teachers/administrators at our enrichment/coop classes) but we did eat FIVE of them in 24 hours.  Yikes.

I was going to blog about what a loser mother I am but it sounds like I'm needed upstairs with my loser self so I'll close with these two bready pictures.



Stephanie said...

That bread looks really good. I could so go for a piece. Care to share the recipe?

msta62 said...

Will you be my mom too? You are a superb cook and baker by the looks of the pictures! That cinnamon bread looks just divine! Pretty please!?

stringsofpurls said...

Your bread is beautiful. We used to bake bread like crazy until we found out that Celiac was lurking in our genes. then I got mad at bread. My garden was pitiful too. I love my pressure cooker and often do beans in it. We are so alike....I'm just WAY older than you...