Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pressure Cooker Volcano!

So I got a pressure cooker for Christmas. I just had to have one after watching "Veggie Queen" Jill Nussinow use hers at a vegan cooking demo at the University of Memphis a few months ago. The fact that you can cook dry beans in 20 minutes totally sold me on pressure cookers. Plus, they seem so retro and kitschy.

Today, I decided to cook some butter beans I'd frozen this summer after buying too much at the farmer's market. I threw in two cloves of minced garlic, Cavender's Greek Seasoning, and some Liquid Smoke:

The beans were DELICIOUS. But I should have read the instructions for how to use the pressure cooker first. When the cooking time (about 20 minutes) was up, I just took the pressure regulator off the lid and BOOM! It was like Mount Butter Bean erupted in my kitchen. Bean juice went EVERYWHERE. I just stood there, staring at the pan with my mouth hanging open. Finally, I bolted into action and threw a potholder over the lid. And then, for good measure, I tossed a towel over that. Then I looked up and noticed the bean juice dripping from my ceiling. I had to climb on a ladder to clean the goop from my ceiling. Yuk! Guess I know better now than to remove the pressure regulator before the pan cools.

I also veganized a buttermilk cornbread recipe in my new cast iron skillet (also a Christmas present). It could have used a little more sugar. I like my cornbread pretty sweet. But I'm going to perfect this recipe and include it in my cookbook.

Finally, for dessert, I made Chocolate Pear Cake in my Crock Pot. It's from the new issue of Vegetarian Times.

I'd always wanted to try a Crock Pot cake, but never had the patience. I started this one at 3 p.m. today and it was ready by 8 p.m. Honestly, it wasn't that great. Okay, but a little too sweet. I may just be too full on beans and cornbread to really enjoy it though. I'm really full! I think I'll go on a juice fast after New Year's Day.


Anonymous said...

Oh my Bianca! I remember the Veggie Queen saying something about the possibility of a pressure cooker explosion. That's what scared me away from getting one: I can just see myself buying an old one at the thrift store or some cheap deformed one at an Asian grocery & it exploding in my kitchen sending yummy food everywhere. At least Datsun is there, did he help clean up?

The Veggie Queen said...

The Veggie Queen (that's me) used a new, spring valve pressure cooker and that type of thing won't happen. Sorry that you had to learn the hard way but now you know that you must let the pressure come down on its own or take the pot off the heat sooner. Glad that you didn't get hurt. If you have any questions, you can email me anytime at

Bianca said...

Yes, I've learned the hard way! But at least the food was delicious. The beans were just right — tender, yet firm. Not mushy like they tend to get when left in my Crock Pot all day while I'm at work. I can't wait to try fresh veggies in it. Veggie Queen, those carrots you cooked in the veggie dish at Beat Your Meat were amazing...just the right texture. Thanks for turning me on to pressure cookers.

And Leslie, Datsun did not help me clean up. Apparently, he isn't into bean juice...which is weird because that dog will eat almost anything!

Dianna Dalton said...

Your cornbread and beans look delicious.