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Although I've never met her in person, Lorna Sass has been one of my best friends for over a decade. When I got my pressure cooker in the late 1990s, my life changed for the better. Modern pressure cookers are safe and easy to use, with no worries about explosions of food all over the kitchen. There are even electric models, but I've never used one.
I own close to a dozen pressure cooker cookbooks, but the only ones I turn to again and again for the best recipes, tips, charts, and advice are those written by Sass. I own five of her nine cookbooks. The covers of her pressure cooker books I use are shown here. Sass also has a vegan cookbook, a soy cookbook, another vegetarian cookbook, and two grain cookbooks (not all of these are for the pressure cooker).
I know many of you are vegetarians or vegans or have gluten problems, and Sass's cookbooks have lots of recipes for you, from soups to salads. Even many of the meat recipes have vegetarian variations, so you'll be able to adapt.
Even better, Sass doesn't forget the less confident cook and new cooks. For example, my sixteen-year-old niece is not yet very familiar with herbs, so she appreciates knowing that the Tuscan White Beans with Sage recipe can also be made with either basil or herbes de provence.
Each one of Sass's pressure cooker books comes with great charts and tips, so you are guaranteed success the first time, whether you are cooking beans or grains, chicken or beef. The recipes themselves are appetizing and easy, and her directions are very well written.
Busy cooks will wonder how they ever got along without a pressure cooker and reliable recipes. I can't tell you how many times I've worked late and had very little motivation to start fussing. That's the perfect time to pull out the pressure cooker. In about a half an hour I can have from scratch split pea soup, risotto, cabbage with potatoes and kielbasa, or Mexican beans. In 45 minutes to an hour, I can even have pulled pork, beef chili, or Sass's Armenian Vegetable Stew.
Here are my favorite types of dishes to make in the pressure cooker:
- Soups and stews of all kinds
- Beans and legumes
- Pot roast and pulled pork
- Stocks (vegetarian, chicken, beef)
If you are planning on buying a cooker, be sure to read reviews and do your research, but don't skimp on size. Note that pressure cookers are not filled to the top because space is needed for the pressure to build. You fill the pot halfway for beans and two thirds for other foods, so bigger is definitely better. You'll also want a quick-release valve so you don't have to take the pot to the sink and run cold water over it.
Instead of copying out a recipe, because I'm not sure how many of you own a pressure cooker, I'm going to direct you to Lorna Sass's website and pressure cooker blog, where you'll find some sample recipes, complete with pretty photographs. Don't miss the great video in which Sass talks about her surprising background.
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