The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes
In The New Fast Food, Jill Nussinow (“The Veggie Queen”) shows you how easy and safe it is to use a pressure cooker for making flavorful, healthy plant-based meals with vegetables, grains, beans, and other legumes and fruit. With a pressure cooker, you can save time and money, lock in flavor and nutrition, decrease your energy costs, and avoid a messy kitchen (only one pot to clean!). Nussinow shows how you can cut cooking time in half or more compared with conventional stovetop cooking. The New Fast Food explains how to choose and use a pressure cooker, with timing charts for your favorite plant foods. You’ll also find more than 100 recipes for everything from breakfast to dessert, including Orange Glazed Broccoli with Carrots and Kale, Mashed Maple Winter Squash with Cinnamon, Lemony Lentil and Potato Chowder, Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili, and Coconut Almond Risotto. Most of the recipes are gluten-free, and all are vegan.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:
I’m not a longtime pressure cooker user, but I’ve used mine fairly often since I got it a year ago. I find that it’s terrific for cooking meat, especially tough cuts of meat that normally benefit from a long braise (e.g., pork shoulder). But figuring out how to use the pressure cooker for plant-based meals is a little less intuitive, and I’ve mainly just made batches of beans and grains.
So Jill Nussinow’s The New Fast Food is exactly the type of cookbook I’ve been looking for; it features quick, healthy, plant-based meals made in the pressure cooker. Most of the time involved is preparation, especially in the case of vegetables, which usually will cook for just a matter of minutes.
The first recipe I tried out of the book was Szechuan Eggplant. I’m not that crazy about eggplant, but a now-closed local vegetarian restaurant used to serve a clay-pot eggplant dish that was smoky, silky, and really delicious. I suspected that cooking eggplant in the pressure cooker with aromatics and soy sauce might give a similar result. A word of caution: at least skim through the introductory chapter of any pressure cooker cookbook! The recipe calls for a very small amount of liquid–1/4 cup of vegetable broth. My eggplant turned out smoky because it burned. It was supposed to cook for three minutes at high pressure, but the liquid disappeared before it even reached pressure. My pressure cooker was black on the bottom (not the first time, so it’s not ruined).
I was disappointed but immediately knew that there was an issue with the amount of liquid. A bit of research led me to great reviews of the book and the dish, so I figured I must have done something wrong. Sure enough, a section in Chapter Two titled “Oh, No, I Have a Problem!” describes how to resolve problems such as too much pressure, pressure release issues, or the pan burning. Nussinow warns that larger pressure cookers will need more liquid than small ones but that they don’t always need as much liquid as the instruction manual says. She includes simple steps to determine the minimum amount of liquid your particular pressure cooker requires.
The introductory chapters include a good amount of other basic information on using a pressure cooker. The book is easy to read and not overly technical. There are also guidelines on cooking times for different ingredients such as beans, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Nussinow covers the important areas very well, and she provides enough information to make it easy to convert any standard recipe into a pressure cooker recipe. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the cookbook.