Reign Souspreme

Flawlessly functional, endlessly versatile, the contemporary pressure cooker has come a long way from the formidable stove top contraptions of yore. What was once a fearsome unitasker, just as likely to detonate as provide dinner, is now the must-have appliance in any moderately serviceable kitchen. The category is exploding with models- Metaphorically, of course, because safety seals have evolved and improved over the years as well. Performance varies, and what’s particularly important for those with limited countertop real estate to spare, some are far more capable and adaptable than others.

No mere pressure cooker, the Fissler Souspreme Multi Pot has 18 one-touch cooking programs. You’ve got all your staples, from stews, beans, rice, and beyond, but also the ability to slow cook, make cakes, and steam vegetables, too. What really sets this compact dynamo apart from the competition, however, are the settings for fermentation and sous vide.

Who could possibly resist the temptation to whip up a batch of kimchi at home, from scratch, in three hours? Fully fermented with a satisfying funk, I sped through the concept by hastily dumping a bag of shredded cabbage into the pot, along with fiery gochugaru, roughly torn scallions, and salt. No chopping, no brining, no mess. Seal the lid and walk away; the Souspreme Multi Pot can take it from here. If you can stand to wait longer, your patience will be rewarded with a punchier cabbage pickle, but in a pinch, this can save you from bland bi bim bap, no problem.

Yogurt is another basic essential I had wanted to try for ages, but never had the ideal conditions. It takes only milk, of any sort or origin, and a starter culture to bring in the good bacteria. Keeping it all warm- Not hot, not cold- For 12 hours is the real challenge. Not so in the Souspreme Multi Pot. Once again, just set it and forget it. Walk away, go about your daily life, and come back in for a real tart, tangy, dairy-free delight. I let mine run overnight, so woke up to the most heavenly little pots of maple-sweetened matcha yogurt, made with pistachio milk. Where else are you going to find that kind of combination?

What about that headlining sous vide function, you may ask? Well, now that’s a fun twist that really highlights the precision of this fine machine. The temperature can be set to the every degree from 113 to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. With such exacting control, there’s no need for an immersion circulator. Just vacuum seal your food, pop it in, and dial up the timer for anything between 1 and 24 hours. Though typically reserved for prime cuts of meat or boiled eggs with runny yolks, the same concept is completely applicable for the hardy vegetables that could otherwise be at risk of under-cooking, like whole heads of cauliflower or cabbage.

The new wave of plant-based meats, however, adds an interesting new chapter to this story. I had to find out if the “bleeding” burgers could be cooked in this way, finished with the reverse searing technique. That is, cook the patty to a safe temperature, slowly and carefully, and then set it on a blisteringly hot griddle to immediately sear the exterior, leaving the inside utterly rare, pink, yet ready to eat. Finally, I was able to experience that ideal juicy burger patty that only turns up in culinary mythology. Thick, beefy patties, finished with two planes of golden brown crust sealing in an undeniably prime center. THAT is the experience that can win over any carnivore, any day.

Getting back to basics, the true test came down to a classic little French dish known as cassoulet. Traditionally stewed and baked for hours, if not a full day, some say there are no viable shortcuts for this hearty, comforting dish. Well, I say, they’re wrong! Starting from dry beans in cold water, it takes zero labor and only 30 minutes of cooking time under pressure using the Souspreme Multi Pot.

Crisp cubes of bread are toasted separately and added at the table to stay perfectly crunchy, as opposed to the typical morass of mushy breadcrumbs baked right in. Meaty shiitake mushrooms, also added directly to the Souspreme Multi Pot without any need to soak, stand in for less savory entrails and offal in this modern, meatless revival. Tender yet toothsome flageolet beans, plump and creamy, are the real stars of this show. Although you could substitute white navy beans in a pinch, I’d implore you to seek out the genuine article first. Their texture is unrivaled, and the way they drink in the umami broth, rich with wine and heady aromatics, cannot be beat.

Sounds like a dream-come-true for time-pressed cooks and voracious foodies alike, right? Well, wake up, because this delicious vision is about to become real. You can win your very own Souspreme Multi Pot to get this meal on the table, and still have ample time to play with all 17 other functions afterward, too. Read on to enter and snag the recipe! Trust me; you’ll want to save this one for easy reference.

Continue reading “Reign Souspreme”

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Instant Pot Gratification

Stay cool under pressure. Temperatures are climbing quickly as warmer spring weather settles in again, even across the typically mild-mannered bay area. Thankfully, with it comes the season’s peak produce, which is best with very little further modification. Coaxing out existing flavors, rather than smothering them in complex sauces or heavy spices, is the only to way celebrate such delicate ingredients. Especially with the right tools, tender green vegetables and vibrant fresh herbs practically cook themselves.

Instant Pots have been the “it” kitchen gadget for at least three years running, and they don’t seem to be losing any steam. I may not have the name brand model but that doesn’t mean my electric pressure cooker gets any less love around here, especially in the heat of midday meal prep. Despite nearly constant use since day one, I didn’t even realize that my pressure cooker could be set to “zero” minutes until I got my hands on Barb Musick’s new book, The Complete Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook. This little tidbit is just the appetizer in a wide-ranging compendium of everyday recipes, smart tips and shortcuts, and delicious inspiration, complete with luscious photos, of course.

I’ve been a big fan of Barb’s blog, That Was Vegan, for many years, so I really should have expected no less from such a brilliant culinary creator. Rather than preheating the oven and turning my whole apartment into a blazing inferno for a single side dish, the verdant, grassy, and even subtly sweet flavors of asparagus really come alive with just a flash steam bath. Adding just a kiss of citrus and ginger, Barb skips all the fuss and fanfare to simply let these tender young stalks shine. Living up to the name of the popular appliance, this easy recipe really is ready to eat in an instant.

Though the book won’t officially be released until May 14th, I’m delighted to share not only a little sneak peek to whet your appetite, but a GIVEAWAY leading up to the full launch! If you want a copy of this indispensable collection of recipes (and yes, of course you do,) use the Gleam form below to log your details and earn bonus entries. Don’t forget to comment on this post to tell me about what recipe will be the first one going into your Instant Pot if you win!

The Complete Instant Pot Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

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Treasure Chestnuts

Inspired by the Japanese kuri gohan, the beauty of this side dish is its simplicity, highlighting the seasonal delight that is freshly roasted chestnuts. Harmonizing with the naturally nutty flavor of brown rice, those toothsome grains cling to each tender morsel for an incredibly satisfying bite. Though chestnuts are sadly hard to come by when winter ends, you’ll find yourself craving this combination all year long.

Yield: Makes 4 Servings as a Side Dish

Chestnut Rice

Chestnut Rice

Inspired by the Japanese kuri gohan, the beauty of this side dish is its simplicity, highlighting the seasonal delight that is freshly roasted chestnuts. Harmonizing with the naturally nutty flavor of brown rice, those toothsome grains cling to each tender morsel for an incredibly satisfying bite.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Roughly Chopped, Roasted and Shelled Chestnuts (About 20)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  1. My favorite way to prepare this dish is in an electric pressure
    cooker since it’s so crazy fast, but it can just as easily be made on
    the stove top. If working with a pressure cooker, simply toss in the
    rice, water, salt, chopped chestnuts, and butter or oil. Lock in the lid
    and set it to 20 minutes on high pressure. Once that time has elapsed,
    quick release by opening up the valve to immediately discharge the built
    up pressure. Stand back and cover with a dish towel to prevent any
    spray or steam burns. Let the rice stand for 5 more minutes before
    uncovering.
  2. For stove top prep, combine the water, salt, and butter or oil in a
    medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the rice and
    chestnuts, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 45 to 50
    minutes, until the liquid has fully absorbed. Let stand for 5 more
    minutes.
  3. Top with sesame seeds right before serving.

Notes

Cooked rice will keep in the fridge for 5 - 7 days.

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.
 

 

 

New Year, New Stew

Rubbing the sleep from our eyes as sunlight floods the room, still slightly subdued from last night’s festivities, we all wake to greet the new year: Welcome, 2018! Ripe with potential, the days ahead unfurl before us, bright and gleaming like gems, a treasure to discover along the way.

Encouraged to seize this opportunity for personal renewal, the temptation to reinvent oneself is strong. We’re encouraged to set lofty goals for a “new year, new you.” The hype has grown considerably quieter over the years, thankfully, but still it persists. I’m here right now to say that if you’re still feeling tempted by those invasive marketing tactics, you’re not alone, but you’re already good enough. Smart enough. Pretty enough. Fit enough. Kind enough. If you’re even considering what you’d like to improve about yourself, you’re thoughtful and motivated and intelligent enough to make it happen, if that’s what you really want. But you don’t need to, and you don’t need to pretend to, if you don’t. You’re exactly the same person you were before the sun set last night and the ball dropped at midnight, and that’s exactly who you need to be. You are already the best YOU out there. DON’T throw it all away in an attempt to start with a “new” you all over again.

Understand that in all honesty, I’m saying this as much for you as I am for me, because sometimes it’s easier to see the goodness in others than yourself. That doesn’t detract from my conviction in those words, but further strengthens the sentiment. If you can start to see positivity and have a more optimistic perspective of your world, you can manifest that same light, too.

Motivational pep talk out of the way, let’s move full steam ahead into the best year yet, shall we? Embark on this new journey forward with something hearty, soul-soothing, and utterly effortless in case holiday revelry is still ringing in your ears.

Murky gruel the color of swamp water is typically the defining characteristic of split pea soup, but beneath the surface lies true inner beauty. Mixing in frozen sweet peas at the very end brightens up the situation considerably, lending both fresh pops of pigmentation and flavor. Unlike most bean soups, no soaking is necessary to tenderize the legumes, cooking quickly into an instantly creamy, thick stew.

Yield: Makes 3 - 4 Servings

Simple Split Pea Soup

Simple Split Pea Soup

Mixing frozen sweet pea into classic split-pea soup brightens up the resulting stew, lending both fresh pops of pigmentation and flavor. Unlike most bean soups, no soaking is necessary to tenderize the legumes, cooking quickly into an instantly creamy, thick entree.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled and Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup Split Green Peas
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, Minced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Frozen Green Peas
  • Salt, to Taste

Instructions

  1. Heat your pressure cooker on the sauté setting and add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until translucent and aromatic; about 6 or 7 minutes. Add in the sweet potato, soy sauce, split peas, vegetable stock, paprika, rosemary, and pepper, stir to incorporate, and lock in the lid.
  2. Once sealed, cook on High Pressure for 18 minutes. Let stand for 3 minutes longer before opening the valve to release the remaining pressure.
  3. Stir in the frozen peas (no need to thaw in advance) and season with salt to taste. Give the mixture a vigorous stir to further break up the split peas for a thicker, smoother texture, if desired.

Notes

To make this soup on the stove top, without a pressure cooker, simple cover and simmer on low heat for 35 – 45 minutes instead.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1087mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

Freshly Pressed

Now that we’ve covered the hardware, it’s time to talk pressure cooking software. Run the scripts on any of these effortless, almost instant culinary programs for guaranteed success. It doesn’t take any sophisticated hacking to get into this system; this high-tech gateway to faster, healthier meals is already unlocked without password protection. From breakfast to dessert, there’s never a bad time to turn up the pressure. As seen on Mealthy.com, my most recent delicious downloads are just the beginning.

Chai Latte Steel-Cut Oatmeal

When you need an extra energy boost in the morning, start with this hearty breakfast option that will power you through the busiest of days. Steel-cut oats are nutritional superheroes by themselves, but when infused with whole black tea leaves, they take on even greater powers. Warm spices mingle to evoke the flavor of a comforting cup of chai, creating a dish that is as delicious as it is invigorating.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Have your cake and eat it for breakfast, too! Satisfy your sweet tooth while fueling yourself for the day with a hearty bowl of lightly spiced and tender oats featuring the sweetness of classic carrot cake. The combination is so compelling, you won’t even realize you’re getting an extra serving of vegetables for breakfast.

Butternut Squash Soup

Playing off the natural sweetness of butternut squash, fiery spices elevate the humble gourd to all new culinary heights. Coconut milk tames the flame and rounds out the entire creamy combination, yielding a perfectly balanced blend with minimal effort. If you have a pressure cooker and a few pantry staples on hand, you’ll have an unbeatable bowl of soup in no time.

Golden Lentil Daal

Get that golden glow with this hearty lentil daal, infused with a bold, bright punch of turmeric! The whole thing is ready in 30 minutes from start to finish and bursts with fresh, spicy flavors.

Cinnamon Applesauce

Once you see how quick and easy applesauce can be made in a pressure cooker, you’ll never want to buy it at the store again.

Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes

Meet your new side dish savior. No matter what you’re serving for the main course, these charming little potatoes are a fool-proof way to round out the meal with flair. In fact, depending on the situation, they may just steal the show!

Mulled Red Wine

Mulled wine is one of the true treats of cold-weather season. Using your pressure cooker to mull the wine means you won’t have to worry about over-reducing the wine while simmering and losing volume.

Simple Vegetable Soup

Whether you’re a devoted vegetable-lover or are still struggling to embrace them, this is the soup for you. The beauty of this blend is that it’s infinitely flexible! Use any vegetables you prefer or have on hand to adapt it to your taste. Just aim for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 to 8 cups of chopped vegetables total.

Apple Crisp

Dig into meltingly tender spiced apples with a comforting brown sugar and oat topping in record time. Using a pressure cooker instead of a conventional oven speeds up the process so you can skip the labor and get straight to the love.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

Could there be anything more comforting than a big bowlful of velvety tomato soup? How about a creamy option without a single drop of dairy? Whole cashews are cooked right into the mix, blending to an impossibly luscious consistency. Fire-roasted and sun-dried tomatoes join forces to lend a robust, full-bodied tomato flavor that tastes like it spent all day simmering on the stove.

Multi-Mushroom Risotto

Have you heard that risotto must be painstakingly stirred nonstop until you feel like your arms will fall off? No longer! Let the pressure cooker do the work to get dinner on the table in mere minutes. Mushrooms are so rich in umami flavor that they need little culinary intervention to shine. A variety of wild and cultivated varieties unlock an earthy, savory depth that will taste like it took all day to develop.

Spiced Apple Cider

When temperatures begin to drop, turn up the heat with this cozy drink that will warm you from the inside out. Skip the sugar for a more complex, nuanced brew with much more to offer than simple and bland sweetness. This seasonal treat keeps both kids and adults coming back for one glass after the next.

After scrolling through those quick fix temptations, are you feeling the pressure yet? What are your quick cooking staples so far?