Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Two-Hour Taste in Ten Minutes

Collecting cookbooks can bring many hours of savory reading and tasty cooking in the kitchen! Although most cookbooks in my collection are appreciated because of their beautiful, colorful illustrations and creative ideas, my favorite 'winter' cookbook contains not one photograph, but contains a wealth of recipes that always turn out so well when implemented in my kitchen. It is "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure", written by a leading authority on pressure cooking, Lorna J. Sass is a food writer for periodicals and cookbooks. Rich in recipes containing exotic whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, and millet, it also features recipes for legumes, winter vegetables, and desserts. The recipe titles are so inviting, it makes it difficult to choose 'which' recipe to make next. Listen to some of them! "Baby Limas with Spinach and Dill" and "Gingered Adzuki-Squash Stew". Or "Millet Rice Oreganato" and "Tarragon-Scented White Bean Soup". The desserts are just as inviting! How about "Date-Nut Couscous" or "Fig-Hazelnut Risotto"? Or a "Pear Pudding-Cake"? Yum! My pressure cooker makes wholesome family suppers quickly and with the help of Lorna Sass and the 150 exceptional vegetarian recipes in this cookbook, my pressure cooker has become a safe and effective tool in my kitchen.

Sharing one of my favorites. . .
Risotto with Winter Squash

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
Generous teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 1/2 t0 4 cups vegetable stock
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* * * * *
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar to taste (or lemon juice)
2 Tablespoons minced fresh

Heat the oil in the cooker. Cook the shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the sage and rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. stir in 3 1/2 cups of teh stock (stand back to avoid sputtering oil) and bring to the boi. Add the squash and salt.

Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the pressure with as quick-release method. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape.

If the risotto isn't creamy, stir in a bit more stock. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the rice achieves the desired consistency (it should be tender but chewy) and the squash is partially pureed. Stir in the vinegar (or lemon juice) and parsley. Serve immedately in shallow soup bowls.

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