by Kate Heyhoe
Pressure cookers and pressure cooker books always seem to be promoted most heavily in winter. I suppose this makes sense, given that pressure cookers whip up beans, stews, soups, and other steamy hot meals with enormous ease, in a fraction of the time spent by conventional cooking.
In my kitchen though, the pressure cooker comes out most frequently in summer, when I'm trying to keep the house cool. A pressure cooker gets me in and out of the kitchen fast, with not too much heat. Meaty stews aren't on the summer menu, but fresh vegetables, relishes, and quick meals are. In sunny Southern California, the outdoor grill tends to be the primary cooking source, but some foods simply don't take well to grilling. Besides, by pairing a grilled entrée with non-grilled dish, you end up with a more interesting meal full of contrasts in flavor and texture.
The pressure cooker works like a gem with summer's fresh foods, especially the bushels of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and other organic produce exploding out of my garden. Foods also retain more nutrients and flavor when pressure-cooked, versus conventional cooking. And pressure cooked grains, like bulgur wheat and rice, lentils, and beans make fabulous salads when mixed with fresh herbs and vegetables, and a welcome change from the pedestrian pasta salads of summer.
So, have I convinced you yet to drag out the pressure cooker for the warm weather cooking? Perhaps a few recipes will inspire you, like the ones below from pressure-cooker expert Lorna Sass and a few from Victoria Wise's handy new book full of all-weather pressure cooker recipes, The Pressure Cooker Gourmet.
Southwest Skinny Chicken by Kate Heyhoe
The Pressure Cooker Gourmet by Victoria Wise
The Pressured Cook by Lorna Sass
Copyright © 2003, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created June 2003
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