To read my original post, Dried Beans; how to cook (Basics) published April 2013 (click here)
As much as I do love the idea of a pot of aromatic dried beans bubbling away on the stove for hours on end, more efficient cooking methods are now a consideration well worth exploring. I had been using my finicky old pressure cooker as an alternative to slow cooking beans, but it was sadly lost in transit. Enter the Instapot! I admit I was reticent at first about taking a leap, but my utility bill spurred me into action. After much research I placed an order.
I have to say my Instapot is a marvel! It is a pressure cooker without all the hissing and fuss, or a lingering t thought of a steamy explosion. My very first go around with my Instapot delivered perfectly cooked dried pinto beans in just 30 minutes!
I followed my no old standby cooking methods. No pre- soak for the beans and no salt until the beans were fully cooked.
A few words about sourcing your dried beans. This is tricky business. Know your source! The age of dried beans vary widely and this does matter. Buy organically grown dried beans from a reliable vendor rather than relying on supermarket varieties that may be old and take hours rather than minutes to cook. I have been sourcing dried beans from Rancho Gordo in California for years. They offer an extensive selection of top quality dried pulses at competitive pricing, and wonderful customer service.
Cooking dried beans using an Instaapot
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed
- 6 or 7 cups water( hot water speeds up the process)
- aromatics of choice and sea salt to taste after the beans are fully cooked.
Suggested aromatics: peeled garlic clove ,Â¼ cup diced onions, a pinch of ground clove for pinto beans, and epazote (click here for info) small chipotle chile (optional)
Add the beans to the Instapot along with the aromatics and water.
Move the lid of the Instapot into the locked position.
Choose pressure cook and then choose manual high pressure.
Set timer for 25 minutes or 30 minutes for very soft beans.
The Instapot will shut off automatically.
Cancel the keep warm button and Let the Instapot cool for at least 10 minutes.
If you want to release steam manually move the valve to the venting position and release steam carefully. Or do as d I do and just let the pressure reduce naturally.
You can then salt the beans to taste.
Before serving transfer the beans to a container using a slotted spoon and pour the cooking broth into a separate container. Add just enough reserved cooking broth to just cover the beans before serving or before refrigeration.
If you prefer a richer broth simply mash some beans into a paste and stir into your beans, then warm as needed and serve.
Be sure to save any cooking broth that is left over. The broth is ideal for adding to stir-fries or when sauteing.
Keep in mind cooked dried beans have a lovely earthy flavor all their own their own. Season accordingly.
Stir frying is hands down the best way to cook a quick meal using the seasonâ€™s freshest produce. I’ve been stir frying all summer long an I intend to carry on doing so with fallâ€™s hardier produce bounty.
Stir frying is Asia’s gift for anyone who loves to kook and for all those they may be cooking for. A seasonal stir fry never fails to deliver a gorgeous healthy meal with complex flavors, textures, color, and aromas. A few helpful tips is all thatâ€™s required for success.
Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ve seen the cooks in Chinese restaurants at their stations tossing ingredients in a big woks set over licking flames and clouds of aromatic smoke. All well and good, but you too can produce the same results in your very own kitchen sans the pyrotechnics!
Stir frying does requires Intense heat, but Iâ€™ve found that gas, electric, and induction heat all deliver the heat required if you are using a proper wok. An inexpensive carbon steel wok made in China or a domestic upgraded version is going to give you the best results. Carbon steel responds instantly to the heat source and the bigger the better because you are going to be throwing lots of vegetables and leafy greens into that fired up wok! The more hot surface space the better the results.
A trip to your local Asian market may also be required, but with the following list of basic ingredients on hand you will be set to go!
- soy sauce
- oyster sauce
- fish sauce
- Chinese cooking wine
- Chinese lap Chong dry sausage
- Thai basil
- Â jasmine rice
With fallâ€™s arrival seize the moment and expand your produce choices including baby Brussels sprouts, squash, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, kale, mushroomsÂ and anything else that strikes your fancy.
An Impromptu Fall Stir Fry
Successful Stir frying is all about preparation and organization. Arrange all of your ingredients and cooking utensils within reach before you begin and you are set to go!
As mentioned use a large carbon steel wok or if not a large heavy bottomed skillet.
- Two of the vegetables in this recipe quire some per-preparation as follows.I pint baby Brussels sprouts, trimmed and d steamed al dent, and set aside to used in the stir fry later.
- Â½ Napa cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced, placed in a bowl wit water to cover, and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and drained before stir frying.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 links Lap Chong Chinese dry sausage, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 small brown onions, peeled, halved, thinly sliced, and separated
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin batons
- 6 red and yellow baby sweet bell peppers, trimmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced, and cut into thine strips
- 2 or 3 small fresh hot chiles, trimmed, seeded, and minced
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger root cut into thin strips
- 2 large bunches Bok Choy, trimmed, leaves halved on the diagonal
- Â 1/3 cup Chinese rose cooking wine, or white wine
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce / more to taste
- soy sauce to taste
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Â½ cup chopped Thai basil leaves, or sweet basil
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- Jasmine rice for serving
Place the wok directly over the heat source on medium high. Add the oil and swirl the wok. Add the sausage and stir fry while continuously tossing until the sausage begins to color around the edges. Add the onions and fry while tossing until the onions begin to wilt. Add the carrots and continue tossing until the carrots begin to wilt. Add the sweet peppers and then the garlic, chiles, and ginger and continue tossing.
Slowly add the Chinese cooking wine and toss vigorously until most of the wine has been absorbed.
Drain the cabbage and add to the wok and toss until it wilts. Then add the Bok Choy and toss continuously until the leaves are wilted. Then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce while continuously tossing.
At tis point if the wok is nearly dry add a half cup of water and continue stir frying. Toss in the Thai basil andÂ the steamed baby Brussels sprouts and continue tossing.
If you want to thicken the liquid in the pan, stir the cold water into the corn starch and stir. Then pour into the stir the stir and continue stir fry until the liquid thickens, about 3 minutes.
Finally stir in the lime juice and stir to combine justÂ before serving.
Serve the stir fry with freshly steamed jasmine rice.
Leftovers , not to worry. Reheat in a saute pan or microwave!
There are many raspberry vine gars out there but making your own is very easy and a nice way to bottle a taste of summer that will brighten up salads this winter.
I have been using Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins raspberry vinaigrette recipe from their Silver Palate Cookbook since it was published in 1982. It is a simple master recipe that is open to endless variations for the occasion at hand.
- 8.5 ounces fresh raspberries
- 12 fluid ounces white wine vinegar
Rinse the fresh raspberries and put them in a large jar. Pour the vinegar into t jar and seal with the lid. Place in the refrigerator for 14 days or longer.
Line a large fine mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth set over a large mixing bowl. Pour the contents of the jar into the lined strainer and using a silicone spatula press the raspberries to extract all the liquid from the berries. Discard the crushed berries.
Pour the raspberry vinegar into a sterilized jar or decanter and let it settle until it comes to room temperature. Seal the jar or decanter and store in a dark place for up to six or moor months.
Silver Palate Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes Â¾ cup
- Â 1/2cup extra virgin olive oil
- Â¼ cup raspberry vinegar
- Â½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Â¼ teaspoon freshly ground pink or white peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
Place all the ingredients in a jar and sake vigorously until the vinaigrette emulsifies.
Use at once or refrigerate.
Additions and substitutions you may want to try include
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon full fat Greek Yogurt in lieu of the sour cream
- 1 teaspoon honey for a hint of sweetness.
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s colorfulÂ history, culture, customs and of course its irresistible food that is celebrated around the world on the 5th of May.
So let the celebrations start in your very own kitchen. The first thought that always comes to mind is guacamole that has been part of the Mexican diet since Aztec times and pairs well with any Mexican meal you may be planning. The process is quite simple and the results are sublime if you taste as you go. Avocados and chiles can vary greatly but can be brought together with a balance of heat, lime juice, salt, and an attentive palate. Iâ€™ve always find this ritual as comforting as it is ultimately delicious.
Ingredient quantities are approximated andÂ will vary to suit your own taste preferences.
Above all keep in mind this is an adventure in cooking that will continue to evolve every time you make a guacamole!
Best to prepare guacamole several hours before serving as it is best when chilled.
- 2 or 3Â ripe hass avocados, green with lumpy skin or Puebla avocados ,dark with smooth skin
- a small yellow onion, finely diced, amount to tasteÂ
- serrano, jalapeno, and or red chiles, seeded and finely diced, amount to tasteÂ
- sea salt to taste
- freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
- chopped cilantro leaves to taste
- Â a tablespoon of avocado or olive oil ,optional, but it does add a nice richness andÂ texture.Â
CutÂ avocadosÂ in half around the seed and and twist to remove the seeds, saving one to use later. Spoon the flesh into a mixing bowl and mash together with a bean or potato masher just until combined.Â
Add the diced onions, dced chiles, and salt and mash together bearing down enough to release the liquid in the onions and chiles as you mash away.
Add lime juice and swirl in until combined. Then add the cilantro and mix until well combined.
Taste and add more chile, salt, and lime juice as needed until the guacamole’s flavors dazzle like a chilledÂ fresh lime juice margarita wit an assertive lingering heat.
Transfer the guacamole to a non reactive container and place the reserved avocado seed in the center. Legend has it that this will help keep the guacamole fresh and green. Press cling film directly onto the surface of the guacamole. Put the lid on the container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Serve the guacamole along with margaritas and appetizers, with the main courses or a buffet. And do not be afraid to include guacamole with non Mexican meals as well. Iâ€™ll be having guacamole and salsa verde (see recipe here) with my Chinese stir fry tacos later this evening!