PRESSURE COOKER BEAN SOUP

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bean soup

BEAN SOUP:  In preparation for the winter storm I made my obligatory soup.  The essential comfort food for cold snowy weather.  I bought a package of Bob's Red Mill 13 beans Soup Mix, and put one cup of the beans aside in hot water to soak for a few hours.  They then got drained and thrown into my pressure cooker along with  some salt and  some optional browned cubes of boneless beef ribs Next I added broth, a can of diced tomatoes with the juice and extra water if needed to amply cover the beans. I  used about  6 cups of liquid. The cooker was brought up to pressure and cooked for 8  minutes .  After depressurizing I checked  the beans and if the biggest ones were almost done,  I added  diced   onions, cabbage,  celery, carrots, parsnips, leeks, and winter squash (butternut this time) that I had quickly fried over high heat in some olive oil while stirring until  lightly brown.   I  brought it back up to pressure and cooked for 5 more minutes and  again depressurized and checked to see if everything was done. Add more broth if you want it to be more brothy.  This soup lasted several days through the snow storm and just gets more flavorful with each reheating.  I serve my bean soups drizzled with great olive oil and good grated parmesan.

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Tomato and cucumber salad

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Tomato and cucumber salad

This preparation is Middle Eastern.  This is the salad eaten in Arab and Israeli families because where you can eat amazing cucumbers and tomatoes most of the year. This salad is great stuffed into a pita with hummus and tahini. I  make this salad with small cubes of tomato and cucumber, salt and finished with olive oil again.  But in the Middle East you'll see this salad with lots of parsley and scallion and lemon juice.  When you have perfect tomatoes and cucumbers for only a couple months around here, I want to enjoy them unadorned.

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Lebanese Cabbage Salad (Salatet Malfoof)

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Lebanese Cabbage Salad (Salatet Malfoof)

 

This is a simple cabbage salad that tastes fresh and delicious.  It comes together very quickly and stays fresh for a few days.  I learned how to make it from my friend Cindy.  Her Lebanese mother, Gladys Payne makes it frequently and they’ve never seen it in the United States.  This is the healthy version of coleslaw.  The flavors meld together so that it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s in it.  But it is very simple:  lemon, garlic, spearmint and a little oil.  Cindy’s mother adds the tomato which isn’t authentic but really kicks it up both visually, texturally and taste wise.

  

1 small cabbage (about 2 ½ pounds), thinly shredded ( I use a mandolin which works great)

1 TBS salt

2 TBS lemon

6 garlic cloves, pressed or mashed

1 TBS dried mint (fresh mint will give it an entirely different taste)

1 cup petite diced tomatoes drained of juice

1 TBS olive oil

 

Directions:

1.       Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl and massage the salt into the cabbage.  Let it sit for 20-30  minutes and drain off any liquid.  Taste for saltiness.  If it’s too salty, rinse it with fresh water until it is the desired saltiness. 

2.      Add the rest of the ingredients and taste.  If you like more mint or lemon, adjust the quantities.  The garlic and mint flavors will be more pronounced after the flavors have a chance to meld.

3.      Refrigerate for an hour.  This salad will keep for a few days refrigerated.

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Savory corn pudding

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Savory corn pudding

FOOD AND WINE magazine has a wonderful corn pudding recipe . I cut down on the butter; actually I just left it out.  And instead of 6 eggs, I used 4 because I wanted more corn flavor.  The corn is so sweet and tasty now…it’s the perfect time to try this recipe.  The cornmeal settles on the bottom so that it serves as a crust.  I loaded up with sweet Mayan onions. If you want a more elegant presentation try using muffin tins or individual pots as pictured above.  Another idea is to use a small cup as a cookie cutter and carved out single portions.  The picture below shows this single portion presentation using chervil as a garnish.

 

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Corn and Cabbage Relish

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Grilled Kielbasa with corn relish

Kielbasa ( I like the small individual smoked Polish Kielbasa from Hilshire Farms)

Corn Relish Recipe

INGREDIENTS

·         1 large cucumbers, peeled, finely chopped

  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage

·         2 cups of finely chopped onions

·         2 stalks celery finely chopped (Size of corn kernels)

·         ½ cup chopped pimento

·         4 cups corn kernels (cut from 4-6 ears, depending on how big the ears are)

·         1/2 cup sugar

·         1 ½  Tbsp Kosher salt

·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)

·         1/2 teaspoon turmeric

·         2 teaspoons mustard seeds

·         1 teaspoon celery salt

·         cayenne pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1        Place everything except corn, celery and cucumber and pimento in a medium-sized (4 to 6-quart), thick-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

2        Add celery and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then mix in pimento.  Taste for seasoning.

3         Spoon the corn relish into clean jars and seal. Will last for 4-6 weeks refrigerated.

4        This is better made a few days before you serve it.

Yield: Makes 3-4 pints.

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