High pressure experiments on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I own a pressure cooker but I’m terrified of it and so have never used it. It’s an old Mirro Matic, with a heavy metal jiggler, and I stare at this device invented to make my life easier and simply have no idea how to proceed. Vegetarian Times has an article on pressure cooker recipes this month, and I made myself read it in the hopes that it might entice me to actually learn how to use the darn thing. I was right! When I read the recipes – which involve notoriously slow-to-cook ingredients like butternut squash and eggplant – and saw that the instructions say things like “Cook 6 minutes,” I was totally intrigued. Now that my evening social calendar is packed full, I’m always torn between making a nice dinner or just eating a bowl of quinoa and getting out of the house in time to keep my plans. Could my pressure cooker be the magic solution to this dilemma?

So hopefully this week will be the week that I conquer my fear of that hulking aluminum beast. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Oh, right, I could have my face burned off by an explosion of steam or be decapitated by a flying pot lid. Hmm. On second thought, maybe I’ll stick with my bowl of quinoa…

I peeked at the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week and originally thought that this week’s theme was “food as love.” Learning to use my pressure cooker and make delicious, superfast meals would be a real gift of love to myself (not to mention my friends who are unsurprisingly not super pleased with the fact that I’m frequently an hour late to meet them when I try to cook and go out on the same night). But it turns out that’s the theme for next week (Valentine’s Day!).

This week our GFMS is hosted by Gluten Free Smiles with the theme of chia seeds. I think this is a sign that it’s finally time to make the Vegan Overnight Oats everyone has been raving about for ages. I haven’t bought a banana in years because they’re not local (and hence can never be in season here), but breakfast is such a tough meal for me that I really want to give myself the chance to add something wonderful to my breakfast arsenal. I’m also going to try Pear Skillet Bread from lovely Cheryl at GF Goodness. She experimented a long time before discovering that chia is the secret to holding it together! Thanks for doing all the experimentation, Cheryl, so I can reap the rewards.

We're making kimchi!

This Sunday is Culture Club! We’re making napa cabbage kimchi, oji (fermented millet porridge), and Satsuma mandarin cordial in my Cordially Yours cordial maker. I can’t wait to spend a day fermenting with people I love.

As always you’ll find hundreds more menu plans at OrgJunkie’s giant Menu Plan Monday compendium.

Tuesday (thaw: 1 cup frozen peas)
Curried potatoes with cauliflower and peas (Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2011)

Wednesday (thaw: tempeh, 3.5 cups frozen corn, 1 cup stock)
Creamy corn-crusted tempeh pot pie (Viva Vegan, p. 144)

Thursday (thaw: 2 cups stock)
Toasted millet with harissa and sweet potatoes (Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2011)

Friday (make in the morning)
Crock pot curried red lentil, quinoa, and chickpea stew

Saturday (dinner with Farmer B, make filling & salad at least 1 hour in advance)
Arepas with sexy avocado-tempeh filling (Viva Vegan, p. 181)
Salvadorean marinated slaw (Viva Vegan, p. 80)

Sunday (Culture Club!)

Other dishes to make:
Vegan Overnight Oats
Pear Skillet Bread

Shopping List: Millet (1.5 cup), large sweet potato, 5-oz bag baby spinach, 1/2 lb potato, basil, onions, 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 cauliflower, tempeh, Vegenaise, green onions, jicama, 2 ripe avocados, cabbage, 2 jalapenos, cilantro, almond milk, small ripe banana, ripe pears to equal 1.25 cup, green veggies for sides, restock agave nectar

6 comments on “High pressure experiments on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

  1. Nikki says:

    Great menu ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  2. […] at In My Box Scrumptious is experimenting with a couple of new recipes this week in order to check out these […]

  3. I love my PC but I am not sure it saves me that much time really. Maybe if I made meat in it? It still takes a while for it to get up to pressure, after which you then cook it for how ever many minutes. But I do like how quick it makes dried beans, comparatively, and especially soups and stews. I got Lorna Sass’s vegetarian PC cookbook last year and I have been very happy with it. Made me totally comfortable with the PC without Mom around.

    The quinoa lentils sound good. And your arepas. I need to make them again, first time around wasn’t so pretty. Not sure what the trick is to getting them done and so the filling stays inside. I think the dough also needs some flavor whether from salt or something! (At least the recipe I made.)

    And I still have never made overnight oats. I never really ate oats before being dx’ed celiac, except in granola bars, so I am not missing anything. And for years they told us not to eat any oats. I only added them into my diet this past year to see how I do with them. So far okay. So maybe one day I will try the overnight ones. I have a huge bag in the pantry from making cookies…

    As always, yum! Can I come over?

  4. Michelle says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your pressure cooker adventures! It sounds like fun…

  5. Sandra says:

    I had a pressure cooker once. My ex husband used to use it for fried chicken and for taking perfectly wonderful fresh green beans and rendering them inedible by over cooking them with bacon and too much salt. When we split up, he got custody of the pressure cooker. I didn’t miss it at all.

    Having said that, I would be curious to hear if it cuts the time for cooking dried beans. With the budgets cuts and the over abundance of dried beans in the menus these days, cutting the prep time some would be a good.

    Enjoy your week!

    P.S. I will probably be stealing your curried potatoes idea for next week. Sounds like a yummy way to use my abundance of potatoes.

  6. cheryl says:

    silly as it is, I share your pressure cooker fears, too.
    hope you like the pear bread!

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