Pressure Cooker Vegan Lentil Soup

On the myriad cooking shows I watch they often use pressure cookers. I've often wondered to myself if I need one and if I did have one, what exactly I would make with it. 

I never did buy one for myself. I always figured I had the time to wait for the same thing to happen via the stovetop. 

But for some strange reason, my mother bought one. She doesn't even like to cook. Perhaps that factored into her decision. 

When she fell ill, I found myself with the desire to make good use of this appliance on her behalf. It felt therapeutic to create sustenance from this device that she'd bought so soon before she'd become sick. 
Since it's summer and hot, I thought to myself, I can make a complex broth based soup without making the house hot simmering it on the stovetop for a long time. 

My absolute favorite soup meal is lentil soup. It's just the ultimate vegan chicken noodle soup analog. It's the food of memories, childhood and comfort. It will give you a big hug. 


Tofu Three Ways

When people find out that you like tofu they often express their distaste or poor experience with the product. It's not something most people are familiar with or taught how to utilize - at least not in the western hemisphere.

I am fortunate enough to have very nearby a chinese takeout place that makes delicious tofu in several varieties. There's deep fried tofu (or as they refer to it, bean curd) with mixed vegetables in garlic sauce. It's hot and spicy and awesome. Deep frying the tofu really alters the texture and brings it to a place where 90% of average american would truly enjoy. Not only that, it imparts it with a deep and rich flavor of oil, soy sauce and spices.

They also offer szechaun style bean curd too. This is not deep fried, but rather traditional wok stir fried, but in my opinion just as delicious. It does keep  that classic tofu texture most people associate with the product. Pillowy soft. But this restaraunt is smart. They cut it up much smaller, so it readily absorbs more of the delicate flavors.

Not only that, they have sesame crusted tofu. It's not vegan, but it is vegetarian and really very good. They take strips of the bean curd and dip them in egg and coat them with sesame seeds and spices and deep fry them in peanut oil. It's served with a luxurious assortment of stir fried vegetables and a rich sauce. It's unlike any tofu you'd expect. It's crunchy on the outside and soft and tender within, like a well made pretzel or bagel. It's salty and sweet and herbacious. A must try.