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. 


Pickled Cucumber Tomato and Celery Salad

A simple and refreshing summer salad full of texture and pop. Acidiic and sweet. Beautiful colors and flavors. This is a wonderful example of the great food that can happen when you simply wander through the store picking out the freshest produce, take it home and get creative.

4 stalks celery, sliced on the bias
1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large handful celery leaves, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a jalapeno, minced

3 tbls olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
3 tbls hot sauce
2 tsps thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps salt

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss/stir to coat and combine. Chill at least 3 hours, preferably longer