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. 


Southern Fried Tofu with Garlic Sauce

If you show it a little love, tofu is a great starring protein. Seasoned flour and frying oil never met a food they couldn't make delicious.

Breading Mix
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbls nutritional yeast
2 tsps cayenne
2 tsps garlic powder
1 tsp savory
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tbls hot sauce
3 tbls olive oil

1 package firm tofu, thoroughly drained and pressed.

Enough canola oil to fill the bottom of a 10 inch frying pan.

Drain liquid from the tofu. Wrap in clean paper towels. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Set on a paper plate. Weight with an icepack or bag of ice.

Allow tofu to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Cut it into 1 inch cubes.

Once you've drained, pressed and cubed the tofu, you'll then want to marinate it. Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a container suitable to hold the tofu. Add the tofu and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably several.

In the meanwhile, assemble your breading mixture in a large bowl. Stir to evenly distribute everything.

Place frying pan on stove top. Do not turn on the heat. Fill your frying pan with oil. The oil should not be deep. Just enough to thoroughly cover the bottom of the pan.

 Dredge the tofu in the flour mixture. Dredge each piece for one pass and then dredge each one a second time. Pressing and patting lightly to ensure coating sticks well. Shaking off any excess.

Heat the pan with the oil. You want hot oil, but not too hot. When you put the tofu in you want it to sizzle, but not go nuts. Use a small garlic clove to test the temperature of the oil. This will also flavor the oil a bit.

Fry the tofu until golden brown on one side. Then flip and do the same to the other side. Work in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Leave plenty of space between each piece.

Drain on paper towels. Serve with....

Garlic and Parsley Pesto Sauce.
1 medium bunch parsley, stems and all or 1 1/2 cups packed
18 cloves garlic, roasted
1/4 cup chick peas
2 heaping tablespoons mayo
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tbls olive oil
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

You'll want to cook your garlic cloves. Raw garlic is quite harsh. Put the peeled whole cloves into a foil packet with a drizzle of olive oil and cook at 425 F for 10 minutes.

Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until a creamy sauce is formed.

Measurements for oil and vinegar are approximate. Add a little bit at a time and blend until you achieve the desired consistency.

Use vegan mayo to keep it animal free.