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. 


Fried Tofu Dough Balls

These chewy little balls of dough are delicious to eat and full of protein. Personally I love chewy bread. Baguette, bagel, Italian bread. The chewier, the better. What could improve upon an already brilliant carbohydrate masterpiece. Add some tofu and then fry it!

You make these guys like you're making pasta dough. Then you shape them into balls of whatever size you like. Boil first. Then pan fry.

They are crispy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside. You can control the inner chew factor by how much you knead the dough. You can also add some baking powder to fluff them up a bit if you want. I prefer them more like little miniature bagels in the middle with a wonderfully crispy, sauteed outer shell.

You can mix them with sauce or dunk them. You can eat em straight up. They are wondrous little orbs of heavenly carbohydrate and protein delivery.

3-4 cups ap flour
1-2 cups water
6 ounces sliken firm tofu
1 tbl olive oil, more for frying
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsps salt

In a stand mixer with a hook attachment or in a food processor combine 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup water, the tofu, the garlic powder, 1 tbl olive oil and the 2 tsps salt. Mix on low and see how the dough forms. Add more water in small increments to form a supple dough ball. Similar to the density of a pasta dough. Not too firm. Not too loose. Mostly not sticky.

Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Incorporating more flour or water as required to achieve a dough that is tender, yet not sticky. At this point you can rest the dough for at least an hour in the fridge. Or you can continue kneading for a denser end result. It's entirely personal preference.

If you're looking for a more tender center you could add 1 tsp baking powder to the dry ingredients.

Form the dough into a large disk and coat lightly in some oil. Cover in plastic wrap and allow to rest at least 1 hour in the fridge.

When it's rested cut into quarters. Re wrap 3/4 and form balls from the other 1/4. I did different sizes.

Boil a medium sized pot of salted water. Add dough balls and simmer until they float. Remove to a clean surface.

When all the dough has been simmered, heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Saute each ball until golden brown and crispy on the top and bottom. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Repeat as desired with the remaining dough. Or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.