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. 


Garlic Apple Puree

Garlic and fruit go surprisingly well together. It's not all that different from the pairing of salty and sweet.

If you like garlic, you'll like this combination. It's something different for you taste buds. It's garlicky and it's a little bit sweet. It's a granny smith apple though, so it also has a tart backbone to it. The wine, lemon and salt give it additional flavor dimensions.

It also works well with pear instead of apple.

It's a very French inspired puree, but it definitely has an American influence as well. It's also totally vegan.

3 heads of garlic, peeled, chunked
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, diced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbl olive oil
2 tbls almond milk
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Use a kitchen towel and a meat mallet to quickly peel all that garlic. Hold the towel over a head and whack it a few times. It will release most of the shells. I saw this trick on Worst Cooks in America. Tyler Florence had LaToya Jackson do this to make fast work of a garlic puree.

Cook garlic, apple, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer mildly until garlic and apple are tender.

Add mixture and almond milk to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender to puree it in the saucepan.

Depending on the speed at which you work, you may want to have your lemon juice ready in a bowl before you start peeling and dicing your apple. That way you can throw the pieces in there as you go, so they don't turn brown.

If you have white pepper, that would give a slightly cleaner appearance.