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. 


Green Tea Cucumber and Tomato Salad

As summer is coming to a close I'm inspired by the lingering heat. Cucumbers have such a hydrating and cooling appeal. Gorgeous multicolored heirloom tomatoes are an ingredient to snatch up while still available.

When it's hot it can be hard to get yourself to eat anything hearty. This dish feels light, but packs plenty of nutrients. Just sprinkle in some beans on top and you're good to go.

Crisp granny smith apples add crunch and sweetness. The cucumber is refreshing and crunchy. Tomatoes add acid.

1 large cucumber, sliced into quarter circles
2 pints heirloom grape tomatoes, halved
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 jalapeno, quartered, then sliced
3 tbls olive oil
1 tbl white vinegar
2 tbls hot sauce
1/4 cup diet citrus green iced tea
3 tsps dry dill
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper

Toss everything in a bowl and gently stir to combine. Let rest an hour or two in the fridge. Done and done.