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. 


Caramelized Mushroom Steak with Brandy Cream Sauce Vegan

Completely inspired by the umami of mushrooms and the culinary clout of French brandy cream sauce.

The mushrooms are dark and deeply caramelized like little slices of vegan steak.

The mushrooms, caramelized onions along with the other ingredients in the pan come together to create the rich and creamy French style savory brandy sauce.

It's easy too. All the magic happens inside one large frying pan.

1 pint sliced white mushrooms
1/4 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 poblano, julienned
1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
1 serrano, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 can red beans/brine
1/4 cup brandy
3 tbls olive oil
3 tbls vegan mayo
1/4 cup water

2 tsps celery seed
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Saute mushrooms and onion in 2 tbls of the olive oil and 1 tsp of salt until nicely caramelized. About 10 minutes. When mushrooms and onions are nicely browned on one side, turn over and brown the other side. It's this deep browning that will provide flavor and depth for our pan sauce and give the mushrooms their meaty flavor..

Deglaze with brandy. Cook off for 5 minutes.  If you're not using non-stick, you could try flambeing the brandy.

Add beans, brine, garlic, peppers, spices, remaining salt,  water and remaining oil. Simmer briskly, stirring often until sauce begins to tighten. Careful not to over reduce. When sauce is somewhat thickened, but not quite true sauce consistency turn off heat and stir in vegan mayo. Stir thoroughly to fully incorporate. Let rest several minutes to thicken up til it coats the back of a spoon.