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. 


Low Carb Plant Based Brownies with Peanut Butter Mousse

For Thanksgiving I wanted to create a dessert that both myself and my brother could enjoy. He's type 2 diabetic and low carb. I'm plant based.

He loves brownies, but doesn't know how to create a low carb version. I"m a foodie and figured I'd see what I could do.

It was actually pretty easy. Just swap out the flour with cocoa powder. Swap out the eggs with flax seed. Swap out the sugar with Stevia.

I'm not much of a baker, but I still remember how a brownie batter should look and feel. I used that to guide me.

This yields a small portion. About 4 fairly generously sized brownies.

1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond meal
12 packets stevia
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbl flax seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
water as needed

Put everything into a mixing bowl except the water. Stir it up well. Slowly add the water until you have a thick, rich brownie batter.

Let the batter rest a few minutes. The flax seed will thicken and create a similar texture to an egg based batter.

To get my almond meal, I ground whole almonds in a coffee grinder and sifted out the chunks.

A looser batter will yield a cakier brownie. A denser batter will give you a fudgier version.

Lightly grease four small ramekins and distribute the batter evenly between them.

Put then on a quarter sheet pan. Bake at 375 F for 15-18 minutes.

They should be mostly firm, but slightly moist in the middle. It's better to under cook them than to overcook them. They're plant based... so you don't need to worry about destroying the salmonella from eggs. Err on the side of under.

Let them cool at room temp for 20 minutes and then cover each brownie with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge. They firm up and become scrumptiously gooey after a nice long rest in the fridge.

I embellished the brownie with peanut butter mousse, chopped almonds and espresso salt. To make the peanut butter mouse just combine equal parts silken firm tofu and regular peanut butter. Use a food processor or stick blender to emulsify.

Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate? No one. That's who.