The Amazing Pressure Cooker (and a nice Nordic dish)

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My goodness, I have been missing this all of my adult life.  A pressure cooker!  How come y’all didn’t tell me about this lovely contraption?  It literally takes half the time to make supper!  And for a homesteading mama, this is important.

I love whole grains.  I am a huge advocate of the healing power, antioxidant content, anti-cancer ability of whole grains.  Natural fiber and mineral foods that take forever to cook.  The same reason I do not make beans as often as I’d like; I forget to put them in the slow cooker or I don’t have three hours to wait for them to be done!

The quick release on the pressure cookers is the coolest thing I have seen in awhile (I don’t get out much.) and I do wish that our pressure canners had this feature!  This supper took no time at all to prepare.  I’m still experimenting, but the cooker makes it easy for me.

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Here I soaked 1/2 cup of navy beans for the day in doubled the water.  Came home to a full measuring cup of them.  I sautéed red onion and garlic in olive oil in the pressure cooker first then added a few chopped carrots, a chopped parsnip, and one sliced stalk of celery.  I added the drained beans and 1/2 cup of rye.  Sprinkle all well with smoked salt (or regular) and pepper, dill, paprika, and a pinch of thyme.  I poured over 4 cups of my homemade rosemary broth (though you could use any broth), put the lid on and pressure cooked it for 30 minutes.  I quick released it (so cool) and added two big handfuls of chopped cabbage and two pieces of lovely coral colored salmon topped with spices.  Another 3 minutes in the pressure cooker and wallah, supper was served.

This fabulous contraption will serve me well this year with my expansive, and God willing prolific, gardens.  Whatever veggies, spices, grains, and proteins I have on hand will make delicious, healthy, and unique one pot meals.

Do you have a great pressure cooker recipe?

Grain Mills and Rye Bread

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The aroma captures you as you enter the house.  It instantly makes a home cozy.  When you make the soup too spicy (oops) it calms it down and fills you up.  It is perfect with a glass of wine and bit of butter and jam.  A must for a picnic.  Not to mention full of protein, nutrients, and fiber.  Ahh, fresh bread, how I adore you.

One of the lovely things about moving to a small town, opening a small business in a small town, and living simply around other folks that live simply is the community mindset of barter.  So when a couple we know wanted to take some of my herbal classes, they offered me a near forgotten treasure…a grain mill.  One that actually grinds whole wheat into fine, delicious flour.  What a gift!

Living at 6500 feet above sea level has provided me with years of baking cement blocks.  A few of you are laughing, cause you know what I am talking about!  I have perfected the simple loaf of bread with the help of some books like “My Bread” by Jim Lahey and “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Hertzberg ad Francois.  They didn’t touch on high altitude baking but they catapolted me to the next level in order to master the humble peasant loaf.

Easy Scrumptious Rye Bread

2 cups of unbleached, organic white flour

1 cup of rye flour

1 Tablespoon of yeast

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1Tablespoon of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 cups of warm water (1 1/3 cup for lower altitudes)

Mix well in a mixing bowl and place plate over it (you could use a towel, but I have cats, since cat hair is not really a necessary ingredient in bread, I use a plate) Promptly forget for 2-6 hours.  Take off plate, sprinkle with flour and knead 20 times in bowl.  Re-cover. Promptly forget for 1-4 hours.  Place in preheated Dutch oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for 15 minutes more.

You could also grease two bread pans and bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes with a ramekin of hot water.

Enjoy with rich butter, homemade choke cherry jam, and glass of red wine, a meritage or California red blend would be lovely.

Have a beautiful Sunday.  (Go Broncos!)