Thursday, December 24, 2015

Great Northern Beans w Vegs, Acorn Squash w Emperor's Forbidden Rice

My family is still traveling, but I had three friends who came over for dinner. I used both of my Instant Pot pressure cookers tonight.

In one, I cooked acorn squash very simply and quickly, using a technique by my friend Lani Muelrath that as I described this past February. All she does is puts a trivet (to keep the food from touching the pot) into the Instant Pot, rinses an intact acorn or butternut squash, puts in a cup and a half of water (I think that I put even less in; it shouldn't be so much as to get over the level of the trivet), and pressure steams for 8 minutes. The squash can then be sliced very easily (tonight it felt like butter!) and served.

For the main course, I had soaked maybe a cup and a half of Great Northern beans for maybe 4 hours or so. I rinsed and put in enough water to just cover the beans, and also added a vegan bouillon cube and three cloves of garlic, finely (1/8" or so) minced. I cooked for 25m, using the logic that Great Northern beans soaked overnight take about 20-25m to cook under pressure, and unsoaked take 25-30m.

After the pot cooled down a bit, I opened it up and tried the beans. They were done but still rather firm, so I added a little bit more water and cooked another 5m. They were now a bit tougher and I got it - just like I learned with black beans, these beans need more water. In the future, I'm going to go with enough water to cover and then another 1/2" or so.

I added more water to get about 1/2" above the level of the beans, and added the rest of the ingredients - about 3c of chopped kale, 1/2 or 3/4 cup chopped chard, 3 or 4 scallions cut into 1/2" lengths, 3 or 4 carrots cut into 3/8" lengths, about 1/4 t finely (1/8") chopped ginger (I chopped about a teaspoons worth, and saved most to be added just before serving), 2T or so of nutritional yeast, 1/4 t turmeric, 1/2 t ground cumin, 1/8 t or so of lemon pepper, and the rest of the ginger. I cooked for 3 minutes.

After the cooking, I waited a few minutes, slowly released remaining pressure, and mixed in the juice of one small tangerine and about a cup of onion, cut into 3/8" cubes. I also added a little kala namak (black salt that is actually pink in color) and Himalayan pink salt (a total of about 1/2 t or to taste of any kind of salt would do as a starting point). I shied away from jalapeno, but chopped and served in a bowl for two friends who wanted to add the heat to their servings.

I had also made emperor's forbidden rice (a deep purple/black rice cooked in a 1 : 1 2/3 ratio of rice to water or broth for 30m). I served the rice in the squash, along with some dried cranberry and cherry, and a pickled cherry pepper.

Dinner was good. My friends really enjoyed the meal. I would have liked a bit more "zing", such as with more garlic and ginger, and perhaps a touch of jalapeno. I'll have to make something like this for my wife. Merry Christmas!

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