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The New Fast Food & How to Use a Pressure Cooker

Cooking Tool of the Month – Pressure Cooker


Today I will show you how to use a pressure cooker and a delicious recipe from Jill Nussinow’s new book, The New Fast Food. Watch the video for the low down (and please ignore my father’s horrid green kitchen).

My favorite brand of pressure cooker is Fagor. I would love it if you bought it on Amazon using the search function in the left sidebar on my homepage. That will contribute a few cents to running this blog feature and to my east coast book tour in March. People always ask me should I get the small 6 quart one or a larger one? I say go for the 8 quart one. It still works for a small amount like 1 cup of rice, but works great for batch cooking. Might as well make a big pot of brown rice to use for different things throughout the week (i.e. sushi, rice salad, morning porridge, rice/bean burgers, rice pudding). Or make a big batch of beans and freeze them so you always have fresh cooked beans available.

Jill’s book, The New Fast Food, is a combination of very easy recipes or some more gourmet. It has extensive charts showing the cooking times for every grain and bean imaginable and makes cooking with a pressure cooker a snap.

The modern pressure cookers of today are full-proof and not scary like the one’s our grandmothers had! So don’t be skerrrd! If you have a busy life or you just don’t like spending hours in the kitchen, the pressure cooker is your new best friend! Enjoy this recipe and get your copy today!

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew with Olives 

Makes 6 servings

6 minutes high pressure; natural release;

3 minutes high pressure; natural pressure release

2 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1/2 cup vegetable broth)

1 yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic powder)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (I used anise seeds)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (didn’t use)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup dry cannellini or other white beans, presoaked or quick soaked

1/4 cup dry white or red wine

1 cup vegetable broth

1 eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 31/2 cups)

1 (28- ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 3 cups peeled, seeded and diced fresh tomatoes

1/4 cup coarsely chopped Kalamata or green salty olives (I left the olives out)

Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat. Add onions, and sauté until just transparent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and rosemary and sauté another minute. Add the beans, wine and broth and lock the lid on the cooker. Turn the heat to high and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure for 6 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Add eggplant, tomatoes and olives. Do NOT stir. Bring the cooker back to high pressure for another 2 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid and add the lemon zest and salt, if using. Stir in the parsley.

Printed with permission from Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The New Fast Food™

So are you convinced yet? Are you going to run out and buy a pressure cooker? Or do you have one already and you are in love with it just like us?



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  1. I LOVE my pressure cooker! Though mine is electric. I don't think I could use a stove top one. Too much trouble watching over the stove top ones for me. My electric one I just set it and forget about it until it tells me it is done.

    I would love to try out the new cookbook. There is a lack of vegan pressure cooker books. Although I have Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure and it is all i've ever needed. Don't let the name fool you it is a vegan pressure cooking cookbook, not just vegetarian. I can't wait to add this one to my library too.

    For anyone who has an electric pressure cooker and not stovetop you can follow any pressre cooking recipe the same just ignore all the extra steps that tell you to bring to pressure, etc. Just set the time to what it says in the recipe and cook.

  2. My mother in law just bought us a pressure cooker and I plan to use it today for our first time.  Thank you very much for this demonstration.  I've not used one before and am happy to cook things so quickly!

  3. I brought home a small pressure cooker from India after seeing how easy and fast it made cooking beans (and they convinced me we didn't have them in the states, haha!), but never got around to using it. Thanks for the video and for giving me confidence to give it a whirl this week.

  4. I've been wanting a pressure ooker for quite some time now but have been nervous about taking the plunge. I don't know why though, I know it will save me tons of time. Between this post and the post from today I am fully ready to commit to a pressure cooker and I might even pick up The New Fast Food cookbook too! I will definitely use the link for Aamazon when I do 🙂

  5. I just used my pressure cooker yesterday to make a huge batch of chickpeas.  I love it!  One think I was unclear on from your video was how to tell it is up to pressure.  The instructions on my cooker (Casa Essentials brand, made by Fagor) say that the button has to pop up AND you have to hear it start hissing pretty loudly, then you start counting down.  When I first got my cooker, I saw the button pop up and then started counting the minutes.  The resulting food was not properly cooked.

    1. When the button pops up I lower the flame to where you can hear a slight hiss but it isn’t spewing out. I set the timer when the button pops up. If it’s hissing loudly then the flame is too high. I’ve been using mine for 8 years and it always has worked for me this way, but you should follow your manufacturers instructions. Homemade chickpeas are the best!!!

      1. The Casa instructions are not clear.  Once the yellow button pops up, meaning it's at full pressure, one is to turn a dial either to the left where the icon shows steam escaping from the cooker, or to the right where it shows no steam escaping it; but which direction?  The icon with escaping steam could mean "to cook", or it could mean "to depressurize before opening".  In my ancient pressure cooker one would put the weight/pressure valve atop the cooker at the moment of full pressure,  AND steam would continue to hiss out while it cooked.  

  6. Thanks Christy – great demo!  I also have Jill's e-version of the same cookbook and love pressure cookers – such a time saver! If anyone would like to see more ideas with a pressure cooker, feel free to check out my cooking clip to make a delicious traditional Mediterranean dish in just 3 minutes using a pressure cooker: Greek-style braised green beans in tomato sauce.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMPn828i37A

  7. Referred here by the Veggie Queen's newsletter, and you've convinced me to get both the pressure cooker and the book. If I get the Fagor I will buy through your site (bought a different brand for my mom a few years ago so may instead get that one). Thanks!

  8. I support retaining as much of the nutrients in whole foods as possible. I am perplexed that as a nutritionist you use table salt in your recipes which undermines any  food as it is the reason for dis-ease. Sea salt conversely (and  which is no longer pricy ) is a balanced salt which when used moderately is healthy and nutritious as well.

  9. Thanks Christy, I loved your demo.  Your pressure cooking tips and techniques were fabulous!  I too love Jill's recipes and look forward to getting her new book.  Well done.  

  10. Dear Christy, 

    I bought this pressure cooker and the cookbook. As soon as our CSA order arrived with our eggplants and lemons I got started.  Since I am no chef, it took me two hours to make. This includes quick soaking the beans and taking the pressure cooker out of the box. I loved this recipe! It was so hearty and zesty. It definitely met our craving for a yummy lunch.  I had to bat my husband's hand away as he tried to eat the leftovers while I was storing them! We will be making it again. Thank you for your recommendations on both the book and the cooking tool. 


    1. Awesome Amy!! When I make batch beans what I often do is put the beans on to soak right before I go to bed and make them right when I wake up in the morning. Just make sure you can hear the timer while you get ready for your day. I can’t wait to make more recipes out of Jill’s book!

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