Review of Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN + Recipe

The cookbook, pressure cooker, and dishes in this post were provided by Jill Nussinow, Sitram USA, and Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.

My first time working with a pressure cooker was last summer. I needed to cook chicken for a soup within an hour for the World Recipe Championship at the World Food Championships. Cooking in the oven or on stove top would take too long. I borrowed an Instant Pot from my very good friend, Wendy Chen of Wendyful World, to see if I could cook chicken in under 30 minutes. It worked but I later found out that the Instant Pot was not an approved appliance we could use during the competition. However, I could use a range top pressure cooker. I was very leery due to stories I’ve heard from my mom and others about pressure cookers exploding and such. Fortunately, pressure cookers have come a long way since the 1950’s, so I gave it a try. To my surprise and delight, it worked.

Even though I can cook a chicken in 30 minutes in a pressure cooker, I am still an admitted novice when it comes to these devices. When I heard Jill Nussinow and Sitram were going to be at Melissa’s Produce for a cooking demo, I had to be there. Jill, a.k.a. The Veggie Queen™, has been a pressure cooking expert for over 20 years along with plant-based, whole food cooking. Her cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure, shows you how to use a pressure cooker safely and prepare vegan fare full of flavor. Sitram USA showcased the features, benefits, and ease of using the SitraPro pressure cooker. Since 1960, Sitram has been a pioneer of pressure cooking and is used by prestigious chefs, Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, and culinary professionals at the International Culinary Center where SitraPro has been integrated into their curriculum for technology in the kitchen. Modern pressure cookers enable 70% faster cooking times, plus, have the bonus of being energy efficient.

In Chapter 4, Grains, Late Summer or Early Fall Vegetable Quinoa Salad utilizes tomatillos (often used in Mexican cooking) for their tart flavor. I love quinoa, so I knew I would love this salad. It also incorporates zingy garlic, sweet red bell pepper & tomato, and refreshing scallions & cilantro. This would be great for a potluck or picnic. Rating: 5/5

In Chapter 5, Beans, Cannellini Beans with Gremolata is high in protein and has great flavor. The cannellini beans become creamy when pressure cooked which contrasts nicely with the gremolata. It reminds me of a coarsely chopped pesto with a crunch from the almonds and refreshing parsley. Rating: 5/5

In Chapter 6, Vegetables, Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Mustard Sauce are a must for any brussels sprout lover like myself. I’ve been eating them since I was little. They reminded me of baby cabbages and I used them in my Barbie kitchen to simulate a head of cabbage. Jill and I agree on having brussels sprouts al dente so you have the crispness of the stalk of the brussels sprout contrasting with the tender leaves. The Dijon and maple syrup gave it a nice flavor of earthy sweetness. Here is the recipe so you can try this amazing dish! Rating: 5/5

Text excerpted from Vegan Under Pressure, © 2016 by Jill Nussinow. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Mustard Sauce
Serves 4

I realize that there are people who don’t care much for Brussels sprouts. My husband is one of them. When I prepare them this way he will at least eat a few. I gladly eat the rest. They are scrumptious. If you are using small sprouts, do not cut them in half. I prefer my Brussels sprouts al dente, but you can cook them for another minute or two if you prefer them softer. Combined with rice or quinoa and some cooked beans, this is a satisfying fall or winter lunch or dinner.

2 teaspoons pure sesame or sunflower oil, optional
½ cup diced onion
½ cup vegetable stock or water
1½ to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 medium to large Brussels sprouts (1 to 2 inches in diameter), cut in half or quarters to equal 3 cups
½ to 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black Pepper

1. Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric pressure cooker to sauté; add the oil, if using. Add the onion and sauté or dry sauté for a minute or two, until it starts to soften.

2. Whisk together the stock and mustard in a small bowl or shake in a glass jar. Add the Brussels sprouts to the cooker along with the mustard mixture. Stir. Drizzle the maple syrup over the vegetables but do not stir.

3. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring to low pressure; cook for 3 minutes. (If you do not have a low-pressure option, bring to high pressure and cook for 2 minutes.) Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.

4. Transfer the sprouts to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

In Chapter 7, Soups, Lemongrass Cabbage Soup is a hearty yet refreshing soup. The cabbage and potatoes provided heartiness while the lemongrass added a refreshing touch to the creamy coconut milk base. Rating: 5/5

In Chapter 8, Main Courses, Millet and Lentils with mushrooms and seasonal vegetables reminded me of my childhood. In the 1970s, my mom went on a health kick and bought canned cooked millet to use as her meat substitute. I loved it! My dad thought it was so weird that a little girl would like millet. After my mom lost the taste for it, I would ask my dad to buy it occasionally. It was expensive at the time, so it was a treat for me when he could find it on sale. I also love lentils so combining these into one recipe is just amazing! The addition of seasonal vegetables made this into a meal! Rating: 5/5

In Chapter 12, Desserts, Moist Chocolate Cake floored me when I found out it was vegan, gluten-free, and baked in a pressure cooker. It was moist, chocolatey, and not overly sweet. I love desserts but anything overly sweet just turns me off. The addition of raspberry and powdered sugar made the perfect ending to this cookbook tasting. Rating: 5/5

Vegan food can be fun and flavorful. Add a pressure cooker to the mix and you’ll enjoy it even more!

For more information:
Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN

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Hidden Gem: The Big Bib BBQ in San Antonio, TX

The menu items in this post were provided by The Big Bib BBQ but the opinions expressed here are my own.

After a historical walk through The Alamo, it was time for some lunch. When in Texas, it’s always BBQ time! Everything in Texas is big so we stopped at The Big Bib BBQ. They offer true Texas-style BBQ, slow-cooked for up to 14 hours every day with aged oak and mesquite woods and their special dry rub. Being a KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, I had to see what kind of BBQ they were packing. We were so glad we stopped!

Just like any true BBQ joint, there is a queue to get to that ‘que. The interior is very casual but has a friendly atmosphere with southern charm. They also have an outdoor patio where you can get a true backyard BBQ experience.

You can order your BBQ any way you want – meat by the pound, sandwiches, plates, and family packs along with sides, desserts, and drinks. Here’s a look at what we tried:

Rib Tips are the ends that are cut off when butchering a St. Louis-style spare rib. Chicago-style BBQ utilizes these scraps into rib tips. When done right, they are like the “burnt ends” of a brisket. The Big Bib BBQ does them just right. They were smoky, tender, and juicy. One of the best I’ve ever had! Rating: 5/5

Baby Back Ribs were perfectly cooked, competition-style. The meat comes of the bone, not quite fall off the bone, which would be overcooked. It had a great rub for full flavor along with the smoke. I could eat a slab of those with no problem. Rating: 5/5

Brisket is made with certified Angus Beef. This brisket was one of the best cooked I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. Normally in restaurants and in competitions, I find that brisket is either under cooked or way over cooked. It should be sturdy enough to slice and not fall apart. When sliced, it can relax over the finger without snapping in half or be straight as a board. I also love when the fat cap is left on the brisket, which a lot of KCBS judges do not like. I personally think it helps to keep the brisket juicy and adds more flavor as it cooks. That said, this brisket checked all the boxes for me. I could eat a pound of this all by myself. I just love brisket and when it’s cooked like this, I love it even more. Rating: 5/5

Mild Sausage is hardwood smoked and crafted. Their sausage was a medium grind sausage with a good flavor of pork, smoke, and spices. I liked it sliced but also thought it would be great just inside a bun (like a hot dog) or sliced up in a sandwich. The casing had a nice snap to it which would make it perfect inside a bun. Rating: 5/5

Jalapeno Sausage is a stable in Texas BBQ. It was a medium grind sausage that was just a tad spicy, not uncomfortable. It was juicy and had a good flavor. This would be great in a sandwich or in a bun with melted cheddar cheese. Rating: 4.8/5

Turkey Breast is smoked all day until melt-in-your-mouth tender. This was one of the best smoked turkeys I’ve ever had. Juicy and tender yet still easily sliceable. I could eat this as is or stacked inside a sandwich with melted cheese on top. Rating: 5/5

Baked Potato Casserole tasted exactly like a loaded baked potato. It was creamy from the butter and sour cream along with the flavor of cheese and smoky, salty bacon.

Sweet Potato Casserole was thick and has the aroma of sweet potatoes. It was almost like eating sweet potato pie! Rating: 5/5

Chili Beans is not just beans but more like a meaty chili. Unlike the sweet barbeque beans in California, theirs were savorier and hearty like chili with chunks of meat. You could just have a side of chili beans and bread for lunch. Rating: 5/5

Time to hit the road and continue to El Paso, TX.

For more information:
104 Lanark Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78218
Hours: Closed on Monday, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking: Free lot in front of restaurant

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The Big Bib Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box Recipe Series: Quinoa Cranberry Pudding Parfait

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.