No, this is about my new pressure cooker! I finally bought an Instant Pot after reading about them on Facebook page for Instant Pot Vegan Recipes.
I first became interested after going to a holiday cooking demonstration at the Oakland offices of the PETA Foundation last year. I am not going to comment one way or the other about PETA here; this is about food! Let’s come together around the table. Or the Instant Pot.
The presenter was JL Fields, and you can follow her at JL Goes Vegan. She is funny and informative and PRACTICAL about food and vegan cooking.
But it took me a year to convince myself to buy the Instant Pot. Now that I have it, I need to make a point of using it, which means learning HOW to use it. I got the cookbook:
I am a bit afraid of pressure cookers; back in the day they were dangerous, and I had a bad experience with one. I know so many people with a mother or grandmother with a near-death pressure cooking story.
I decided to start with something easy. I am not much of a breakfast person (beyond coffee), but Bob likes to start his day with traditional Western breakfast foods. I had a day off and was avoiding my academic duties (I love writing, but sometimes…), so I made oatmeal for breakfast!
Granted, oatmeal isn’t that hard to make in any case. But the pressure cooker was calling me, it sounded quick and easy, and one benefit of pressure cooking is you set it and walk away. Oatmeal on the stove can get messy if left unattended.
In my new capacity as wannabe Vegan Food Network Star (see Can I Vegan That? (My first cooking video!), I ended up making a video of the project. I have no pride; I am in my pajamas with bed hair. Hey, it’s real life. I spend a lot of my day off in pajamas! And you might notice near the end of the video that I have sweater fuzz on my chin. That is not a chin hair! I have a habit of wearing my shabby old gray cardigan over my bathrobe on cold mornings (see Tim Gunn and Ruby Dee walk into a bar…). You might not think it’s pretty, but I think it’s warm and comforting, like a bowl of oatmeal.
The oatmeal was pretty good. In hindsight, I would have added more liquid (2-1/2 cups to 1 cup of oats instead of 2:1), and maybe cooked it at 4 minutes pressure instead of 5. But it was a learning experience, and I am more comfortable using the Instant Pot now. Heck, Bob cooked dinner in it last night. The lure of using a new gadget was stronger than his dislike of cooking!
Happy viewing! I’d love your (vegan) pressure cooking tips!
When I applied to a Ph.D. program on an impulse last summer, I knew my life would be busy, but I didn’t realize just how busy. Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I thought, sure, I can go to school full time while working full time. It hasn’t been the easiest thing I ever decided to do, and I have many more semesters to go. But having now submitted my last paper for the first semester (YAY), I can look back and reflect on just how crazy the last few months have been.
One of my first moves was to get a big dry-erase calendar to organize my life. I hung it, planned out the semester, and then pretty much ignored it until today, when I am wiping it clean for next semester.
As would be expected in any doctoral program, books are involved. Lots of books. Some I really enjoyed. Some I struggled with. And I faced the reality that I have to pick and choose what to read; I can’t read it all. Or I’m going to have to take a speed-reading class.
My dictionary stays open to the “h” pages–I can’t remember the definitions of heuristic and hermeneutics to save my life.
I did have to change some things in my daily routine. My obsession with making the bed every morning is a thing of the past, I hate to say (sorry, Mom). As much as I like to do laundry, the laundry room is now the least visited room in the house.
We might not ever eat homemade meals if not for the Purple Carrot. Similar to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh!, it’s a service that ships the ingredients and recipes for 3 meals a week. Purple Carrot happens to be vegan, and has the caché of having Mark Bittman on the team.
Of course, we do end up eating on tv trays in front of television most of the time. But that’s not new.
Have I mentioned coffee? There’s a lot of coffee in my life. Funny thing. it’s mostly decaf, but still gotta have it!
I have managed to have some fun down time. Maybe that’s why I scramble to get my papers in on time, but my idea of fun down time is going out on marches and protests, and I think of those as a part of my humane education program. As my friend and fellow future Ph.D. Suzy Fisher says, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.
A trip to Chicago was one of the highlights of autumn for me. I got to live my Ferris Bueller moment at the Art Institute of Chicago and attend a wonderful concert by the National Brass Ensemble, thanks to the generosity of world’s best boyfriend and amazing brass player Robert Ward.
There’s always room for food in my life, maybe too much so sometimes, and cooking classes are a great way to spend the spare time I don’t have.
I bake for the monthly bake sales held to benefit animal sanctuaries by the Berkeley Organization for the Advocacy of Animals at UC Berkeley.
I continued to volunteer for East Bay SPCA. It’s because of my experience there with the animals that I am on this path, so I can’t give that up! And I’ve added fostering onto the list of things I do. Our guest bathroom has been turned into a foster cat habitat.
During all of this, work was chaotic too! The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive moved into a new building. Moving is never easy unless you have truckloads of money to pay someone else to do it while you go on vacation.
I had a wonderful time volunteering at the Western Museums Association 2015 Annual Meeting in San Jose.
At the Fairmont in San Jose
And just when I got settled into a new office and a new neighborhood, I found a wonderful opportunity to work at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis. Let the commuting begin! Only it didn’t begin so well. My car should be done at the MINI service center soon.
Ask me how I’m doing:
One day it will all be worth it: I will be one of the new Doctors of Philosophy getting to wear the coveted sash.
I couldn’t be doing any of this without the love and support of aforementioned Robert Ward. Thank you!
And for any possible naysayers out there (thankfully that would not be any of my friends or family), I will leave you with the wise words of Harold. Please excuse his language.