Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooker Sale

Tonight I am doing a pressure cooking class and with it I am having a sale on pressure cookers. I have been amazed at how many people are willing to venture into the PC world when there is a discounted price. I keep wondering if a lower price somehow helps dissolve the fear factor. I'd think that with all the talk about saving energy, that would be one of the main reasons that people would want to pressure cook, as well as it providing an easy way toward the healthier eating goal.

It seems to me that the talk about pressure cooking is heating up, and I am noticing many more newspaper and magazine articles, as well as blog posts. I can only hope that pressure cooking will catch on and that many people buy a pressure cooker and still don't know what to do with it. Then they can purchase my DVD Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes at http://www.pressurecookingonline.com/. I explain how to use the pressure cooker and demonstrate 14 recipes from breakfast through dessert.

If it weren't for my pressure cooker I am sure that I'd pack on the pounds and compromise my health, to boot. But if I can make steel cut oats for breakfast in about 10 minutes from start to finish, then it's easy for me to eat healthy food. Heck, I can almost make hummus from scratch in as much time as it would take to drive to the store and back. (OK, maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration but not much.) Delicious eating has never been as healthy and fast, as it is with the pressure cooker. I could go on and on but I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nuts are Big at Safeway

I am not referring to the shoppers and their state of mind. But one of my local Safeway stores was just remodeled (after being built only a few years ago) and one of the most prominent features is a large nut bar. In addition to ordering nuts by the pound, or part thereof, there is also a station which will fresh grind nut butters for you -- ranging from almost to peanut, peanut and chocolate to organic peanut. I noticed that the price of the organic peanut was $5.99.

When I checked at the nearby natural food store where I shop,. their organic fresh peanut butter is only $3.49 per pound. I have a feeling that for most Safeway shoppers, having fresh ground nut butter is such a novely that they'll try it, and if they like it, they'll be back. But it seems expensive to me in the $4 to $8 per pound range.

Additionally, while I think that including nuts, seeds and nut butters in a vegan or vegetarian diet in moderation is just fine, I am not sure about including them in a SAD (standard American diet) due their high fat content. But truth is if the nuts or nut butters are replacing processed food, then that's a good thing.

Just the fact that Safeway has chosen to have a nut bar is quite interesting. I suspect that in addition to the high profit margin potential from the nut bar, they must think that nuts are an up and coming food item. I hadn't thought of them that way but maybe now I will.

I use nuts often as a way to add toasty flavor or texture to food, especially in salads or pasta dishes. One of my favorite things to eat is toasted bread with nuts or seeds in it, especially on the crust. Put on some avocado and maybe some sprouts, and I'll call it breakfast. Obviously I am a nutty Safeway shopper (not very often) of a different kind.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Best Vegetable Class Ever

Just this week I taught a class titled Winter Vegetables Beyond Broccoli. Unlike many of my other public (versus Santa Rosa Junior College) classes, I didn't say what dishes I would be teaching but that I would include instructions for braising, baking, roasting, steaming and, my favorite, pressure cooking. So, it was a breeze for me to come up with recipes because I could survey my refrigerator, the market and the farmer's market to what was really in season.

I was so curious about why people chose to attend this class. The participants ranged from people who only boiled their veggies to those who were getting a CSA box from a local farm, and wanted to learn more ways to use what's fresh. I discovered that true to my thinking, that many people stick to using the vegetables that they know and love and rarely branch out and try something new.
This group got introduced to vegetables such as parsnips, featured in my Maple Vinegar Sauteed Parsnips, rutabagas, 3 kinds of sweet potatoes, potatoes in gold, pink and purple (that's their innards too), romanesco broccoli which is actually a type of cauliflower, Brussels sprouts on the stalk, white, gold and chiogga beets, watermelon daikon radish, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes, scarlet turnips, yellow or white carrots, wild and cultivated mushrooms and more.

I know that every attendee learned a lot and was introduced to at least 1 new vegetable. Some learned about 6 or more. I was having the time of my life. I live for A-HA vegetable moments, and they were there -- for almost the entire class.

And true to what I promised I made soup, sides and main dishes while baking, steaming, roasting, braising and pressure cooking. Here's to winter veggies -- I enourage you to stop and pick up some new-to-you vegetable the next time you see one. It may just lead to an enlightening vegetable experience which is my desire for you.