“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” — Noam Chomsky
I think the quote above fits well with a post about my second-hand pressure cooker because…
- Buying used items reduces consumption.
- Cooking, like other small acts of rebellion (mending, sewing, gardening, making) as my friend Meg calls them, can transform us from passive consumers to active, self-reliant conservers.
I probably shouldn’t love a gadget as much as I love my new-to-me pressure cooker. My boyfriend and I found it on a recent trip to one of our favorite stores—Savers, a thrift shop. It was part of my mother’s day present. The pressure cooker—stainless steel, not aluminum like all the others I had come across in my search for one—cost $15. The All-Clad tea kettle, which Chandra also snagged for me that day, cost $10. (They go for $100 new).
I had once worried that I would blow up my kitchen or myself if I used a pressure cooker. Now that I know how to cook with one, I will sit at my kitchen table while my pressure cooker makes my food, rather than hide out upstairs far from the action. However I do still worry a little that my pressure cooker will land me on an FBI watch list…
To avoid accidents, use a pressure cooker that has a couple of simple safety mechanisms. If the pressure builds up too high in mine, a little black stopper will fly out of the lid, revealing a hole for pressure to escape through.
After the food starts cooking and pressure builds, a little silver widget in the handle pops up, locking the lid in place and making it impossible for me to slide the lid open. This little gizmo drops back down once the pressure has subsided. At that point, I can safely open my cooker without burning myself.
If you buy canned beans, you may want to consider buying them dry and cooking them in a pressure cooker. They taste fantastic. Taste aside though, cans are lined with plastic that often contains BPA, which according to the Environmental Working Group, “is a synthetic estrogen that scientists have linked to breast cancer, reproductive damage, developmental problems, heart disease and other illnesses.” Some cans emblazoned with the claim “BPA-Free” across them contain BPS instead, which is no better.
So far, I have cooked piles of chickpeas in my pressure cooker and also beets. The beets cooked in less than 15 minutes! Do you know how long beets usually take to cook! Life-changing.
How to cook chickpeas in a pressure cooker
I don’t soak these in advance and they cook to perfection in about 45 minutes. For this post, I did a little research and found out that if I do soak these overnight, apparently they will cook in a few minutes! I’ll try that next time.
UPDATE 6/08/16: I started soaking the beans the night before. OMG, they cook to perfection in a mere 12 minutes or so! Soak and then follow my original instructions below…
1. Place chickpeas in the pot and fill about half way.
2. Fill with water. I pour in water until it reaches the top gauge line inside the pot. I like to heat up water first in my new-to-me All-Clad kettle to speed up the cooking process.
3. Slide the lid on and turn the burner to high.
4. Soon, the little black stopper in the lid will pop up (not fly out) and the safety mechanism in the handle will kick in. The heavy round thing that rests on the valve in the middle of the lid is the regulator. That will start to gently rock once the pressure inside has built sufficiently. At this point, set the timer for 45 minutes (12 if you soaked the beans in advance). Turn the heat down a little but not so much that the regulator stops rocking.
5. Remove from heat after the timer goes off. After the little safety widget drops back down, remove the lid. If some chickpeas remain hard, add more water and cook them for a few more minutes or until done.
That’s it! I used to cook chickpeas in my slow cooker, which tasted better than canned but they didn’t taste nearly as good as these! These have a nutty flavor and a creamy texture. So so good. I am shoveling them in right now as I type. Only in a post-apocalyptic world would I ever shovel canned chickpeas into my mouth. I’ll never cook beans any other way.
I’ve made lots of hummus and will make channa masala once tomatoes appear once again at the farmer’s market.
“Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?…
‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Pressure” — Freddie Mercury, Queen