Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winter Yums

A couple of weeks ago Mr.T and I ordered an Insta Pot from Amazon to try and cut down on the salt in our diets. We eat a lot of beans and because I am not good about planning what to eat we have always used canned beans. The traditional solution to having to pre-soak beans has always been a pressure cooker, but I was always terrified of them because of their tendency to explode when used incorrectly. While looking online one day I learned on one of the blogs I follow that new electric pressure cookers solved a lot of the problems of stove top pressure cookers and decided to order one to try it out. 

The brand that had the best reviews online was the Insta Pot, so last Thursday we were excited when it finally arrived. Last night I decided to try it out for a vegan chilli. Using the sauté function I was able to cook a mushroom, carrot and mixed bean chilli from beginning to end without using any other pots or pans. The chilli took 5 minutes for sautéing, then 10 minutes cooking at high pressure and another 10 minutes until the pressure released leaving a really rich, beautiful chilli. 

For dessert I decided to make a chocolate pie, inspired by a vegan chocolate pie they have at Annapurra cafe. In the past I used a graham cracker pie crust but this time I decided to try instead a roasted hazelnut crust without sugar and ground dates instead. It was the perfect winter dessert. 

Hazelnut Pie Crust
  • ¾ Cups Flour
  • ¼ Cup Hazelnuts
  •  Cup Dates
  • 5 Tablespoons Margarine or Coconut Oil
1.Pre-heat the oven to 350˚.
Toss the hazelnuts together and place on a baking sheet.
Shake them every few minutes, until they are fragrant and the skins are coming loose (about 10 minutes).
Remove from the oven, and let them cool for a few minutes and you should (in theory) be able to rub the skins right off.
Remove the skins. 
2.In a food processor/blender, add the flour and the whole toasted hazelnuts.
Process until the hazelnuts are coarsely ground. 
3.Soak the dates in boiling water until soft.
Add the dates and margarine or coconut oil, and process until combined. 
4.In a 9-inch springform pan, pat the mixture down to form a crust (it seems like there isn't enough, but with persistence it eventually spreads out).
Bake for 15 minutes at 350˚.

Chocolate Pie
  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy or Coconut Milk
  • 2 12 oz Silken Tofu
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Pie Crust
1.In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and soy milk, stirring occasionally until smooth. 
2.In a blender or food processor, blend the tofu, vanilla, and chocolate mixture until smooth.
Pour into No-Bake Pie Crust and let chill for 3-4 hours before serving. 

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