Sunday, September 23, 2012

Strangers and Friends


Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul...enjoy. 

This week I traveled to the Los Angeles area, specifically Rancho Cucamonga, to teach several classes. I love traveling. It is always a grand adventure and a chance to see friends far away. It is also a time when my kids get to play exclusively with my husband. I generally fly on an airplane and usually I want to just sleep on the airplane...even if it is just an hour flight, planes have that lulling effect on my eyeball sockets.  However, this last trip, as the plane was boarding, I found myself sitting next to a lovely couple from Tucson. They had two teenage boys with them and of course, with a teen of my own, we started talking.  Lisa and Troy explained to me that they travel often with their ministry and work with God's children in Africa at a school for orphans. We laughed at so many of our similarities of heart and home. It is always brilliant and also humbling to see the Hand of God moving in one's life.  I saw it on that plane.

 I explained to them a little bit of what I do with preparedness meals and teaching bread making. We somehow got on the subject of how easy it is to make the bread in a bucket using four ingredients and not needing a kitchen.


Then I said, "I think it would be a remarkable thing to teach the people in Africa." Lisa got chills. I got chills. Immediately she asked for the recipe and how to do it. Lisa...doesn't bake. She, however, said she she was willing to try, and if it was as simple as it sounded, she was going to take this idea along with the everlasting yeast to Ethiopia. "They have ovens there," she said. I know they would love to have bread.

 As the plane landed, it was as if I was leaving  friends on the plane, though we had just met an hour earlier. It reminded me once again that the thin threads of the tapestry the Lord is weaving of our lives will sometimes shine with golden threads of pure inspiration. Connections will happen, because He, more than anything, loves His children. I don't know if the bread will ever make it to the African villages, but I have a feeling that it probably will.
When I stepped off the plane,  this thought from the sermon by  Neil L. Andersen came to mind,  "In this turbulent environment, we rejoice in being disciples of Jesus Christ. We see the Lord’s hand all around us. Our destination is beautifully set before us. “This is life eternal,” Jesus prayed, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3. Being a disciple in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout the eternities."

Never be ashamed of what you have, and are. God will work in your life for good if you listen to that Spirit that leads you to speak, trust, and move on. I know God lives and that He loves each of us. We should no longer be strangers, but friends, and followers of the Lord. I pray for that gift of friendship every single day. When God sends these friends to my life, I am ever honored. Thank you Cherie Call...for putting into glorious music, how God could bring people together on a plane...



There it is.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pressure Cooking Simple Basics with Tutorial Tuesday




Creative Pressure Cooking
with Chef Stephanie Petersen

What is your motivation?
At one time in my life it was a simple matter to find a recipe and prepare a meal. I had a lot of time. That may not be as true at this time in my life. Family meals need to be balanced with nutrition and health concerns, as well as convenience. Speed is pivotal. Enters...the Pressure cooker. 

My mother used a pressure cooker often...
She'd shoo us out of the kitchen and warn us that the pressure cooker could explode and to stay away from the stove. I was always impressed with her bravery! I know now that it was just her excuse for some silence in the kitchen. Do with that information what you may. It may be just the ammo you need as a mom. However, I am here to assure that not only is pressure cooking more safe than ever before, it is also hasn't changed much as far as healthy, tasty and quick! It is outstanding for beans, grains, tender meat dishes, potatoes, and desserts.

What Does A Pressure Cooker Save?
  • Time: 3-10 times faster than ordinary cooking methods.
  • Money: Fast cooking=lower fuel bills. Budget cuts of meat can easily be turned into tender meals.
  • Nutrients: Almost airless environment with a small amount of liquid means nutrients aren't boiled away
  • Work: simple entree or gourmet meals in minutes
  • Energy: Eco-friendly reduces cooking time and conserves energy
How Does It Work?
Www.gopresto.com “When water (or any liquid) boils, it produces steam. A tightly-sealed pressure cooker traps this steam, which then builds pressure inside the cooker. Under pressure, cooking temperatures can be raised significantly higher than possible under normal conditions. The super-heated steam created by these higher temperatures cooks foods quickly, evenly, deliciously. It's that simple!:

Getting To Know Your Pressure Cooker
See the Presto website for your specific pressure cooker manual here: http://www.gopresto.com/products/manuals.php 

The following section is directly from the Presto Website:

"Since all pressure cookers work on this same simple principle, there are few fundamental differences among them. The following diagram illustrates the basic features of most newer pressure cookers. Of course, you'll also want to study your own model and get acquainted with exactly how it works.

PRESSURE REGULATOR
Controls and maintains pressure inside the cooker and indicates when the ideal cooking pressure - usually 15 pounds - is reached.

VENT PIPE
The pressure regulator fits on the vent pipe and allows excess pressure to be released.

AIR VENT/COVER LOCK
Automatically exhausts air and serves as a visual indicator of pressure within the cooker. When pressure begins to build, it slides up, causing the LOCK PIN to lock the cover on.

SEALING RING
Forms a pressure-tight seal between the cover and the pressure cooker body during cooking.

OVER PRESSURE PLUG
Automatically releases pressure in case the vent pipe becomes clogged and pressure cannot be released normally.

COOKING RACK
Holds foods out of the cooking liquid. The rack also allows several different foods to be cooked at the same time without an intermingling of flavors. When a blending of flavors is desired, the rack is not used.

COVER HANDLE
The top of the air vent/cover lock can be seen through a hole in the cover handle, enabling you to tell at a glance if there is pressure inside the unit.


The Pressure Cooking Method (www.gopresto.com)
These easy steps serve as a simple guide to using a pressure cooker. They are not intended, however, to be a substitute for the manufacturer's instructions which accompany your pressure cooker model.

1. Check recipe for specific cooking method and cooking time. Pour required amount of liquid into the pressure cooker, then add food. Use the cooking rack, if desired.
2. Hold cover up to light and look through the vent pipe to make certain it is open and unclogged. Then, place cover on pressure cooker and close securely (cover handle should be directly above the body handle).
3. Place pressure regulator firmly on the vent pipe. Heat the pressure cooker until the pressure regulator begins to rock slowly. Adjust heat to maintain a slow, steady rocking motion. Cooking time begins at this point.
4. Cook for the length of time specified in recipe, then reduce pressure as specified. When recipe states "let pressure drop of its own accord," set the cooker aside to cool. When recipe states "cool cooker at once," cool immediately under a water faucet or by pouring cold water over it.
5. Pressure is completely reduced when the air vent/cover lock has dropped. Remove the pressure regulator. Then, remove pressure cooker cover and serve food.


Frequently Asked Questions ( from :www.gopresto.com )
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced pressure cooker user, questions do crop up. This list of answers to the most frequently asked questions will provide you with the skill and confidence necessary to make your pressure cooking experiences successful and rewarding.
Q. How do I convert conventional recipes for use in a pressure cooker?
A. 
Experience is the best teacher. A good rule of thumb to follow is to decrease the length of cooking time for a conventional recipe by two thirds. The amount of liquid used may also have to be adjusted because there is very little evaporation from the pressure cooker. Generally, decrease the amount of liquid so there is only about 1/2 cup more than desired in the finished product. Remember, however, there must always be water or some other liquid in the pressure cooker to form the necessary steam.
Q. Won't flavors intermingle when several foods are cooked at the same time in the pressure cooker?
A. 
Not if you use the cooking rack properly. Flavors of foods are blended when they are cooked in the same liquid. When using a pressure cooker, however, only a small amount of cooking liquid is required so the cooking rack can be used to hold some or all of the foods out of the liquid. This permits the cooking of several different foods at the same time without the intermingling of flavors. Of course, for foods where you do want flavors to blend, don't use the cooking rack.
Q. Can cooking liquids other than water be used in a pressure cooker?
A.
 Yes. You're only limited by your imagination! Wine, beer, bouillon, fruit juices and, of course, water are all excellent cooking liquids for use in the pressure cooker. Just remember that you always need some cooking liquid in order to produce the steam necessary for the pressure cooker to work.
Q. What does it mean when a recipe says to cook "0" minutes?
A. 
This is a technique used with delicate foods to prevent overcooking. It indicates that food should be "cooked" only until the pressure regulator begins to rock and then the pressure cooker should be cooled according to recipe instructions. (With Presto Pride® and Presto® Professional units, you should release pressure immediately after pressure cooker reaches cooking pressure.)
Q. When is it necessary to quick cool the pressure cooker?
A. 
Quick cooling of the pressure cooker is usually used for delicate foods such as custards and fresh vegetables. To quick cool a pressure cooker, simply place the cooker under cold running water or place in a pan or sink full of cold water. For other foods, like roasts and stews, it is usually recommended that you let the pressure cooker cool of its own accord by setting it aside until the pressure drops. 
Q. Can cookware can be used in a pressure cooker?
A. 
Glass, metal and earthenware molds and other small, heat proof items such glass custard cups can be used in the pressure cooker. These types of containers are especially helpful in preparing beautiful desserts and side dishes. Use individual or small molds, glass custard cups, 4-6 ounce metal or tin gelatin molds or earthenware souffle dishes. Fill molds 2/3 full to allow for expansion of food, and fit them loosely into the pressure cooker on the cooking rack.
Q. Do I need to make adjustments when pressure cooking at high altitudes?
A.  
If you are at altitudes over 2000 feet, the cooking time should be increased. Increase cooking times 5% for every 1000 feet above 2000 feet. Increase cooking times:
3000 ft: 5%
4000 ft: 10%
5000 ft: 15%
6000 ft: 20%
7000 ft: 25%
8000 ft: 30%

Class Pressure Cooking Recipes

Gingham Indian Chicken

1 (3-pound) chicken, cut up
1 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2T Chef Tess Gingham Masala Spice Blend
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water
Place chicken in a single layer in a glass or pottery dish. Combine water, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, tumeric, salt, paprika, curry powder, and pepper; pour over chicken and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove chicken from marinade, brushing off as much of marinade as possible (reserve marinade). Heat oil in a 4- or 6-quart Presto® pressure cooker. Brown chicken, a few pieces at a time; set aside. Return all chicken to pressure cooker. Pour marinade over chicken. Close pressure cooker cover securely. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Cook for 8 minutes, at 15 pounds pressure, with regulator rocking slowly. Cool pressure cooker at once. Remove chicken pieces to a warm platter. Mix cornstarch with cold water; blend into hot liquid. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Pour sauce over chicken. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Chef Tess Creamy Coconut Lime Millet Breakfast Pudding
2/3 cup millet
 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 cup water
zest of one lime
 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp Wise Woman of The East Spice Blend
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup toasted coconut (optional)
Place pressure cooker on a dry, level heat resistant surface in center of counter top. As s general rule, prepare ingredients according to the directions in the pressure cooking recipe you have selected. If larger quantity is desired, you may increase the ingredients by half. Be sure not to overfill the pressure cooker. It's also very important to look through the vent pipe in the lid of the pressure cooker to be sure it is clear of any blockage. You don't want to find that out later when the heat is on.
Here's the Tutorial:

This little doo-hik-ee is called a "pressure regulator". It goes on the top of the vent in the lid.

Like this.

On the handle and lid there are arrows that need to line up. Hold the body handle with your left hand and the cover handle with your right hand and twist using a slight downward pressure to get the lid to seal on. Wait. First put the pudding stuff in there.

2/3 cup millet

1 can coconut milk and 1 cup of water.

pinch of salt
add the 1/2 tsp Wise Woman of The East Spice Blend
and the 1/2 tsp vanilla


Now align the arrows by placing one hand on the cover near the helper hand and applying a slight downward pressure. The pressure cooker is completely closed when the cover handle is directly above the body handle.

This model shows it is locked.

You will notice a little rubber knob on the top of the pressure cooker. It is an air vent.

Turn up the heat to 400 degrees or high.

The air vent will pop up and then...


The pressure regulator begins a rocking motion. Cooking time starts at this point. 12 minutes for this pudding. Allow the pressure regulator to rock vigorously for 1-2 minutes and then slowly turn the heat control down, stopping just at the point where the pilot light goes out. As cooking proceeds, the heat control will cycle on and off to maintain the proper cooking pressure. The pilot light will go on and off and pressure regulator will rock occasionally indicating that the pressure is being maintained. Note: If the pressure regulator does not rock every 2-3 minutes, it is likely that the heat control has been set too low. Turn the heat control up slightly until the the pilot light comes on. 
To prevent excessive liquid loss, do not allow pressure regulator to rock vigorously for more than 3-4 minutes. If the regulator is allowed to continuously rock, excess steam will escape. This will cause too much liquid to escape and food to scorch. Do not leave pressure cooker unattended. After 12 minutes, turn off heat.

Wait for pressure cooker to decompress naturally. This may take about 10 minutes.

Remove pressure regulator only after air vent cover has returned to the flush position.

The pudding is creamy and ready to be sweetened...
I like my coconut crispy. It's a nice crunch on top of the creamy pudding. So I stir in the lime zest and sprinkle the coconut over the pudding.
We serve it up warm.


There you go. 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

City of Scottsdale and Scottsdale Healthcare Free C.O.P.E Preparedness Fair



I have been invited by Scottsdale Healthcare and the City of Scottsdale to attend this event on Saturday! I'll be there with my meals in a jar and mylar for emergency preparedness with recipes, and to answer questions at the Honeyville  booth. There will be a raffle at the event, and one of the prizes will be a personal cooking class with me and 3 of your close friends (Value 350$)! You don't want to miss it right?!

It will be I'll be a Community Outreach for Preparedness and Emergencies event.

This event is to honor those 9-11 and to help us as a community to be prepared for any disaster to strike. It is well worth attending...and it is FREE!

Be prepared if disaster strikes!
Free! C.O.P.E. Fair!
Community Outreach for Preparedness in Emergencies
Saturday, Sept. 15―9 a.m.‐3 p.m.
Location:
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380E. Second Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
• Presentations and classes on preparedness—Learn about maintaining short‐term food and water supplies, water purification, emergency cooking and heating, emergency shelters and evacuation routes, dealing with severe weather conditions and more!

Get the printable for this event flyer here



































Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Enjoying the Journey


Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy.

Do you ever have a morning that you wake up and just thank the Lord that you got another day? I have to say that today was one of those mornings when everything was just boldly clear how precious life is and how wonderful it is to be in a world with those I love surrounding me.  


In a few weeks I'll be in Utah with my family and friends there. We'll probably do a lot of this...

But that seems far away after this week of pneumonia, my son getting his first broken arm, and some long, quiet days of just sitting in bed and being very still. 
It was a good reminder week that though there will be precious, epic, breath-taking moments of this...


Hopefully many of these...

There will probably be more of this.
I'm reminded of this quote:

"[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough.
Most children grow up to be just people. 

Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration.


 Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.

 …Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. 

The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” - Jenkins Lloyd Jones 

There it is. Happy Sunday. Thankful for the blessings every single day. 


Oh...and thankful for the people who make the journey worth taking. Thank you for being on this crazy, beautiful, sometimes lame (but mostly amazing) ride. 

Always My Very Best,

Your Friend Chef Tess