Pressured and Cooked

mmmmm. black beans and rice.

Pulled my hand out of my coat pocket to put the key in the door and get out of the cold.

Dog needed to go out, but I had a plan. Didn’t care that it was late and a long day. Did. Not. Care.

Fact is, the mantra that kept going through my mind–and occasionally out of my mouth–had to do with the few number of fcuks that I was giving today. Very few. As in NO fcuks.

But I had an idea. And it was a good one. First, though, to the dog and his duties. No reason to take off my coat, and scarf, and mittens, and hat, and boots. Hang the key next to the door, release the kraken, I mean dog, and let the business be done. Done! Next.

So let’s feed the beast. He needs to eat, too. And he’s likely hungrier than me.

I’m eyeing that pressure cooker in the pantry as I’m scooping the kibble. It’s next in my sights. It won’t get away. Just have to feed the dog.

The best part about cooking is the physicality; the chopping, the stirring, the crumbling, the spicing, the shaking, the dicing, the washing. The can of tomatoes and two cans of black beans that I open. I love catching the opener on the lip of the can and turning the crank. It’s an amazingly smooth mechanic. I would never use an electric can opener when I can turn a handle and watch the can spin around as the blade penetrates the lid and slices through the metal.

I get the pressure cooker out of the pantry and place it on the stove top. I proudly look at it’s shine since I Bon Ami’d it last time. I love it when it shines. And when it steams.

It’s 8:50 pm and I start. I grabbed the olive oil, but remembered that I have some cheap OO in the pantry. No reason to use the EVOO when I have a just OO. Switch on the gas and put a few swirls of the cheap OO in the pan. I reach in the fridge for the red pepper and gleefully find and grab a celery stalk. This is gonna be great. Chopping the celery and pepper I hold the large onion for last. It seemed a little squishy so I wasn’t looking forward to peeling.

Turned out it was perfectly healthy. In moments it was peeled and chopped. Dumped the cut goods in the pot and turned to the garlic cloves. I smashed them and cut them. I don’t know why the recipe said to mince. They end up flavoring the oil and then dissolve under pressure. I do it the easy way.

I add the bay leaf and measure out the basmati rice–only to realize that I’m about a third short of a full cup. Seriously? I thought there were three bags!?! I guess we ate it. I have some volcano rice, but that takes longer to cook. I’ll just use the remains of that box of short grain abrioro rice. Still a little short? Okay, a few tablespoons of that volcano rice will make a cup.

This entire rice drama took about 35 seconds.

Rice in the pan, stirred and coated then add the thyme and pepper and pour in the water. Okay water and some old cooking sherry. I’m on a roll now emptying the random containers in the pantry and filling up the recycling bin. More flavor and more space. Winning.

Top it off with the can of fire roasted tomatoes, set the top on and up the heat to high. Wait for the steam. It teases me–not sealing tight but still spewing from the regulator. I shake the pot a few times. It seals up, and I lower the heat.

Next it’s chopping up those pimento stuffed olives. I take the last three olives out of a jar that gets tossed in the recycling bin and find a second opened jar in the fridge. Winning again on that shelf space.

It’s been five minutes so the rice is done. I turn off the heat and let the pressure release on its own. Five more minutes and I remove the top and stir in the beans and the olives. Fill a pretty red bowl, add a little hot sauce and sit down to eat at 9:20 pm.

Just in time to catch up with the errant spouse.

A good night.

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