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Double Chocolate Maple Pear Muffins

Hello muffintalk Monday! Today we are talking moist, not too sweet double chocolate maple pear muffins that leave warm smidgens of chocolate all over your fingers– whole grain muffins, sweetened with chunks of pear and pure maple syrup, and lavished with dark chocolate morsels!

Chocolate Maple Pear Muffins | Letty's Kitchen

The finger-licking chocolate-y fruitiness going on in these muffins is a welcome treat any time of day. You could definitely serve them for dessert, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Tilt your head in a muffin-y nod to the classic French dessert, Poire Belle Hélène–perfectly poached pears with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

You should see Robbie gobble these down, a guy who professes to not like chocolate. I had to hide them from ourselves in the freezer, which works for me, but after dinner he just reaches in, opens the container, and eats one frozen! Continue Reading…

How To Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

This post shows how to cook black beans in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. In less than 15 minutes, you get toothy tender, rich, earthy, meaty, ready-to-enjoy beans, all soupy in a nutritious cooking broth.

How to Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker | Letty's Kitchen

Cooked from scratch, dried beans become pot beans, frijoles de olla, with delicious pot “liquor.” Canned beans in salty liquid don’t even come close to freshly cooked beans and their broth. And it happens fast in the Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.

If you wish, when the dried beans go in the pot, season them with a mild dried chile, garlic cloves, and/or chopped onions. If you have less than perky parsley or cilantro, throw that in the pot too. Mexican cooks add epazote to their beans. Epazote is a pungent green herb with “gas-relieving” properties.

Black beans cooked in Instant Pot with whole chile seasoning for How to Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker
Speaking of farts, we are sometimes advised to soak dried beans before cooking, to make them more digestible.

  • Which brings up the back and forth question—do we soak the beans before cooking or do we not? And there’s the why soak the beans if you use a pressure cooker?
  • Another question: With a pressure cooker, do we turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, and for how much time, or should we “quick-release?” Both work, with slightly different cooking times.
  • Oh, and when are we supposed to add salt before or after cooking? You’ll find plenty of discussion about that too…

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Instant Pot Red Velvet Beet Soup

There’s something mind-blowingly sublime about this red velvet beet soup. Scarlet and velvety, rich in umami flavor, the whole is greater than the sum of red lentils, beets, carrots, its parts. Serve this amazing vegan soup without speaking a word.

Instant Pot Red Velvet Beet Soup | Letty's Kitchen

Imagine sitting down at the communal table. A steaming bowl of strikingly bright red soup is placed before you. No one tells you what it might be. Wow this is incredible, what the heck is it? Tomato? No. Sip after sip, you savor every nuance.

I first tasted this nourishing vegan potage on a retreat where meals were enjoyed in silence—no chatter, no exclaiming how delicious, or no wondering out loud. Do you think quiet and calm enhances food?

Remarkably elegant red velvet beet soup. No preconceptions. Pretend you don’t know what or how, and enjoy with curiosity.

ingredients for Instant Pot Red Velvet Beet Soup

Red Velvet Beet Soup details:

  • Soup making in a pressure cooker is quick and efficient, so that’s how I roll. Before owning an Instant Pot, I fervently promoted stovetop pressure cookers–just as fast, with fewer bells and whistles. This soup is super easy to make on the stove as well, and you’ll find those directions in the recipe.
  • Fermented miso’s umami ranges in flavors and colors, textures and aromas, as varied as that of the world’s fine wines or cheeses.
  • The onions sautéed in rich nutty toasted sesame oil brings in yet more flavor.
  • When testing this recipe, I drew pretty white squiggle of vegan sour cream on top. But you know what? The tangy cream dented the red velvet sublime WOW flavor—just a squiggle of difference changed this soup’s essence. Really. Resist the urge to add.
  • Immersion blenders are the other amazing timesaver for creamy soups. You stick the wand in the pot and whir away—no messy hot fuss and muss.
  • I saw herb scissors in action last month and quickly decided they’re my next kitchen tool–fresh herb confetti in seconds flat. Anybody recommend a brand?
  • You might also like this Instant Pot creamy vegan Southwestern cauliflower soup.

Vegan Instant Pot Red Velvet Beet Soup

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Savory Goat Cheese, Basil, and Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins

Goat cheese, basil, and sun-dried tomato muffins, made with whole wheat flour and olive oil–each and every bite pops with flavor! With tangy smooth cheese and intense tomato essence, these savory muffins are superb cornerstone eats for cool weather meals.

Goat Cheese, Basil, and Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins pulled apart

The perfect match for steaming hot soup and a crisp green salad, you’ll also be wanting these rustic almost biscuit-like muffins for breakfast, with eggs and coffee, or as a simple snack, just because. Just because we love our muffins.

Today’s savory goat cheese, basil, and sun-dried tomato muffins are the first in a muffintalk series. I’m talking sweet, savory, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, healthful, and every once in a while, a bit of decadence. Continue Reading…

Jumbo Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

These puffy honey-sweetened pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies remind me of the ones my grandmother used to make. Soft, sort of cake-like, and perfumed with pumpkin pie spice, these are old-fashioned pumpkin cookies, updated.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies | Letty's Kitchen

Pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin whatever.  If you are with me that pumpkin shouldn’t show its spice until summer is officially over, the wait is over. Pumpkin people, autumn is upon us. Open the floodgates for pumpkin pie spice and everything nice! Continue Reading…