Sunday, November 20, 2016

Split Pea Dhal with Greens, Bagel - welcome home dinner


My family returned from their 5-week trip to India this afternoon! I'm delighted to have them back. I had a split pea and greens dish ready in my Instant Pot for them to eat as lunch when we got home, but we ended up eating it for dinner (all except my daughter who had requested vegan macaroni and cheese as her first dinner back home!). All enjoyed dinner!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tofu with Vegetables (No Added Fat)

I made a simple tofu and vegetable dish, pressure cooked for 2 minutes under low pressure in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I served it with brown rice (rice : water ratio of 1 : 2 1/2, brought to a boil along with a vegan bouillon cube and a pinch of salt, then simmered, covered, for 50m) and the remaining huge radish of the bunch that I bought recently.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Black Beans and Potato, Brown Rice (No Added Fat)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed then soaked (overnight or, as I did, for about 5 hours starting with boiling water) and rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover beans plus 1/4"
  • Medium Yukon Gold (or other type) potato cut into 1/2" or 5/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (approx. 1/8") chopped
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cups onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2t lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 t dried oregano
Process
  1. I put the beans, water, potato, garlic, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 30m. Soaked black beans can cook in 25m, but I decided to go with 30m to be sure that they were soft.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lime juice, salt, and oregano. I intended this dish to have a strong presence with the oregano.
I also made brown rice (long-grained, as usual) by putting 1/2 cup rice and 2 1/2 times (1 1/4 cups) water, plus a pinch of salt and a vegan bouillon cube in a pan, bringing it to a boil then, covered, simmering for 45m.
Results

Dinner was good and an interesting variation from simple classic beans and rice. I like the potato-bean combination, and like the simplicity. Recently, I seem to be favoring less ingredients for a simpler taste. The pronounced oregano flavor was good. I'll have to make this for my family when they return.

Ideas for the future

Adding a bit of greens would be good, but then I will be returning to similar dishes I've made in the past. A little nutritional yeast would be good but also can be skipped in the name of a simple dish.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kale and Seitan with Marinara, Madagascar Pink Rice (No Added Fat)

Ingredients
  • Half head of kale, stems excepted, and leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 1 1/2" squares
  • Medium carrot cut into 1/2" slices and then slices quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (approx. 1/8") diced
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 ounces of seitan cut into approx. 1/2" x 1" strips
  • 1/2 cups onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 t garlic powder (I actually am experimenting with garlic granules, and used them instead)
  • 1/8 t turmeric
Process
  1. I put the kale, carrot, garlic, marinara sauce, and water into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 2m under low pressure.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the seitan, onion, garlic granules, and turmeric.
I served with Madagascar Pink rice (simmered, covered, for 20m with a ratio of 1 part rice, 1 3/4 parts water, plus a vegan bouillon cube).
Results

Dinner was good. I was initially reluctant to mix turmeric and marinara, but it's a subtle and nice combination. The dish could have used some heat, and I ended up adding crushed red pepper to a second serving. I should make this dish for my family when they return from their trip.

Ideas for the future

I like the simplicity of not having too many ingredients and hesitate to add, but a bit of celery would add a nice more or less neutral crunch. I can't think of other improvements, except for including jalapeno or crushed red pepper.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Tofu and Hashed Brown Potatoes with Vegetaables (No Added Fat)

I made a simple dinner today. On my cast iron skillet with no added fat (except a trivial amount left after rubbing in a few drops of oil), I made a saute with tofu, hashed brown potatoes, bell pepper, spinach, and onions. I served it with leftover brown rice, as well as radish.

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Friday, November 04, 2016

Leftover Cauliflower with Seitan, Tomato with Cumin (No Added Fat)

I heated up leftover cauliflower with seitan from a few nights ago, as well as some rice. I used my Instant Pot pressure cooker to heat the food. I put a bit less than 1/4 cup of water in the Instant Pot and inserted the steamer basket. I put the two dishes in bowls, and put the bowls atop the basket in the Instant Pot. I simply pressure steamed for 1 or 2 minutes. I also chopped an heirloom tomato and mixed in a little ground cumin and salt. I had forgotten how good tomato is with cumin and salt and should serve it this way more often!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Adzuki Beans with Potato, Madagascar Pink Rice (No Added Fat)

I haven't cooked with adzuki beans for a while and decided to soak them today for 5-6 hours. Soaked, they cook in only 10-15 minutes. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 cup adzuki beans, rinsed, soaked overnight (I got away with 5-6 hours), and rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover the beans
  • Medium Yukon Gold potato cut into 3/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • 2T fennel bulb cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/8 - 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/8 t garlic granules or powder (I recently bought granulated instead of powder to try and see what the difference might be)
  • 1/8 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1t lime juice
Process
  1. I put the beans, water, potato, fennel, garlic, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 15m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the onion, spices, and lime juice. I served with Madagascar Pink rice (cooked in a 1 part rice to 1 3/4 part water, as well as a vegan bouillon cube and a dash of salt, simmered on low heat, covered, for 20m).
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Black Beans with Potato and Fennel, Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

Happy Diwali! I miss my family but enjoyed spending the afternoon and evening with a friend, who joined me for dinner. I thought that I'd make a black bean dish, and this is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight (or in boiling water for 3-4 hours), and rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover the beans plus 1/4"
  • Medium Yukon Gold (or other) potato cut into 1/2" pieces (about 3/4 -1  cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") minced
  • 1T ginger finely (1/8") diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup fennel cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups bell pepper cut into approx. 1 1/4" x 1/4" strips
  • 1 1/4 cups corn kernels (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine)
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 t black sesame seed
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 2 t lime juice
  • 2 t crushed red pepper
Process
  1. I put the beans, potato, garlic, ginger, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 35m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure (well, actually, I went with my friend to see a film so the Instant Pot was immediately ready in "keep warm" mode when I came home), then aded the fennel, bell pepper, and corn, and cooked for another 2 minutes on low pressure this time.
  3. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and mixed in the remaining ingredients (onion, lime juice, and seasoning).
Results

Dinner came out well. The beans were more liquidy than I wanted but I fear cutting water back when cooking black beans as they come out tough if not cooked with enough water.

Ideas for the future

I should make this dish for my family when they return. I might use a little less fennel to give it a more subtle flavor. The potato worked well; adding 50% more potato would not be bad. Diced carrot would go well with this dish.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tofu with Artichoke Hearts, Brown Rice Capellini (No Added Fat)


I made a simple (2-minute, as I recall?) pressure cooked dish with tofu and artichoke hearts, well seasoned when it was done. Some brown rice capellini with marinara and nutritional yeast accompanied the main dish. It was good!

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Cauliflower with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I'm missing my family who are traveling in India. I like cooking even for just one; I cooked for myself for years before I got married. Tonight, I decided to cook a cauliflower that I had purchased on sale.

I was originally going to make a cauliflower and tofu dish, but had the desire for seitan. I didn't want to make a mashed dish as I did in September (though it was good!) but wanted some firmness of the cauliflower. I've found that seitan doesn't really benefit, at least with a short cook time, in the pressure cooker, so usually add it after other ingredients have cooked. Tonight, since I decided to just cook the cauliflower for "zero minutes" (i.e., just let the cooker come to pressure and then turn off) at low pressure, I just added the seitan at the beginning so it would be nice and hot. I forgot, but was going to add some jalapeno, as well. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • Florets from medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped to 1/8" - 1/4" pieces
  • 8 ounces of seitan cut into approximately 3/8" pieces
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cups onion cut reasonably finely (about 1/4" cubes)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t lemon pepper
  • 1/4 t tarragon
  • 2T nutritional yeast
Process
  1. I put the cauliflower, garlic, seitan, bouillon cube, and water into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 0 minutes on low pressure.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the rest of the ingredients and served with brown rice (1:2 ratio rice to water simmered for 50m).
Results

Dinner was good! I think that I prefer this to the mashed cauliflower - though that was good, too. I'm glad that I kept it simple - jalapeno or even ginger wouldn't have been so good in this dish.

Ideas for the future

I should make this dish for my family when they return. When cooking for myself, I should experiment with tofu and cauliflower. At first, I thought that I would have enjoyed some crunch such as from bell pepper, but then I reconsidered and decided that I liked it as it was. However, I'd like to present this with some more color - maybe some mild greens could be mixed in such as kale or collards?

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Split Peas with Brussels Sprouts (No Added Fat)




Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup split peas
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 medium carrot cut into large 3/4" slices
  • Half dozen or so Brussels sprouts, halved after trimming away outer leaves and ends
  • 2 or 3 leaves kale, hand torn into approximately 1" pieces
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t lemon pepper
  • 4 cloves
  • (I wanted to add 1/2 t ground cumin, but found that I was out of cumin, so skipped it)
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into approx. 3/8" cubes
  • 1t lemon or lime juice
  • 1/8 t (or to taste) salt
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the onion, lime juice and salt, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 10m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then served with leftover brown rice
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

I had forgotten but should have added ginger and jalapeno before cooking. I topped with raw jalapeno when I served but cooking would have been better.

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Monday, October 03, 2016

Black Bean-Quinoa Stew, Massaged Kale Salad with Tomato (No Added Fat)

I had the idea of cooking black beans, which my daughter loves, with quinoa and making it into a soup. It would have great nutrition, of course, but the quinoa I thought would also add a nice binding texture. On further consideration, I thought I'd make a thicker stew; we have friends returning from a trip and I wanted to have dinner for them when I pick them up tonight, and a stew would be easier to transport without leaking.

Quinoa cooks very quickly and I thought I'd cook the beans in the pressure cooker and then separately cook the quinoa stovetop, and just mix. But I was out and my wife wanted to get the beans going, so I had her cook the beans and quinoa together; expecting a smooth overcooked quinoa, I was going to add in some stovetop quinoa. Here is what I actually did:


Ingredients
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed, soaked in ample water overnight, then rinsed again
  • Enough water to cover the beans and then 1/4"
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") diced
  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube (I omitted because we were out of the cubes)
  • Large bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes (a little over a cup)
Process
  1. I had my wife put the beans, water, garlic, and onion (and, if we had one, a bouillon cube), into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m.
  2. By the time I got home, the cooking was done and pressure was low enough that I could easily open the pot, which I did (alternatively, I'd wait a few minutes then carefully let remaining pressure out first).
  3. I was very pleasantly surprised that the texture was just right. I mixed in the bell pepper. I think that I had in mind adding salt, but I forgot. The quinoa added both texture and taste, and really, though just a bit bland, the dish stood on its own without seasoning.
I also cooked some frozen corn kernels waterlessly in a small Saladmaster stock pan, mixing in lime juice, salt, and, for my wife and my servings, a bit of jerk seasoning. A massaged kale salad with a bit of tomato completed our meal.
Results

Dinner was good. Surprisingly, even my daughter liked everything - she doesn't like quinoa, but she liked it served this way. Maybe it's a texture issue for her? I usually add raw onion to the end after a dish has pressure cooked, but it was nice in this dish to have the onion so soft it essentially melted away into the dish.

Ideas for the future

I liked the main course as it was, but it would be even better with a bit of jalapeno or other heat, cumin, a few bay leaves, salt, and maybe oregano. Ginger would be good cooked with the beans. The main course was soft and I found I wanted a bit of crunch, so had seconds and served a few crispy whole wheat crackers, which went well with the beans.

I should try making a bean and quinoa soup, as originally planned, by adding cooked quinoa to cooked beans. I should definitely experiment with more dishes that have had quinoa cooked under pressure for so long - it makes a nice texture matrix for a dish.

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Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sweet Potato with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I had to put together dinner quickly. I came up with the idea of slicing sweet potato so it would cook quickly and making a simple sweet potato and seitan dish. I wanted the sweet potato to be firm so cooked bell pepper with it so that the bell pepper would have a contrasting soft texture.


Ingredients
  • Medium sweet potato cut into sticks maybe 1 1/2" long by maybe 3/8" square (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly (1/8" - 1/4") chopped
  • Half medium bell pepper cut into thick slices approx. 1" x 3/8" (about a cup)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 8 ounces of seitan (in any form desired - thick or thin slices, cubes, etc.; I used maybe 3/4" cubes)
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t fresh oregano
Process
  1. I put the sweet potato, garlic, bell pepper, and water into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 9m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the seitan, lemon pepper, salt, and oregano.
Results

Dinner was good. Surprisingly, even the nine minutes was too long of a cook time; the sweet potatoes tasted fine but were soft. I liked the cooked bell pepper. It was nice to have a dish full of flavor with just a few ingredients.

Ideas for the future

I should try cooking cut sweet potato periodically. I'll bet with a cut like I had today that I could cook in 6 or 7 minutes - or even less.

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Saturday, October 01, 2016

Anasazi and Navy Beans with Kale, Germinated Brown Rice, Avocado and Tomato Salad (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Anasazi and 1/2 cup navy beans, rinsed and soaked overnight (I didn't have overnight, so used boiling water and soaked from 3:30-6:30 pIngredient 1
  • Medium tomatilla cut into 1/4 pieces (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine)
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes (maybe 1/3 of a medium onion)
  • 2t lemon juice
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1T fennel seed
Process
  1. Soaked Ansazi beans take 10-15m to cook under pressure, while navy beans take 10m longer; I went with the longer 20-25m time by putting the beans, water, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooking for 22m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then opened and mixed in the onion, lemon juice, salt, turmeric, cumin, and fennel seed.
I also made germinated brown rice (1 part rice to 2 parts water simmered for 25-30m with a vegan bouillon cube and salt, then allowed to sit for 10m) and a nice cubed salad with avocado, tomato, a bit of finely chopped onion, garlic powder, salt, fresh oregano leaves, and ume plum vinegar.

Results

Dinner came out well. I enjoyed having the two kinds of beans. My daughter pointed out, and she was correct, that the two beans tasted the same, though they had slightly different mouth feels because of their size difference. The salad was a good combination and tasted great! I like germinated brown rice but have only bought it once or twice as it is expensive.

Ideas for the future

I should continue to experiment with mixed bean dishes. Chopped salads are great and I should make them more often. With lovely heirloom variety of apples now available to me this autumn, I should integrate some apples into my cooking.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mashed Cauliflower with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I wanted to put dinner together quickly and thought that I'd simply overcook cauliflower and make a lumpy mash, then mix in seitan. Cauliflower cooks in very little time ("0 minute" - i.e., just getting up to pressure then stopping cooking), but I thought I'd cook for 4 minutes under pressure. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • Florets from a head of cauliflower with bigger florets cut down (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • Small shallot
  • 8 ounces of seitan cut into 5/8" pieces
  • Between 1/8 and 1/4 cup dill pickle, cut into 1/4" cubes
Process
  1. I put the cauliflower, garlic, water, and bouillon cube into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 4m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then opened the pot.
  3. I began, using a potato masher, to mash the cauliflower. I would have succeeded but only after more effort than I had expected, so I transferred the cauliflower to a blender.
  4. I added the garlic powder and nutritional yeast, as well as the peeled but not cut shallot, and pulse blended on low-medium for maybe 15 seconds to get a mostly creamy but still slightly chunky consistency.
  5. I mixed in, by hand, the seitan. I thought that I would be done and sampled, but the dish needed something else - I came up with the idea of using dill pickle, thinking as well about a potato salad that might include dill pickle. That did the trick! 

Results

Wow, all of us loved dinner! It came out better than I might have hoped.

Ideas for the future

Just a few days ago, I had advocated for cooking cauliflower waterlessly, but the convenience of the pressure cooker was convincing today. I don't think that the cauliflower softened much from if I had cooked it less; if I'm going to blend, I should try a "zero" or 1 minute cook time. I should experiment with pureeing cauliflower and sauteeing to create a crispy cauliflower cake.