Saturday, November 10, 2018

Red Split Dhal with Vegetables, Arugula and Mixed Tomato Salad with Mango Miso Dressing in Celebration of Friends' New Baby (No Added Fat)

I'm so excited that friends of mine just had a baby and I'm first in the meal train to bring food over! It's always a privilege to be able to be connected in any way with a new baby and I'm thankful that I get to take food over.

I like to include fenugreek when I cook for new Moms to help stimulate lactation; I don't like the flavor of fenugreek but when I cook with it, I always make sure that the fenugreek is enveloped with many other strong flavors so it doesn't show through. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 3 cups red split lentils
  • 2 cups kale (I used frozen, but fresh is fine)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups carrot (2 medium carrots) cut into 3/8" chunks and then halved
  • 1T finely (1/8") chopped ginger
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped (about 1 1/2 T)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1t turmeric
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 1t cumin seed
  • 1T fenugreek seed
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups chopped bell pepper (approx. 1/4" x 3/4" slices)
  • 2 cups onion cut into 3/8" cubes (I used about 1/3 of a red onion and 1/3 of a Vidalia onion)
  • 4T lime juice
  • 2t salt
Process
  1. Split lentils cook in a ratio of 1 : 2-2.5 parts water for 13-18m under pressure. I went with a 1:2 ratio for a thicker dhal for 16m. I put all of the ingredients except the onion, lime juice, and salt, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 16m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the bell pepper, onion, lime juice, and salt.
I took this over along with long-grained brown rice (cooked in a 1:2.5 ratio for 45m) and various salad ingredients (arugula and mixed cherry tomatoes). I made a simple chickpea miso - mango dressing (a combination I'd not tried before but I think it came out well; I blended 2T miso with 1/2 t black sesame seeds - a great source of calcium, a medium shallot (maybe 2 T), 1T mango chunks, 1T maple syrup, and 1/8 t salt.  When I come home, this will all also be my dinner! 

Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Udon Noodles with Curry Tofu Nuggets

I had a full day and came home late. I love tofu and decided to make udon noodles with curried tofu, spinach, and bell pepper, for a simple dinner for myself.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Black Bean and Corn Pupusa, Sauteed Broccolini and Spinach (No Added Fat)

My family is traveling and I came home late from teaching, so a quick meal for myself was in order. I love the pupusas that Tres Latin Foods makes - each is only 3.5g of fat and they're so tasty! I heated two of the black bean and corn ones in a 350°F oven for about 10m. I also sauteed with no oil on a cast iron pan some onion, garlic, broccolini, and spinach.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hemp and Chickpea Tempeh with Broccolini and Cauliflower, Quinoa (Almost No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter are traveling on Friday and I'm teaching tomorrow, so this is my last meal for the family till they return. My wife had picked up some broccolini, which I thought I'd make a mixed vegetable waterless dish out of. I picked up some Hempé brand soy-free hemp seed and chickpea tempeh, which I air fried at 350°F for 4 minutes then 400°F for an additional 2 minutes.

I put, in this order, a little onion, half a head of broccolini chopped into 1/2" pieces, maybe 2 cups of frozen cauliflower florets, 3/4 cup frozen bell pepper slices, and a large baby bok choy, cut into 1" lengths, into a large Saladmaster stock pan. I cooked waterlessly - i.e., I covered the pan and heated it on medium high until the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat to low till the jiggle stopped. I let it cook for about 20 minutes.

I mixed the "fried" tempeh and vegetables, then mixed in 4T of Frontera brand key lime skillet sauce (1g of fat per 2T). I served with sprouted quinoa and some delicious tomatoes.

I don't list this as "no added fat" because the tempeh has 7g of fat per serving, which is a quarter of the package. I used maybe 4/5 of the package; divided by the three of us, we each got about 4/15 or 1/4 of the package, so about 7g of fat. That's still not bad!

Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Fava Bean with Sweet Potato and Plantain (No Added Fat)

Introductory comments go here. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (I used a medium Japanese sweet potato); unpeeled if organic (as mine was)
  • Medium plantain, ripe or not, cut into 1/2" cubes (mine was ripe and, surprsingly, good eating raw, perhaps the first time I've found this to be the case; cut, it made 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1t fennel seeds
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 15 ounce can fava beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • (optional) jalapeno, hot sauce, or other source of spicy heat to preference (I omitted, but hot sauce would have gone well with this dish)
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the beans, lime juice, salt, and optional heat into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and pressure steamed for 9m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the remaining ingredients.
I served with Pad Thai brown rice noodles.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cranberry Bean Soup (No Added Fat)

I bought some fresh cranberry beans from a nearby farmers' market this past weekend. I love cranberry beans and haven't seen them dried (or fresh) for sometime now.

I sauteed some onion and baby ginger in a small Saladmaster stock pan for a few minutes, then added the fresh beans, enough water to just cover the beans, a diced carrot, a green (not quite ripe) tomato that I also bought at the market, a vegan bouillon cube, garlic powder, and salt. I brought to a boil and cooked, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, then covered and simmered on low heat for  20 minutes. I then mixed in a chopped roasted bell pepper that I had also purchased from the market, and served, along with a cucumber-caper-Ume plum vinegar salad and brown rice noodles.

Results

I was going to serve the beans as the main course, which I did, but it turned out a soup rather than a more firm plated dish. I am not normally so excited about soup, but my whole family loved the entire dinner, especially the soup. It came together so nicely and with just the right punch of flavor. Wow!

Ideas for the future

I love cooking with my Instant Pot, but it was fun to make a bean dish stovetop today. Of course, the convenience of dried beans is great, but I quite enjoyed using fresh beans today and should look for them again. I should make more fresh bean soups and regular bean dishes.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Braised Tofu (or Tempeh) with Bell Pepper, "Cheesy" Riced Broccoli (Almost No Added Fat)

The hurricane is slowly passing us by and finally we had some sunshine today - but also tornado warnings this morning, a lot of rain, and nearby areas experienced flooding. We are lucking out and haven't even lost power, but I'm still focused on bringing down my frozen food inventory.

I recently bought frozen riced broccoli (blanced organic broccoli and salt), and decided to cook it waterlessly (I just put it in my small Saladmaster stock pan, covered the pan and heated it on medium high until the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat to low till the jiggle stopped. I let it cook for about 7-10 minutes, really just to defrost and heat up. I made a "cheese" sauce to serve atop the broccoli by blending soaked cashews, water, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and, for color, a little bit of tomato and red bell pepper.

I mentioned in the recent past about, for me, a new tofu company called Hodo Foods . I bought their braised tofu and used it with dinner as the main course by sauteeing with bell pepper and onion (on cast iron with no oil); my wife doesn't eat tofu as it doesn't agree with her, so her serving was of tempeh instead of tofu.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Eat up Frozen Food in Preparation for Hurricane Florence: Vegan Harvest Pizza, Waterless Broccoli and Kale, Cinammon Vanilla "Toastable" Quinoa Tart

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolinas and I am concerned about those who live or have property along the shore. I remember living through Hurricane Fran, which was scary, and that was a category 3 storm; this could hit category 5 and be much more destructive. However, I'm hopeful that by the time it hits our area, we'll get perhaps 30-40 mph winds, which wouldn't be bad.

With that as a long preamble, we are not going to be surprised if our power goes out, so I thought I should start eating up frozen foods. If we do lose power and have frozen foods, they will quickly spoil and need to be discarded. I had a favorite frozen pizza, Vegan Harvest by American Flatbread on hand; I love its crispy crust and find it better than some pizzeria pizza.

I also made a waterless broccoli dish with broccoli, kale, garlic, onion, lemon juice, turmeric, garlic granules, and salt. I recently found a nice breakfast dish with organic grains and quinoa called a Cinnamon Vanilla "Toastable", which I served with organic raspberries akin to dessert.
Results

Dinner was good. I love the pizza and am glad that I had a big serving of the vegetables (and seconds) so that I only enjoyed one slice; it's good but not low in fat. The vegetables were quite good. My daughter didn't like the "toastable", but my wife and I did. It would indeed be good with breakfast, but was nice with our dinner.

Ideas for the future

I should get these toastables once in a while and use them with breakfast or again try them with dinner. A fruit sauce or maybe a little melted chocolate and chopped fruit would be good atop the toastable.

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Thai Curry Nuggets with Vegetables, Brown Rice Noodles

The day before yesterday when I was shopping at Weaver Street Market Coop, I found products from a new company called Hodo that looked appealing (and they were on sale). I bought their Thai curry nuggets as well as braised tofu with Chinese five-spice. The nuggets are great!

They have very nice flavor and a chewy texture. They are great right out of the package, but today I decided to cook them with vegetables and red curry paste, and serve with brown rice noodles (my wife and daughter were away so I could cook tofu, which my wife has problems digesting, since I was cooking for myself).

The nuggets are a bit high in fat; the whole 8 ounce package has about 17 1/2 grams of fat. For tonight's meal, I used maybe a third of the package, so will call this about 6 grams of fat, which isn't bad.

I simply sauteed (with no oil) some onion, garlic, kale, bell pepper, and the nuggets, mixing in red curry paste. I served with brown rice noodles topped with black sesame seeds and tamari sauce.


Results

The tofu is delicious right out of the packet so it's no surprise that dinner was very good with all of the other flavors cooked together. In hindsight, the red curry paste didn't go great, but I used it to add more heat to the tame curry. Though I had mentioned garlic, I actually forgot to cook with garlic; the dish would have been even a slight bit better with garlic.

Ideas for the future

I love this new tofu product and only wish that it were lower in fat. I may contact the company and see if they might consider a baked or even air fried product. I should continue to make dishes like this when I'm not cooking for my wife, but don't need a curry paste. Perhaps a hint of lemon and miso dressing may be nice.

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Friday, September 07, 2018

Black Bean and Corn Pupusa, Butternut Squash Soup with Corn

I like the vegan frozen black bean and corn, as well as the kale and pinto beanpupusa (thick stuffed corn tortilla) that have been available over the last 6-12 months. The pupusa is from El Salvador and Honduras and these frozen convenience foods are sold by Tres Latin Foods. I had some black bean and corn pupusas on hand and used them for dinner.

My wife went out to a performance. My daughter was slightly under the weather and asked for soup. I thought I'd make some butternut squash soup, and I mixed corn in. Two pupusas topped with salsa, as well as romaine lettuce completed the meal.
Results

Dinner was very good! I'll have to make this dinner for my wife. The corn was a surprisingly good addition to the soup.

Ideas for the future

I should experiment with soups more often. I like chunky soups and wonder if some air fried beans or seitan might be nice in soup.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Bean Trio over Curried Millet and Brown Rice Ramen Noodles (No Added Fat)

For dinner today, I wanted to use some beans but hadn't soaked any. This is the reason I keep a few cans of beans around; I had a 15 ounce can of organic "salad beans" (chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans). I did a waterless preparation of the beans with onion, garlic, kale, and mixed vegetables cooked in a Saladmaster stock pan. I covered the pan and heated it on medium high until the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat to low till the jiggle stopped. I let it cook for about 20 minutes though 10-12 minutes would have been enough (I just wasn't ready to serve).

I mixed some red curry paste with millet and brown rice ramen. The bean mixture went atop, and roma tomato thirds triangulated the plate.
Results

Dinner was good! The curry paste was just spicy enough for my daughter and I liked it; my wife added some hot sauce. I was pleased about how easy, nutritious, and quick this meal was!

Ideas for the future

We all like curry pastes; I should cook with them more often. I'm glad that Thai Kitchen brand has a variety of marked vegan sauces. I occasionally teach Thai vegan cooking and show students how to make curry pastes in a mortar and pestle; it's not difficult but takes a bit of time.

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Monday, September 03, 2018

Air-Fried Chickpea Fritters (No Added Fat)

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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Panko-coated Air-Fried Seitan and Tofu, Sweet Potato (No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter are traveling this week, so I was on my own for dinner. I coated seitan in panko bread crumbs and jerk seasoning, but the coating didn't stick so well (I should experiment with vegan "egg" additions in such situations), so I also coated a piece of tofu, which takes coating well. I air fried for 5 minutes at  375°F. I had some small sweet potatoes and pressure steamed them for only 9 minutes in my Instant Pot; I could have gotten away with perhaps only 6-7 minutes!

Results

Dinner was good and I should replicate this for my family. The seitan, not nearly as moist as the tofu, was just a bit overdone but actually still quite good. If there were some lemon, it would remind me of my signature lime marinated jerk seitan dish. The tofu was good but could have been air fried for a few more minutes. It was fun to eat three sweet potatoes!

Ideas for the future

I might experiment with adding lemon zest to the breading of seitan - and mix in  some yogurt, a vegan "egg", or maybe lemon or orange juice to the breading to help it to stick to seitan. Some sesame seeds would also be nice but I'd be concerned that they might burn.

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Blended Chickpea and Potato (No Added Fat)

I had in mind cooking some chickpeas and potatoes with cumin, garlic powder, a little turmeric, and salt, and then mashing or blending, making patties, then air frying. It turns out we ended up in a big rush, so I skipped the air frying and just served the chickpea-lentil mash (which I had blended) on its own.



Results

My daughter quite liked the main course; I thought it was good. My wife found it lacking a bit in spice.

Ideas for the future

I should try this again but with my original idea of air frying.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Vegan "Sausage" Ravioli with Homemade Tomato Sauce, Cauliflower and Baby Lima Bean Melange

We have a new store that opened near our house last week called Sprouts; we visited and found it doesn't have the variety and quality of coops or Whole Foods Market, but it's nice that it's nearby so we may occasionally visit. They had a few products we've not seen elsewhere, such as Lightlife brand vegan "sausage" ravioli that I picked up and decided to make today. It's not particularly healthy as it has 16g of fat and a long list of ingredients, but I thought we'd try it. (It turns out it had soy which my wife is a bit intolerant of, so I prepared some pasta instead for her but used the same sauce, side dish, and salad for her.)

I made a homemade sauce by sauteeing chunks of just-ripe but firm tomato, bell pepper, garlic, and onion, and mixing in oregano, salt, and black pepper when off the heat. I don't often make tomato sauces - this one was good!

I put, in this order, onion, garlic, frozen cauliflower, and frozen baby lima beans into a large Saladmaster stock pan. I cooked waterlessly - i.e., I covered the pan and heated it on medium high until the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat to low till the jiggle stopped. I let it cook for about 15 minutes, then I mixed in a little salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Results

My daughter loved the ravioli. We all loved the sauce. The side dish was fun - it was soft and seemed to melt in the mouth, and had nice flavor.

Ideas for the future

I don't know why I don't cook with cauliflower more often. It's versatile and cooks down nicely to serve as a "supporting character" for other ingredients.

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