Thursday, February 23, 2017

Waterless Cauliflower and Chard (No Added Fat)

I found red chard on sale at our coop today; we've not had chard in a while, and I had a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator, so I thought of cooking a chard and cauliflower dish. Preparing it waterlessly (using a quality Saladmaster pan and cooking, covered, on low) sounded good. Here is what I did.

  • 2/3 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4" x 3/4" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • 5 cups (maybe 2/3 or a bit more of a medium head) cauliflower florets
  • approximately 3 cups (packed) greens (I used red chard, but other kinds of chard, kale, or, if you like a bit more "bit", mustard greens could be used instead); I used 5 chard leaves, cut the stems into 1/2" lengths to make up about 3/4 cup, then hand stripped the leaves to approximately 1" pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • (optional) 1/4 t garlic powder
  • (optional) 1/4 t black sesame seed
  1. I put into a large Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, the onion, garlic, cauliflower, greens, salt, and turmeric
  2. I turned the heat on to medium high and covered the pan; after a few minutes, the vapor release started jiggling, whereupon I reduced heat to low till the release stopped moving about, and cooked for 20m
  3. I then opened the pan, mixed in the garlic powder and sesame seed, and served
I also had some fresh French baguette, and sauteed on a cast iron pan with no oil (I first maybe 1/2 t canola oil on the warming pan for half a minute then wiped the oil off just to get a very light coating on the pan) some tempeh.

Everybody liked dinner! The cauliflower was good but could have cooked just a bit more to be more tender. A little more turmeric would have made the color more vibrant (and, of course, more healthy).

Ideas for the future

While I love pressure cooking, I always also get good results with waterless cooking. I love what the pressure cooker (very soft and, cooked for a few minutes, gravy-like) and waterless cooking (tender) does to cauliflower. I should experiment with more waterless cauliflower dishes - more vegetables like carrots, peas, and green beans would be good. A surprise element like pomegranate kernels would be fun.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black Beans over Crispy Polenta (No Added Fat)

I was thinking of making a black bean dish and wanted to integrate polenta, which I had in stock prepared as a tube. Originally, I was thinking of chopping the polenta and mixing it in, but my daughter was talking about crispy polenta, so I decided to cook the polenta separately on a cast iron pan. I had some beans leftover from a few days ago, so didn't have to prepare them again in my Instant Pot. Here is what I did.

  • 1 cup prepared black beans
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") minced
  • 1/4 cup roasted or fresh bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 of a small (14.5 ounce) can of stewed or other tomato
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 8 ounces of polenta cut into 3/8" discs
  • (optional) few extra pieces of onion
  1. I started heating the beans, onion, garlic, bell pepper, canned diced tomato, and salt on low.
  2. I wiped a little bit of canola oil on a cast iron pan as it heated on medium heat; about half a minute later, I wiped the oil with a paper towel, leaving a light coating on the pan (I wanted crispy polenta), then put the polenta on the pan. I cooked it, flipping occasionally, and adding the onion a few minutes into the cooking.
  3. When the polenta was crispy, I served it with the onion, and put the beans (first mixing in oregano) atop.
A bagel half with tomato and olive, plus a baby bell pepper, completed the meal.

Dinner was good!

Ideas for the future

I should make crispy polenta dishes more often. Capers, olives, fresh tomato, tomato sauce, basil, cashew "cheese" sauce, and many other foods could go well with polenta.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yummy Waterless Artichokes with Mushroom and Roasted Bell Pepper, Chickpeas with Tomato (No Added Fat)

I was in the mood for artichoke hearts; while shopping, my daughter suggested and picked out mushrooms to be cooked with the artichoke. I had soaked some chickpeas and decided to make a plain side course of essentially just chickpeas (but I ended up mixing in to the 3 cups or so of finished chickpeas a small (14.5 ounces) can full of fire roasted dice tomatoes, 4T nutritional yeast, 1t oregano, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" pieces). I cooked the main course waterlessly. Here is how I made the artichoke dish:

  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (approx. 1/8")
  • 2 1/2 cups mushroom of choice cut into approx. 3/4" pieces (I used 7 medium crimini mushrooms cut into thirds and then halved)
  • 12 ounce artichoke quarters (about 3 cups)
  • 1T miso
  • Bell pepper
  • (optional) 1/2 t tarragon
  • 1/4 t (or to taste; remember there is also salty miso) salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  1. I put into a large Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, the onion, garlic, mushroom, artichoke, and miso.
  2. I heated, covered, the pan on medium heat till the vapor release began gently rattling, then I reduced the heat to low and cooked. With waterless cooking, 20m seems to be about right for dishes I make - longer cook times are also okay, as essentially a convection is set up and the food is just kept hot but not burnt.
  3. While the artichokes were cooking, I roasted the bell pepper by putting it on the open flame of my gas range, turning it until it was all coated in a black char. I put the bell pepper in a brown paper bag, closed the bag, and let it sit to imbue the pepper with the smoky flavor. When I was ready to serve the artichoke, I removed the pepper from the bag, and had my daughter help to run water over the pepper and rub the black char off. After removing the seeds and membranes, I chopped the pepper into approximately 3/4" pieces.
  4. I turned the heat off to the artichokes and mixed in the pepper, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and served.


Wow, I loved dinner, and so did my family and a friend who came for dinner. The artichokes were divine! I so loved this combination and the great soft texture that the waterless cooking gave the artichokes. This was one of my favorite artichoke dishes I've had. I have cooked artichokes waterlessly before, but maybe the mushroom and miso or something else about today's preparation made the dish so memorably excellent. The chickpeas were also quite good - I liked them but my wife raved and claimed that this was the best way I ever prepared chickpeas.

Ideas for the future

I will make more waterless artichoke dishes! I'll explore more combinations; capers and olives would be good. I might want to make a homogenized spread to put atop pasta or maybe a bagel.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Charred Brussels Sprouts with Tomato (No Added Fat)

Happy Valentine's Day! My family likes Brussels Sprouts but my wife prefers them pan cooked and charred, not steamed or pressure cooked, as I usually prepare them. I had the idea initially of braising Brussels Sprouts after oven roasting them and then pan sauteeing them, perhaps cooking them, covered, with broth as a final step. I thought of cutting fresh tomato into heart-shaped like sections and using them in the main dish for the Valentine's theme. Here is what I did.

  • About a half pound (maybe 8) Brussels Sprouts, end and outer leaves removed, then cut into 3/8" slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (about 1/8") minced
  • Onion, of about same volume as garlic, also finely minced
  • 2 firm medium Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4" slices and then quartered
  • 1t fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  1. I put the Brussels Sprouts in a oven-proof dish and topped with the garlic and onion, then put in a toaster oven and roasted at 450°F for 15m
  2. I turned the toaster oven up to broil and broiled for 3m
  3. I took the Brussels Sprouts, onion, and garlic out of the toaster oven and put on a cast iron skillet that I had lightly rubbed with oil to leave almost no oil behind; I cooked, stirring occasionally, on medium high for about 5 minutes till I got the desired level of charred Sprouts
  4. In parallel on a stainless steel Saladmaster skillet, I sauteed the tomato over medium high heat for 3 minutes or so, whereupon the tomato softened almost to the point of being a very thick sauce
  5. I mixed in a bowl the contents of both pans, as well as the lime juice, oregano, salt, and pepper
I had some beans in a tomato sauce that I heated up as a side dish. A generous slice of avocado completed the Valentine's meal.


As I was cooking the Sprouts, I was quite pleased with how crispy and charred they got with almost no oil at all (I list this dish as no added fat as I really just swiped on enough oil to just barely coat the pan; any oil absorbed into the food would be a trivial amount), and decided to forego braising.

It came out great - we all loved the dish! This is a real winner and a fun dish that goes from (toaster) oven to cast iron, then to mixing bowl. It is simple with just a few ingredients, and the flavor shines. I was surprised at how good this came out - maybe it was just the relative novelty of the charred Brussels Sprouts vs. the pressure cooking that I usually use with them. I had considered mixing in liquid smoke, but other than a bit of hot sauce (which really wasn't even necessary), the dish was quite flavorful as it was.

Ideas for the future

Capers might add a nice addition instead of salt. I'd love to make more crispy Brussels Sprout dishes, perhaps with root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Braised Fennel with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I had the idea of doing some sort of a saute of fennel with seitan. I ended up essentially braising (though not strictly as I didn't cover the pan with liquid) and came up with an interesting meal. Here is what I did.

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped
  • About 1 cup of fennel bulb, chopped into approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" slivers (most of a medium bulb)
  • 8 ounces seitan (cut not important - I used large 3/4" or so chunks, but thin slices would be good, as well, with a different but also good mouth feel)
  • 1/4 cup broth (I used a vegan bouillon cube and 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  1. I put the garlic in a Saladmaster skillet with no oil and sauteed over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 or 3 minutes, letting the garlic develop a nice bouquet and soften a bit.
  2. I then added the fennel and continued the saute for another 8-10m or so, till the fennel was softened and some pieces were slightly browned.
  3. I added the seitan, stirred, and continued to saute just for another 2 minutes or so.
  4. I added the broth and continued cooking for another 5 or 6 minutes, letting the broth cook down and be absorbed. (For a true braise, I'd cover and simmer on low heat for a while, but I was happy with the softness of the ingredients and wanted the excess moisture to evaporate away.)
  5. I used frozen peas and added them, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes (if I used fresh, I'd add at the very end).
I also made some brown rice pasta, with dried oregano and sliced olives.

Dinner was even better than I expected! I normally like fennel in small quantity and feared that this would be too much, but the cooking perfectly mellowed out the fennel. I liked the chunks of seitan and am glad that I didn't use thin slices. The rice was also very good.

Ideas for the future

Braised fennel is a good idea! I also have not cooked with sauteeing followed by cooking down with broth. This served the duplicate purpose of cleaning up any minimal sticking in my pan. I need to try a true braise with covering the dish. I should try a tougher ingredient than seitan to see how braising softens it - maybe fibrous kale stems? Braised fennel with tofu or tempeh would be good. This was a winning combination tonight!

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Chickpeas and Cabbage (No Added Fat)

I thought of making a chickpea dish to take to some friends who just had twin babies. Alas, they had to move our get together, so we reserved some cooked chickpeas for a future dish and made a smaller course for ourselves.

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3 cups cabbage cut into 1/2" or so long strips (about a small quarter of a cabbage head)
  • 2 medium tomatillas cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1T miso (I used chickpea miso, but any kind would be fine)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" ( maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot cut into 3/8" slices (3 small-medium carrots)
  1. While I was out today, my wife made a batch of chickpeas in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, so I had that as a starting point. I put the rinsed chickpeas back in the pressure cooker, along with the cabbage, tomatilla, turmeric, cumin, miso, and water, and cooked for 0 minutes (i.e., just let the Instant Pot come to pressure then turn off).
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the onion, lime juice, and salt.
I served along with jade pearl rice.


Ideas for the future


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vegetables and Tempeh with Moroccan Simmer Sauce (Almost No Added Fat)

I picked up on sale some nice simmer sauces today, including a Moroccan one. I made a simple vegetable dish of tempeh, broccoli, onion, potato, and carrot cooked with the simmer sauce. The sauce packet claims to serve 7, but I think it's more like 4. Each serving has 1/2 gram of fat, so, even with larger servings, I'll describe this meal as "almost no added fat".

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

Vegetable Soup with Whole Wheat Pasta, Massaged Kale Salad, English Muffin (No Added Fat)

We are having a snowy weekend with cold weather, so soup is in order. I don't usually make a straight up vegetable soup, typically including beans. I decided to make a simple vegetable soup in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. It has a "Soup" button that cooks for 30m; I was going to cook just for 20m to have firmer vegetables, but my daughter was helping me cook and wanted softer vegetables, so we stuck with 30m. I've been meaning to make a pasta e fagioli bean and pasta soup sometime; this wasn't a bean soup, but I still used whole wheat pasta in this non-fagioli. Here is what I did.

  • 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes cut into large 1" or so chunks
  • 1 small sweet potato also cut into large 1" or so chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into 1/2" wide discs
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into approx. 1 1/4" x 1/4" half moons
  • 1 cup whole wheat pasta
  • 2 vegan bouillon cubes (I wanted a strong broth, so used two cubes)
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • (optional) 2t nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 t salt
  • (optional) 1/4 t lemon pepper
  • About 6 cups (more or less depending on how thick you want the soup to be) water
  1. I put all of the ingredients into my Instant Pot and pushed (well, my daughter pushed!) the "Soup" button for 30m of cooking.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then served.
I also served a massaged kale salad and English muffin halves with tomato, pickle, and olive.

By the way, yesterday my daughter asked about fondue and I had the idea to make a simple dessert a bit like fondue. I put some frozen strawberries and mango into my small Saladmaster stock pot and cooked waterlessly (cooked on medium heat, covered, till vapor release started flapping, then reduced heat to stop the flapping noise and cooked for about 15-20m). Toward the end, I quickly opened the cover and put in a few vegan chocolate chips. It was so good that we did the same thing tonight. It tastes like a nice warm fruit compote - my family didn't even want chocolate with the fruit today. This would be really good with my vegan yogurt!

Dinner was great! We all loved it. It's amazing how tasty pressure cooking makes soups.

Ideas for the future

I should definitely make a pasta e fagioli sometime. The soup today was really good; I had considered adding cauliflower or broccoli, but am glad that I didn't. A little red wine would have been good, and even more garlic could have been nice.

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Monday, January 02, 2017

Green Lentil Lasagne, Massaged Kale Salad, Waterless Baby Lima Bean and Bell Peppers

I recently bought a nice looking product, organic green lentil lasagne from Explore Cuisine and decided to make lasagne. These noodles are 50% green lentil flour, and otherwise are made of green pea four and brown rice flour. I like Rao's pasta sauces but have only bought them a few times as they are expensive. They were recently on sale, and I purchased their artichoke sauce. Here is what I did.

  • 8 ounce dry uncooked lasagne noodles
  • 2 ounces tempeh cut into thin slices approx. 1/4" x 3" x 3"
  • About 20 ounces marinara or other favorite tomato based sauce
  • Ingredient 2
  • 8 ounces of seitan
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 cups onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" ( maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot cut into 3/8" slices (3 small-medium carrots)
  1. In a glass baking dish, I put one noodle down and covered it with ample sauce. I repeated, with less sauce in the middle, and ample sauce again atop. In between two of the top layers I put the tempeh. I reserved three noodles.
  2. I cut the reserved noodles in half and made a version of the lasagne for my daughter, skipping the tempeh, which she doesn't like, and using a bit of Daiya brand vegan cheddar "cheese".
  3. I baked, covered, in an oven preheated to 400°F oven for 40-45 m, and then served.
I also made a massaged kale salad (kale leaves torn from stems and massaged with lime juice and salt) and waterless baby lima bean and bell pepper (beans and pepper started from frozen) side dish.


The sauce has a little oil in it and weighs in at 6g of fat per serving, with 6 servings in the bottle. I used maybe 5/6 of the bottle, but this served three of us, so contributed about 10g of fat per serving, so I won't claim this to be a no added fat dish, but with typical sauces that I use, it would be.

Ideas for the future


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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Seitan with Vegetables and Meyer Lemon (No Added Fat)

I made an easy waterless dish with my large Saladmaster stock pot.  I put into the pan some sliced onion, diced garlic, frozen Brussels sprouts, sliced red bell pepper, sliced fennel bulb, seitan, and a cubed whole Meyer lemon, skin and all. I warmed the pan, covered, until the vapor release began to jiggle, then turned the heat down and cooked on low (with the jiggling stopping) for about 20m.


Ideas for the future


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Roasted Chipotle Beans with Brown Rice, Tomato, and Romaine Lettuce (No Added Fat)

There is a line of bean dips from a company called Better Bean that I've recently noticed. I bought their roasted chipotle dip and was going to use it with dinner, but found that it had too much hot pepper heat for my daughter, so I made a tempeh burger for her instead. I made a ring of brown rice with the beans in the middle, and included tomato and crunchy romaine lettuce. It was good!

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Black-Eyed Peas with Vegetables (No Added Fat)

I came home to find that my wife had made some black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot. I added some kale, carrot, and ginger, and cooked for "zero" minutes (i.e., the pressure cooker just got up to pressure then stopped), then added lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. I also served some Jade Pearl rice (1 part rice to 1 3/4-2 parts water and a vegan bouillon cube, simmered for 20m).

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

O'Connor Sweet Potato with Yukon Gold Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Peas, and Bell Pepper (No Added Fat)

I was excited to try O'Connor sweet potatoes that I found in the store a day or two ago. We love Japanese sweet potatoes, and these, also with white flesh, are supposed to be similar. My daughter and I were heading out to a Nutcracker performance from a troupe from Moscow, so I had to put dinner together quickly. My daughter doesn't like onions and I use them commonly, but decided to put a meal together tonight without onions. Here is what I did.

  • 3 Sweet potatoes
  • 3 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 - 1 cup Brussels sprouts (fresh or frozen; I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper slices (about 1/4" x 3/4"; fresh or frozen as above)
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen as above)
  • Seasoning to taste (see notes)
  1. I put the sweet potatoes (one per person, so three for my family), along with Yukon Gold potatoes (also one per person) and water, in my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure steam for 20m.
  2. I put the rest of the ingredients except the seasoning (i.e., the remaining vegetables) in a small Saladmaster stock pan and cooked waterlessly - i.e., I heated the pan on medium high, covered, until the vapor release valve started jiggling, then reduced the heat to low to mostly stop the jiggling, and let it cook for about 15m.
  3. When the pressure cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then removed the sweet potatoes and potatoes.
    1. I cut out two little triangle indentations 1/3 and 2/3 up the length of the sweet potatoes.
    2. I cut the Yukon Gold potatoes into 3/4" cubes or so.
  4. I put a sweet potato on each plate and surrounded it with the potato cubes.
  5. I mixed in a little salt to the waterlessly cooked vegetables and spread atop the sweet potatoes.
  6. I put a tablespoon or bit more of salsa as part of the seasoning atop the sweet potato and vegetables, and served.

The sweet potato and potato could have been cooked for less time - they were softer than I'd usually serve them. My daughter appreciated having an onion-free meal and enjoyed it. I also liked it; it wasn't very tasty or complex, but was healthy, reasonably tasty, and filling. Unfortunately, my wife, who has a slight aversion to anything like steamed vegetables (and she considered the waterlessly cooked vegetables a bit like steamed, surprisingly), thought that the meal was "okay" but not particularly tasty.

Ideas for the future

I had considered making a sauce, perhaps a "cheesy" one with cashews and nutritional yeast, or maybe a miso-ginger sauce. That would have made the meal, I think, more appealing to my wife. The potatoes and sweet potatoes were normal sized; I have noted in the past that it takes 10-19m for sweet potatoes. I should have gone with maybe 12-15m as these were not large, thick sweet potatoes.

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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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