Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fingerling Potato with Edamame, Corn-off-the-Cob (No Added Fat)

I thought that I'd cook some fingerling potatoes that I had, and decided to go with waterless cooking. Here is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into 1/4" thick half moon slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 10 Russian Banana (or other kind) fingerling potatoes cut in halves (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 t finely (1/8") diced garlic
  • 2T fennel cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2 cups frozen edamame in pods
  • 1t frozen basil
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper

Process
  1. I put the onion, potato, garlic, fennel, edamame, and basil, in that order, into a large Saladmaster stock pan that I started heating on medium high as soon as the onion went in.
  2. I covered the pan and waited a few minutes till the vapor lock started jiggling, then reduced the heat to low to stop or minimize the jiggling and steam release.
  3. I cooked for about 30 minutes then mixed in the salt and lemon pepper, and served.
I also prepared some roasted corn-off-the-cob. I didn't have any lime or lemon, so mixed in just a little bit of tangerine juice, plus a little salt and a very little (maybe 1/4 or 1/2 t) vegan margarine (a new variety called Melt). Tomato and fresh peas in the pod completed the meal.


Results

I had never cooked edamame in pods, or at least don't remember doing so. Enthusiastically, I liked the first one or two, but really the shell was too fibrous and we all shelled and then added to the compost pile the shell. Dinner was good! I had considered adding some tomato sauce to the finished product, but when I tasted the dish, it was good and wouldn't have benefited from the sauce.

Ideas for the future

I should cook waterlessly more often. It's easy and nutritious! The fennel contributed very little flavor - I should have used more or could easily have just omitted it.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Cranberry Beans with Green Roma Tomato, Tricolor Quinoa (No Added Fat)

In the store today, I found green roma tomatoes. I enjoy pressure cooking green (unripened) tomatoes, as they add a nuanced but not pronounced tomato flavor, sometimes a welcome change. However, I've never found green roma tomatoes. I had had some cranberry beans soaking overnight, and decided to make a simple dish with the beans and tomatoes.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry (or kidney) beans soaked overnight (or at least 5-6 hours) in ample water (at least 3 cups)
  • Water to just cover beans (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium green roma tomatoes cut into 1/4" cubes (approx. 1 1/2 cups); alternatively, 1 medium tomato cut into 1/4" cubes (and making approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • Medium zucchini cut into 1/4" cubes (approx. 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1T ginger, finely (approx. 1/8") diced
  • (Optional) 1T jalapeno, cut into 1/4" squares (I used a red jalapeno)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 3 scallions, bottom 1/2" or so removed (and composted or discarded), then cut into 3/8" slices
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt

Process
  1. I rinsed the beans then put them, along with water to just cover, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 40m (I just used the "bean" button adjusted upwards by one adjustment - two button presses).
  2. When I was ready to proceed, I gently let out any remaining pressure and opened the pot.
  3. I added the tomato, zucchini, ginger, jalapeno, and bouillon cube and cooked on high pressure for 2 minutes.
  4. When I was ready to proceed, I slowly let out remaining pressure and opened the pot.
  5. I added the scallion, oregano, and salt, and served, along with some quinoa and tomato.


Results

Dinner was good. I could have used more jalapeno, but was happy that my daughter ate, however tentatively, the beans, only complaining a bit that it was "spicy". The green roma tomatoes didn't add much flavor.


Ideas for the future

When I first tried cooking with green tomatoes this past July, I cooked them for 3 minutes. My sense is that longer cooking time wouldn't make much of a change and that either roma tomatoes don't come out so well when green, or that these tomatoes were just too green. If I find green romas again, I'd love to try a 3- or even 4- minute cooking time, or look for slightly ripened ones.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Japanese Sweet Potato Dhal, Tricolor Quinoa with Parsnip, Multigrain English Muffin Open Sandwich (No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter returned from a nice trip to the Tennessee and Western North Carolina mountains and I had dinner almost ready when they arrived. I prepared some meals for a client yesterday including parsnip with mixed quinoa and a dhal (lentil soup) with sweet potato, both of which I loved and wanted to make for my family. Here is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup red split lentils
  • 3 times as much (i.e., 2 1/4 cups) water
  • 2 Japanese (white, but other kinds are fine if white-fleshed can't be found) sweet potatoes, skin removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1T fresh ginger
  • (optional) 1/2 jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 1T fresh lime or lemon juice (I used Meyer lemon juice)

Process
  1. Yesterday for my client, I had simmered red split lentils for 25m stovetop and blended with a cooked squash. Instead, today, I thought I'd cook lentils and sweet potato. I was about to cook the sweet potato in the pressure cooker and cook the lentils stovetop, then blend, but realized that I could save time and energy by combining. I was in a rush to pick up my wife and daughter so didn't carefully think it out (or I'd have cut the sweet potato into chunks and used less cooking time), but simply put the water, lentils, and sweet potato into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  2. I knew that the lentils would be quite done; the sweet potato was also quite well cooked. I put all of the Instant Pot contents into my Vitamix blender.
  3. I added to the blender the rest of the ingredients and blended to a puree.
I served the lentil soup (dhal) along with a whole grain English muffin with tomato, avocado, and olive. I also made quinoa as I usually do (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, along with a vegan bouillon cube, brought to a boil for 3 or so minutes then left off heat, covered, for about 10 minutes till the water was absorbed and the quinoa got the characteristic spiral shape), but I also cut a parsnip into small 1/4" cubes and added them to the beginning of the cooking.


Results

I love this thick and slightly sweet dhal! I don't know if others have tried making a sweet potato or squash dhal. It was quite thick. I didn't include jalapeno, but it would have been quite interesting with the sweet flavor. I love the sweetness and texture that the parsnip adds to the quinoa!

Ideas for the future

I would love to try this dhal with jalapeno. I liked the thickness, but it could be thinned with more water.

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Pressure-Cooked Tofu with Vegetables, Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

We were supposed to go on vacation part of this week while my daughter enjoys a week off of school, but I ended up not going to work on some tasks that need to be done. My wife and daughter drove through Asheville, enjoyed lunch there, and are staying in Chatanooga, TN, a place I've not been. They're having a fun and scenic time! I made a simple dinner of pressure-cooked tofu with asparagus, sweet and hot peppers, and purple cauliflower (cooked for 3m on high pressure), along with Jade pearl rice and salad.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Red Lentil Rotini with Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Cabbage Salad, and Pressure-Cooked Vegetables (No Added Fat, Gluten Free)

My daughter was in the mood for pasta. Yesterday, I picked up a new product, Dave's Gourmet Red Pasta Sauce that promised great flavor, given that it uses heirloom tomatoes, and I decided to use it tonight. It has a little bit of oil, but only amounts to 1.5 ounces of fat per 1/2 cup serving of sauce, so I felt I could label today's dinner no added fat.

There is also a new brand of lentil-based pastas called Tolerant. They are not just based with lentils, they are all single-ingredient and just have lentils! I picked up recently their organic red lentil rotini.

I made a simple pasta dish with the red lentil rotini, topped with the sauce (to which I had added onion, salt, and garlic powder). I also put on a little homemade vegan "parmesan" (blend briefly 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder, and 1/4 t salt, ensuring that there is still some texture) that we make in the Food for Life classes.

The salad was more interesting than my usual salad, and was a mix of purple cabbage, bell pepper, salsa, ume plum vinegar, and red chili powder. I made a simple 2-minute pressure-cooked dish in my Instant Pot pressure cooker with carrot, kale, scallion, and peas.

Dinner was great! The pasta started off deeper in orange but lightened as it cooked (as I recall, it was about 10 minutes cook time). It had a mild flavor but was good with the sauce. I prefer the taste and lower price of brown rice (or regular wheat-based) pasta, but this pasta has the nice lentil nutrition profile (lentils are great for fiber, protein, iron, folate, potassium, calcium, and more) - though it is a pricey pasta.

The sauce was good but didn't have the flavor punch that I had expected. I wanted to try it relatively unmodified, but next time will mix in additional herbs like oregano and maybe basil, as well as garlic and maybe other vegetables. The pressure-cooked vegetables were tasty, and the salad was quite good.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Baby Artichokes with Kale Sprouts, Leftover Vegetables and Vegan "Cheese Sauce" over Maifun Noodles (Almost No Added Fat)

My wife picked up a new kind, to us, of chard that looked a little like bok choy. I picked up today kalettes™, a newly hybridized kale sprout (a cross between kale and Brussels sprout), and decided to cook these with baby artichokes waterlessly like I described preparing artichokes on February 24. I taught two Food for Life classes yesterday and had a vegan "cheesy sauce" made with, among other ingredients, nutritional yeast and cashews, leftover, as well as some vegetables. Here is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 3/4 of a medium onion cut into approx. 1" x 1/4" half moon slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 baby artichokes
  • Small (maybe 1/2" thick) slice of lemon, lime, or Meyer lemon
  • 6 ounce packet of kalettes, rinsed (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small bunch of chard cut into 1" length pieces from the stems through the leaves
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) freshly ground black pepper

Process
  1. I put the onion slices into a large Saladmaster stock pot.
  2. I prepared the baby artichokes as I've described before: "I removed the tough outer layers of leaves till I got to fairly tight and lighter colored ones, cut the bottoms and a little more of the tops off, then quartered them and placed them in lime juice to avoid discoloration." However, instead of placing them in lime juice (I actually used Meyer lemon), I Instead quickly coated the cut artichokes as I generated them and put them on top of the onion.
  3. I added the kalettes, then the chard.
  4. I turned the pan on medium high and covered until I heard the vapor release rattling. I then turned the heat down and cooked on low for about 20m.
  5. I squeezed the lemon for about a teaspoon of juice, and mixed that in, as well as the salt and pepper.
I heated the leftover vegetables and sauce, and made some maifun brown rice noodles (easy to make by boiling for 3m). I served the leftover vegetables over the noodles and put a dollop of "cheese sauce" on top. Chia and hemp seeds topped some tomato slices.

Though the sauce had cashews, each serving of the sauce has less than 2g of fat, so I will call this an almost no added fat meal. It looked good and wasn't difficult to make.


Results

Dinner was good. I like kale sprouts, and this was the first time I cooked them waterlessly.

Ideas for the future

Additional seasoning like black sesame seed and maybe jerk seasoning or some herbs would have enhanced the main course.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Baby Navy Beans, Whole Grain Pizzettes (No Added Fat)

I made a simple but tasty dinner. I cooked some baby navy beans (I soaked them overnight, rinsed, put them in my Instant Pot pressure cooker with just enough water to cover, and pressed the "Bean" button then the negative button twice to cook for 28m under high pressure; I added a little salt, oregano, and ginger, as well as a vegan bouillon cube, then, uncovered, ran the Instant Pot in the slow cook mode to keep it warm and cook off excess moisture for 15-25m or so till I was ready to serve) and served them with a little bit of salt in between two carrot halves. A simple pizzette of toasted whole grain English muffin topped with marinara, nutritional yeast, and vegetables, completed the meal. It was good!

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