Saturday, September 05, 2020

Quick Tofu and Vegetable Dinner just for me (no added fat)

I was grocery shopping and got home late; my family had leftovers. I love tofu and have a favorite dish that I make when it's late and I'm not cooking for my wife, who has trouble digesting tofu.
All I do is cut up some vegetables (or use frozen ones; I uesd fresh carrots and kale, and frozen green beans and bell peppers) and cube tofu (I used maybe 3/5 of a 1 pound package of extra firm tofu from Twin Oaks Farms, a favorite of mine), then cook in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 0-2 minutes (I think I went with 1 or 2 minutes). I then mixed in a little salt, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, and onion cut to about 3/8" cubes. I served with dabs of hot sauce, fresh tomato, and leftover rice.
It was predictably good! We have our next So Many Cooks event coming up and this one is on tofu. I'm thinking of demonstrating this - or maybe a chocolate tofu pie? Something else? It should be fun!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Nachos with Broccoli

I've been wanting to use my air fryer to make almost no fat tortilla chips for a while and today followed simple guidance I found from Leanne of crumbtopbaking. I used sprouted corn tortillas that have only 1.5g of fat for 2 tortillas; I cut the tortillas into triangles and put them with nothing else - no oil or anything - in a single layer in my Cuisinart air fryer's frying basket. I cooked them in air fry mode for 7 minutes at 350°F. They came out a nice light brown color and crispy!

I had made a pot of black beans with spinach, onion, salt, garlic powder, and a little bit tabasco sauce in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I also made a cheese sauce like I have in the past in my blender, but I only had a few cashews, so I also used almonds.

I simply served plates of the chips topped with the beans, onion, tomato, and cheese and salsa. I put a ring of cooked broccoli florets around the outside.
 
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Jacob's Cattle Beans (No Added Fat)

I have only cooked with Jacob's Cattle Beans once last October when I had made a stew out of fresh beans that I had found at a farmers' market - and now when I search the internet to look at how to prepare them (I found them this past weekend at Whole Foods Market in bulk) from dried beans, I have that earlier blog entry that comes up as the top or second hit! So now that I have dried I thought that I would experiment and, after rinsing and soaking overnight, I cooked in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 10 minutes.

I loved the beans freshly cooked - they were creamy and full of flavor. I snacked on a bit of them before continuing to prepare the dish.

I mixed in some onion, garlic, two kinds of hot sauce, roasted red bell pepper, spinach, a bit of salt, lemon pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, and fresh basil leaves. I also made brown rice and a cucumber-olive salad with dried oregano, lemon juice, ume plum vinegar, and a touch of salt and lemon pepper.
 
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Quinoa with Apricot and Vegetables, Tempeh (No Added Fat)



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Saturday, July 18, 2020

"Around the Power Plate" Beans with Wheat Berries, Kale, and Peach (No Added Fat)

Today was our third show of So Many Cooks in the Kitchen, a group that I help to organize where we go kitchen-to-kitchen cooking and talking nutrition among Food for Life instructors (check out our 1-minute promo). The show was live, but a recorded livestream can be viewed. Eventually, this will be edited into approximately half hour parts and aired on Plant-Based Network for which I am on the Advisory Committee.

I presented on peaches and nectarines. Our team of about a dozen instructors put a document together with our recipes; that is available at bit.ly/soManyFruitsRefs.

I am pretty good about coming up with new recipes. I guess the fact that in more than 16 years of knowing my wife I haven't repeated a dinner for her helps. I had made some general comments in the episode document last night but then thought I should be more specific, so I created a recipe and only tried the results after I demonstrated making it. My family loved it; I suspected that this unusual combination would work.

In the Food for Life program, we recommend eating from the Power Plate of Legumes (our first SMCK show), Vegetables (our second show), Fruits, and Grains (our next show with date TBD but likely in mid-August 2020). I thought that it would be neat to make a dish that featured ingredients from each of the sections of the Power Plate. Here is what I did, demonstrating this quickly at the tail end of my cooking segment on today's show.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup hard (or soft) wheat berries, rinsed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups prepared beans; I recommend black beans or red kidney beans, but other kinds will work
  • 1 1/2 cups kale leaves hand-torn and cut into roughly 1" squares (stems excepted; they can be composted or otherwise discarded); alternately, use a cup of Swiss Chard, stems and all, cut into 1" strips perpendicular to the stem
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion cut into approximately 3/8" cubes (you can substitute yellow onion)
  • 1 or 2 medium peaches or nectarines, ripe or still just firm (not very hard) but with no green, cut into approximately 1/2" - 3/4" squares
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • (optional) 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) salt; try fleur de sel
  • (optional) 1/4 lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper
Process
  1. Put the wheat berries with three times as much water in a pressure cooker (I used my Instant Pot) and cook for 30 minutes; alternately, cook for 40-50 minutes stovetop (bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover); set aside till warm or at room temperature (the wheat berries can be made in advance and refrigerated)
  2. Work with the beans
    • If using prepared (canned, for example) beans, mix in the greens, onion, and peaches, and warm for a few minutes until the greens cook down a bit and the fruit glistens, gently and partially caramelized
    • If making beans, as I did, just add the greens, onion, and peaches to the hot beans when they are ready, and mix. Depending on how hot the beans are, the greens and fruit will be ready within a few minutes, but you can also cover and let sit for a few more minutes to cook a bit more
  3. Mix in the lemon or lime juice and, if you are using it, the salt and/or pepper, as well as the room temperature or cool wheat berries
  4. Serve with a garden salad or tomato wedges
Results

I served this for dinner several hours after the show. My intuition was right - the combination worked well! My whole family loved the meal; we each had seconds - and had enough to share with neighbors and keep for leftovers (I increased the quantities of ingredients by about a quarter so they would be easier to show up on camera; realistically, then, the quantities I have here would be enough for a family of five or so).

I served with just a little bit of salt and no black pepper. Salt just didn't go so well with this dish, though my wife did prefer a little salt. When I had seconds, I used some citrus fleur de sel, which was fine, but I don't think really necessary.

Ideas for the future

In today's show, I also made skillet peach/nectarine (so yummy and easy; just cook for 3-4 minutes over medium-low to medium heat, flipping once) and deglaze with lime/lemon juice mixed with cinnamon if you wish) and peach/nectarine "ice cream" (just blending frozen fruit with plant milk or a vegan creamer). I should cook with peaches/nectarines more often and not just obvious desserts. I like how the fruit contrasts with the other ingredients in this kind of savory dish and how all the ingredients differentiate themselves from each other. I also should cook with wheat berries more often; the chewy texture is inviting.

Although my family loved the dish, I think it could be improved. I knew salt wouldn't really complement the dish, but I wonder if fresh basil or celery seed (my wife doesn't like the taste of celery; I used to commonly use celery seed and should try it with her - I can't remember how she reacted to it) might work.

Another idea is to make some sort of a vegan "cheese" sauce, perhaps out of cashews. However, my whole family remarked at how creamy the dish was, so I don't think more creaminess is needed; also, the dish has no added fat and I don't see the benefit of adding creamy fat to it (on the other hand, it would be worth experimenting with vegan "cheese" chunks with skillet cooked fruit!). Maybe a small amount of chopped walnuts? I would have enjoyed some crispness in the dish.

At any rate, I should experiment with more fruit-savory dishes. I love the idea of going around the Power Plate, and should do that with main courses occasionally.

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Thursday, July 09, 2020

'Breakfast for Dinner' - Vegan Field Roast Sausage with Air Fried (no oil) Hashed Brown Potatoes

I thought that I would make a simple dinner tonight. We had some Field Roast vegan sausages on hand. I used my nifty hand-operated Saladmaster (I love their high quality stainless steel pans which I guess other than cast iron I now exclusively use) food processor to shred potato, which I air fried in my Cuisinart air fryer along with the sausage, adding nothing else (no oil). I served with some tomato slices. We all enjoyed it!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Massaged Kale Salad with Mango, Kale with Beans (No Added Fat)

Today we had our second So Many Cooks in the Kitchen show, So Many Vegetables, and I worked with kale. I made a massaged kale salad with mango, as well as a bean and kale dish. Along with tomatoes, it was our yummy dinner!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Kala Channa with Greens and Tomato (No Added Fat)

I loved kicking off the new show So Many Cooks in the Kitchen (the livestream is available online and an edited version will soon be on the Plant-Based Network!) this past Saturday all about beans. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago - I love working with fellow Food for Life instructors; they're all so knowledgeable about food and nutrition. We formed a group to periodically go online and teach in rapid-fire fashion kitchen-to-kitchen.

This time, our topic was beans and next time we'll move on to vegetables. Each of us had about 6-8 minutes to share from our kitchens. I showed how to cook beans and talked about a few varieties.

Today, I made kala channa  (a chickpea variety, also known as black chickpea or Bengal gram; it takes longer to cook but results in a nice, nutty and more textured result). Combined with a few spices, greens, and fresh tomato, it made a healthful, easy, tasty, and colorful dinner. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups dried kala channa (you could also just use dried chickpea - or even canned and skip cooking - and cook for less time)
  • 3/4 cup frozen chopped or fresh kale; if fresh, roughly hand tear from stems (composting or otherwise discarding stems) into approximately 1 1/2" pieces
  • 2/3 t turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder or garlic granules
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground pepper)
  • 1/2 chili powder (to taste; can certainly be omitted or increased)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion or, if not available, yellow onion, cut into large 1" pieces
  • 2T lime or tangerine juice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
Process
  1. Sort through the chickpeas, removing any debris like leaves or branches, rinse, and soak in ample water for at least 3-5 hours, but ideally overnight. Discard soaking water, and rinse again.
  2. Put chickpeas into Instant Pot pressure cooker along with just enough water to cover the chickpeas.
  3. Add the kale and spices and cook under pressure for 40-45 minutes. Black chickpeas do take significantly longer to cook than regular chickpeas. If you are using regular chickpeas, cook for 20-25 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas are cooking, put the onion in a cast iron pan with no oil and cook, stirring once in a while, over medium high. Let the onion get nicely charred for a tasty carmelized touch.
  5. After the cooking is done, you can wait a few minutes and gently released pressure, or do as I did, and cook at least a half hour in advance and let the pressure naturally reduce.
  6. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and added lime juice and tomato. I added the onion at the table since my daughter doesn't like much onion (but she loved how carmelized the Vidalia onion was).
I served with brown rice and an avocado piece.
Results

We all loved dinner. It's been a while since I've made kala channa; it has a stronger flavor than regular chickpeas and is fun to make and enjoy. The spicing was good, though I'd add more cumin or perhaps garam masala for spice lovers, as well as more heat, perhaps including some serrano or jalapeno pepper.

Ideas for the future

Some of my homemade vegan yogurt would go well with such a channa dish; if I did use the yogurt, I'd probably also want to increase the spiciness. I could use more vegetables, such as chopped carrot, additional greens like spinach and, to increase the flavor, mustard greens. Turnip greens would also be good. While the fresh tomato was good, cooked green tomato or tomato paste would also be a nice variation. 

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

Black-Eyed Peas Stew (No Added Fat)

I was going to make a simple black-eyed pea side dish but ended up focusing on the black-eyed peas. I rinsed about a cup of them, soaked them overnight in ample water, and rinsed them again. I put them in my Instant Pot pressure cooker and added a clove of garlic, minced finely; 1/4 of a bunch of rainbow chard, cut across into 1" or so lengths; a small-medium sweet potato cut into approximately 3/8" cubes; 2 medium tomatoes cut into 3/4" cubes; and 1/2 t ground cumin seed, 1/4 t lemon pepper, and 1/4 t garlic powder. I cooked under pressure for only 5 minutes.

In the meantime, I cooked without oil a little onion and frozen corn just for 2 minutes or so, and then added tricolor quinoa in a ratio, as usual, of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, plus a pinch of salt. I brought it to a boil and cooked for a few minutes on low, then turned the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes.

I got some particularly sweet Vidalia onions last weekend, so quickly grilled some slices. When I was ready to serve, I mixed in to the black-eyed peas fresh squeezed pixie tangerine juice from one small tangerine (I've loved the pixies we're getting and using them instead of lime or lemon juice) and 1/2 t salt. I served the black-eyed pea dish with the quinoa and a salad of cucumber and white carrot, with onion atop.

Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Baby Navy Beans with Field Peas, Brussels Sprouts, and Japanese Sweet Potato (No Added Fat)

I did the equivalent of soaking a cup of baby navy beans overnight in plenty of water (I put them in my Instant Pot pressure cooker with ample water anc cooked for zero minutes) and later rinsed them. I put them in my Instant Pot with 1/2 cup of field peas and enough water to just cover. I also added a Japanese sweet potato cut into 3/8" cubes, a half dozen Brussels sprouts each cut into about eighths, 2 cloves of garlic finely diced (1/8" or so), a carrot cut into 5/8" lengths and then quartered, a vegan bouillon cube, and pinches of curry powder and ground cumin seed. I cooked for 15 minutes under pressure.

When the dish was done, I mixed in a bit of lemon juice, 1/8 cup onion cut into 3/8" pieces, and salt to taste. I also served white rice (which I rarely do but I didn't have enough time to make brown rice) and tomato slices.


Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Lady Cream Pea Soup with Vegetables, Bagel with Brushcetta (Almost No Added Fat)

This was the first time all winter that we had snow; it was coming down reasonably fast but with temperatures above freezing, not much stuck. Though it wasn't so cold, I thought that soup was in order. I had some dried Lady Cream Peas (so named but really beans) and decided to try using them in a soup.

I put maybe a cup of the peas and a quarter cup of green split peas into my Instant Pot pressure cooker with ample water (maybe four parts water to beans), along with garlic, onion, ripped kale leaves, thickly cut carrot, a Russet potato cut into 1/2" cubes, and 1/2 garam masala.

I cooked under pressure for 12 minutes. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in salt. I served with whole wheat bagels with bruschetta (only 2g of fat per serving, and we had less than a full serving per bagel half, so I'll list this as almost no added fat.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

Friday, January 03, 2020

Air Fried Sunchoke with Vegan Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage (Almost No Added Fat)

I had some sunchokes and decided to air fry them. We had some Field Roast vegan sausages; I cut them into long pieces and cut the sausages into halves, then air fried, along with some rings of onion, at 350°F for 9m then 425°F for 2m. I also made mixed vegetables with spinach, cooked waterlessly, and a salad with tomato, cucumber, radish, salt, freshly ground black pepper, lime juice, and ume plum vinegar. The sausages have 7g of fat per link and one link sufficed for the three of us, so I'll call this an "almost no added fat" meal.
Results

Dinner was good. The sunchokes were crispy; my wife enjoyed that texture and I did, too (though my daughter didn't), but I think I'd like to try them roasted or maybe boiled.

Ideas for the future

I should get sunchokes again and try roasting them or maybe trying them raw and diced in a salad.

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Thursday, January 02, 2020

Black-Eyed Peas with Brussels Sprouts (New Year's Hoppin' John inspiration), Baked Potato, Guacamole (No Added Fat, Gluten-Free)

Happy 2020! It's tradition in the south of the U.S. to start the new year with Hoppin' John. We ate out on New Year's Day due to schedule issues, so this was our first home dinner of the year and, while I didn't make a traditional Hoppin' John, I made a main course inspired by it.

I did a waterless black-eyed pea dish. I put into a Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, chopped onion (and I would have put in a clove or two of garlic if I wasn't out; I did have garlic greens, which I added later), fresh black-eyed peas, Brussels sprouts cut into approximately 1/4" cubes, bell pepper, garam masala, turmeric, kala namak (black salt), and freshly ground black pepper, as well as a few tablespoonfuls of stewed tomato. 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, then I mixed in some lemon juice and salt.

I also made (10 minutes under pressure in my Instant Pot pressure cooker) baked potato. I mixed avocado with lemon juice, onion, garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and served this guacamole atop a lettuce leave. An optional (not gluten-free) garlic cracker/chip topped the guacamole.

Results

We all enjoyed dinner. The black-eyed peas were well spiced and hearty.

Ideas for the future

I should explore more black-eyed pea ideas. What about a mash mixed with vegetables? Or mashed patties air fried?

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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Waterless Seitan, Potato, and Green Beans with Garlic Simmer Sauce; Israeli Couscous with Peas (Almost No Added Fat)

I decided to make a waterless dish in a large Saladmaster stock pan. I cooked waterlessly some potato and seitan - i.e., I put in garlic, onion, seitan, diced Yukon Gold potato, and frozen green bean pieces, 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 like Frontera Foods' conveniently packages sauces; nevermind that they describe them as appropriate for carnivorous dishes, these are good for plant-based dishes and are reasonable in fat content. I used one of their garlic sauces and mixed it in to the dish, then cooked, stirring a few times, for another minute or so.

I also made an Israeli couscous dish by sauteing a bit of onion, then adding a cup of the Israeli couscous, 1 1/4 cups water, 3 leaves of kale (roughly hand torn -skipping the stems, which I put in our compost bound container - into about 3/4" pieces), a few shakes of salt, 1/8 t or less of turmeric, and about 1/3 cup of frozen green peas. I brought to a boil and cooked on low heat, covered, for about 8-10 more minutes.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Field Peas with Brussels Sprouts and Red Chard, Volcano Rice (No Added Fat, Gluten Free)

I had some dried field peas; I made a dish with them a month or two ago and thought I'd make another one. I read an article extolling their virtues and suggesting a 30m cook time. I tried 6m under pressure.

I soaked about 3/4 cup of field peas for about 5 hours then drained, covered with enough water to just cover, and cooked along with a cup of chopped red chard (chopped into 1/2" squares) for 6 minutes under pressure. In the meantime, I cooked 1/2 cup of Brussels sprouts by briefly putting them in the blender.  started heating a Saladmaster stock pan under medium heat with 1/8 cup of onions cut into 1/4" cubes, then added the Brussels sprouts once the onion was warm. 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 combined the cooked field peas, Brussels sprouts, and pinches of garam masala, turmeric, cumin, salt, lemon pepper, and garlic powder, along with a tablespoon of Meyer lemon juice and about 2 T of additional raw onion chopped into 1/4" cubes. I served with volcano rice and a macadamia nut milk smoothie with blueberry and mango.

Results

The meal came out well, though I think it could have been more flavorful. My wife quite liked the meal.

Ideas for the future

A little bit of jalapeno or hot sauce would work well with the main course. I should experiment with cooking chopped Brussels sprouts more, perhaps mixing in a sauce of some sort.

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