Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Navy Beans with Artichoke Hearts and Kale (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • 1 cup baby navy beans, rinsed, soaked for 6 hours or more, and rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover navy beans
  • 1 cup artichoke heart quarters (I used frozen but fresh is interchangeable and fine)
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I used frozen but fresh is fine)
  • 3/4 cup chopped (3/8") onion
  • 1t lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1/2 t tarragon
  • 1/8 t (or to taste) salt
Process
  1. I put the navy beans, water, artichoke, and kale into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the onion, lime juice, tarragon, and salt.
I served with quinoa cooked with carrots, as well as tasty cherry tomatoes with olives.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, September 26, 2016

Split Peas with Vegetables, Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

I was interested in watching the first 2016 Presidential debate but my wife wasn't. She and my daughter went out, while I prepared a hearty split pea dinner for myself (and perhaps for lunch for my wife tomorrow) to eat while watching. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups split peas
  • 4 cups (normally split peas cook in a 1:3 ratio for 8-10m, but I wanted this to be thick and not a soup, so I went with less water and an 8-minute cook time to help ensure that there was enough water for cooking) water
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot cut into 3/8" slices (3 small-medium carrots)
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1/2" cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1T finely (1/8" or so) diced ginger
  • 2 cloves finely (1/8" or so) chopped garlic
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t black sesame seed
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes ( maybe 1/2 of a medium onion)
  • 1 cup bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt; I used a combination of Indian kala namak and Himalayan pink salts
  • 1/8 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the (italicized) onion, bell pepper, lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 8m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the rest of the ingredients.
I served with Jade Pearl rice (cooked in a 1:2 ratio rice:liquid [water and vegan bouillon cube] for 20m, though I could have used less water).

Results

I enjoyed dinner. The split peas still had a bit of firmness to them; it was fine, but for a smoother texture, I think a bit more cooking might have been good. I loved the lemon and salt in the dish!

Ideas for the future

A 9 or 10m cook time would have been better. The dish was just barely liquidy - I wonder if I could get away with maybe 1/4 or 1/2 cup less water. Some jalapeno would go well.

Labels: , ,

Split Peas with Vegetables, Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

I was interested in watching the first 2016 Presidential debate but my wife wasn't. She and my daughter went out, while I prepared a hearty split pea dinner for myself (and perhaps for lunch for my wife tomorrow) to eat while watching. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups split peas
  • 4 cups (normally split peas cook in a 1:3 ratio for 8-10m, but I wanted this to be thick and not a soup, so I went with less water and an 8-minute cook time to help ensure that there was enough water for cooking) water
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot cut into 3/8" slices (3 small-medium carrots)
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1/2" cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1T finely (1/8" or so) diced ginger
  • 2 cloves finely (1/8" or so) chopped garlic
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t black sesame seed
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes ( maybe 1/2 of a medium onion)
  • 1 cup bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt; I used a combination of Indian kala namak and Himalayan pink salts
  • 1/8 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the (italicized) onion, bell pepper, lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 8m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the rest of the ingredients.
I served with Jade Pearl rice (cooked in a 1:2 ratio rice:liquid [water and vegan bouillon cube] for 20m, though I could have used less water).
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cauliflower with Tempeh (Waterless with No Added Fat); Colonial Williamsburg dining and a great find in Richmond, VA

My daughter and I enjoyed two nights at Colonial Williamsburg and returned last night. I'll share some food notes about our trip at the bottom.

For dinner tonight, I thought that I'd use a head of cauliflower. I don't think that I've ever cooked cauliflower waterlessly (in a Saladmaster low temperature stainless steel pan with a vapor release top) before - and ended up with great results. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • Florets from medium head of cauliflower (5 cups)
  • Small bell pepper cut into 3/4" squares (a little over a cup) 
  • 4 ounces tempeh cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 t turmeric (or less for a lighter finished color)
  • 1/2 t black sesame seed
  • 1t fennel seed
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1t lemon juice
Process
  1. I put, in order, the onion, garlic, cauliflower, bell pepper, and tempeh into a large Saladmaster stock pot.
  2. I turned the heat on medium and covered the pan. When I heard the vapor release start to jiggle, indicating steam coming out of the vegetables, I turned the heat down to low to stop the jiggling and cooked for 20m.
  3. I mixed in the seasonings and lemon juice, and served with brown rice.
Results

Dinner was surprisingly good; we all enjoyed it. I was impressed with how good waterless cooking of cauliflower turned out, neither soggy nor firm and with flavor intact. The spicing was just right with a little dominance of the fennel taste.

Ideas for the future

I should cook cauliflower waterlessly more often. Other techniques of cooking, except perhaps sauteeing, which I've not done except incidentally when the cauliflower is a minor ingredient in a stir fry, seem to sap cauliflower of much of its mild flavor. A little "heat", such as with pieces of jalapeno, might be nice. Other possible ingredients to incorporate could be citrus zest and cabbage. I could have added the spices before cooking to spread their flavors more, but they came out well added at the end this time.


Food at Colonial Williamsburg, VA


Colonial Williamsburg! We had a great trip, enjoying seeing history come alive. We even met a girl (10 years old?) who loves it there so much that she blogs about it.

We generally enjoy getting at least good if not great vegan food when we're out. Williamsburg was a bit more challenging for us. We were told that all of the on-site restaurants had vegan options, but found that not to be true. For Wednesday's lunch, we stopped at Chowning's Tavern and were surprised to be told that even their vegetable sandwich had cheese built in. We took their recommendation and walked on to another charming restored tavern, Shields. They also had a vegetable sandwich, but were much more accomodating; they don't have cheese already cooked into the spinach (as the first restaurant said) and, though they weren't sure the bread was vegan, could serve grilled (cooked in a pan and not co-mingled with meat on a grill) vegetables with hummus.

The tavern fair was good and it was delightful setting. As we were eating, people dressed in period costumes came through to entertain us. My daughter really wanted to repeat the experience, perhaps at The King's Arms, which staff invited us to. I sure wish that they had more than one dish that they could cobble together. The food itself was good but oily.

I enjoy fine dining and feel that any chef, particularly at a good or excellent restaurant, should easily be able to craft an excellent vegan meal. Of course, I wish that all restaurants had significant vegan selections already on their menus. Fine dining restaurants, I would hope, would have at least one fabulous signature vegan dish.

I made reservations at the Terrace Room inside their beautiful Williamsburg Inn (rooms for approximately $400-600+ a night!!). Looking online, their menu doesn't appear to have a single vegan option. I had called and they assured me that their Chef could make a fine vegan meal. When we arrived, they had a small page of a vegan menu. None of the few items interested my 7-year-old, and the kind Chef said he could try to accomodate our desires. She wanted pasta and guacamole. I went for a quinoa cake and asked that Chef include beans with her pasta - he immediately kindly asked which kind of beans, and we requested black.

Our server brought out good guacamole with fried chips. I asked if the chips were fried with meat, and they were, so were taken back. A few minutes later, the server brought out a great choice, a plate of crispy romaine lettuce. My daughter's pasta was good but oily; it had cubes of carrot along with the beans and looked like it had been cooked in vegetable stock. I liked the small (ditalini?) and chewy pasta tubes. My dish was tasty but, again, a bit too oily.

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner - it's great to get out for fine dining in beautiful surroundings (they had a pianist, as well). The food was good and the staff was accomodating (almost all; one server couldn't understand that we didn't want butter or non-vegan bread), but the food wasn't really up to gourmet standards. We've had great experiences at other fine dining restaurants including at resorts such as the creative and tasty dishes that Disney that are readily available.

We had a poor lunch on our second day. We didn't have enough time for a tavern meal, though we sought the fun atmosphere. We tried Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop which is a quick service "grab and go" place. I was very disappointed that not even the salads were vegan; they had meat and/or cheese. One of the rolls appeared vegan, and we had it. There literally was nothing else there except for potato chips. We bought their fruit salad that had a carton of cow's milk yogurt in it and returned the yogurt so that it might be used. I apologized to my hungry daughter about chips - she's had potato chips rarely if at all, and didn't much like them. I had a Lärabar to help tide her over.

Next time that we visit Colonial Williamsburg, we'll try to arrange things so that we are near Merchants Square just west of the historic district. They have a variety of restaurants that may be good choices (but which I've not explored), such as possibly Aromas World, Seasons, or perhaps pizza at Stephanos Pizza. They also have a farmers' market at times. Further afield in town, I've read that good choices may be had at a variety of restaurants, such as Food for Thought, Istanbul Restaurant, Nawab Indian Cuisine, Lokal, and Chipotle.

All in all, we loved visiting Colonial Williamsburg, but sure wish that it might be a bit more accommodating to healthful whole food plant-based dining. The working class of 18th century Colonial Williamsburg typically ate corn hominy and other grain porridges, as well as simple soups, after all. A growing and significant number of people prefer to order vegan foods when eating out.

The good food news is that on our drive home, we stopped at Ellwood Thompson's in Richmond, VA, about 45m away and enroute home. It is a good grocery store with a fantastic prepared food bar! They have a sandwich bar with some good vegan choices. We ventured into the salad bar area and initially found a good hot bar with maybe half vegan items, a regular cold salad bar almost entirely vegan, and a raw bar with 1 vegetarian and 2 vegan items. Staff drew our attention to yet another hot bar, all (or almost all) vegan! They even had an extensive set of desserts in their bakery, most of which were vegan!

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sprouted Black-Eyed Peas with Cauliflower (No Added Fat)

My wife had soaked some black-eyed peas last week and they had mostly sprouted. I was thinking of making a simple saute with onions, black-eyed peas, and cherry tomatoes, but couldn't resist the ease and lack of supervision needed with cooking with my Instant Pot under pressure. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • About 3 cups of sprouted black-eyed peas (rinsed, soaked, and refrigerated for a few days till sprouted)
  • 3/4 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup carrot cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1T lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper
  • 1/2 t black sesame seed
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the lemon juice and seasoning into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 2 minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the lemon juice, turmeric, salt, lemon pepper, and sesame seed. I served with brown rice.
Results

Dinner came out great - we all loved it. It surpassed my expectations! I figured that the idea of cooked sprouted black-eyed peas would be good. It was seasoned just right with a good citrus base. The texture was great and I made the right decision not to include onion, something that I rarely do. In fact, the dish would be fine with garlic omitted, and then suitable for those who avoid onion and garlic.

Ideas for the future

I wouldn't change anything with this dish. It's fast and easy. I would like to cook with sprouted beans more!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Macaroni and "Cheese" with Baked Tofu (Almost No Added Fat, surprisingly)

My wife is traveling for business so I could make one of my daughter's favorite meals tonight, macaroni and "cheese". We picked up a package of Annie's brand shells and creamy sauce. our favorite brand of boxed macaroni and "cheese" is Daiya's, but I was happy to read that the Annie's one, even with the added soy milk needed to make the sauce, has only 2g of fat per box of 2 1/2 servings - so I can surprisingly claim "almost no added fat" for my serving!

I served some baked tofu and a large salad with the macaroni. Dinner was good.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Peruvian Giant Lima Beans with Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets (No Added Fat)

I was thinking of cooking Peruvian giant lima beans with cauliflower. Cauliflower very quickly softens into nice creaminess after just a minute or two of pressure cooking, and my original idea was to cook half of the florets from a head of cauliflower along with the beans for a creamy base, then add the rest at the end, letting them cook just a bit in the heat of the rest of the ingredients. While preparing for the meal, I found that I had some broccoli that needed to be used up, so switched to using broccoli instead for the lightly cooked cauliflower portion, with the benefit of the contrasting color. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 2 cups Peruvian giant lima beans, rinsed, soaked for 6 hours, and rinsed again
  • Enough water to just cover the beans
  • Half of a medium head cauliflower cut into florets (approx. 3 cups)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced (1/8" or so)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • Medium bell pepper (I used a yellow one but any color would be fine) cut into approximately 3/8" cubes (a bit more than 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into approximately 3/8" cubes
  • 1T lime juice
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
Process
  1. I put the beans and water, along with the cauliflower florets, bouillon cube, and garlic, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 28m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the broccoli, bell pepper, onion, lime juice, and seasonings.
  3. I served along with Jade Pearl rice (simmered for 20m in a 1 part rice to 1 1/2 part water radio and along with a vegan bouillon cube and pinch of salt) and tomato.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Polenta and Seitan (No Added Fat)

I came home a bit late and needed to get dinner on the table quickly. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 18 ounce packet of prepared polenta, cut into approx. 1" cubes
  • 8 ounce packet of seitan, cut into approx. 3/4" cubes
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 3/8" slices (about a cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8" or so) chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine, too)
  • 1/4 cup water
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for just 1 minute.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then served with noodles.
  3. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and added salt. I served with maifun brown rice noodles.
Results

Dinner was good. Polenta and seitan make a good combination.

Ideas for the future

I have only once, in June 2014, made polenta from scratch. I was scared off years ago when I read that the stirring can be tricky and can yield lumpy results, but that doesn't seem to be true. I should buy granulated cornmeal and experiment with many more polenta dishes. Greens and/or mushrooms would have gone well with tonight's meal!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Seminole Pumpkin with Red Beans (No Added Fat)

Last week at a local farmers' market, I picked up a "seminole squash" which seems to more commonly be called a seminole pumpkin. Since February 2015, I have enjoyed the great ease of cooking squash as my friend Lani Muelrath describes by just cooking, intact, with steam in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 8 minutes.

I thought that I'd make a red bean and squash dish. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 2 cups red beans, rinsed, soaked overnight, and rinsed again
  • Just enough water to cover the beans
  • 2 medium seminole pumpkins (or other winter squash)
  • 3/4 cup more water
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • (optional) 1 t black sesame seed
Process
  1. I was out but had my wife get the beans going by putting them, along with the water to just cover them, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and pressing the "Bean" button to cook for 30m.
  2. In the meantime, I used my second Instant Pot and pressure steamed, for 8 minutes, the two intact pumpkins. I also got some Madagascar Pink Rice going stovetop (in a 1 part to 1 3/4 part water ratio, simmered for 20m with a vegan bouillon cube and a bit of salt).
  3. After each of the pressure cookers was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure.
  4. I cut the two pumpkins in half and, after a few minutes when I could hold them, I used a tablespoon to remove the seeds. The pumpkin was fairly soft, so I scooped out approximately tablespoon sized pieces, composting both the seeds and skin.
  5. I mixed the pumpkin pieces with the beans, salt, cumin, and sesame seed.
Results

We all enjoyed dinner. The main course was better than I was expecting - it was tasty and filling.

Ideas for the future

I had considered adding a bit of lemon juice and maybe turmeric to the main course but it really was good as it was. I should do more cooking with beans and cooked vegetables.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Waterless Hemp Tofu with Kale and Carrot

Living Harvest "Tempt" brand non-soy hemp-based tofu was on sale today. I picked up an 8 ounce package of Chimichurri hemp tofu; my daughter and I enjoy tofu but my wife has difficulty digesting uncultured soy. We tried this in February 2014, when I made a simple saute. I decided to try cooking this tofu waterlessly with kale and carrots. (I was surprised that the tofu is 12g of fat per 4 ounce serving; for the three of us, we each got about 8g of fat from the tofu, so I'll list this as an almost no added fat dish, but it could easily be no added fat with conventional tofu.)


Ingredients
  • 1 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" half moons
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 3/8" lengths (just over a cup)
  • 8 ounces tofu cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 2 compressed cups kale, stems excepted and cut into approximately 1" squares
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t garlic powder

Process
  1. I put, in order, the onion, carrot, tofu, and kale into a lightly warmed (on medium heat) large Saladmaster stock pan
  2. I covered the pan and cooked on medium high till the vapor release lock started rattling, then I turned the heat down to low to minimize or stop the rattling
  3. I cooked for 15m or so then mixed in the seasonings and served with bagel halves topped with warm marinara and nutritional yeast.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mixed Bean-Lentil Soup with Spinach, Tomato, and Homegrown Fingerling Potato, served with Broccoli Sprouts and English Muffin Half with Herb-Garlic French-style Vegan Cheese (Almost No Added Fat)

Early today, my daughter asked for bean soup, pulling out a bag that I had of a dry bean mix (I think it had maybe a dozen types of beans and lentils). She loves soup, and I was happy to make it for her. My wife experimented with planting fingerling potatoes and harvested her first 3 or 4, which I also included in the soup.

A friend brought some herb-garlic Treeline brand cashew-based soft French-style "cheese" back from Washington, DC recently. It's tasty and the fat content is not excessive; 11g of fat per ounce, and the container contains 6 ounces. I used a smear, which couldn't have been more than 1/4 ounce (or less than 3g of fat), on an English muffin half for a side.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed beans, rinsed and soaked overnight, then rinsed one more time (the bean mix that I used were all small beans and included lentils, so a 4-hour soak time and 30-minute cook time was more than enough)
  • Medium tomato cut into 1/2" cubes (maybe 3/4 cup)
  • 3-5 fingerling (or other type) potatoes cut into 3/8" pieces
  • 8 ounces frozen (what I used) or fresh chopped spinach
  • 1t ginger, finely (1/8") chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into approx. 3/8" x 1 1/4" half moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped (I was running late when I started the cooking so skipped this, but added garlic powder to taste at the end)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Enough water to bring contents to about 5 1/3 cups total (I'm guessing maybe 2 1/2 or so cups)
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • (optional) 2T nutritional yeast
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the lemon juice, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and simply pressed the "Soup" button to pressure cook for 30m.
  2. When I was ready to serve, which happened to be several hours later (the machine keeps food warm for some hours), I was able to simply open the pot (otherwise, I'd want to slowly release pressure and open carefully)
  3. I mixed in the lemon juice, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast, and served, along with the English muffin and broccoli sprouts
Results

Everybody liked dinner!

Ideas for the future

I should make soups more often. This could have benefited from fresh garlic with the other ingredients instead of (or in addition to, perhaps) the garlic powder. A little bit of wine cooked with the soup would add a nice nuanced flavor. Other vegetables, like celery, carrot, and cabbage would go well cooked with this soup.

I should try a pasta e fagioli bean and pasta soup sometime. It sounds like it would be easy to just add uncooked pasta with the beans and other ingredients and cook together. I'll bet a rice and bean soup would be good, too!

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sauteed Tofu with Broccoli and Artichoke Hearts, Vegan Macaroni and Cheese with Mixed Vegetables

My wife ate on her own at an event today so I thought I'd delight my daughter and make some Daiya brand vegan macaroni and "cheese" with mixed vegetables. I also, on a cast iron pan with no oil, sauteed some tofu with broccoli, artichoke hearts, and onion; that was my main course and my daughter's side dish. Some kale (and, for me, radishes) completed the meal. It was good, filling, and tasty!



Labels: ,

Friday, August 19, 2016

Peachy Broccolini with Tempeh (No Added Fat)

I picked up some organic peaches today; they're in a brown bag ripening. I had the idea of cooking with a peach, and thought it might go along well with some broccolini that I also picked up.


Ingredients
  • Medium peach, just yielding to pressure but not yet fully ripe, cut into 3/8" cubes (a cup)
  • Medium broccolini (or small broccoli) stalk, stalk cut into 1/2" lengths (about a cup) and remaining florets cut down in length by half (about three cups)
  • Clove of garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 t salt
  • (optional) 1/2 t jerk seasoning
  • 4 ounces tempeh cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 cup onion cut into approx. 1 1/2" x 1/4" half moons
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the salt, jerk seasoning, tempeh, and onion into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for "zero" minutes - i.e., the machine came up to pressure then turned off.
  2. In the meantime, I sauteed in a cast iron pan with no added oil the tempeh and onion. I also made quinoa (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and a vegan bouillon cube simmered for 2 minutes then left off heat, covered, for about 10 minutes).
  3. When the Instant Pot was done, I waited a few minutes, carefully opened it, and mixed in the salt.
  4. My daughter doesn't like tempeh, so I served her the broccolini with cubes of tofu, but, for my wife and me, mixed in the tempeh and onion, along with jerk seasoning.
Results

Dinner was good; my wife particularly liked it. The peach flavor was subtle but the peach added nice moisture and a hint of fruitiness.

Ideas for the future

I should experiment with pressure cooking fruits like peach or mango. The combination with spicy flavors seems to work well, and the fruit moderates the heat of spices.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Green Lentil Pasta with Blistered and Salted Shishito (Padrón) Peppers and Artichoke Hearts, Bagel with Mustard (No Added Fat)

Recently, I found an interesting green lentil pasta in the store; it only has green lentil and quinoa flours as its two ingredients. At the local farmers' market today, I picked up very tasty sungold tomatoes (my daughter usually heads straight for these and we ate one of the two pints before we got home) and a new favorite of mine since I discovered them last year, shishito peppers (also known as padrón peppers).

I love simply putting these small peppers in a cast iron pan with no oil and, on medium heat, occasionally turning till dark and blistered. Letting them cool off a bit, I dip each pepper in salt (ideally, large grained salt) and enjoy. It's an adult pastime as the occasional pepper is fiery. But most of the time, it's a great taste with no heat.

I decided to make a simple lentil pasta with artichoke hearts (that I cooked in a Saladmater stock pot with no oil, along with shiitake mushroom for a few minutes, adding sungold tomato for just a minute or so) and olives. I blistered and salted the shishito peppers and topped the pasta and vegetables with the peppers.

We had picked up bagels today, and I served each of us a half toasted bagel with mustard. Cucumber slices completed the meal.

Results

Dinner was good. I should have made some sort of a sauce with the pasta; I had some marinara on hand, and was thinking of using it but didn't. The pasta itself didn't have an impressive texture or flavor, but I liked the ingredients and nutrition profile. I love blistered and salted shishitos, especially when I avoid hot ones!

Ideas for the future

I'll have to try additional experiments with these peppers. I like them just warm with salt, but found a number of interesting ideas online, such as one that includes garlic and green onion. I should try making more pasta dishes with mainly cooked vegetables and some interesting sauces, such as a low-fat béchamel or something like my July 2011 Alfredo.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cauliflower with Zucchini and Edamame (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
  • Medium zucchini cut into 3/4" cubes (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • Florets from a medium head of cauliflower (about 3 cups)
  • 2 minced (about 1/8" or smaller) cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • (optional) 1/4 t ground mustard
  • Small shallot, diced (app. 1/4" cubes)
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the shallot into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for "zero" minutes - i.e., I let it come up to pressure and then turn itself off.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then opened the pot and served, along with brown rice (cooked in a 1:2.5 ratio of rice to water, as well as a vegan bouillon cube, simmered for 45m, covered) and tomato slices.
Results

Dinner was good. I enjoyed the creaminess of the cauliflower.

Ideas for the future

I should make more dishes with soft, creamy pressure cooked cauliflower.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pasta and Tofu for Kiddo and Daddy (No Added Fat)

My wife had eaten on her own, so I made a simple tofu and pasta dish for my daughter and me.

Labels: , ,