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.


Ideas for the future


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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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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!


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.


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.


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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Monday, August 27, 2018

Thai Red Curry Tempeh and Pepper w Jasmine Rice and Avocado (No Added Fat)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Root Vegetable Hash Brown, Baby Lima Beans (No Added Fat)

I made a Yukon Gold-sweet potato-carrot hash cooked on a cast iron pan, plus a waterless baby lima bean and greens dish, along with a mixed tomato and olive salad. Dinner was good!

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Air Fried Tofu, Waterlessly Cooked Kale and Vegetables (No Added Fat)

My wife ate on her own but I waited till after midnight to enjoy dinner with her cousin, visiting with us for a few days. I made air fried tofu by cutting tofu into approximately 3/8" x 1" x 2" pieces, dredging in a mixture of nutritional yeast + salt + jerk seasoning, and air frying first for 6m at 375°F, then for 4m more at 425°F. I served the tofu with a waterlessly cooked mix of kale, bell pepper, and onion, as well as brown rice that I had made in the pressure cooker (1 part rice to 1 3/4 parts water cooked with a touch of salt for 20m).

Fried tofu (with no oil!) always comes out well in the air fryer, and my wife's cousin quite enjoyed it. I thought that the vegetables were a bit "flat" but my wife's cousin liked them.

Ideas for the future

Waterless cooking is nice, but I should be sure to use more vegetables. Having some cauliflower or broccoli might have been nice.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

India's Independence Day Dinner - Split Red Lentil with Roasted Red Pepper, Basmati Rice, and Blistered Fushimi Chile Peppers (No Added Fat)

Today is Indian's Independence Day! My wife had the suggestion of putting a dinner together that has orange, white, and green from the Indian flag and I agreed that it was a good idea. (The Indian flag picture here is from and is in the public domain.)

I thought that I'd make a "striped" plate with white Basmati rice in the center (we prefer the taste and nutrition of whole grain rice, but white Basmati is also tasty and welcome for an occasional change). I chose split red lentils to form the basis of the leftmost stripe and some Fushimi chile peppers that I found at the local farmers' market a few hours earlier.

The farmers' market visit was quite productive. Among my purchases were these three interesting items, including two that were new (to me):

  • Fushimi frying pepper or chile pepper, said to be like the shishito pepper that I enjoy but with less heat and more flavor,
  • Petit Mersaillais pepper, a sweet yellow pepper
  • Habanada pepper, looking and tasting like Habaneros but with no heat (I have have had these before)

  • Split red lentils cook in a 1:2.25-2.5 ratio of lentils to water for 13-18m; I went with a ratio of about 1:2.25 and 18m cook time. To make the dish more orange than yellow, I blended some roasted red peppers in. Here is what I did:

    • 1 1/2 cup lentils
    • 3 1/2 cups water
    • (optional) 1 -  1 1/2 cups green tomato cut into 3/8" cubes (I used a small tomato which yielded a cup)
    • 1T ginger, finely (1/8") grated
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped
    • 1t turmeric
    • 1/2 t cumin seeds
    • 1/2 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4"x3/4" slivers
    • 2T lemon juice
    • 1/4 t garlic powder
    • 3/4 t salt
    • 4 roasted red bell peppers (about 1/2 of a 16 ounce bottle)
    • (optional) 6 Habanada peppers cut into quarters lengthwise
    1. I put the lentils, water, green tomato, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cumin into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 18m.
    2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt.
    3. It looked good but needed to be more orange, so I blended the dish with the roasted red peppers.
    4. Finally, I mixed in the Habanada peppers which were surprisingly close in color to the lentil dish.
    I also made white basmati rice (1: 1.5 ratio of rice to water simmered for 15-20 minutes (I used 1 1/4 cups rice and approximately 2 cups water). Finally, I cooked on cast iron over medium heat Fushimi peppers till slightly blistered.

    Wow, dinner came out better than I had expected! I've tried for some time to get a thick dhal and today's dish was just right - any less water and I'd get some sticking. I was surprised how nicely yellow the red peppers made the main dish. We all enjoyed the taste and colors.

    Ideas for the future

    I should experiment with more color tuning in general, using foods and not coloring to harmonize my plates even more than I usually do. More rice would have been welcome. An option with the Habanada peppers could be to blend, taking away the chunk they contributed.

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    Tuesday, August 07, 2018

    Beans with Sungold Tomato atop Bagel, Squash and Purple Potatoes, Corn-off-the-Cob (No Added Fat)

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    Friday, August 03, 2018

    Udon Noodles with Air Fried Vegetables and Tofu/Vegan Sausage, Tomato and Olive Salad, Sweet Potato (No Added Fat)

    With my daughter's help (she loves udon noodles, and so do my wife and I), I made an udon noodle dish tonight. We chopped golden zucchini, shallot, and broccoli into small 3/8" chunks and air fried at 350°F for 6 minutes. I also had my daughter include some tofu pieces dredged in nutritional yeast/sesame seeds/salt, and a Field Roast brand vegan sausage cut into 1/4" pieces and halved; the tofu went with her meal and some with mine, and the sausage went with my wife's meal and some with mine.

    The noodles took 7m to cook on a low boil. I put the vegetables/tofu/sausage atop the noodles. My wife got some hot sauce and my daughter and I got soy sauce. A tomato and olive salad with ume plum vinegar, salt, and pepper, as well as sweet potato (cooked in the Instant Pot), completed the meal.

    We all loved dinner!

    Ideas for the future

    I had forgotten, but wanted to include ginger with the noodles; I should cook with udon noodles more often and remember to pair them with a good sauce and ginger.

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