Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spicy Brussels Sprouts, Jade Pearl Rice with Edamame, Kabocha Squash with Cranberry Sauce (No Added Fat, Gluten Free)

We are in the midst of Thanksgiving! We host the country's largest single-extended seating Thanksgiving with about 650 people expected on Thanksgiving Day! We had an event on Sunday at Vegan Flava Café with about 100 people, and a second Pre-Thanksgiving yesterday at Kipos Greek Taverna, also with about 100 people.

For tonight, my daughter and I came home with her hungry and wanting miso soup with tofu, and that's what I quickly put together for her. I took advantage of my daughter's not eating with us to make a spicier dish than normal for my wife and me. I thought I'd make a dish featuring Brussels sprouts.

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed, then very ends and outer leaves removed, and finally halved (approximately 2 dozen sprouts, about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1t each jalapeno and ginger, finely (1/8" or so) diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/8 t (or to taste) salt
  • pinch or two of turmeric
  • Dozen or so rosemary needles, halved
  • 1t fresh lemon juice
  1. I put the water and steamer trivet into my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  2. I put the Brussels sprouts on top of the trivet in the pressure cooker, being careful that none fell through the gaps, and pressure steamed for 2 minutes.
  3. When I was ready to serve dinner, I opened the Instant Pot slowly, and mixed the Brussels sprouts with the jalapeno, ginger, onion, salt, turmeric, rosemary, and lemon juice.
I also heated up a half Kabocha squash and made some Jade Pearl rice (1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water, along with some onion and edamame), and served along with some (purchased) cranberry sauce.


Dinner was good. I was happy with how nicely cooked the Brussels sprouts were. After I mixed all the ingredients, I was left wanting more heat, so added maybe 1/2 t of a spicy jerk seasoning. It came out well, but could have used something more - perhaps capers, lemon zest, or something else. The rice with edamame was good!

Ideas for the future

I like the idea of making a main course Brussels sprouts dish where the sprouts really shine, like I did today. I'd like to try using citrus zest and capers, as well as maybe something crunchy, like Napa Cabbage.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kabocha Squash stuffed with Black Beans and Shallot and topped with Pomegranate, Multi-grain Bread with Tomato, Leftover Giant Peruvian Lima Bean - Sweet Potato Vegetable Soup (No Added Fat)

When my daughter and I came home from an activity that she was involved with, she and my wife were hungry, so I wanted to put a quick meal together. I had soup leftover from Tuesday and the bean filling for the lasagne from Wednesday.

I love kabocha squash, and purchased one recently. I have enjoyed using my friend Lani Muelrath's tip for pressure cooking acorn squash, intact, in the pressure cooker for 8 minutes, and thought I'd do the same for the kabocha squash, as this has worked well for butternut squash. Here is what I did:

  • 1 rinsed but uncut kabocha squash
  • 1 cup water
  • Cooked black beans optionally with vegetables like corn and onion or shallot (I had leftover from the day before yesterday)
  • 1 t spicy seasoning of choice (I used a jerk seasoning, but red chili powder or a hot sauce could have worked)
  • (optional) 1/4 t cinnamon
  • (optional) 2T pomegranate kernels
  1. I put the water and steamer trivet into my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  2. I rinsed and put, intact and atop the trivet in the pressure cooker, the squash, and pressure steamed for 8 minutes.
  3. I gave the pot 6-10 minutes to cool down then slowly released remaining pressure and opened it.
  4. I cut the squash easily in half and removed the seeds. The squash wasn't yet done, however.
  5. I put the cut squash back on the trivet in the Instant Pot, and added an uncovered bowl of beans and shallot leftover from the lasagne from Wednesday to reheat.
  6. I ran another pressure steam cycle, this time for 3 minutes.
  7. I put the squash halves in each of two plates (my daughter, alas, doesn't like squash, so she got everything but the squash), and filled with the beans.
  8. I sprinkled the jerk seasoning on top and, along the edges of the squash, the cinnamon, and tossed the pomegranate kernels on top.
I also heated up Tuesday's soup, adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of wine. Some lightly toasted mixed grain bread with tomato and olive completed the meal.


The squash was good but still undercooked. I'm not sure if the pomegranate and bean combination was as good as just having one or the other, but it was still a nice main course. I liked the flavor that the wine added to the soup.

Ideas for the future

I love kabocha squash and will try again, perhaps with a cook time of 14-16 minutes. My brother's family in California sent us fresh pomegranates from their garden, so I'll have to continue integrating pomegranates into my cooking for the next week or so, unless we eat all the kernels fresh.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Diwali Pumpkin and Black Bean Lasagne (No Added Fat, Gluten-Free)

Today was the Diwali holiday and we had one of my daughter's sweet friends over. He is gluten-free, so I picked up some rice lasagne noodles and marinara sauce. I used layers of pumpkin from the stew from a few days ago, as well as layers of black beans that I had made in the Instant Pot.

Dinner was great! The children each had three servings of the lasagne!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giant Peruvian Lima Bean - Sweet Potato Vegetable Soup (No Added Fat)

My daughter requested a soup for dinner and I thought I'd take advantage of the creamy Giant Peruvian lima beans that we all love. I hadn't soaked any beans, so, as soon as I got home, I soaked some beans in boiling water for about a half hour as I prepared the other ingredients. Here is what I did:

  • 1 cup Giant Peruvian Lima beans
  • Boiling water to amply cover beans (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1 cup carrot cut into approximately 1/2" slices
  • 2 cups sweet potato cut into approx. 1" circles approx. 3/8" thick
  • 1t ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups broccolini cut into 1/4" pieces (throughout the length, including stalk and florets)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8" or so) chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups onion cut into thick half moons (approx. 3/8" x 1")
  • Small bell pepper, roasted (see yesterday's meal description for instructions) and cut into approx. 1/2" squares (my pepper was small and I ended up with maybe 1/3 cup, but would have liked 1/2 cup or so)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • 1/4 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 3T nutritional yeast
  • Spices to taste (my suggested starting point is in parentheses): salt (1/4 t), ground cumin seed (1/8 to 1/4 t), cinnamon (just a pinch), tarragon (1/8 t), and garlic powder (1/2 t)
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 t or to taste
  1. I rinsed the beans and then let them soak in the first batch of boiling water while I was working on the rest of the ingredients (about a half hour), then rinsed the beans and put them in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, along with the 6 cups of boiling water.
  2. I added all of the remaining ingredients except salt and pushed the "Soup" button, which results in 30 minutes of pressure cooking.


My wife and daughter quite liked the soup. I thought it was fine but bland. This was the one exception I've found so far to Peruvian Lima beans making for great dishes.

Ideas for the future

I'm not sure what would make this soup better. Some chunks of potato may help, and maybe some wine cooked into the soup.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Pumpkin Stew atop Quinoa Noodles with Pear (Almost No Added Fat, Gluten-Free)

I had good experiences with a pumpkin stew that I made two days before Halloween and thought I'd try using a pie pumpkin that I purchased a few days ago as a base for another dish. I usually cook with no added fat, but tonight thought I'd try using a little peanut butter, reminiscent of a stew that I made two years ago, as well an another stew that I made in August 2012.

Peanut butter has 15g of fat in 2T and I was cooking for three, so I figured, to keep each serving down to about 3g of fat, I'd use almost 2T, since I expected there to be leftovers. In fact, about a third was leftover, so this dish really was enough for 4, or, since other ingredients didn't contribute much fat, a bit less than 4g of fat. I'll classify it as "almost no added fat".

  • Small pie pumpkin (mine fit into the pressure cooker but, otherwise, I'd first cut it into smaller pieces so it would fit; it should end up, after being cut up, to be about 6 cups of pumpkin)
  • A cup of water (enough to be below the steamer basket)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, roasted and cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups; I fire roasted till charred, put into a small brown paper bag and crinkled the bag shut, then maybe 10m later, removed the pepper, rinsed the charred skin off, cut in half, removed membranes and seeds, then chopped)
  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, finely (1/8") diced (about a teaspoonful)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Spices to taste as with the earlier pumpkin stew (my suggested starting point is in parentheses): salt (1/4 t), ground cumin seed (1/8 to 1/4 t), cinnamon (just a pinch), and tarragon (1/8 t), but skipping garlic powder (1/2 t), since I used fresh garlic), as well as 1/4 t turmeric - cook with 1/8 cup water 2m
  • 1c marinara sauce
  • 1/4 t oregano
  1. I put the pumpkin atop a steamer basket and the cup of water in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  2. I waited a few minutes then slowly let out remaining pressure. When the pumpkin was cool enough to handle, I cut in half, scooped out the seeds, and removed the skin with a knife. I cut the flesh into 3/4" cubes and found that the pumpkin wasn't quite done; I guess the 6m cook time may have been enough for the chopped pumpkin but not intact.
  3. I rinsed the pot of the pressure cooker, removing the steamer insert, then put the pumpkin pieces, as well as all of the other ingredients except marinara and oregano, into the pot and cooked for 2 minutes.
  4. I waited till pressure decreased, then opened the Instant Pot. The dish was good but needed a bit more flavor. I added the cup of marinara (acidic sauces, to me, ask for more salt, so I also added a pinch more salt) and oregano, and was pleased with the result.
I made some quinoa pasta and served the pumpkin mix atop it. I wanted to serve tomato wedges as well, but we only had a small tomato, so I used pear. I guess it was appropriate because just a few hours earlier I was teaching a middle school food class and had my students doing a challenge of inventing both a raw and a cooked dish just out of fruit.


Wow, the main course came out great! I like the subtle taste of peanut butter and the thickening that it provided to the dish. I added hot sauce at the table, and the pumpkin benefited from the "kick".

Ideas for the future

I was very pleased with this. I wonder if I had pressure steamed the intact pumpkin for 3 or so more minutes if it would have been well cooked. On the other hand, I like how things worked out with the pumpkin not quite done and then letting it cook a bit more with other ingredients. I should explore more cooking with just a touch of peanut or other nut butter.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Edamame, Turnip, Parsnip, Carrot, and Kale Soup, Pumpkin Bread, and Quinoa

I wanted to put something easy together for dinner before going out trick or treating with my daughter. She expressed interest in soup, so that's what we had. I simply put into my Instant Pot all the ingredients and cooked for 12 minutes.

I don't have details of quantities, since I did this quickly, but I used:

  • Turnip root, cubed
  • Parsnip, sliced
  • Carrot, sliced
  • Onion, in small half moons
  • Kale, roughly hand torn into 1/2" or so squares
  • Miso
  • About 5 or 6 cups of water
  • Edamame, shelled and frozen
  • Peas, frozen
I cooked all of these ingredients except the frozen ones; I added the frozen ones after the 12m cook time, and covered the pot again to allow the peas and edamame to cook in the existing heat.

I also served some pumpkin bread toast topped with tomato and olive, and simple, plain quinoa. Everybody loved the soup!

This was the first time, other than with dhals or split peas, that I've made a soup in the Instant Pot, as far as I can remember. I was wondering if I should use a simple 3m or so cook time, but decided that all of the water may make a difference (I think the "Soup" button starts off with a 30m cook time), so went with 12m. I think it was a good choice; the tastes were nicely mixed together. I'll bet soups would be even more flavorful with the slow cooking function of the Instant Pot or just cooked for longer, perhaps 15-18 minutes. I'll have to try more soups in the Instant Pot!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pressure Cooked Tofu and Vegetables with Bhutanese Red Rice (No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter went to a friend's house tonight, so I cooked dinner for myself. I made pressure cooked (just 3 minutes in my Instant Pot) tofu and vegetables (mainly asparagus, but also spinach, garlic, baby broccoli, and onion), along with Bhutanese Red rice (1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water - though I go with close to 2 parts).

Labels: , , ,