Monday, September 29, 2014

Cranberry Bean - Kale Burgers, Quinoa (No Added Fat)

I loved the cranberry beans that I made in early September! Most of the places that I shop don't seem to carry these beans that cook into a filling, creamy texture, but I found them at Whole Foods Market in Durham, NC today. I had the idea of mashing the beans and then cooking them as burgers. I refined the idea to blend the beans instead of mashing them.

  • One cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight (see above for variation)
  • 1/2 t finely chopped (1/8" or so cubes) ginger
  • Water (just enough to cover beans)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into large 1/2" pieces and separated into two halves
  • Salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste - start with 1/2 t of each
  • (Optional) Hot sauce or jalapeno
  • 4-6 leaves kale, roughly cut into 1" squares, stems left behind
  • (Optional) 2 cloves garlic roughly diced into 1/8" pieces or so
  • (Optional but recommended) 8-10 leaves fresh basil
  • (Optional but recommended) Approximately 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1T miso
  • 1t nutritional yeast
  • 1t chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Rinse and drain the beans. (I didn't soak the beans overnight but soaked them about 7 hours; I used boiling water and changed the water - with a new batch of boiling water - about half way through.)
  2. Put the beans and ginger in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 22m. I should have added the bouillon cube but forgot; I instead added it before blending. (The ginger can be helpful to prevent gas, though my family doesn't seem to have an issue with these beans.)
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top.
  4. Put the cooked beans, half the onion, salt and pepper, and the hot sauce or jalapeno (I omitted both as my daughter wouldn't have eaten this) into a blender (along with the bouillon cube that I missed earlier) and blend briefly to homogenize.
  5. Add the remaining onion, garlic (which I skipped, as my Dad doesn't eat garlic, but I've included in the writeup for the future), basil, and kale to the blender and blend briefly at medium (I used 70% power on my Vitamix variable setting), mixing everything in but being careful to keep recognizable small pieces of the newly added vegetables.
  6. I transferred this fairly thick paste to a bowl and, in turn, took two large tablespoonfuls into my clean hands, rolled into a ball, and flattened into a thick (3/4"?) patty.
  7. I had some prepared bread crumbs that included garlic as an ingredient. Since my Dad doesn't eat garlic, I cooked his burger as this patty. For the rest, I gently pressed both sides of the burgers into the bread crumbs first.
  8. I put the patties, with or without bread crumbs, into a cast iron skillet that had been preheated for a few minutes on medium high, but added no oil. I checked the bottom after about 3 minutes and then every minute or so until it was gently brown (I think it took about 4 or 5 minutes), then flipped and cooked the other side similarly.
  9. In parallel, I had made a miso sauce by blending the miso, nutritional yeast, additional teaspoon of onion, and water. I served the burger with the sauce on top.
I also made some quinoa by first sauteeing (with no oil) some bell pepper and onion, then cooking the quinoa in a 1 part quinoa to 2 part water combination, along with a vegan bouillon cube. I let it simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes then covered and turned the heat off; the characteristic quinoa spiral was evident with the liquid absorbed after about 10 minutes. I mixed in a little salt and ground cumin and served along with an heirloom tomato slice.


We were all amazed at the "bean dip" that came out of the pressure cooker. I was tempted to stop and not make burgers but instead saved some (and put on bread for my daughter's lunch tomorrow) as a dip. This was the first time that I've tried making burgers of any kind from scratch, and all of us liked them. My wife suggested that a little bit more binding may help, such as may be obtained by including some potato. I liked the burgers with the consistency that they were, but wouldn't mind exploring (dehydrating?) getting them more firm. But we all liked the burgers.

I realized late in the process that I should have enhanced the sauce at least with ginger and some citrus perhaps. The dressing was reasonable, but the choice of ketchup for my daughter's burger may have been a better one for us all. The quinoa, as always, was good.

Ideas for the future

I need to redo this recipe but stop once I get the "bean dip" and serve it like a hummus or perhaps in a Mexican-style layered dish. That dip is a winner - I wonder why cranberry beans aren't better known. I was pleased with how the breading for the burgers worked out and should use bread crumbs more often. I should try making burgers again. Garlic would have been a welcome addition to the burgers (and perhaps quinoa), but wasn't really necessary as the flavors were reasonably rich. The kale in the burger could be optional but I liked the green color that it contributed but, more significantly, loved the nutritional punch that the kale contributed to an already nutritious meal. It's fun and rewarding expermenting with this bean in particular!

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Fennel with Seitan, Corn and Quinoa (No Added Fat)

In my Food for Life class earlier today, one of the dishes that I prepared was a tasty orange and fennel salad. I had most of a fennel bulb left, and wanted to explore some new creations with fennel. I found a simple and appealing recipe for braised fennel and shallot, and hope to try it soon.  I was in a bit of a rush tonight as I was going to a performance, but came up with a good dish.

  • 1/3 medium onion cut into thin (approximately 1/4") half moons
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2T fennel root, cut into approximately 1/4"x3/4" slices
  • 1T fennel stalk, cut into approximately 1/4" cubes
  • 8 ounces mushroom (any variety) cut into 1/4" slices
  • 4 ounces seitan, in approximately 1/2" x 1" strips
  • (Optional) Pinch of fennel fronds per serving


  1. I was initially thinking of preparing a waterless meal so chose a small Saladmaster stock pot and put the onion into it.
  2. I stirred over medium heat for a few minutes till the onion became slightly clear, then added the remaining vegetables.
  3. I stirred occasionally and cooked for another 2 or 3 minutes to let the mushroom cook down a bit, then added the seitan. (If I had really wanted to cook in the covered waterless fashion, I'd have put all the ingredients in initially. In hindsight, though this worked out well, I could have used a skillet.)
  4. I cooked, stirring occasionally, for another 4 or 5 minutes, then served, topped with a pinch of the fennel fronds.
I also prepared some mixed brown and yellow quinoa with onion and corn.


Dinner came out well. I am glad that I used the fennel and in small quantities. All three portions of the fennel tasted good but didn't overpower the dish. The corn and quinoa was a good combination.

Ideas for the future

Garlic would go well with the main course, as would a touch of hot spice.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Creamy Navy Beans with Baby Bok Choy, Waterless Potatoes (No Added Fat)

I have never cooked with navy beans and decided to give them a try tonight. I had dried beans and should have soaked them overnight, but the pressure cooker is quite forgiving and can generally cook beans even if they haven't been presoaked by just adding a few minutes of cooking time.

  • 1 cup Navy beans
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • (Optional) 2 small 1" squares of kombu
  • (Optional) 1/8 cup grape juice
  • Water (boiling or not) to just cover dried navy beans (approx. 1/8 or 1/4 cup)
  • Medium baby bok choy, cut into 3/8" pieces going up the stems (widest part of stems halved) and leaves
  • Small shallot cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1T miso
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2t fresh squeezed lime juice


  1. I poured at least 3 cups of boiling water over the beans and let them soak, covered. Ideally, I should have soaked the beans overnight, but 1 1/2 hours was what I afforded today.
  2. I drained and rinsed the beans, then added the cumin, turmeric, and bouillon cube. My Dad doesn't eat garlic, but some garlic would have been good and would have come out tasting mild. I chose not to add any onion as the onion would not have much flavor left after being pressure cooked for long.
  3. I have some good organic grape juice open and thought it would be interesting to try adding a bit to see what kind of nuanced grape flavor might come through - really, wine would have been better. I added the grape juice and then enough water to just cover the beans.
  4. Navy beans take 25-30 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot if they haven't been soaked and 20-25 minutes if they have been; I set the pressure cooker to 25 minutes and cooked on high pressure in my Instant Pot.
  5. I let the pot sit for a while and then slowly let out remaining pressure so I could open it. The beans were tasty and well cooked but not yet mushy - yay!
  6. I added the bok choy, shallot, miso, nutritional yeast, oregano, and lime juice, then mixed. We didn't have gas problems (too many beans at once can give one gas), but it's a good idea to include ginger when eating beans, but I simply forgot - a bit of ginger would have been good now, as well as some when the beans had cooked. The dish was ready to be served!
I also made a waterless dish by cooking potatoes, cut into 3/4" pieces, 1/2" chunks of onion, and 3/8" slices of carrot in a small Saladmaster stock pan for about 20m. I served with a bit of lavender salt. Hemp seed-topped locally grown tomato slices completed the meal.


My wife and I loved the main course! I was surprised at how creamy and tasty the beans were. I was happy with the level of spice and flavor that I had added. My daughter ate up her whole serving and said that she liked the beans, and my Dad seemed to enjoy them, too. I was okay with the potato, but my wife would have preferred more flavor, such as turmeric and maybe garam masala.

Ideas for the future

The nutritional yeast was a really nice inclusion with the beans, especially with their creamy consistency. I lucked out and added just the right amount - more and it would have been too much. I should explore using nutritional yeast with other bean dishes. I couldn't taste the contribution of the grape juice at all, so can skip it (or wine) in similar dishes in the future.

A little garlic would be good with the beans. Kale or other leafy greens cooked for just a minute or two under pressure would be welcome in the main course. I wonder if a bit of marinara or diced tomato would make for a nice addition to the beans, perhaps serving the result as a cold salad. I should explore more potato dishes with additional flavors added.

I had no idea that navy beans were so creamy and tasty - I still prefer cranberry beans, but should make navy beans a staple as well in my house! I'll bet the cooked navy beans would be good to form into patties and sautéed.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sweet Potato with Sweet Potato Leaf and Seitan, served with Mixed Vegetable Orzo in Roasted Red Bell Pepper (No Added Fat)

My wife came home from the local farmers' market with biodynamic sweet potato greens. I didn't know that they were edible, but they are! I found a nice article about the greens online, and decided to try a sauté with seitan.

  • 1 medium sweet potato (if organic, no need to peel - otherwise, peel), cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 red onion and 1/4 yellow onion (really, half of any kind of onion would do - total quantity of about 1/2 or 3/4 cup), cut into a 3/8" dice
  • (optional) 6 medium shiitake mushrooms cut into 3/8" slices
  • 8 ounces seitan, cut into approximately 1"x3/8" slices
  • Bunch of sweet potato greens, stems left behind and leaves roughly halved by hand
  • 1t ginger, finely grated (oops! I forgot!)
  • 1 or 2 T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

  1. I put the water and bouillon cube into a small Saladmaster stock pot and brought to a boil.
  2. I added the sweet potato and mixed, covering the potato with broth. Most of the broth was absorbed into the potato, so I feel justified calling this a waterless meal.
  3. I covered the pan and reduced the heat till the vapor release on the lid stopped clicking. I continued to cook on low, making sure to have no or minimal clicks, for 15m.
  4. In parallel, I put the onion into a Saladmaster skillet and sautéed on medium heat just a few minutes till the onion was cooked and getting clear.
  5. I then added the mushrooms and cooked for a minute or minute and a half.
  6. I added the seitan and cooked for 3-5 minutes till the seitan was starting to show a bit of browning. A bit of garlic at this point would have been good but my Dad, who is visiting for a few months, doesn't eat garlic.
  7. I added the sweet potato greens. (Had I not forgotten, the ginger would have been good at this point.) As the article I referenced mentioned, the greens cook down like spinach fairly quickly; I cooked just for a minute or two.
  8. I added the coconut aminos and scraped the pan a bit, easily cleaning up any slight stickiness of food in the pan. I served with hot sauce at the table..
My wife came home with quite a few bell peppers, so I roasted two bell peppers for the four of us. (I put the peppers on the open flame of my gas range, turning till they were more or less all blackened. I then put them into a brown paper bag and bunched the bag closed. After some time (at least 5-10 minutes), I ran the peppers under running water, gently rubbing the peppers so that the darkened portions came off. I halved the peppers, removed the membranes and seeds, and served stuffed with a mixed vegetable whole wheat orzo dish that I had as leftovers from yesterday's Food for Life class.


Wow, the sweet potato leaves were good raw and made a great cooked dish! We all enjoyed the meal.

Ideas for the future

Garlic would be a good addition to the main course, as could be a bit of jalepeno.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cauliflower with Quinoa and Black Beans, Waterless Kale (No Added Fat)

I decided to try cooking cauliflower in the pressure cooker since my stew from August 29 came out so well. I had prepared some black beans (soaked for 10m in boiling water, rinsed and drained, then put in the Instant Pot pressure cooker with boiling water just covering the beans, along with a bit of diced ginger and kombu, and cooked on high pressure for 34m) for tomorrow's Food for Life class, and reserved 1/2 cup prepared beans for tonight's dinner. I wanted to put some quinoa into the main dish, and read that quinoa can be cooked in a normal 1 part quinoa : 2 parts water or broth for 2m in the Instant Pot. (I put a little extra water because there were other ingredients.)

  • Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa (any kind of quinoa would do)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1t finely diced ginger
  • 1/4t dried oregano
  • 1T miso
  • 1 cup prepared black beans
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • (optional) 1/8 t garam masala
  • 1 cup onion chopped to 3/8" cubes

  1. I put all of the ingredients except the black beans, turmeric, garam masala, and onion into my InstantPot and cooked at high pressure for 2 minutes.
  2. I let the pressure cooker come down in temperature so that I could open it (one could slowly release pressure, as well). I added the beans, turmeric, garam masala and onion, and served.
I also made a waterless kale dish by chopping half of a medium onion into half moons. I put the onion into a small Saladmaster stock pot. I hand stripped about 1 1/2" squares from leaves from a bunch of kale, composting the stems. I put the kale into the pan, turned the heat on to medium-high, and covered. Once the vapor lock started rattling, I reduced the heat to low and simmered till I was ready to serve (at least 20m of cooking). I mixed in 1T of coconut aminos (soy sauce would also be fine) and served.



Ideas for the future


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anasazi Beans with Vegetables served with Jade Pearl Rice with Shiitake Mushroom

I was looking for cranberry beans in the store a few days ago but didn't find them. Instead, I thought I'd try a bean new for me, Anasazi ones. My wife and I enjoyed a trip through many of the Southwest US national parks some years ago, and learned about the three sisters' diet of the Native Americans in the four corners area - meals consisting of beans, corn, and squash. These Anasazi beans are named after some of these early Native Americans.

  • 1 1/2 cups Anasazi beans
  • 3 plum tomatoes (1c), cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 c (half of a small onion) onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 small shallot cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 medium carrot cut into 1/4" slices and then quartered
  • 1t ginger, cut into 1/4" or smaller pieces
  • 1/2 t salt (I used a lavender sea salt, but any salt is fine)


  1. I had wanted to soak the beans overnight but forgot; I did soak them for about 4 hours
  2. I rinsed well and drained the beans, then put them in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m under high pressure.
  3. I happened to cook well before I needed the beans so could open the top when I was ready as the pressure had long ago decreased. I tried the beans - they were good but not as sumptuous or hardy as cranberry beans.
  4. I drained the beans then added the tomato, onion, shallot, carrot, and ginger, and cooked under high pressure for another 3m.
  5. I let the pressure drop for a few minutes then slowly released remaining pressure, mixed in the salt, and served.
I also made some Jade pearl rice by first sautéing some shiitake mushroom and onion, then adding about 1/2 cup of dry rice and 1 1/2 times (3/4 cup) water (I normally would also add a vegan bouillon cube, but skipped it this time), as well as a bit of salt, bringing to a boil, then simmering, covered on low heat, for 20m. I mixed in a bit of nutritional yeast and sprinkled a bit of hemp seeds on top.


Dinner came out well. I don't like these beans as much as I do cranberry beans, but I want to try working with Anasazi beans again, perhaps adding some more spice.

Ideas for the future

I'll bet that a bit of jalapeno and something a bit crunch or textured, maybe a bit of tempeh, would go well with the Anasazi beans. Some raw onion added to the main course at the end would be good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crimini Mushroom and Vegetable Medley served with Jade Pearl Rice with Coconut Curry Tempeh (No Added Fat)

My wife was out and my daughter was hungry, so I made a quick dinner for her (leftover South Indian food from a restaurant). That freed me up to use some hot chili pepper for tonight's cooking for my visiting Dad and my wife and me. I had some crimini mushrooms and wondered what they would taste like pressure cooked; 3m is a time many vegetables take to be pressure cooked, so I thought I'd try that.

Before I detail what I did tonight, I wanted to describe a fun dessert that my daughter and I made earlier in the day. As I described on June 29 and 18, I tried out a local company, Purple Carrot, who distributes healthful vegan meal recipes and ingredients. I hope that they will in fact make it as we'd probably subscribe.

There was a third recipe of theirs that I had and only today made, chocolate chip and coconut energy bites. The "bites" came out well but, even better, I love the blog that it comes from, Paint + Tofu.  It's an intriguing name with some great recipes and discussion! Anyway, on to dinner.

  • Carrot cut into 1/4" pieces
  • Baby broccoli bunch, stems cut into 1/4" pieces and crown area simply halved
  • 1 scallion (green onion) cut into 3/8" pieces
  • 8 ounces crimini (also known as baby bella, but regular white can also be used) mushrooms, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • (optional) 1 small hot chili pepper cut into quarters
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 t black salt (kala namak), or any other kind of salt

  1. I put all the ingredients except the salt into the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  2. I let the pressure cooker come down in temperature then removed the top, mixed in the salt, removed the chili pepper (I knew it would be hot so had cut into large chunks so that I could easily remove at this point), and served.
I also made jade pearl rice by simmering for 20m the rice with 1 1/2 times as much water and a vegan bouillon cube. When done, I mixed in a scallion cut into 1/4" pieces, 3 ounces of marinated coconut curry tempeh (it comes in a 7 ounce packet of slices; I cut the slices into 5/8" squares) and a little bit of soy sauce, and served.


Dinner was very good! The rice was excellent. The marinated tempeh, uncooked and just heated, went quite well with the rice. Regular tempeh, preferably browned, would be good; uncooked regular tempeh could work, but I'd cut it in smaller chunks and use less. The main course was good and I liked the very nice treatment, like roasting but keeping the moisture in, that the mushrooms received.

By the way, the marinated tofu comes in at 3g of fat per half package. I used less than a half package, and made 3 servings, so I feel justified in calling this a no-added-fat meal.

Ideas for the future

I think that even less water could be used in the pressure cooker. I liked the main course but wonder if something else could have been added - perhaps some corn kernels or zucchini? The rice is a winner!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waterless Plaintain and Seitan, Crusty Bread with Vegetable Salsa, Leftover Soup (No Added Fat)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chickpeas with Brown Rice Maifun Noodles, Quinoa with Vegetables (No Added Fat)

My brother in Southern California sent us a package that we just received today of pomegranates! We love them fresh, but they are also interesting to cook with.

One of our favorite local restaurants, Sage Cafe, makes an excellent fesenjan pomegranate and walnut stew with tempeh; I should try their recipe. I made a stew with pomegranates when my brother last shipped the fruit to me last November; perhaps I could try a variant on that again in the coming days.

For today, I had already soaked about a cup of chickpeas overnight and wanted to use them. I had the idea of using thin maifun brown noodles and mixing them in. Here is what I did; my Dad has been visiting since Monday night, so it was for my family, including him.

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • Water
  • Bay leaf (I was out so instead I put in about a half dozen cloves for their flavoring)
  • 3 1" squares of kombu (I realize this isn't a common ingredient; it could be skipped and salt and other preferred seasonings could be added at the end of the pressure cooking)
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Approximately 1 cup of thin brown rice maifun noodles; really, any thin noodle could do


  1. I rinsed and then soaked the chickpeas in ample water (at least 3 parts water to 1 part chickpea) overnight. I have read that the number of hours makes a difference; I think that the chickpeas were soaked for about 15 hours.
  2. I drained the chickpeas, rinsed, and put in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I put enough water in to just cover the chickpeas, as well as the cloves and kombu, then cooked on high pressure for 25m. It's important not to fill the pressure cooker more than halfway when cooking beans and not to let pressure out quickly, for fear of foam generation that can clog the steam outlet.
  3. I let the pressure cooker come down in pressure naturally for as long as I could then gently let out remaining pressure.
  4. I added the onion, cumin, and salt.
  5. I boiled water and added the noodles, stirring for a few minutes till they were done, then drained and stirred in to the chickpeas, roughly cutting some of the noodles into smaller pieces with the stirring utensil.
I served along with a simple quinoa dish (I sauteed with no fat some onion, bell pepper, and small potato cubes, then added a vegan bouillon cube and, in a 1:2 ratio, quinoa and water, and cooked for about 4 or 5 minutes, then covered and let sit with no more heat for another 5 or 6 minutes till the water was absorbed and the quinoa got its characteristic spiral), that I topped with fresh pomegranate. A thick slice of a luscious heirloom tomato completed the meal.


We all loved the meal. I was surprised that my daughter had seconds as she often fills up after her first serving.

Ideas for the future

To my wife's surprise, the combination of chickpea and noodle turned out well. I'd like to try this combination with beans like cranberry or great northern ones. My Dad doesn't eat garlic, but a little garlic in the chickpea, along with jalapeno, would be good.

I'm glad that the chickpeas came out just right - still firm and intact but fully cooked. So, 15h of soaking then 25m of cooking under high pressure seems to do the trick. I should note that another minute or two of cooking would be in order if I want soft chickpeas.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Cranberry Bean Stew, Waterless Baby Broccoli with Seitan (No Added Fat)

On Wednesday, I had soaked some cranberry beans and was planning on pressure cooking them for 20-25 minutes as the main part of a dish the next day. However, I had a new Food for Life series beginning on Friday and was out with my daughter shopping (and then eating at the store) Thursday night. I am a professional photographer and ate on-site after a rehearsal dinner on Friday and the wedding on Saturday. Yesterday, we were in Raleigh and enjoyed a meal at Irregardless Café with some friends.

The beans were patient! After being soaked overnight at room temperature, I drained the beans, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. They were fine for using today - I just rinsed once more then put in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, put enough water in to just cover the beans (keeping the volume well below the halfway point of the pot), then cooked on high for 20m. Here is what I made tonight.

  • One cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight (see above for variation)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Water (just enough to cover beans)
  • Half medium bell pepper cut into strips approx. 1/4" x 3/4"
  • 2 scallions cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly diced into 1/8" pieces or so
  • (Optional) Hot sauce, salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse and drain the beans
  2. Put the beans and bouillon cube in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 20m
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top
  4. Add bell pepper, garlic, and scallion into the pressure cooker with the beans and cook another 2m under high pressure
  5. When I was ready to serve, I slowly reduced the heat then mixed in maybe 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t black pepper
I also made a waterless dish with a head of baby broccoli, stems removed, 7 ounces of seitan strips, and 2 scallions cut into 1/4" pieces. I put this all into a small Saladmaster stock pan, brought to medium heat and, when the vapor lock started rattling, I continued cooking, covered, on low heat for about 20m more.

Dinner was great! I sampled the beans right out of the pressure cooker before I added the other vegetables, and they were succulent. I need to add cranberry beans to my list of staples! I would love to serve them pretty much by themselves, as well as cook them with other vegetables.

Ideas for the future

I was out of bouillon cubes, but the beans would be even more tasty with a cube. The beans could have used some hot sauce and possibly a bit more salt. I served with a little bit of the cooking water to make it a stew, but it would also have been fine with less water and a plated side dish. The broccoli and seitan was also excellent but could have used a hint of citrus.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Leftover Cauliflower Stew, Fiction Kitchen Cornbread, Sauteed Tempeh

I was on my own for dinner tonight. I had a simple but filling dinner. My wife had dinner last night at a local favorite, vegetarian Fiction Kitchen. We almost always get their tasty cornbread; my wife brought home one piece that I heated and served with their accompanying onion chutney.

I also heated and spiced up the remaining cauliflower stew from last Friday. Finally, tempeh and onion sauteed without oil (with hot sauce and soy sauce added at the table) completed the meal, with some tasty heirloom tomatoes cut up raw and served on top.

I don't know how the vegan cornbread is made, so I won't make any no-added-fat claims. In any case, dinner was good.

I had started soaking some cranberry beans this afternoon, and was thinking of making a nice bean dish. I'll let the beans continue to soak. When I want to prepare them, I'll rinse the beans, cover them by 1 inch of fresh water, and cook in my Instant Pot for 20-25 minutes (note: when cooking beans, a pressure cooker should not be more than half full to avoid foam sticking to the pressure cooker). The instructions for non-pressure cooking these pretty cranberry beans (borlotti) are to soak overnight, rinse then cover by an inch of water, bring to a boil for 3 minutes, then cook, covered, for 45 minutes or till tender. One unit of dried beans makes three units of cooked beans.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Deep Dish Cornmeal Crust Pizza with Crumbled Seitan, Chickpea and Red Pepper Fries

My wife was out tonight, so it was just my daughter and me for dinner, and I thought I'd have her help me make a pizza! We used a nice frozen crust that we like, Vicolo organic crust pizza shells. Toppings included onion, two kinds of olives, bell pepper, and Daiya vegan cheese. My daughter enjoyed her pizza with raw kale, as well.

We found a few days ago an interesting frozen product, veggie fries, which I also served. We picked up the chickpea and red pepper variety; it also comes in carrot, broccoli, and tuscan beans and herbs. Each variety has, surprisingly, only 20-40mg of sodium, 3-4g of fiber, and 7g of fat per cup. That isn't bad for an occasional treat - which these fries are! They're tasty!

Dinner was great. We both loved the meal. Sometimes convenience foods are - convenient and good!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Reworked Cauliflower Stew, Spicy Corn-off-the-Cob (Almost No Added Fat)

We are happy to have my wife back in town! I put dinner together quickly for my daughter by serving leftovers for her (vegan macaroni and "cheese") along with tomato and ground seitan. For my wife and me, I remade the cauliflower stew from Friday by putting it in a large Saladmaster stock pot, and adding a half dozen fingerling potatoes cut into 1/2" pieces, half a bell pepper cut into 1/2" pieces, about half of a head of kale (stems excepted) roughly hand-torn into 5/8" pieces, about half a cup of Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce, and a bit of crushed red pepper, hot sauce, dried oregano, and salt.

I cooked waterlessly by covering the pan and turning it on to medium high till the vapor button started jiggling, then reduced the heat to low so that there was no or minimal jiggling. I let it cook for at least 20 minutes, then served, along with spicy corn-off-the-cob with lemon juice, and tomato slices.

My wife, who didn't like the original stew, loved it today, as did I! The corn was also good, as was the salad.

The vodka sauce has 12g of fat per half a cup; I used about a half cup, but it made a lot, enough for my wife and me, plus an equivalent serving I'm taking for my daughter's teacher. That ends up being about 4g of fat per serving, so I'll list this as "almost no added fat".

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