Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Simple Potato Salad, French Filet Beans (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • About 20 green beans cut into 1 1/2" lengths. I used the delicate purple colored French Filet Beans (from Four Leaf Farm that I picked up just an hour or two earlier at the local farmer's market; I don't think I've had these before - they're so tender that they also taste good raw)
  • 1/8 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/4 t lemon or lime juice
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2T fresh basil leaves cut chiffonade style into 1/4" ribbons

Process
  1. I put the onion into a warmed cast iron pan (I preheated on medium and started the onion when a piece would lightly sizzle) with no added fat, stirred occasionally for 2 minutes, then added the beans.
  2. I cooked the beans briefly, about 2 more minutes; as expected, the purple beans started turning a bit green, and I stopped when there was just a bit of green patches.
  3. I added the lemon juice and salt, and kept warm in a toaster oven till I was ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve, I mixed in the basil and then served.
I also made a simple potato salad out of baby fingerling potatoes that I purchased today at the farmer's market. My daughter has been asking for potato salad; I just boiled the intact tiny potatoes, then mixed in a bit of onion, dill pickle pieces, red bell pepper, salt, and black pepper. For her serving, I added some pesto Vegenaise.

Results

This was meant to be a quick dinner, and it was. I would have preferred to take a bit more time to make a more complex potato salad, but this one came out fine. The beans were good but perhaps I could cook them just barely next time - very little purple was left when I took them out of the toaster oven.

Ideas for the future

I should explore more fanciful potato salads, especially for my daughter.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Lemon Rice with Potato, Sambhar

We had enjoyed takeout food from a good South Indian restaurant on Saturday, and had some leftovers that I "remade" for dinner tonight. Usually, their lemon rice is quite good, but this batch was missing something. What about making a mixed vegetable dish out of it? This is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 2 medium baking or boiling potatoes (I used a heirloom variety that looked like a small Russet but was lightly tinged red that my wife picked up from the local farmer's market, but Yukon Gold or even Russets or other varieties would work well) cut into 3/8" cubes (if organic, leave skin on - otherwise, remove skin)
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped into approximately 1/4" pieces
  • 1/3 cup water (I boiled first but cold water is fine)
  • Small red (or other) bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Approximately 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Prepared lemon rice (which we had as leftovers from a good local South Indian restaurant, Tower) - but any rice, perhaps a good brown rice made separately, would be good
Process

  1. I put the potato, garlic, and water in the Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker and set it for 4 minutes under high pressure.
  2. When I was ready, I gently released remaining pressure and put the ingredients into a Saladmaster (or other) stock pot, along with the bell pepper and onion.
  3. I sauteed, with no added fat, for a few minutes till the potato was just slightly crispy, then added the rice.
  4. I continued heating the mixture on low, stirring occasionally, till the rice was well heated, then served, along with warmed sambhar (a spicy traditional South Indian soup). 
Results

My whole family enjoyed dinner. Rice is so versatile!

Ideas for the future

I should try "remaking" other Indian restaurant leftovers.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brown Rice Fusilli Pasta with Vegan Apple Sage Sausage

While I was exercising at the gym, my daughter became hungry, so my wife put together some leftovers and the two of them ate. By the time I got around to preparing my own dinner, it was late, so I made a simple but filling pasta me4al.

Though we don't avoid gluten, we like brown rice pastas by companies like Tinkyada. I prepared their fusilli pasta. I heated a link of Field Roast brand vegan smoked apple sage sausage; it has 10g of fat, so I won't classify this meal as even almost no added fat.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Plantain with Kale and Corn, served with Jade Pearl Rice and Tempeh, and Salad with Watermelon Pico de Galla (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • Plantain cut into 1/2" slices then quartered
  • Medium sweet (or other) onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Kernels stripped from one cob of corn
  • Green tomato cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 4 kale leaves
  • 1 clove garlic diced 
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 cup water
Process

Aside from chopping vegetables, it was a very easy dinner. I just put all the ingredients in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes. When I was ready to serve, I slowly let out any remaining pressure and served.

I also made jade pearl rice by sauteeing a bit of onion, ginger, and carrot in a dry pan just for a minute or so, then adding 1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water, 3 ounces tempeh cut into 3/8" cubes, and a vegan bouillon cube. I brought to a boil then simmered on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes.

Finally, I served a salad of bell pepper and tomato. I topped it with a watermelon pico de galla that I had purchased from Whole Foods Market, as well as an olive.

Results

Dinner was good! I think that I had just the right amount of water so that the vegetables came out cooked but not watery. A little bit of heat, like jalapeno, would have been welcome, but the main course was good the way that I prepared it.

Ideas for the future

I love how versatile jade pearl rice is, and look forward to experimenting more with it. Green tomato as well as plantain cook well in the pressure cooker, and I should try new dishes with these ingredients.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Leftover District of Pi Pizza, Eggplant Stew with Added Napa Cabbage, Salad with Pear

We just got back this evening from an educational, productive, and fun visit to Washington, D.C. I attended a Food for Life instructors' summit, then the 2-day International Conference on Diabetes. Many well known speakers presented, including Neal Barnard (who organized the conference), Brenda Davis (my favorite nutritionist), and John McDougall. At the end, these tentative guidelines to prevent and manage diabetes were presented:

  1. Plant-based foods should be the primary part of one's diet;
  2. One should reduce oils and fried foods;
  3. One should favor low glycemic index foods;
  4. One should limit sodium (to about 1500 mg/day); and
  5. One should include B12 supplementation daily (especially for all people age 50 and above)
For dinner tonight, I heated up the great deep dish pizza that was leftover from last night's dinner in Washington at District of Pi, as well as the eggplant stew from last week that I added raw Napa cabbage to. I also made a broccoli, tomato, and pear salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Zucchini, Seitan, and Napa Cabbage, served with Tri-Color Quinoa with Kale and Carrot (No Added Fat)

My wife's sister-in-law isn't familiar with Brussels sprouts, and I wanted to introduce them to her. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • About a dozen Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stem end removed
  • Zucchini cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Half red onion cut into 1/4" cubes (any other onion could also do)
  • Cup of water
  • Another half red (or other) onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • Cup of shredded (approx. 1/4" x 1" pieces) Napa cabbage
  • Approximately 4 ounces of shredded seitan
  • (Optional) 1/2 t salt


Process

  1. I put the zucchini and the first half red onion into the Instant Pot, added the water, then put in the pot's mesh.
  2. I put the Brussels sprouts on the mesh - there was just enough water that it wasn't touching the sprouts.
  3. I turned the pot on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I released any remaining pressure gently and opened the pot carefully.
  5. I like how Brussels sprouts come out in the pressure cooker, but they are sometimes overcooked. I now sliced each sprout in half - by doing so at the beginning, they would have been even softer.
  6. In a bowl, I mixed the cooked vegetables, the second half onion, the cabbage, and seitan; I skipped the salt.
I also made a tri-color quinoa with vegetables. I put in a pot about a teaspoon of chopped ginger, 3 kale leaves roughly cut (stems composted) into 1/4" squares, a carrot cut into 1/4" thick quarters, a vegan bouillon cube, and about a half cup of quinoa and twice as much water. After bringing to a boil, I simmered, covered, for 4 or 5 minutes, then let it sit, covered for another 5-10 minutes till ready to serve (the characteristic spiral in the quinoa was evident).

Results

I suspect the main course wasn't spicy enough for my wife's sister-in-law, and my wife felt that the sprouts were too soft. Overall, I think that the main dish was good; I liked the crunch of the cabbage but wish that the vegetables were more firm. The quinoa came out great!

Ideas for the future

I'd like to try cooking Brussels sprouts in 2 minutes under high pressure. A dish like the main course with one or two crunch vegetables like water chestnuts or celery may be interesting.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Eggplant Stew, Madagascar Pink Rice with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I was pleased with how quickly (3 minutes) and how well eggplant came out in the pressure cooker when I made a dish on July 5. I had a thick Italian eggplant, so decided to let my family try a version of what I made earlier. I made a few modifications, adding some Indian spices and ginger that my wife's sister-in-law would likely enjoy, as well as adding potato for more texture.

In the end, I didn't mix seitan in as I had last time, because I felt that it would clash with the Indian seasonings. Instead, I prepared Madagascar pink rice and, when ready to serve it, I mixed in some seitan. Here is how I made the main course:


Ingredients
  • Medium to large Italian eggplant cut into 3/4" cubes (it ended up being about 6 cups); since it was organic, I kept the skin on
  • 3 medium carrots cut into 1/4" slices
  • Medium onion cut into 3/8" cubes with 1/4 cup reserved
  • 3 cloves garlic clove, chopped finely (I was out of garlic, surprisingly, so used a medium shallot)
  • 4 kale leaves, stems discarded (composted) and leaves roughly torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato cut into 1/4" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1T coarsely chopped ginger
  • 1t (or to taste) finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 t kala namak (black salt - or any other salt)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1t black sesame seed

Process
  1. I put everything up to but not including the basil and spices (i.e., all the vegetables except the reserved onion, as well as the bouillon cube and water) into the Instant Pot and set it to cook for 3 minutes in high pressure.
  2. Once I was ready to serve, I would have gently let out the remaining steam, but it wasn't necessary as the pressure had dropped by then. I opened the top and mixed in the reserved onion, basil, salt, and spices.

Results

I was surprised that the dish was so soft and rather mushy, though I think it tasted good. My wife enjoyed it, as well, but I think that it was under-seasoned to her sister-in-law's taste (she is visiting from India). The eggplant didn't bring much flavor or texture to the meal.

Ideas for the future

I had feared that the potato wouldn't cook in only 3m, so cut it into such small cubes. To get more texture, I wonder what a 1/2" or even 3/4" cut would be like. I should try larger eggplant cubes and perhaps saute the eggplant first. There was too much water - I'll bet 1/4 cup would be plenty.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vegan Macaroni and "Chreese" with Seitan and Broccoli, Waterless Okra, Sungold Tomato


My wife and her sister-in-law enjoyed ample food on an outing in the afternoon, so weren't very hungry for dinner and were just going to eat leftovers from their outing. I took advantage of that to prepare one of my daughter's favorites, vegan macaroni and cheese, using Road's End Organics shells and "chreese". I almost always add to the macaroni, and today used broccoli, seitan, and onion.

My wife picked up some beautiful thick okra from the farmer's market. I took about a half dozen or eight spears, cut them into 1" lengths, then split them in half. I put them, along with about 1/3 cup sweet onion cut into approximately 3/4" x 1/4" chunks, in a 1 quart Salad Master stock pan (which I should have preheated but I usually forget!), covered, and brought to heat over medium high for a waterless dish. Once the little cap allowing steam to escape started jiggling, I reduced the heat to low and cooked for about 20 minutes. I then mixed in about 1/4 t turmeric, 1/4 t dried oregano, and a bit of salt; I wish that I had amchoor (dried mango) powder, which would have been good with the okra.

Dinner was good! I added some hot sauce to the macaroni to make it even more tasty. The packaged macaroni and "chreese" is only 2g of fat if one were to eat the whole prepared box and the soy milk that I mixed in has 3.5g fat per cup (I only used 2/3 cup). I didn't add any margarine. Surprisingly, then, this is an almost no added fat meal!

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Brown Lentil Dhal with Kale, Corn, and Preserved Lemon, served with Madagascar Pink Rice, Baby Lettuces, & Sungold Tomato (No Added Fat)


My wife and daughter returned this afternoon from their 3-week visit to India! My wife brought her sister-in-law with her - what a pleasure to have her with us on her first trip out of India! She is in the States for about a month, mostly with us, but also visiting relatives in Illinois and Wisconsin.

For my wife's sister-in-law, I wanted to make an Indian-inspired meal for this first dinner with us. I thought that I would make a dish with lentils in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. I've had good luck including small squares of kale, and thought that I would experiment with tomato; this past Sunday I enjoyed including green tomato in a pressure-cooked dish, but wanted to try a dish where a more robust tomato flavor would fit in. As a final touch, I had some preserved lemon and thought that it would contribute a nice taste. I was free to spice the dish as I made a vegan grilled cheese sandwich and a variety of vegetables for my daughter.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 small bell peppers cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 kale leaves, stems discarded (composted) and leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 1/2" pieces
  • 1 carrot (I wanted two, but just had one!) cut into 1/4" slices
  • 1 cob corn, kernels stripped and cob discarded (composted)
  • 2t chopped jalapeno
  • 1T marinara sauce
  • 1 tomato cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 slices of preserved lemon, each slice cut into thirds (I used thin slices that I purchased from a self-serve olive bar; though it was preserved in oil, the amount of oil that made it into the dish is rather insignificant, so I still am labeling this as a no-added fat dish); alternatively, one could use an organic lemon, preferably Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 t black salt (or regular salt)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t mustard seed
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
Process

  1. I put the lentils, water, garlic, and bouillon cube in the Instant Pot and cooked for 12 minutes
  2. When it cooled down a bit, I gently released steam and added the remaining ingredients, except for the onion. After stirring,  I turned the pressure cooker on for 3 more minutes of high pressure cooking.
  3. When I was ready to serve, I gently released steam, mixed in the onion, and served.
I also had made some Madagascar pink rice cooked with mixed bell pepper and shallot. Tasty Sungold tomatoes with baby lettuces accompanied the meal.


Results

We all seemed to enjoy the meal. I loved how all the flavors worked well together.

Ideas for the future

I'd like to try using preserved lemons in other dishes. I should try cooking with Meyer lemons. Spinach goes great with dhal; I remember fondly such a dish that my Mom would make. I should try a green or red lentil dhal with spinach sometime.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Bibimbap (rice with vegetables) - prepared





I don't often use prepared frozen foods, but they do come in handy once in a while. I'm trying to get a number of things done before my wife and daughter return from a 3-week trip to India this Friday and tonight had to focus on some items that had to be done by tomorrow. Conveniently, I found a frozen vegan bibimbap by a company called Saffron Road at Whole Foods a few days ago on sale. Why not try it out and if it's great, I could pick another up for a future meal?

Some years ago, I was lucky to have a very nice visiting family that I helped to host from Korea through the UNC International Friendship Program. They introduced me to their homemade delicious bibimbap; it is fun to pronounce and, more importantly, a healthful and tasty dish of rice with vegetables and pickles. I subsequently visited them in Seoul and enjoyed this national dish at home and in several city and village restaurants.

I should learn to make this highly customizable dish. Here are a few recipes that I found during a quick search online that perhaps I could use as a point of departure for my own attempts in the future:
  • Omitting honey, sugar, and oil, and reducing vinegar, this recipe sounds easy and good
  • With suitable changes, this recipe is a tempting look at how one could make a variety of ingredients and then have diners make their own bibimbap bowls
  • crazykoreancooking.com offers a detailed description of ways of preparing bibimbap
 I should also probably visit some area Korean restaurants to try their vegan bibimbap.

Getting back to dinner, I was mildly disappointed. The vegetables in the main course were not so tasty. The tofu was good and there was a bit of hot spice that worked well. I need to make bibimbap from scratch! This serving didn't even remind me of the times that I had this Korean specialty in the past. Luckily, I also fire roasted an ear of corn and served it off-the-cob, and also served some excellent Sungold tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tempeh, Kale, and Brussels Sprouts served with Tri-Color Quinoa (No Added Fat)

A friend, who is joining me for the American Dance Festival show tonight, was possibly coming for dinner, depending on her schedule, and she doesn't eat onions, peppers, or much spice. I prepared a meal in case she could make it. I turns out she couldn't, but I took a serving for her to enjoy for lunch tomorrow. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces tempeh cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 1/4" slices
  • Cup of broccoli florets
  • Medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 3/8" slices
  • 12 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 6 cremini (or other) mushrooms cut into 3/8" slices
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1t ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 leaves kale, stems removed, then leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/8 t salt
If I were cooking for myself, I'd also add half a cup of onion cut into 3/8" slivers, a diced clove of garlic, a bit of turmeric and ground cumin, and a vegan bouillon cube.

Process
  1. I put all the ingredients into the Instant Pot pressure cooker and set on a 3 minute high pressure cycle.
  2. When I was ready to serve, I slowly let the steam out and served.
I also made tri-color quinoa. I sprinkled hemp seeds atop tomato slices (but took the photograph here before adding the seeds).
Results

The dish was good but, to my onion- and spice- preferring palate, a bit bland. I added hot sauce to my serving. This was also my experiment with pressure cooking tempeh. I liked the results with tofu from the day before yesterday, but the tempeh wasn't as positive. It really just tasted like hot tempeh, like I might use in a pasta sauce. It was fine, but the pressure cooking didn't seem to add to the flavor or change the texture of the tempeh at all. It will be good to see what my

Ideas for the future

Even if serving as a no-spice dish with no onion or garlic, I could enhance the dish with some fresh lemon sage or oregano. A little more salt could be helpful. I'd make this with tofu (if not cooking for my wife, who avoids tofu, which upsets her stomach) or maybe lentils. Onion and broth certainly would improve the dish.

I'm glad that I experimented with tempeh. Perhaps tempeh would be more successful if first marinated and then pressure cooked in the marinade. I hope to try that sometime soon.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Croxetti Pasta Medallions with Marinara and Vegan Sausage

I was running late so made a simple pasta dinner with a vegan apple-sage sausage. I used a Croxetti medallion pasta.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Green Tomato and Tofu with Jade Pearl Rice and Watermelon Gazpacho (No Added Fat)

I had a friend, my daughter's teacher, over for dinner tonight. I wonder if things will change when my daughter goes to Kindergarten and no longer to a home-based school soon, but Anu's teacher has always enjoyed leftovers that I frequently send. I hope that Anu's next teacher will enjoy and be allowed to take leftovers. Anyway, it was great having Anu's teacher over and preparing food freshly for her. In fact, she kindly took on a job of noting the ingredients down so that I could type it all up afterwards.

I wanted to experiment with cooking tofu under pressure. I rarely buy green tomatoes (fried green tomatoes are a Southern specialty), but picked one up today (a green tomato is just an unripe tomato), and wanted to see how it would cook. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces firm water-packed tofu, drained and squeezed, then cut into 1/2" cubes (I used a tofu with herbs)
  • 1/2 medium red onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 medium sweet (or yellow; or just a full onion, and no red onion) onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 4 leaves kale, stems removed, then leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 medium carrot cut into a 3/8" dice
  • 1 medium green (unripe) tomato, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1t ginger, finely chopped
  • Jalapeno in quantity desired (I used about a fifth of a large one), finely diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup water (I usually forget, but adding it boiling would reduce the time to get to pressure)
  • 1/8 t salt
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients into my Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker, covered, and set to cook under high pressure (the default) for 3 minutes.
  2. We were ready to eat, so I quick released the pressure and served.
I also made Jade pearl rice (I first sauteed a bit of scallion and bell pepper, then added the rice and water in a 1 : 1 1/2 ratio, as well as a vegan bouillon cube, a dash of salt, and a small handful of spinach leaves - spinach goes great with rice!). Leftover watermelon gazpacho completed the meal.

Results

The meal came out great! I really liked the pressure cooked tofu. It became a little more firm and seemed to imbibe more flavor than usual. The unripe tomato was a welcome addition; it had a very light tomato flavor and nicely complemented the dish, something a fully ripe tomato wouldn't do (the flavor would significantly change with a more pronounced tomato, and I think it wouldn't improve the dish). The kale pieces complemented the dish nicely.

Ideas for the future

I wonder if tofu would be good to marinate in the Instant Pot and then be sauteed for a short while before being pressure cooked. I loved the main course as-is; if green tomatoes aren't available, I wouldn't add ripe tomatoes or tomato sauce (the tomato flavor I don't think would go well - the green tomato was sufficiently subtle), but just omit tomato. I don't think this would do well with tempeh as a substitute, but I do want to explore pressure cooking tempeh, too.

Though I liked the moisture of the dish, I could experiment with adding a little bit less water, maybe 1/4 cup. Some fresh lemon sage and black sesame seed mixed in to the tofu dish when served would be good. Some may enjoy some hot sauce with it, too. I typically add less salt than many like, and a little bit more salt in the main course would be fine.

I am so delighted that I discovered Jade pearl rice. The rice was great as-is, but a little jalapeno would be good with it. I should experiment with something like sundried tomato in this rice.

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Eggplant, Carrot, and Kale with Seitan, served with Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

I had thought to make a vegetable and tempeh dish in my pressure cooker. Under high pressure, the Instant Pot takes 2-3 minutes to cook broccoli florets, carrots, or eggplant (I was surprised that eggplant cooks so quickly), and 3-6 minutes to cook greens like kale. Spinach only takes 1-2 minutes.

I thought that I would go with 3 minutes and perhaps first cook tempeh pieces in a bit of broth. Alas, I was out of tempeh, which is unusual! I am having friends over for dinner tomorrow and thinking of using seitan then, but decided that, in lieu of tempeh, I'd use seitan today, as well. (I look forward soon to experimenting with pressure cooked tempeh; my thought is that I'd put a little broth in the Instant Pot, and cook pieces of tempeh using the pot's saute feature for a few minutes, then add vegetables and pressure cook.) Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 1/4" slices
  • Large scallion, chopped into 3/4" lengths
  • Garlic clove, chopped finely
  • 3 kale leaves, stems discarded (composted) and leaves roughly torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • Medium Japanese eggplant cut into 3/8" slices (since this was organic, I kept the skin on)
  • Small handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • (Optional; I skipped since seitan is salty) 1/8 t salt
  • 1/3 of a 8 ounce packet of seitan strips, cut into approximately 3/4" squares


Process
  1. I put everything but the seitan into the Instant Pot and set it to cook for 3 minutes in high pressure.
  2. To keep the vegetables from overcooking, I quick released the steam once the 3 minutes were over.
  3. I mixed in the seitan and served.
I also made some Jade pearl rice (I sauteed a bit of onion in a pan without any oil, then added rice and water in a 1 : 1 1/2 ratio, along with a pinch of salt and a vegan bouillon cube, brought to a boil, and simmered on low heat for 20 minutes). I served  m√Ęche rosettes with delicious Sungold tomatoes, as well.

Results

I enjoyed the meal. I had been tempted to add some heat, like jalapeno or hot sauce, or maybe jerk seasoning, but I think that the dish had a charm of letting the vegetables and seitan "speak for themselves". I was surprised how the eggplant really was cooked and had a nice subtle taste that I haven't had in eggplant before. I think that Jade pearl is my new favorite rice, putting Madagascar pink as my second favorite; I hope that I don't overdo it and lose my excitement about this creamy rice.

Ideas for the future

I want to explore eggplant more with the pressure cooker. How would it come out if it were first sauteed a bit in the pressure cooker? I definitely want to explore tofu and tempeh in the pressure cooker. Perhaps I could make this dish again and explore some additional seasoning, or perhaps top it with a sauce. It was a little bit bland, but really hit the spot for what I was looking for tonight.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Watermelon Gazpacho, Limed Jerk Seitan (No Added Fat)

I found good seedless watermelon in the store, and made a big batch of watermelon gazpacho, similarly to how I made it on Father's Day 2013. The vegetarian society has a 4th of July picnic, and I thought that I could enjoy a bowl of the soup tonight and let it sit overnight for the flavors to all marinade together nicely.

I also made my signature lime-marinated jerk seitan. I like using my cast iron pan with no additional oil, but don't like citrus on the pan. What I did was put strips of seitan on the warmed cast iron pan and cooked till a bit crispy. I transferred the seitan to a bowl, put a little fresh lime juice on top, and sprinkled some jerk seasoning and a bit of salt on top, then kept it warm in a toaster oven till I served. Wonderful candy-like Sungold tomatoes completed the meal!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Pappardelle Pasta with Chunky, Spicy Marinara, served with Sungold Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, and Sauteed Tofu (No Added Fat)

I was late coming home so made a simple pappardelle pasta (imported from Italy as pasta abruzzese di semola di grano duro) with a chunky, spicy marinara sauce. A bit of sauteed herbed tofu (cooked with no oil on a seasoned cast iron pan) and oh-so-tasty sungold cherry tomatoes with nice sugar snap peas completed the meal.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Beet and Butternut Squash with Kale and Seitan (No Added Fat)

I wanted to make an easy but nutritious dinner in my pressure cooker, using frozen butternut squash and a fresh golden beet.

Ingredients
  • Medium sized golden beet, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 cup of (frozen, but fresh is even better - I don't like cutting and peeling winter squashes) butternut squash in 1/2" - 3/4" cubes
  • 1 carrot cut into 3/8" slices (oops, I forgot to add this!)
  • 3 kale leaves, stems discarded (composted) and leaves roughly hand torn to approximately 3/4" pieces
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1t of chopped ginger
  • (optional) 1t of chopped jalapeno
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into approximately 1/4" x 3/4" half moons (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces (half of a 8 ounce packet) of seitan strips
  • 4 finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1t jerk seasoning (a mixture of hot pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme)
Process

  1. Butternut squash takes 8-10 minutes to cook; whole beets take 11-13 (small root) or 20-25 (large root) minutes; and onions slices (and cubes?) take only 2-3 minutes to cook in my Instant Pot under high pressure. I decided to cut the beets as listed above and use raw onions after the cooking, then cook for 9 minutes. So, I put the beet, squash, (missing carrot!), kale, salt, ginger, jalapeno, bouillon cube, and water into my Instant Pot and cooked on high pressure for 9 minutes.
  2. When I was ready to serve, I let out any remaining pressure then mixed in the onion, seitan, basil, and jerk seasoning.
I also made some mashed potatoes with onion, black pepper, salt, and nutritional yeast. Cucumber with hemp seeds completed the meal.


Results

I loved the main course! I generally cook with no added fat nowadays, but the mashed potatoes could have benefited with just a bit of Earth Balance margarine.


Ideas for the future

I had forgotten, but I had wanted to add a carrot cut into 3/8" slices to the beginning of the cooking. I'll bet the sweetness and slight texture after cooking would have made it a welcome addition. Otherwise, I can't think of any improvements except possibly for using a little bit of garlic. I'll have to make this for my family when they return from India!

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