Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pressure Cooked (Tofu or Tempeh) with Vegetables, Mekong Flower Rice (No Added Fat)

My wife originally was eating at a friend's house tonight, and I had my heart set on a pressure cooked tofu dish. She ended up at home, so we decided to try pressure cooked vegetables both with tofu (for me) and tempeh (for her). She is a bit intolerant to tofu, and we hope that eating food cooked with tofu won't cause her any problem.

I've tried pressure cooking tempeh before; it doesn't seem to add any flavor, but doesn't hurt the tempeh. I cooked some tofu, tempeh, and vegetables (asparagus, onion, garlic) along with chopped basil, ginger, vegan bouillon cube, salt, lemon pepper, and a little bit of water on high pressure for 2 minutes. I also made some brown Mekong flower rice.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Split Pea - Artichoke Heart Stew with Tricolor Quinoa-Spinach and Corn-off-the-Cob (No Added Fat)

I love ArtiHearts™, packaged grilled artichoke hearts. I wanted to make a dish with them and came up with the unusual idea of cooking them with split peas or lentils. Here is what I did:

  • 1/2 cup green (or yellow) split pea
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 t finely chopped (1/8") ginger
  • 6 kale leaves, stems excepted (composted or discarded), roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" leaves
  • 2t chopped basil (I used frozen cubes)
  • Approx. 1 cup artichoke hearts (I use most of a packaged ArtiHearts™) roughly chopped into approximately 3/4" pieces
  • Approx. 1/8 t each dried oregano and lemon pepper
  • 1/2 t or to taste salt
  • Lemon juice to taste (I used about a teaspoon of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice)

  1. The normal way to cook green split peas is to sort through them, eliminating any debris, then to rinse them, which I did.
  2. The next step calls for cooking in a 1 part to 3 parts water ratio for a 45m simmer or 6-10m high pressure cook. I used my Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook the split peas, water, and bouillon cube for 5m under high pressure; the split peas tasted good and just a bit undercooked.
  3. I added the ginger, kale, and basil, and cooked on high pressure for another minute.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I gently let out the remaining pressure and added the artichoke, oregano, lemon pepper, salt, and lemon juice.
I also made some tricolor quinoa with 1/2 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, a vegan bouillon cube, maybe 1/4 t salt, and a teaspoon of tomato paste brought to a boil and simmered on low for a few minutes, then kept covered, off the heat, for about 10m till the moisture was absorbed. I flame-roasted two corn cobs, stripped the kernels, and mixed in a bit of salt and Meyer lemon juice.


I took a risk today as the main course combination was rather unusual and just the product of my imagining what may work. But it came out great! We all loved the dish. I am coming to the conclusion that the tricolor quinoa is not as enjoyable to eat the fluffier yellow only, but the quinoa dish was good, as was the corn.

Ideas for the future

I don't take credit for anything but the combination, as the Instant Pot and ingredients really made the main course. Surprisingly, I can think of no improvements - the spices were "just right". Yay!!

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dilip's Anasazi Kichedi (No Added Fat)

I wanted to cook with some Anasazi beans that I had. I cooked with them I think only once before, this past September, and enjoyed them. I was wondering if I could cook them together with some brown rice and read some words of wisdom suggesting caution with trying it since beans and rice can require different cooking times. Since I had soaked the beans overnight (about 11 hours or so), I figured that they would cook in a half hour or less; I don't have a lot of experience cooking brown rice in the pressure cooker, but thought that a half hour sounded reasonable. Here is what I did:

  • 1 1/4 Anasazi beans soaked overnight in ample water (other beans like kidney beans would probably do fine, as well; I soaked for about 11 hours)
  • 1 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • (optional) Vegan bouillon cube
  • 3 cups chopped spinach (I used frozen but fresh would be fine, too)
  • 1 cup onion chopped into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt; I used kala namak ("black salt" that is actually pink in color)
  • 1/4 t lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/8t ground cumin
  • Pinch (less than 1/8 t) each of: garlic powder, turmeric, and turmeric
  • (Optional) Finely (less than 1/8") diced ginger to taste - try 1/2 t
  • (Optional) Jalapeno to taste (try 1/4 or 1/2 t diced to 3/8" cubes)
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon (I used Meyer lemon), or to taste

  1. I rinsed the beans then put them, along with the rice, water, and bouillon cube, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Beans usually cook in about a half hour with water just covering them, and the brown Basmati calls for a 1 part rice to 2 parts water ratio (cooked for 50m stovetop). I figured I would try 1:3 to include the water to cover the beans.
  2. I cooked under high pressure for 28m, planning to open the pot, add some vegetables, and then cook for 2 more minutes. However, when I opened the pot, the rice and beans tasted great and were done, even a bit soft.
  3. Instead of cooking for any longer, I added the remaining ingredients except lemon juice. We weren't going to eat for a few hours, so I just replaced the cover.
  4. About 10m before eating, I had my wife turn the Instant Pot in "keep warm" mode.
  5. When I was ready to serve, I mixed in the lemon juice then served in the center of our plates, surrounded by three tomato wedges.


We all liked the main course - my wife and I particularly loved it. It reminded me of Indian kichedi (lentil and rice dish), so I will name this Dilip's Anasazi Kichedi.

Ideas for the future

I should continue to explore cooking soaked beans with rice. Tonight's dish would have benefited from some ginger and heat from a jalapeno, but was great as it was. I could probably have cooked for a few minutes less but it was fine as it was cooked (maybe I should try 26m). The spinach went great with the dish!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fingerling Potato with Edamame, Corn-off-the-Cob (No Added Fat)

I thought that I'd cook some fingerling potatoes that I had, and decided to go with waterless cooking. Here is what I did:

  • 1/2 medium onion cut into 1/4" thick half moon slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 10 Russian Banana (or other kind) fingerling potatoes cut in halves (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 t finely (1/8") diced garlic
  • 2T fennel cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2 cups frozen edamame in pods
  • 1t frozen basil
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t lemon pepper

  1. I put the onion, potato, garlic, fennel, edamame, and basil, in that order, into a large Saladmaster stock pan that I started heating on medium high as soon as the onion went in.
  2. I covered the pan and waited a few minutes till the vapor lock started jiggling, then reduced the heat to low to stop or minimize the jiggling and steam release.
  3. I cooked for about 30 minutes then mixed in the salt and lemon pepper, and served.
I also prepared some roasted corn-off-the-cob. I didn't have any lime or lemon, so mixed in just a little bit of tangerine juice, plus a little salt and a very little (maybe 1/4 or 1/2 t) vegan margarine (a new variety called Melt). Tomato and fresh peas in the pod completed the meal.


I had never cooked edamame in pods, or at least don't remember doing so. Enthusiastically, I liked the first one or two, but really the shell was too fibrous and we all shelled and then added to the compost pile the shell. Dinner was good! I had considered adding some tomato sauce to the finished product, but when I tasted the dish, it was good and wouldn't have benefited from the sauce.

Ideas for the future

I should cook waterlessly more often. It's easy and nutritious! The fennel contributed very little flavor - I should have used more or could easily have just omitted it.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Cranberry Beans with Green Roma Tomato, Tricolor Quinoa (No Added Fat)

In the store today, I found green roma tomatoes. I enjoy pressure cooking green (unripened) tomatoes, as they add a nuanced but not pronounced tomato flavor, sometimes a welcome change. However, I've never found green roma tomatoes. I had had some cranberry beans soaking overnight, and decided to make a simple dish with the beans and tomatoes.

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry (or kidney) beans soaked overnight (or at least 5-6 hours) in ample water (at least 3 cups)
  • Water to just cover beans (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium green roma tomatoes cut into 1/4" cubes (approx. 1 1/2 cups); alternatively, 1 medium tomato cut into 1/4" cubes (and making approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • Medium zucchini cut into 1/4" cubes (approx. 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1T ginger, finely (approx. 1/8") diced
  • (Optional) 1T jalapeno, cut into 1/4" squares (I used a red jalapeno)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 3 scallions, bottom 1/2" or so removed (and composted or discarded), then cut into 3/8" slices
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt

  1. I rinsed the beans then put them, along with water to just cover, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 40m (I just used the "bean" button adjusted upwards by one adjustment - two button presses).
  2. When I was ready to proceed, I gently let out any remaining pressure and opened the pot.
  3. I added the tomato, zucchini, ginger, jalapeno, and bouillon cube and cooked on high pressure for 2 minutes.
  4. When I was ready to proceed, I slowly let out remaining pressure and opened the pot.
  5. I added the scallion, oregano, and salt, and served, along with some quinoa and tomato.


Dinner was good. I could have used more jalapeno, but was happy that my daughter ate, however tentatively, the beans, only complaining a bit that it was "spicy". The green roma tomatoes didn't add much flavor.

Ideas for the future

When I first tried cooking with green tomatoes this past July, I cooked them for 3 minutes. My sense is that longer cooking time wouldn't make much of a change and that either roma tomatoes don't come out so well when green, or that these tomatoes were just too green. If I find green romas again, I'd love to try a 3- or even 4- minute cooking time, or look for slightly ripened ones.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Japanese Sweet Potato Dhal, Tricolor Quinoa with Parsnip, Multigrain English Muffin Open Sandwich (No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter returned from a nice trip to the Tennessee and Western North Carolina mountains and I had dinner almost ready when they arrived. I prepared some meals for a client yesterday including parsnip with mixed quinoa and a dhal (lentil soup) with sweet potato, both of which I loved and wanted to make for my family. Here is what I did:

  • 3/4 cup red split lentils
  • 3 times as much (i.e., 2 1/4 cups) water
  • 2 Japanese (white, but other kinds are fine if white-fleshed can't be found) sweet potatoes, skin removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1T fresh ginger
  • (optional) 1/2 jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 1T fresh lime or lemon juice (I used Meyer lemon juice)

  1. Yesterday for my client, I had simmered red split lentils for 25m stovetop and blended with a cooked squash. Instead, today, I thought I'd cook lentils and sweet potato. I was about to cook the sweet potato in the pressure cooker and cook the lentils stovetop, then blend, but realized that I could save time and energy by combining. I was in a rush to pick up my wife and daughter so didn't carefully think it out (or I'd have cut the sweet potato into chunks and used less cooking time), but simply put the water, lentils, and sweet potato into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  2. I knew that the lentils would be quite done; the sweet potato was also quite well cooked. I put all of the Instant Pot contents into my Vitamix blender.
  3. I added to the blender the rest of the ingredients and blended to a puree.
I served the lentil soup (dhal) along with a whole grain English muffin with tomato, avocado, and olive. I also made quinoa as I usually do (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, along with a vegan bouillon cube, brought to a boil for 3 or so minutes then left off heat, covered, for about 10 minutes till the water was absorbed and the quinoa got the characteristic spiral shape), but I also cut a parsnip into small 1/4" cubes and added them to the beginning of the cooking.


I love this thick and slightly sweet dhal! I don't know if others have tried making a sweet potato or squash dhal. It was quite thick. I didn't include jalapeno, but it would have been quite interesting with the sweet flavor. I love the sweetness and texture that the parsnip adds to the quinoa!

Ideas for the future

I would love to try this dhal with jalapeno. I liked the thickness, but it could be thinned with more water.

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Pressure-Cooked Tofu with Vegetables, Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

We were supposed to go on vacation part of this week while my daughter enjoys a week off of school, but I ended up not going to work on some tasks that need to be done. My wife and daughter drove through Asheville, enjoyed lunch there, and are staying in Chatanooga, TN, a place I've not been. They're having a fun and scenic time! I made a simple dinner of pressure-cooked tofu with asparagus, sweet and hot peppers, and purple cauliflower (cooked for 3m on high pressure), along with Jade pearl rice and salad.

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