Sunday, May 31, 2015

Waterless Kale, Lima Beans, and Potato, served with Jade Pearl Rice with Bok Choy (No Added Fat)

I had a great time this weekend at the NC International South Asian Film Festival. I was to babysit later tonight, so just had a few hours to cook, eat, and prepare my daughter for bed. I decided to prepare a waterless dish along with Jade pearl rice.

  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" thick half moons (I used about half of a sweet onion)
  • I Yukon gold potato halved and then cut into 1/4" slices (a bit over a cup)
  • 12 kale leaves, roughly pulled from stems and hand cut to approximatel 3/4" squares (I found that 5 leaves, compacted, filled a cup, so about 2 1/2 compressed cups)
  • (optional) 8 ounce packet of seitan strips (I had about an ounce or two of an open packet, so just used that much)
  • 1 cup baby lima beans
  • 1/8 t (or to taste) each of salt, dried oregano, and lemon pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)

  1. I put the onion, potato, kale, seitan, and lima beans, in that order, into a large Saladmaster saute pan, covered, and turned the stove on medium.
  2. After a few minutes, the vapor release started rattling; I then reduced the heat to low to stop the rattling, and cooked, undisturbed, for about 20m.
  3. I stirred in the seasonings and served.
I also made some some Jade Pearl rice by sauteeing a little onion with no oil or liquid just for a minute or so, then adding a little less than a cup and two and a half times as much water, plus maybe 1/8t salt and a vegan bouillon cube. I brought to a boil and then covered and cooked on a low simmer for 20m. I mixed in about 3T of chopped (maybe 1/2" cubes) bok choy, and served.


Dinner was good; I'm surprised that I don't more often do waterless cooking.

Ideas for the future

Ginger would have gone well with the main course. I could have used other greens instead of kale, like chard or maybe collards. I've not often cooked with collard greens - maybe it's time to pick some up after not having had them for a while.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Yellow Split Pea Stew with Chard, Kale, and Corn, served with Pesto Toast (No Added Fat)

I made five side dishes for a client yesterday and one came out particularly well, using yellow split peas, ginger, and vegetables. I thought that I'd make something like that for my family tonight.

  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • (Optional) Additional clove or two of garlic similarly diced (I had some green garlic and used it by chopping about a tablespoonful into about 1/4" cubes)
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into 3/8" slices (I used 3 small carrots)
  • 2 leaves chard (I used red chard), stems hand separated from leaves
    • Leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares (a bit over a cup, tightly packed)
    • Stems chopped into 3/8" lengths (a bit less than 1/2 cup)
  • 2 leaves kale, stems hand separated from leaves
    • Stems discarded (composted)
    • Leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares (a bit less than a cup, tightly packed)
  • 1 T ginger, diced to about 1/4" or smaller pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine)
  • 1 cup chopped (1/4") sweet (or other) onion
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • Approx. 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1t lime (or lemon) juice

  1. I rinsed the split peas several times then put then into the Instant Pot pressure cooker, along with water, garlic, and green garlic.
  2. Split peas take 8-10 minutes to cook under pressure; I cooked for 7 minutes.
  3. When the pressure cooker was done, I let it sit for a few minutes, slowly let out the remaining pressure, and carefully opened the pot.
  4. I added the carrot, greens, ginger, and corn, and cooked for another 2 minutes.
  5. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pressure cooker as before, mixed in the onion and spices, as well as the lime juice, and served.
I also heated some bread, topped with the pesto sauce that I had made on Wednesday and a little nutritional yeast, and served with some mixed lettuces.


Dinner was great! We all enjoyed it. The main course was quite nice and I'm glad that my daughter, who is spice averse, didn't taste the ginger. I'm delighted that I have a good pesto recipe - it sure made for a good seeded ciabatta toast.

Ideas for the future

I loved the stew as it was, though initially I had thought I'd make a firmer dish that could be plated and not served in a bowl. It might be interesting to use half the water and see how that comes out.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Celtuce (Stem Lettuce) Saute with Seitan and Pesto (No Added Fat)

This afternoon at the farmers' market, I found a new (to me) vegetable called celtuce (also called stem lettuce). I bought two stems and the kind farmer threw in a third. It has a thick stem and upright lettuce-like leaves. The farmer said that the stems should be peeled and then the flesh was good cooked or raw; the leaves could be used but are bitter.

I thought that I would cube the vegetable and cook it briefly, then mix in seitan. Once home, I also found an article from this past December about celtuce.

I also bought some basil leaves. I found an interesting oil- and fat- free pesto recipe that I thought that I would try. Here is what I did:

  • 1 cup chopped (1/4") sweet (or other) onion - I used about half of a medium Vidalia onion
  • 8 ounce packet of seitan strips cut into approximately 1" x 1/4" x 1/4" slices
  • 2 stems celtuce, peeled then chopped into 3/8" cubes (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups (tightly packed) fresh basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Approx. 1/2 t salt (or to taste)
  • (Optional) 1T nutritional yeast

  1. I put the onion into a Saladmaster (or stainless or other) saute pan and turned the stove on medium. I stirred the onion for just 2 minutes or so; the onion was still not clear but was a little cooked.
  2. I added the seitan and cooked another 2 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  3. I added the celtuce, stirred, and cooked another 2 minutes or so, again stirring occasionally.
  4. I added the corn kernels; they were frozen, so I mixed for another 2 minutes or so until they were warmed
  5. I added the coconut aminos and rubbed with my spatula against the bottom of the pan; the little bit of seitan sticking that had happened cleaned up fairly readily.
  6. I turned the heat off, mixed in 6T of pesto (see below, which made maybe 10T), and served.
I also made pesto based on the recipe I cited above, though I used less water and added nutritional yeast.
  1. I blended the basil, garlic, bouillon cube, and water, using the pusher that comes with my Vitamix blender, starting with low and going up to 3 or 4 on the blender's scale of 10. I took no more than 10 seconds or so.
  2. I removed the pusher, added the salt and nutritional yeast, and briefly (5 seconds or so) blended on medium (4 or 5).
I also made some some Bhutanese Red rice; it calls for 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water simmered for 20m, but I used a little more water (1 3/4 parts) and a vegan bouillon cube. A few slices of cucumber (I would have preferred tomato for both taste and color, but we didn't have any) with hemp seeds completed the meal.


I was a little surprised that all three of us really liked the meal. I was "okay" with the raw celtuce but my wife and daughter found even the stem a bit too bitter. But I guess the pesto (I'm so happy to have a tasty and no-oil version!) and flavorful seitan made the dish, perhaps in spite of the celtuce.

Ideas for the future

I wonder if pressure cooking would give celtuce a stronger flavor - though perhaps also more bitterness. It may be worth pressure cooking with some sweet flavors, like citrus or pineapple.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flageolet Beans with Spinach (No Added Fat)

I made a dish for a client a few days ago with flageolet beans and spinach, and quite liked it. I recreated it with some more seasoning (this client likes bland food) for my family.

  • 1 1/2 cups flageolet (or navy) beans soaked overnight in ample water
  • Enough water to just cover the beans (maybe 3/4 cup)
  • Vegan bouillon cube - 26m
  • 1c frozen (or fresh) chopped spinach
  • 1/2 c onion chopped to 1/4" cubes
  • (Optional) 1t of green garlic or shallot or chives cut finely (1/4" or smaller)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 2T fresh squeezed lime (or lemon) juice

  1. I had soaked the beans overnight but ended up making something else for dinner yesterday, so I rinsed, put fresh water in the pot, and refrigerated, covered, till earlier today, then rinsed the beans. I covered with enough water to just cover the beans, and added the boullion cube. I cooked in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 26m.
  2. Once it was done, I waited a few minutes then slowly let out the steam till I could open the pot. 
  3. I added the spinach, mixed, and closed the pot in "keep warm" mode. After just a few minutes, the spinach was warm. (If I had used fresh spinach, I would just add it and continue with the next step.)
  4. I mixed in the onion, green garlic, salt, lemon pepper, oregano, and lime juice.
I also made some Madagascar Pink rice by cooking for 20m rice in 1 3/4 part (I often use 2 parts) water, a vegan bouillon cube, and a little salt, then fluffing it and serving. Some tomato slices completed the meal.



Ideas for the future


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Monday, May 11, 2015

Hearty Pizza with Potato

I was in a rush tonight to get to the fun weekly PopUp Chorus so decided to use a pizza shell and make pizza. I've occasionally found pizzerias which include potato as a pizza topping, and decided to try it myself.

In sum, I sauteed with no added oil a chopped vegan Field Roast brand sausage, green garlic, and bell pepper, then mixed it in with marinara sauce, tomato paste, chopped basil, and chopped olive. I topped with cooked, sliced Yukon Gold potato (more on that in the last paragraph) and, for part of the pizza (my daughter's part; I had one slice with and one without cheese, and my wife had no cheese), sprinkled on a bit of Daiya brand shredded vegan cheese. I baked for 6 minutes directly on a pizza stone in my preheated oven at 425°F, sliced, and served.

The combination was great! It made for a fast and, though not so whole food and no added fat, reasonably healthy meal.

This was the first time that I tried cooking potato slices in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. All I did was slice washed Yukon Gold potatoes into 3/8" thicknesses, put a bit (maybe 1/8 or 1/4 cup) of water to cover the bottom of the pot, then added the potato and cooked on high pressure for merely 2 minutes. That did it - the potatoes were still a bit firm but cooked, perfect for adding to the pizza and baking.

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mildly Gingered Chickpea w Wild and Brown Rices and Broccolini, Black Beans w Plaintain and Lime (No Added Fat) (1956)

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Citrus Seitan, Jade Pearl Rice with Peas (No Added Fat)

As I was cycling home with my Kindergarten daughter in the bike trailer, I asked for her input on what to make for dinner tonight. I thought I'd cook with seitan. I was delighted that she came up with a unique idea that immediately clearly had value.

She suggested cutting up some oranges or tangerines and serving with seitan. What a great idea! It was especially interesting because lime-marinated jerk seitan is one of my signature dishes; it is a published recipe of mine and also has been professionally filmed. I thought that I would saute some seitan with bell pepper then serve warm or cool with citrus pieces as a salad. Here is what I did, and I got her to help!

  • Almost 1 cup tangerine, orange, or tangelo cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 bell pepper cut into 1/4" x 3/4" slices
  • App. 1/8 cup fennel cut into 1/4" cubes
  • App. 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" x 3/4" pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely (1/8" or so) chopped
  • 8 ounce package of seitan strips
  • 2t basil (I used frozen cubes)
  • (Optional) 1T coconut aminos (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • Jerk seasoning to taste (I used about 1/4 t sprinkled on top of each of my wife's and my individual servings); we have a good local product called Pluto's Caribbean Bliss jerk seasonings, and I like their salt-free blend ("Red Pepper, Thyme, Onion, Garlic and Pluto’s Special Spice Blend", but one can make one's own hot spicy blend)

  1. I showed my daughter how to carefully cut citrus. We used a large Mandarin orange. I had her separate the segments then chop into 1/2" cubes (she chopped into approx. 1" cubes that I halved). Though I supervised, I also told her that it is not unlikely that once in a great while as she does more cooking, she may cut herself - I said something like, "Cry if you need to, stop the bleeding, get a bandaid, and remember to always focus on safety." She also helped with some of the other cutting, but I prepared most of the remaining ingredients.
  2. I put the garlic and onion in a Saladmaster skillet and sauteed for about 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion was starting to carmelize.
  3. I added the seitan and cooked for another 4m or so until the seitan was starting to get a bit crisp.
  4. I then added the bell pepper, fennel, and half the orange. I was originally going to keep the orange for the end, but came up with the idea of gently squeezing down on the orange pieces so that the acidic juice would clean up what little sticking I was; I did that as I gently scraped the bottom of the pan with my spatula, almost instantly releasing any food that was at all sticking.
  5. I cooked for about 3m until the pepper and fennel were softened.
  6. I added the coconut aminos, stirred, and turned the heat off.
  7. I added the remaining citrus and served my daughter. Normally, I'd mix in the jerk seasoning, but I just sprinkled some atop my wife and my servings.
I also made some Jade pearl rice (1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water, pinch or two of salt, and vegan bouillon cube simmered for 20m) by first sauteeing some onion in the pan and also by including some frozen green peas with the rice, water, salt, and bouillon cube. A lovely colored tomato was our "salad".


All of us loved dinner! What a great idea my daughter came up with.

Ideas for the future

The main course could have used another clove of garlic and possibly 20% or so more citrus. I would have liked the seitan more crispy and should have cooked the seitan on my cast iron pan, which, even without adding oil, crisps the seitan. I could have then added the seitan to the other ingredients after they too were cooked.

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Green Split Pea Dhal with Mixed Vegetables, Israeli Couscous Blend (No Added Fat)

I made dinner not just for my family but thought that I'd get a start on cooking for some clients, so decided to make a large pot of mixed vegetables with split peas. My clients don't eat much spice, so I just used a little bit of ginger and added other spices to our portions after cooking. Here is what I did:

  • 2 2/3 cups green (or yellow) split pea, sorted with debris eliminated and then rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • (Optional) vegan bouillon cube; I skipped
  • 1 t finely chopped (1/8") ginger
  • 16 oz frozen cubed vegetables (I used a carrot-pea-corn-green bean combination)
  • Approx. 1/4 t salt
  • 2T fresh squeezed lime (or lemon) juice
  • Approx. 1/8 t each lemon pepper, turmeric
  • Approx. 1/4 t ground cumin

  1. I added the split pea, water, ginger, and vegetables to the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked under high pressure for 6m. I was a bit concerned that the 6-quart pot was maybe 2/3 full, and I know that foods that foam, like split peas and lentils, should generally not be cooked with the pot more than halfway full.
  2. Once it was done, I waited a few minutes then slowly let out the steam till I could open the pot. Indeed, I got a bit of foam on the top, but I could easily clean it.
  3. The dish had significant liquid, so I poured it through a strainer to thicken it a bit, then added the salt and lime juice.
  4. I reserved most of the dish for my clients and put about 1/4 of what I made, for my family, in a separate large bowl, to which I added the lemon pepper, turmeric, and cumin, then served.
I also made some some "harvest grains" that I had purchased from Trader Joe's as I described in late January as "a mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa made simply by using a ratio of 5 parts grain to 7 parts water, along with a vegan bouillon cube, that I brought to a low 10-minute simmer". I also added a little salt.


I had planned a thick and not runny main dish, but was happy to serve it in bowls and call it a dhal. All of us, including my Kindergartener, loved the dish. The harvest grain was good.

Ideas for the future

I am not sure why the dish came out so liquidy initially. I would like to try making this with a little less water next time. More ginger and some jalapeno would have enhanced the dish.

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