Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Golden Ball Turnips with Carrot, Broccoli, and Seitan (No Added Fat)

I wanted to use the Gold Ball turnips that I had purchased this weekend. This is what I did.

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh turnip roots cut into 3/4" cubes (I used the two Gold Ball turnip I purchased at a local farmers' market this past Saturday, said to taste good boiled in sugar water for 10-15m; instead, I pressure cooked 2-4 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup carrot cut into 1/4" slices (I had two small carrots; if the carrots were thick, I'd have halved them longitudinally)
  • 1 cup seitan cut into 3/4" cubes (about 4 ounces)
  • 1t basil (I used a frozen cube)
  • 1/2 cup water with 1t turbinado sugar dissolved in it
  • 1 cup baby bok choy cut into 3/8" slices (I used one baby bok choy)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  1. I put the turnip, broccoli, carrot, seitan, basil, and sugar water into my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  2. I set it on schedule to cook for 3 minutes; I stuck with high pressure though I bet low pressure would suffice.
  3. I asked my wife to remove excess water and mix in the spices and bok choy when she was ready to eat (she was going to eat a half hour before my daughter and I were to come home)


Ideas for the future


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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Waterless Cauliflower and Chard (No Added Fat)

I found red chard on sale at our coop today; we've not had chard in a while, and I had a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator, so I thought of cooking a chard and cauliflower dish. Preparing it waterlessly (using a quality Saladmaster pan and cooking, covered, on low) sounded good. Here is what I did.

  • 2/3 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4" x 3/4" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • 5 cups (maybe 2/3 or a bit more of a medium head) cauliflower florets
  • approximately 3 cups (packed) greens (I used red chard, but other kinds of chard, kale, or, if you like a bit more "bit", mustard greens could be used instead); I used 5 chard leaves, cut the stems into 1/2" lengths to make up about 3/4 cup, then hand stripped the leaves to approximately 1" pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • (optional) 1/4 t garlic powder
  • (optional) 1/4 t black sesame seed
  1. I put into a large Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, the onion, garlic, cauliflower, greens, salt, and turmeric
  2. I turned the heat on to medium high and covered the pan; after a few minutes, the vapor release started jiggling, whereupon I reduced heat to low till the release stopped moving about, and cooked for 20m
  3. I then opened the pan, mixed in the garlic powder and sesame seed, and served
I also had some fresh French baguette, and sauteed on a cast iron pan with no oil (I first maybe 1/2 t canola oil on the warming pan for half a minute then wiped the oil off just to get a very light coating on the pan) some tempeh.

Everybody liked dinner! The cauliflower was good but could have cooked just a bit more to be more tender. A little more turmeric would have made the color more vibrant (and, of course, more healthy).

Ideas for the future

While I love pressure cooking, I always also get good results with waterless cooking. I love what the pressure cooker (very soft and, cooked for a few minutes, gravy-like) and waterless cooking (tender) does to cauliflower. I should experiment with more waterless cauliflower dishes - more vegetables like carrots, peas, and green beans would be good. A surprise element like pomegranate kernels would be fun.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black Beans over Crispy Polenta (No Added Fat)

I was thinking of making a black bean dish and wanted to integrate polenta, which I had in stock prepared as a tube. Originally, I was thinking of chopping the polenta and mixing it in, but my daughter was talking about crispy polenta, so I decided to cook the polenta separately on a cast iron pan. I had some beans leftover from a few days ago, so didn't have to prepare them again in my Instant Pot. Here is what I did.

  • 1 cup prepared black beans
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") minced
  • 1/4 cup roasted or fresh bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/2 of a small (14.5 ounce) can of stewed or other tomato
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 8 ounces of polenta cut into 3/8" discs
  • (optional) few extra pieces of onion
  1. I started heating the beans, onion, garlic, bell pepper, canned diced tomato, and salt on low.
  2. I wiped a little bit of canola oil on a cast iron pan as it heated on medium heat; about half a minute later, I wiped the oil with a paper towel, leaving a light coating on the pan (I wanted crispy polenta), then put the polenta on the pan. I cooked it, flipping occasionally, and adding the onion a few minutes into the cooking.
  3. When the polenta was crispy, I served it with the onion, and put the beans (first mixing in oregano) atop.
A bagel half with tomato and olive, plus a baby bell pepper, completed the meal.

Dinner was good!

Ideas for the future

I should make crispy polenta dishes more often. Capers, olives, fresh tomato, tomato sauce, basil, cashew "cheese" sauce, and many other foods could go well with polenta.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yummy Waterless Artichokes with Mushroom and Roasted Bell Pepper, Chickpeas with Tomato (No Added Fat)

I was in the mood for artichoke hearts; while shopping, my daughter suggested and picked out mushrooms to be cooked with the artichoke. I had soaked some chickpeas and decided to make a plain side course of essentially just chickpeas (but I ended up mixing in to the 3 cups or so of finished chickpeas a small (14.5 ounces) can full of fire roasted dice tomatoes, 4T nutritional yeast, 1t oregano, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" pieces). I cooked the main course waterlessly. Here is how I made the artichoke dish:

  • 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (approx. 1/8")
  • 2 1/2 cups mushroom of choice cut into approx. 3/4" pieces (I used 7 medium crimini mushrooms cut into thirds and then halved)
  • 12 ounce artichoke quarters (about 3 cups)
  • 1T miso
  • Bell pepper
  • (optional) 1/2 t tarragon
  • 1/4 t (or to taste; remember there is also salty miso) salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  1. I put into a large Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, the onion, garlic, mushroom, artichoke, and miso.
  2. I heated, covered, the pan on medium heat till the vapor release began gently rattling, then I reduced the heat to low and cooked. With waterless cooking, 20m seems to be about right for dishes I make - longer cook times are also okay, as essentially a convection is set up and the food is just kept hot but not burnt.
  3. While the artichokes were cooking, I roasted the bell pepper by putting it on the open flame of my gas range, turning it until it was all coated in a black char. I put the bell pepper in a brown paper bag, closed the bag, and let it sit to imbue the pepper with the smoky flavor. When I was ready to serve the artichoke, I removed the pepper from the bag, and had my daughter help to run water over the pepper and rub the black char off. After removing the seeds and membranes, I chopped the pepper into approximately 3/4" pieces.
  4. I turned the heat off to the artichokes and mixed in the pepper, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and served.


Wow, I loved dinner, and so did my family and a friend who came for dinner. The artichokes were divine! I so loved this combination and the great soft texture that the waterless cooking gave the artichokes. This was one of my favorite artichoke dishes I've had. I have cooked artichokes waterlessly before, but maybe the mushroom and miso or something else about today's preparation made the dish so memorably excellent. The chickpeas were also quite good - I liked them but my wife raved and claimed that this was the best way I ever prepared chickpeas.

Ideas for the future

I will make more waterless artichoke dishes! I'll explore more combinations; capers and olives would be good. I might want to make a homogenized spread to put atop pasta or maybe a bagel.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Charred Brussels Sprouts with Tomato (No Added Fat)

Happy Valentine's Day! My family likes Brussels Sprouts but my wife prefers them pan cooked and charred, not steamed or pressure cooked, as I usually prepare them. I had the idea initially of braising Brussels Sprouts after oven roasting them and then pan sauteeing them, perhaps cooking them, covered, with broth as a final step. I thought of cutting fresh tomato into heart-shaped like sections and using them in the main dish for the Valentine's theme. Here is what I did.

  • About a half pound (maybe 8) Brussels Sprouts, end and outer leaves removed, then cut into 3/8" slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (about 1/8") minced
  • Onion, of about same volume as garlic, also finely minced
  • 2 firm medium Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4" slices and then quartered
  • 1t fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  1. I put the Brussels Sprouts in a oven-proof dish and topped with the garlic and onion, then put in a toaster oven and roasted at 450°F for 15m
  2. I turned the toaster oven up to broil and broiled for 3m
  3. I took the Brussels Sprouts, onion, and garlic out of the toaster oven and put on a cast iron skillet that I had lightly rubbed with oil to leave almost no oil behind; I cooked, stirring occasionally, on medium high for about 5 minutes till I got the desired level of charred Sprouts
  4. In parallel on a stainless steel Saladmaster skillet, I sauteed the tomato over medium high heat for 3 minutes or so, whereupon the tomato softened almost to the point of being a very thick sauce
  5. I mixed in a bowl the contents of both pans, as well as the lime juice, oregano, salt, and pepper
I had some beans in a tomato sauce that I heated up as a side dish. A generous slice of avocado completed the Valentine's meal.


As I was cooking the Sprouts, I was quite pleased with how crispy and charred they got with almost no oil at all (I list this dish as no added fat as I really just swiped on enough oil to just barely coat the pan; any oil absorbed into the food would be a trivial amount), and decided to forego braising.

It came out great - we all loved the dish! This is a real winner and a fun dish that goes from (toaster) oven to cast iron, then to mixing bowl. It is simple with just a few ingredients, and the flavor shines. I was surprised at how good this came out - maybe it was just the relative novelty of the charred Brussels Sprouts vs. the pressure cooking that I usually use with them. I had considered mixing in liquid smoke, but other than a bit of hot sauce (which really wasn't even necessary), the dish was quite flavorful as it was.

Ideas for the future

Capers might add a nice addition instead of salt. I'd love to make more crispy Brussels Sprout dishes, perhaps with root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Braised Fennel with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I had the idea of doing some sort of a saute of fennel with seitan. I ended up essentially braising (though not strictly as I didn't cover the pan with liquid) and came up with an interesting meal. Here is what I did.

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped
  • About 1 cup of fennel bulb, chopped into approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" slivers (most of a medium bulb)
  • 8 ounces seitan (cut not important - I used large 3/4" or so chunks, but thin slices would be good, as well, with a different but also good mouth feel)
  • 1/4 cup broth (I used a vegan bouillon cube and 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  1. I put the garlic in a Saladmaster skillet with no oil and sauteed over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 or 3 minutes, letting the garlic develop a nice bouquet and soften a bit.
  2. I then added the fennel and continued the saute for another 8-10m or so, till the fennel was softened and some pieces were slightly browned.
  3. I added the seitan, stirred, and continued to saute just for another 2 minutes or so.
  4. I added the broth and continued cooking for another 5 or 6 minutes, letting the broth cook down and be absorbed. (For a true braise, I'd cover and simmer on low heat for a while, but I was happy with the softness of the ingredients and wanted the excess moisture to evaporate away.)
  5. I used frozen peas and added them, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes (if I used fresh, I'd add at the very end).
I also made some brown rice pasta, with dried oregano and sliced olives.

Dinner was even better than I expected! I normally like fennel in small quantity and feared that this would be too much, but the cooking perfectly mellowed out the fennel. I liked the chunks of seitan and am glad that I didn't use thin slices. The rice was also very good.

Ideas for the future

Braised fennel is a good idea! I also have not cooked with sauteeing followed by cooking down with broth. This served the duplicate purpose of cleaning up any minimal sticking in my pan. I need to try a true braise with covering the dish. I should try a tougher ingredient than seitan to see how braising softens it - maybe fibrous kale stems? Braised fennel with tofu or tempeh would be good. This was a winning combination tonight!

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