Friday, July 21, 2017

Split Pea Dhal with Plantain and Fennel (No Added Fat)

My wife's brother is visiting from India - it's the first time he's been to the U.S.! I thought that his first meal should be an Indian one. His wife is from Goa, so I thought I'd use a plantain, which grows there. I decided to make a split pea dish with mixed vegetables and plantain. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups split peas (green or yellow - I used green)
  • 6 cups water
  • Medium plantain cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (almost 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2T fennel stalk chopped into 1/4" pieces (about a 6" length of a thin stalk)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") minced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (they come cut in small 1/4" or so cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" (about 1/2 of a small onion)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1t kala namak (black salt)
  • 1/2 t salt (or just 1 1/2 t salt with no black salt)
Process
  1. I put the split peas, water, plantain, fennel, garlic, and mixed vegetables into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 10m (split peas cook in a 1:3 ratio for 8-10m and I wanted a thick stew, so went with 10m).
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lemon juice, and salt.
I also made brown basmati rice by soaking 2 cups of the rice for a while (maybe 45m but longer would have been better), rinsing, and simmering, covered, for 45m in fresh 4 cups of water, along with 6 cardamom pods and a pinch of salt.

Results

The dhal was good. Surprisingly, I didn't taste any fennel. The plantain flavor was subtle. Most importantly, my brother-in-law said that he liked the whole meal!

Ideas for the future

I should use plantain more often - but use it so the taste is more pronounced, such as via waterless cooking or cooking under pressure for less time and cut into larger pieces.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Riced Cauliflower with Tempeh and Brown Rice (No Added Fat)

I have never riced cauliflower and should try it sometime to use in making a delicate dish. However, I found frozen riced cauliflower at Whole Foods Market - what could be easier?! I decided to make a simple cauliflower rice dish.


Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 cups riced cauliflower
  • 8 ounces tempeh cut into cubes approx. 3/8" in size
  • 1t ginger, finely (1/8") diced
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into approx. 3/8" cubes
Process
  1. I prepared brown rice the normal way by simmering, covered, for 50m the rice and twice as much water, along with the bouillon cube and water.
  2. I quickly opened the rice pot when it was done, mixed in the cauliflower, and covered and let stand another 10 minutes till the cauliflower was defrosted and slightly cooked.
  3. While the rice was cooking, I prepared the tempeh. I heated on medium high a cast iron pan with a very little bit of oil (maybe 1/4 t), then rubbed the oil off, leaving a light glaze.
  4. I added the tempeh, onion, and ginger, and cooked, stirring occasionally, till the tempeh was lightly browned (about 8 minutes).
Results

Dinner came out well! The riced cauliflower had a subtle flavor and the small pieces of tempeh worked out well.

Ideas for the future

I should make a more complex cauliflower rice sometime, like this promising-sounding recipe describes.

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Chickpeas and Split Peas with Beet and Kale (No Added Fat)

We're excited to be seeing one of our favorite dance troupes, Paul Taylor Dance Company, tonight (and twice tomorrow!) at American Dance Festival. We're friends with one of the dancers and she was interested in one of my home cooked meals, so I made extra tonight and packed food for our friend!

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, rinsed, soaked overnight, and rinsed again
  • Just enough water to cover chickpeas - about a cup
  • 1/2 cup split peas (I used green but yellow split peas would be fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups more water (so a total of about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 3/4 cup beet (I used one medium yellow beet), peeled with ends cut off and then chopped into approx. 1/4" cubes
  • 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms (I used 14 crimini) cut into thirds so that each slice is about 3/8" thick (thicker mushrooms can be cut into quarters)
  • 2 cups kale leaves, stems excepted, roughly hand torn into approx. 1 1/4" squares (I used 12 lacinato kale leaves)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") diced
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup dried figs (any kind) cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (I used 10 figs)
  • 3/4 cup onion cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (a bit less than 1/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1T chopped (approx. 1/4") ginger
  • 12 fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped into approx. 1/4" pieces
  • 2t lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t turmeric
Process
  1. Iput the chickpeas, split peas, water, beet, mushroom, kale, garlic, bouillon cube, and figs into my Instant Pot pressure cooker. Soaked chickpeas cook in 20-25m, split peas cook in 8-10m, and everything else would cook fine in just a few minutes; I went with a 23 minute cook time.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the onion, ginger, oregano, lime juice, salt, black pepper, cumin, and turmeric.
I served (for us, and packed for our friend) the main course along with some mixed wild and brown rice.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Eggplant - Potato - Brown Lentil Stew with Madagascar Pink Rice (No Added Fat)

I've enjoy cooking lentil stews and dhals, as I described, for example, in December 2014. I thought that I'd make a double serving so that we could send half to our neighbors who just had a baby.

Lentils cook in a 1 part to 1.5-2 part water ratio for 15-20m. I wanted something thick, so initially chose 1.5x water for 20m, but I put a lot of ingredients in, so added another half cup of water (with 2 cups lentils, it ended up being a 1:2 ratio).

By the way, I recently got a third Instant Pot, the Duo Plus 60 and donated my original Duo 60. I've used the Duo Plus 60 in making yogurt but tonight was the first time I've used it for dinner. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown (which I used) or green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • Approx. 4 cups potato in 3/8" cubes (I used 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes and ended up with approx. 4 1/3 cups chopped potato)
  • Medium eggplant cut into 3/8" cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots halved and then cut into 3/8" slices (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped
  • 1t ginger, finely (1/8") chopped (I ended up skipping as, alas, we were out of ginger)
  • 3/4 t fenugreek seeds (added in this small quantity to not add much flavor but to enhance lactation for our neighbors)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • Medium bell pepper 
  • 2 cups onion cut into approx. 3/8" cubes ( maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 4t lemon or lime juice
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the bell pepper, onion, salt, black pepper, and lime juice into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 20m.
  2. While the pressure cooking was underway, I roasted the bell pepper by putting it directly on the gas range flame, turning occasionally till charred throughout (about 5 minutes), then I put in a brown bag that I closed.
  3. After the cooking was done, I prepared the roasted pepper by running it under cold water and rubbing the char off, cutting it to let the water inside drain in the sink, removing the membranes, and then chopping into approx. 3/4" squares (about 1 cup).
  4. I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, salt, black pepper, and lime juice, as well as roasted bell pepper.
I served with some Madagascar Pink rice (1 part rice to 1 3/4-2 parts water, a vegan bouillon cube, and a dash of salt, simmered for 20m). Yesterday, for the vegetarian society 4th of July potluck party, I made watermelon gazpacho soup and had some leftovers, which I served as a kind of salad to complete the meal.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Monday, July 03, 2017

Waterless Seitan and Okra (No Added Fat)

We're so lucky - we have new neighbors a few houses down. We enjoyed starting to get to know them a few weeks ago when they were quite pregnant - and they had their baby a few days ago! I wanted to bring a meal over so made a larger quantity of tonight's dinner, knowing we'd be sharing. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 cup onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1" (app. 1/2 or a bit less of my medium Vidalia onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely (1/8") minced
  • 1 cup thin okra (I found beautiful about 3/4" length thin red locally grown okra and cut a few pieces that were bigger into halves; if using thicker okra, try 3/8" slices)
  • 15-20 small crimini or button mushrooms sliced into thirds (about 1 cup)
  • 16 ounces seitan as thin strips or cubes up to 3/4" thick
  • 1 medium green (unripened) tomato cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup bell pepper slices (approx. 1/4" x 3/4") (I might have used 1 1/2 cups but pepper can cause gas, and I wanted to be careful for the new mother)
  • 1 cup (compressed) kale leaf pieces (I hand separated kale into approx. 3/4" squares from the stems; I used 6 lacinato kale leaves)
  • (optional) 1/2 t fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1t fresh lemon or lime juice
Process
  1. I put, in this order, the onion, garlic, okra, mushroom, seitan, tomato, bell pepper, kale and fenugreek into a large Saladmaster stock pan. I cooked waterlessly - i.e., I covered the pan and heated it on medium high until the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat to low till the jiggle stopped. I let it cook for about 20 minutes.
  2. I then mixed in the salt, black pepper, and lime juice, and served (or packed for the neighbors) along with brown rice and tomatoes.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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