Friday, September 29, 2017

Red Split Pea Dhal with Brown Rice (No Added Fat)

I decided to make a thick dhal with red split lentils. These lentils are prepared in a ratio of one part to 2 - 2 1/2 parts water pressure cooked for 13-18 minutes. I wanted it to be thick, so I went with a 1:2 ratio for the full 18 minutes. Here is what I did.

  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups eggplant cut into 3/8" cubes (maybe 2/3 of a medium eggplant)
  • 2/3 cup fennel root cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup carrot (one large carrot) cut into 3/8" lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped 18m
  • 2t baby ginger, finely (1/8") diced (or 1t regular ginger)
  • 3/4 t ground cumin
  • 1T lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 t salt
  1. I put the lentils, water, eggplant, fennel, carrot, garlic, ginger, and cumin into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 18 minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the salt and lemon juice.
I served the dhal with brown rice (which I cooked in a 1:2 ratio with water and a vegan bouillon cube, simmered for 45 minutes, just like I always do).

I loved the meal! The eggplant, as I've found in the past, didn't add much flavor, but I did like the subtle taste and texture that it contributed. I had forgotten to add onion at the end, but it turned out to be fine. I would have included a little turmeric but we're out. My wife has returned from her trip! She didn't like the dhal as much as my daughter and I did, and wanted more flavor, so added some hot sauce.

Ideas for the future

I rarely find that I use too little water, but this time there was a little sticking in the pan. I think that I slightly under-measured the water; in any case, I should next time try maybe 2 1/4 parts water to 1 part lentils. Additional vegetables like greens would have been good. I've been wanting to cook olives with a lentil dish like dhal, and should try that sometime soon.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rice and Beans and Guacamole (No Added Fat)

My wife is still away, so I could cater to meals that I know my daughter would particularly enjoy. She loves brown rice, black beans, and guacamole, and that's what I made tonight.

I didn't get a chance to soak beans overnight, so covered them with maybe 1/4" extra water above the beans and pressure cooked for "0 minutes" - i.e., just let the Instant Pot come up to pressure then turn off. I put fresh water in, again to 1/4" above the beans, and pressure cooked for 25m (the beans ended up very soft - fine, but I could have cooked for 20-23m maybe).

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Alfredo-Style "Mac and Cheese" with Black-Eyed Peas and Kale

While my wife is away, I made a simple macaroni and "cheese" dinner with Daiya brand Alfredo-style "mac and cheese". I also waterlessly cooked garlic, black-eyed peas, and fresh kale into a Saladmaster stock pan. 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 15 minutes.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Tofu with Vegetables, Brown Rice Capellini with Marinara (No Added Fat)

My wife is traveling so for a few days I get to use tofu, which my wife can't eat due to problems with digesting it. I cooked on a cast iron pan some tofu, fingerling potatoes, broccoli, mushroom, onion, and garlic. I mixed in some bok choy in the final minutes of cooking and served with coconut aminos (like soy sauce) and dried chives. I also made brown rice pasta.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Mixed Waxed Beans with Seitan, Shredded Cabbage Salad (No Added Fat)

I found nice purple and yellow waxed beans in the store and thought I'd cook them with seitan. Initially, I was going to cook the beans on a cast iron pan, but then I decided to make a waterless dish.

I put, in this order, a chopped shallot, maybe 25-30 beans (half yellow and half purple), and most (6 ounces?) of a package of seitan chunks 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 15 minutes, then opened the top and mixed in a little salt, garam masala, freshly ground black pepper, and salt.

I also made a salad with shredded cabbage, kalamata olives, freshly ground black pepper, salt, a generous amount of lime juice, a little balsamic vinegar, and maybe 15 small freshly picked oregano leaves. I serve with quinoa.

Dinner was better than I had expected! It seems quite consistent that my waterlessly prepared meals are always good. The main dish was tasty and the salad was excellent!

Ideas for the future

I should try maybe chopping waxed beans into 1-1 1/2 inch lengths and pressure cooking with other vegetables for "zero minutes" (i.e., just bring to pressure then turn off) of low pressure. I should, of course, try more waterless waxed bean dishes, too. I like to prepare green beans simply like I saw in Italy - sauteed on cast iron then served just with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I should make waxed beans this way, too.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Grilled Vidalia Onion and Belgian Endive with Butternut Squash and Black-Eyed Peas (No Added Fat)

I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today and picked up some belgian endive. I didn't think that my daughter would like it, but was pretty sure that my wife and I would enjoy it grilled. I was tempted in the salad bar area with some thick grilled slices of onion; we've had Vidalia onions on sale, and I thought I'd grill some of them.

What I ended up doing is grilling thick slices of onion on a cast iron pan (with no oil); a few minutes into the cooking, I added slices of the endives. I also waterlessly cooked some black-eyed peas, butternut squash, kale, and a bit of garam masala; I mixed in a little lime juice, salt, and pepper, and served my daughter. For my wife and me, I then also mixed in the grilled vegetables. Some quinoa and thick slices of heirloom tomato on multi-grain English muffin completed the meal.


My wife was in a rush to eat so I served rather quickly and didn't taste and fine tune the seasonings before serving. She enjoyed the meal, as did I - though I think it could easily be improved. I couldn't easily tease out the endives from the onion, so served the same meal to all three of us; my daughter, predictably, didn't like the endive, though she ate her meal.

Ideas for the future

Grilled onions - well, these sweet Vidalia onions - are great! I should cook with grilled onions periodically. I'm surprised that I hadn't thought of doing this before except maybe once or twice. I'd add some jalapeno or hot sauce and maybe a miso dressing in the future to a similar dish.

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Monday, September 04, 2017

Waterless Seitan and Peach with Mixed Vegetables (No Added Fat)

We have been getting good organic peaches from the store and yesterday I tempted my family with the idea of grilling some peaches, something I've not done in a while. As I prepared to work on dinner, I decided instead to try waterless cooking. Here is what I did.

  • 1/4 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4" x 3/4" strips
  • 8 ounces of seitan (I used pre-cut strips but any size cut would be fine)
  • 2 cups mixed frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1T finely (1/8") minced ginger
  • 1 medium peach cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  1. I put into a large Saladmaster stock pan these ingredients, in this order: onion, seitan, vegetables, ginger, and, finally, peach.
  2. 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.
  3. I then mixed in the salt and garlic powder, and served, along with brown rice and a slice of heirloom tomato topped with kala namak (pink salt).

Wow, all three of us loved the meal. I had wanted to use a not-yet-ripe peach but all of our peaches were just ready to eat. It turned out fine - the peach was nice and juicy. The flavors all complemented each other; a benefit of waterless cooking is that the peach could be cooked as small distributed cubes, instead of large grilled slices.

Ideas for the future

Thankfully, my daughter cleaned her plate in spite of their being ginger in the main course. However, were I cooking for a spice-happy audience, I'd also add some chunks of a mild jalapeno. I should do more waterless cooking with fruit!

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