Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Baby Lima Beans, Plantains, and Quinoa (No Added Fat)

I made a simple waterless main course with two tablespoons of onion cut into 3/8" cubes, 1 clove garlic finely (1/8") chopped, 1 cup frozen baby lima beans, and 6 ounces of grilled "artihearts" put, in that order, into a 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. I mixed in 1/4 t kala namak ("black salt", but other salt could be used), 1/4 t dried tarragon, and 1/8 t garlic powder, then served with plantains cooked on a cast iron pan with no oil, as well as quinoa.


Dinner was good! The artichoke-lima bean combination was better than I expected. I sometimes add turmeric to quinoa and did so today, but I used more turmeric than usual - not enough to make it bitter, but enough to add a nice, stronger flavor to the quinoa.

Ideas for the future

I should explore more artichoke flavor combinations. I bet artichokes with potato and leeks, for example, would be good!

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Brussels Sprouts, Baked Beans (No Added Fat)

I have some extra grilled "artihearts" (grilled artichoke hearts) leftover from our glorious Thanksgiving dinner so will be coming up with several meals featuring them. Here is what I did today.

  • 2/3 cup onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2/3 cup frozen mushroom slices
  • 2/3 cup frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 1 6 ounce packet grilled "artihearts" (grilled artichoke hearts; alternately, regular artichoke hearts) cut into approx. 1/2" cubes (a little over a cup)
  • 2/3 cup frozen bell pepper slices (maybe 1 1/4" x 1/4")
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 t tarragon
  • 1/8 t fennel seeds
  1. I put, in this order, the onion, mushroom, Brussels sprouts, artichoke, and bell pepper 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. In the meantime, I had my wife start some Madagascar Pink rice.
  3. I mixed in the spices and served the artichoke heart dish with the rice.
My daughter has taken a particular liking to baked beans, so I heated up a can of baked beans and served them along with dinner.


Everybody enjoyed the meal. I think that the main course could have had a little more flavor, but was reasonably tasty.

Ideas for the future

It would be easy to add flavor to the main course. Some roasted garlic would have been good

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sauteed Tofu and Vegetables, Lentil Grain Bread with Tomato and Guacamole (No Added Fat)

I was out and about and got home late; my family had eaten, so I made a simple dinner for myself. I sauteed on a cast iron stove with no added oil tofu, asparagus, onion, garlic, and mushroom. I also roasted a jalapeno pepper and mixed some of it in.

I like a veganic company, One Degree Organic Foods, and enjoy their cereals. I found their bread in the frozen section; they had an interesting lentil grain bread, which I bought, toasted, and served with tomato and a bit of guacamole.


Ideas for the future


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sprouted California Rice (brown-red-black rice mixture) with Peas and Mushrooms, Massaged Kale Salad, Plantain (No Added Fat)

I was thinking of cooking rice with riced cauliflower, but then thought I'd instead use peas, which my daughter loves. I had on hand some Trader Joe's brand "sprouted California rice" and used it. Here is what I did.

  • 2T onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 cup brown, red, and black rice mixture
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushroom
  • Ingredient 2
  • 8 ounces of seitan
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 cups onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" ( maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot cut into 3/8" slices (3 small-medium carrots)
  1. The rice that I used calls for simmering for 25m in a 1 1/4 : 2 ratio to water, but I favor extra water to be sure that rice is moist, so went with 1:2. I first sauteed for a few minutes on medium heat the onion, stirring occasionally, then added the rice, water, salt, and turmeric.
  2. I brought the rice to a boil then reduced heat and simmered on low, covered, for 25m.
  3. I let the rice sit, off heat, for about 5 minutes, then mixed in the frozen peas and mushrooms. Luckily, there was a little bit of water left; I turned the heat on just for 2 or so minutes with the pot covered, then turned the heat off and let the pan sit for another few minutes (just to be sure that the peas and mushroom were cooked).
I served the rice along with a massaged kale salad and plantain slices, which I had cooked, without oil, on a cast iron pan.


Wow, dinner surpassed my expectations. Though it was fairly simple, all of us quite enjoyed the meal. The rice dish was "just right" - I can't think of much to do to improve it, but will see if I can come up with some ideas below. The rice came out better than I thought it would.

Ideas for the future

I like the ratios of ingredients I used in the rice. Perhaps a little saffron might have been interesting? For some reason, I've lately been thinking of saffron and should buy some saffron threads, though they are expensive. I've not used them in cooking for many years.

I could make similar dishes with other kinds of rice, but I think that one thing that made tonight's meal so interesting was the combination of rices in the main dish. Some curried cauliflower mixed in might be nice.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Polenta with Mushrooms and Smoky Tempeh, Freekeh (No Added Fat)

I thought that I'd make a dinner of polenta with mushrooms, and had some freekeh (roasted green wheat) on hand that I thought I'd use as a side dish. Here is what I did.

I used maybe 2/3 of a 17.3 ounce tube of prepared polenta, cut into 1/4" cubes. I cooked, along with onion and mushroom over medium heat in a cast iron pan, for maybe 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the polenta was showing a little brown.

On another cast iron pan, I had heated some strips of smoky tempeh that I had purchased. I mixed the tempeh and the contents of the other pan in a serving bowl, along with some capers, and kept it warm till the rest of the meal was ready.

Freekeh, roasted green wheat, cooks in a  1:2 1/2 ratio to water simmered for 20-25m. I sauteed some onion with no added oil, then put in maybe 1/2 cup freekeh, 2 1/2 times water (i.e., about 1 1/4 cups), a touch of salt, and a vegan bouillon cube, brought to a boil, and then simmered on low, covered, for 20 minutes. I let it sit a few more minutes off-heat, then mixed and served.

Dinner was good. I should cook with both polenta and freekeh more often. I should make polenta from scratch more often, as well.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Blended Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato (No Added Fat)

We are having colder than usual weather, so I thought I'd make a soup. Split pea soup always turns out well, and I had the idea of making a dhal with chunks of sweet potato. Then, on further reflection, I thought I'd blend sweet potato into the dhal. Here is what I did.

  • About 2 cups of cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup yellow (or green) split peas (1:3 8-10m)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups potato cut into approx. 3/8" cubes (I used a small Russet potato)
  • 2 cups carrots cut into approx. 3/8" thick slices (2 medium carrots)
  • 2 leaves kale, stems excepted, roughly hand torn into approximately 1" squares
  • 1t finely (1/8") diced ginger
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t garlic granules (or powder)
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes (I used half red onion and half sweet onion)
  • Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon (or lemon or lime); if organic, as mine was, then use the peel as well
  • Additional cup of water
  1. I first prepared the sweet potato. I had 3 or 4 small (maybe 3/4" thick by maybe 5" long) locally grown sweet potatoes that would cook quickly; I pressure steamed for 10 minutes (the sweet potato was quite soft and could have cooked in 7-8 minutes I bet), along with one medium purple sweet potato that I had first cut into chunks maybe 1 1/2 " long.
  2. Split peas cook in a 1:3 ratio to water for 8-10 minutes. I usually like this to be thick, but with my experiment with the soup, I thought I'd go with just 8 minutes of pressure. I put the split peas, water, potato, carrot, kale, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and garlic powder into my Instant Pot and cooked for 8 minutes.
  3. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lemon juice, and salt.
  4. I reserved about 1/4 of the soup and put the rest in a blender, along with the lemon peel, and blended for maybe 15-20 seconds till homogenized. (I also blended in the extra cup of water as the soup thickened.)
  5. I combined the blended soup with the reserved portion, then served, along with salad, and tomato-topped crusty bread.

All three of us enjoyed dinner. Surprisingly, my daughter didn't complain about the ginger; in fact, after dinner, I made mango-ginger-pineapple ice cream (just blended in my VitaMix blender with a vegan almond cream) topped with cardamom, and we all enjoyed it, too!

Ideas for the future

The soup was thicker than I had thought it might be, but that's okay - it has a "stick to the ribs" warmth, good for cooling temperatures. I wasn't so happy with the color and wonder if I could make it more vibrant with perhaps a dollop of my homemade soy yogurt and, for adults, a slice of red jalapeno, perhaps. I might also experiment with similar soups, but with more chunkiness. I hope to make more blended soups!

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Waterless Beans with Mixed Greens (No Added Fat)

My daughter had eaten a bit while we were out today and then leftovers, so I just cooked for my wife and me. I made a simple waterless dish of beans, onions, roasted jalapeno, ginger, and mixed greens. When it was done after cooking for about 15m, I added a little turmeric and salt. It was good!