Monday, January 28, 2019

Collard - Vegetable Rollups (No Added Fat)

I came home and got to work almost immediately making dinner. I had purchased collard greens several days earlier and wanted to use them; I thought of the idea of collard rollups and found a recipe that suggested blanching the collard leaves and then filling; I may try this interesting recipe with coconut curry sometime.

I didn't have time to cook beans so used a 13.4 ounce box of kidney beans and a bit of canellini beans that I had on hand. 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 for about 20 minutes) the beans along with a clove of chopped garlic, along with other chopped vegetables (a green onion, broccoli including stem, and about a half dozen olives), plus 1/4 t salt, 2T nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup marinara.

I blanched the intact collard leaves one at a time by putting each leaf in a pan with about an inch of boiling water for 15 seconds a side, then setting aside. Once cool, I removed the thickest part of the spine, added the bean-vegetable filling, and rolled.



Ideas for the future


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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Creamy "Cheese" Cauliflower Soup (Almost No Added Fat)

Recently we stopped by Living Kitchen, a very nice vegan and (subject to ingredient availability) organic restaurant, and had a tasty thick cauliflower soup. I picked up a head of cauliflower today and decided to try making a similar soup. I had made a cauliflower soup back in February 2011 that was good but I wanted to better it.

I found a roasted cauliflower soup recipe from a very nice site by a woman named Jessica and it looked great. The key ideas were to roast cauliflower, coated in a little olive oil and along with garlic cloves, at  450°F for 15m, then blend with sauteed onion.

I made a few changes; I used the convection ("air bake") function on my air fryer toaster oven which cooks faster and went with 400°F for 15m, instead of using oil, I mixed in Coconut Secret brand coconut aminos garlic sauce (soy sauce or their normal coconut aminos would have been fine), and I used oregano instead of thyme.  I didn't have any bouillon cubes on hand or broth, so I used filtered water and just a few (maybe 5) raw cashews for creaminess and thickness. I had sauteed the onion in a cast iron pan and then mixed all the ingredients in my Vitamix blender - including some nutritional yeast. As Jessica suggested, I saved a few pieces of roasted cauliflower and added atop the soup.

Here is a copy of the original recipe from Jessica's site.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup - Vegan, Incredibly Easy
  • 1 large head cauliflower, de-stemmed and florets broken up
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed with skins still on
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme, stems removed
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Roasted Cauliflower Soup - Vegan, Incredibly Easy
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
  • Add the cauliflower to the baking sheet and 1 tablespoon olive oil, about ½ teaspoon salt and grind some pepper over it all. Using your hands, mixing it all in, massaging the ingredients into the cauliflower. Add the smashed garlic (skins still on) on the baking sheet. The skins help to prevent it burning; you'll remove thee afterwards. Roast for 15 minutes. I like to reserve a few pieces after roasting to top the soup with.
  • Meanwhile, in a large high sided pot over medium high heat, sauté the onions in the ½ tablespoon olive oil until fragrant and browning, about 8 minutes, stirring infrequently.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower, the garlic (skins remove), 2 sprigs of thyme and vegetable broth. Mix together with spatula.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir once more. If using an immersion blender, blend the soup together. If using a high powered blender, let cool slightly and add slowly to blender. Press the "soup" setting or blend on high until soup is thoroughly mixed and incorporated, at least 1 minute. Be careful that your soup is not too hot to crack your blender. Taste and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour into bowls and top optionally with extra cauliflower, crushed red peppers, extra thyme and a drizzle of coconut milk. Enjoy!

I'm glad that I found this recipe and this site! I also made some quinoa cooked with chopped broccoli stalk and with tofu (the tofu wasn't for my wife).


The soup was excellent! I loved the flavor and consistency. It's a winner!

Ideas for the future

I share Jessica's enthusiasm about roasted cauliflower. My toaster oven is fast and I think I could have baked for maybe 10m instead of 15m. I should also try other cauliflower soups maybe with kale or broccoli.

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Monday, January 07, 2019

Air "Fried" Eggplant with Homemade Tomato Sauce, Grits with Edamame (No Added Fat)

I made an air fried eggplant dish with grits on the side. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer to have a sticky "egg" that I dipped eggplant slices (about 3/8" thick) into, followed by dredging them in a mixture of panko bread crumbs, along with a little nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, salt, and black pepper. I air fried with no oil for 5 minutes at 400°F. I also made a fresh tomato sauce by gently simmering cubes of tomato with onion, dried oregano, a little hot red pepper, and salt, and serving it atop the eggplant.

I prepared grits by getting 3 cups salted water boiling then adding maybe 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame. I cooked for a few minutes till the edamame was defrosted, then added 1 cup grits and a few tablespoonfuls of nutritional yeast. I stirred occasionally and cooked for 5-7 minutes until thick.


Dinner was very good! My daughter particularly liked the meal and ate leftovers again later in the evening. The eggplant was nicely crispy and the sesame flavor was quite nice. The grits were very good!

Ideas for the future

I should use egg replacer and sesame more often in making air fried dishes. I was originally going to air fry other vegetables along with the eggplant and should soon make a melange of air fried mixed vegetables maybe served with a tomato or creamy sauce.

I was not initially planning on using edamame but it turned out to be convenient. It wasn't an ideal flavor combination, but wasn't bad. I should experiment with other grit combinations.

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