Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Waterless Curried Cauliflower, Brown Lentils (No Added Fat); Oatmeal Raisin - Meyer Lemon Cookies

The weather became cold tonight and I felt like a warm soup. I thought I'd make a main course of a curried cauliflower dish along with a dhal. Frankly, I prefer a chunkier not even quite stew to dhal often, but though I've tried cooking dishes like lentils at the low end of the water and high end of the time required, I generally get a product more liquidy than I expect (I do like dhal and soup, but often try for something thicker, which I also like!). Tonight, I ended up with a nice consistency of my lentil dish which was actually just a tad bit dryer than it could have been. Here is what I did.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 times as much water (i.e., 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup carrot cut into 3/8" slices (I used 3 small carrots; if they weren't thin, I'd have halved them, as well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") minced
  • About 2T organic Meyer lemon, including all (flesh and rind), cut into 3/8" cubes (if no organic Meyer lemon or no Meyer lemon at all is available, then skip and mix in 1T fresh lemon or lime juice at the end)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/3 t fennel seed
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into approx. 1/4"x1" half moons
  • Florets from head of cauliflower (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Another 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/4 + 1/4 = 1/2 t salt
  1. I put the lentils, water, carrot, garlic, Meyer lemon, turmeric, cumin, and fennel into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 20m (lentils cook in a 1 part to 1.5-2 parts ratio of lentils to water for 15-20m).
  2. While the lentils were cooking, I put, in this order, the onion, cauliflower, and peas into a large Saladmaster stock pan (I had a half dozen pieces of bell pepper cut up and went ahead and threw them in, as well). 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 mixed in 1/4 t salt and the additional 1/4 t turmeric, and served.
  4. When the lentils were ready to be removed from the de-pressurized cooker, I mixed in 1/4 t salt and served.

Dinner was good! The lentil dish was a bit more solid than I had wished for, but was good. The cauliflower was tasty. Everybody enjoyed the meal.

Ideas for the future

I should try this again with a ratio of 1 : 1 3/4 lentils to water. Mango powder would go well with the lentils.


I don't cook desserts often, though I like to blend frozen fruit with a little almond creamer to make an almost no fat "ice cream". We have a cookie exchange on Friday, and my daughter wanted to make oatmeal raisin cookies. I had the idea that I could mix in some delicious organic Meyer lemon juice.

There are many good recipes readily available. I came up with the following, similar to many that I had found, such as one from theveglife.com, and made a batch of 10 cookies as a trial tonight. We all loved the cookies! They're not without fat, but each cookie was about 4 or 4 1/2 g of fat, which isn't bad for a treat (a Tablespoon of Earth Balance margarine is 11g of fat; I used less than 4T for 10 cookies).


  • 1/4 cup (4 T) Earth Balance margarine (or other vegan butter or margarine) at room temperature
  • 3/8 cup brown sugar (or turbinado sugar or some combination of the two)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 T ground flax
  • 1 1/2 T water
  • Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • Skin of 1/3 Meyer lemon cut into 1/4" pieces


  • I preheated my oven to 350°F.
  • I had my daughter mix with a utensil the sugar into the Earth Balance.
  • Once homogeneous, I started adding a little bit of the flour at a time till it was all mixed in, then continued with the baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
  • Next, we mixed in the oats, raisins, flax, water, and lemon/lemon pieces.
  • We divided the dough into approximately tablespoonfuls an inch or so apart on a cookie sheet, and pressed down to flatten the tops a bit.
  • With the preheated oven ready, I put the cookie sheet in to bake for 8-9 or maybe 10 minutes till the edges were just turning golden.
  • I removed the cookies from the oven and let them sit a few minutes till firm enough that I could remove them to a cookie wire rack to cool.
The cookies were very good! We tried some cookies with a few chocolate chips put on top of the finished cookies while still warm. They were very good, too, but didn't add a significant flavor, though my wife was partial to them.

When I make these on Thursday night in a larger quantity for the Friday event, I'll increase the raisin content a bit. The sweetness was just right. I could have included a little more vanilla if I wished. Yum!

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