Monday, July 28, 2014

Lemon Rice with Potato, Sambhar

We had enjoyed takeout food from a good South Indian restaurant on Saturday, and had some leftovers that I "remade" for dinner tonight. Usually, their lemon rice is quite good, but this batch was missing something. What about making a mixed vegetable dish out of it? This is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 2 medium baking or boiling potatoes (I used a heirloom variety that looked like a small Russet but was lightly tinged red that my wife picked up from the local farmer's market, but Yukon Gold or even Russets or other varieties would work well) cut into 3/8" cubes (if organic, leave skin on - otherwise, remove skin)
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped into approximately 1/4" pieces
  • 1/3 cup water (I boiled first but cold water is fine)
  • Small red (or other) bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Approximately 1/4 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Prepared lemon rice (which we had as leftovers from a good local South Indian restaurant, Tower) - but any rice, perhaps a good brown rice made separately, would be good
Process

  1. I put the potato, garlic, and water in the Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker and set it for 4 minutes under high pressure.
  2. When I was ready, I gently released remaining pressure and put the ingredients into a Saladmaster (or other) stock pot, along with the bell pepper and onion.
  3. I sauteed, with no added fat, for a few minutes till the potato was just slightly crispy, then added the rice.
  4. I continued heating the mixture on low, stirring occasionally, till the rice was well heated, then served, along with warmed sambhar (a spicy traditional South Indian soup). 
Results

My whole family enjoyed dinner. Rice is so versatile!

Ideas for the future

I should try "remaking" other Indian restaurant leftovers.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brown Rice Fusilli Pasta with Vegan Apple Sage Sausage

While I was exercising at the gym, my daughter became hungry, so my wife put together some leftovers and the two of them ate. By the time I got around to preparing my own dinner, it was late, so I made a simple but filling pasta me4al.

Though we don't avoid gluten, we like brown rice pastas by companies like Tinkyada. I prepared their fusilli pasta. I heated a link of Field Roast brand vegan smoked apple sage sausage; it has 10g of fat, so I won't classify this meal as even almost no added fat.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Plantain with Kale and Corn, served with Jade Pearl Rice and Tempeh, and Salad with Watermelon Pico de Galla (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • Plantain cut into 1/2" slices then quartered
  • Medium sweet (or other) onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • Kernels stripped from one cob of corn
  • Green tomato cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 4 kale leaves
  • 1 clove garlic diced 
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 cup water
Process

Aside from chopping vegetables, it was a very easy dinner. I just put all the ingredients in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes. When I was ready to serve, I slowly let out any remaining pressure and served.

I also made jade pearl rice by sauteeing a bit of onion, ginger, and carrot in a dry pan just for a minute or so, then adding 1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water, 3 ounces tempeh cut into 3/8" cubes, and a vegan bouillon cube. I brought to a boil then simmered on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes.

Finally, I served a salad of bell pepper and tomato. I topped it with a watermelon pico de galla that I had purchased from Whole Foods Market, as well as an olive.

Results

Dinner was good! I think that I had just the right amount of water so that the vegetables came out cooked but not watery. A little bit of heat, like jalapeno, would have been welcome, but the main course was good the way that I prepared it.

Ideas for the future

I love how versatile jade pearl rice is, and look forward to experimenting more with it. Green tomato as well as plantain cook well in the pressure cooker, and I should try new dishes with these ingredients.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Leftover District of Pi Pizza, Eggplant Stew with Added Napa Cabbage, Salad with Pear

We just got back this evening from an educational, productive, and fun visit to Washington, D.C. I attended a Food for Life instructors' summit, then the 2-day International Conference on Diabetes. Many well known speakers presented, including Neal Barnard (who organized the conference), Brenda Davis (my favorite nutritionist), and John McDougall. At the end, these tentative guidelines to prevent and manage diabetes were presented:

  1. Plant-based foods should be the primary part of one's diet;
  2. One should reduce oils and fried foods;
  3. One should favor low glycemic index foods;
  4. One should limit sodium (to about 1500 mg/day); and
  5. One should include B12 supplementation daily (especially for all people age 50 and above)
For dinner tonight, I heated up the great deep dish pizza that was leftover from last night's dinner in Washington at District of Pi, as well as the eggplant stew from last week that I added raw Napa cabbage to. I also made a broccoli, tomato, and pear salad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Zucchini, Seitan, and Napa Cabbage, served with Tri-Color Quinoa with Kale and Carrot (No Added Fat)

My wife's sister-in-law isn't familiar with Brussels sprouts, and I wanted to introduce them to her. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • About a dozen Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stem end removed
  • Zucchini cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Half red onion cut into 1/4" cubes (any other onion could also do)
  • Cup of water
  • Another half red (or other) onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • Cup of shredded (approx. 1/4" x 1" pieces) Napa cabbage
  • Approximately 4 ounces of shredded seitan
  • (Optional) 1/2 t salt


Process

  1. I put the zucchini and the first half red onion into the Instant Pot, added the water, then put in the pot's mesh.
  2. I put the Brussels sprouts on the mesh - there was just enough water that it wasn't touching the sprouts.
  3. I turned the pot on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I released any remaining pressure gently and opened the pot carefully.
  5. I like how Brussels sprouts come out in the pressure cooker, but they are sometimes overcooked. I now sliced each sprout in half - by doing so at the beginning, they would have been even softer.
  6. In a bowl, I mixed the cooked vegetables, the second half onion, the cabbage, and seitan; I skipped the salt.
I also made a tri-color quinoa with vegetables. I put in a pot about a teaspoon of chopped ginger, 3 kale leaves roughly cut (stems composted) into 1/4" squares, a carrot cut into 1/4" thick quarters, a vegan bouillon cube, and about a half cup of quinoa and twice as much water. After bringing to a boil, I simmered, covered, for 4 or 5 minutes, then let it sit, covered for another 5-10 minutes till ready to serve (the characteristic spiral in the quinoa was evident).

Results

I suspect the main course wasn't spicy enough for my wife's sister-in-law, and my wife felt that the sprouts were too soft. Overall, I think that the main dish was good; I liked the crunch of the cabbage but wish that the vegetables were more firm. The quinoa came out great!

Ideas for the future

I'd like to try cooking Brussels sprouts in 2 minutes under high pressure. A dish like the main course with one or two crunch vegetables like water chestnuts or celery may be interesting.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Eggplant Stew, Madagascar Pink Rice with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I was pleased with how quickly (3 minutes) and how well eggplant came out in the pressure cooker when I made a dish on July 5. I had a thick Italian eggplant, so decided to let my family try a version of what I made earlier. I made a few modifications, adding some Indian spices and ginger that my wife's sister-in-law would likely enjoy, as well as adding potato for more texture.

In the end, I didn't mix seitan in as I had last time, because I felt that it would clash with the Indian seasonings. Instead, I prepared Madagascar pink rice and, when ready to serve it, I mixed in some seitan. Here is how I made the main course:


Ingredients
  • Medium to large Italian eggplant cut into 3/4" cubes (it ended up being about 6 cups); since it was organic, I kept the skin on
  • 3 medium carrots cut into 1/4" slices
  • Medium onion cut into 3/8" cubes with 1/4 cup reserved
  • 3 cloves garlic clove, chopped finely (I was out of garlic, surprisingly, so used a medium shallot)
  • 4 kale leaves, stems discarded (composted) and leaves roughly torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato cut into 1/4" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1T coarsely chopped ginger
  • 1t (or to taste) finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 t kala namak (black salt - or any other salt)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1t black sesame seed

Process
  1. I put everything up to but not including the basil and spices (i.e., all the vegetables except the reserved onion, as well as the bouillon cube and water) into the Instant Pot and set it to cook for 3 minutes in high pressure.
  2. Once I was ready to serve, I would have gently let out the remaining steam, but it wasn't necessary as the pressure had dropped by then. I opened the top and mixed in the reserved onion, basil, salt, and spices.

Results

I was surprised that the dish was so soft and rather mushy, though I think it tasted good. My wife enjoyed it, as well, but I think that it was under-seasoned to her sister-in-law's taste (she is visiting from India). The eggplant didn't bring much flavor or texture to the meal.

Ideas for the future

I had feared that the potato wouldn't cook in only 3m, so cut it into such small cubes. To get more texture, I wonder what a 1/2" or even 3/4" cut would be like. I should try larger eggplant cubes and perhaps saute the eggplant first. There was too much water - I'll bet 1/4 cup would be plenty.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vegan Macaroni and "Chreese" with Seitan and Broccoli, Waterless Okra, Sungold Tomato


My wife and her sister-in-law enjoyed ample food on an outing in the afternoon, so weren't very hungry for dinner and were just going to eat leftovers from their outing. I took advantage of that to prepare one of my daughter's favorites, vegan macaroni and cheese, using Road's End Organics shells and "chreese". I almost always add to the macaroni, and today used broccoli, seitan, and onion.

My wife picked up some beautiful thick okra from the farmer's market. I took about a half dozen or eight spears, cut them into 1" lengths, then split them in half. I put them, along with about 1/3 cup sweet onion cut into approximately 3/4" x 1/4" chunks, in a 1 quart Salad Master stock pan (which I should have preheated but I usually forget!), covered, and brought to heat over medium high for a waterless dish. Once the little cap allowing steam to escape started jiggling, I reduced the heat to low and cooked for about 20 minutes. I then mixed in about 1/4 t turmeric, 1/4 t dried oregano, and a bit of salt; I wish that I had amchoor (dried mango) powder, which would have been good with the okra.

Dinner was good! I added some hot sauce to the macaroni to make it even more tasty. The packaged macaroni and "chreese" is only 2g of fat if one were to eat the whole prepared box and the soy milk that I mixed in has 3.5g fat per cup (I only used 2/3 cup). I didn't add any margarine. Surprisingly, then, this is an almost no added fat meal!

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