Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flageolet Beans with Spinach (No Added Fat)

I made a dish for a client a few days ago with flageolet beans and spinach, and quite liked it. I recreated it with some more seasoning (this client likes bland food) for my family.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups flageolet (or navy) beans soaked overnight in ample water
  • Enough water to just cover the beans (maybe 3/4 cup)
  • Vegan bouillon cube - 26m
  • 1c frozen (or fresh) chopped spinach
  • 1/2 c onion chopped to 1/4" cubes
  • (Optional) 1t of green garlic or shallot or chives cut finely (1/4" or smaller)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 2T fresh squeezed lime (or lemon) juice

Process
  1. I had soaked the beans overnight but ended up making something else for dinner yesterday, so I rinsed, put fresh water in the pot, and refrigerated, covered, till earlier today, then rinsed the beans. I covered with enough water to just cover the beans, and added the boullion cube. I cooked in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 26m.
  2. Once it was done, I waited a few minutes then slowly let out the steam till I could open the pot. 
  3. I added the spinach, mixed, and closed the pot in "keep warm" mode. After just a few minutes, the spinach was warm. (If I had used fresh spinach, I would just add it and continue with the next step.)
  4. I mixed in the onion, green garlic, salt, lemon pepper, oregano, and lime juice.
I also made some Madagascar Pink rice by cooking for 20m rice in 1 3/4 part (I often use 2 parts) water, a vegan bouillon cube, and a little salt, then fluffing it and serving. Some tomato slices completed the meal.

Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Hearty Pizza with Potato

I was in a rush tonight to get to the fun weekly PopUp Chorus so decided to use a pizza shell and make pizza. I've occasionally found pizzerias which include potato as a pizza topping, and decided to try it myself.

In sum, I sauteed with no added oil a chopped vegan Field Roast brand sausage, green garlic, and bell pepper, then mixed it in with marinara sauce, tomato paste, chopped basil, and chopped olive. I topped with cooked, sliced Yukon Gold potato (more on that in the last paragraph) and, for part of the pizza (my daughter's part; I had one slice with and one without cheese, and my wife had no cheese), sprinkled on a bit of Daiya brand shredded vegan cheese. I baked for 6 minutes directly on a pizza stone in my preheated oven at 425°F, sliced, and served.

The combination was great! It made for a fast and, though not so whole food and no added fat, reasonably healthy meal.

This was the first time that I tried cooking potato slices in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. All I did was slice washed Yukon Gold potatoes into 3/8" thicknesses, put a bit (maybe 1/8 or 1/4 cup) of water to cover the bottom of the pot, then added the potato and cooked on high pressure for merely 2 minutes. That did it - the potatoes were still a bit firm but cooked, perfect for adding to the pizza and baking.

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mildly Gingered Chickpea w Wild and Brown Rices and Broccolini, Black Beans w Plaintain and Lime (No Added Fat) (1956)


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Monday, May 04, 2015

Citrus Seitan, Jade Pearl Rice with Peas (No Added Fat)

As I was cycling home with my Kindergarten daughter in the bike trailer, I asked for her input on what to make for dinner tonight. I thought I'd cook with seitan. I was delighted that she came up with a unique idea that immediately clearly had value.

She suggested cutting up some oranges or tangerines and serving with seitan. What a great idea! It was especially interesting because lime-marinated jerk seitan is one of my signature dishes; it is a published recipe of mine and also has been professionally filmed. I thought that I would saute some seitan with bell pepper then serve warm or cool with citrus pieces as a salad. Here is what I did, and I got her to help!


Ingredients
  • Almost 1 cup tangerine, orange, or tangelo cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 bell pepper cut into 1/4" x 3/4" slices
  • App. 1/8 cup fennel cut into 1/4" cubes
  • App. 1 cup onion cut into 1/4" x 3/4" pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely (1/8" or so) chopped
  • 8 ounce package of seitan strips
  • 2t basil (I used frozen cubes)
  • (Optional) 1T coconut aminos (or reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce)
  • Jerk seasoning to taste (I used about 1/4 t sprinkled on top of each of my wife's and my individual servings); we have a good local product called Pluto's Caribbean Bliss jerk seasonings, and I like their salt-free blend ("Red Pepper, Thyme, Onion, Garlic and Pluto’s Special Spice Blend", but one can make one's own hot spicy blend)

Process
  1. I showed my daughter how to carefully cut citrus. We used a large Mandarin orange. I had her separate the segments then chop into 1/2" cubes (she chopped into approx. 1" cubes that I halved). Though I supervised, I also told her that it is not unlikely that once in a great while as she does more cooking, she may cut herself - I said something like, "Cry if you need to, stop the bleeding, get a bandaid, and remember to always focus on safety." She also helped with some of the other cutting, but I prepared most of the remaining ingredients.
  2. I put the garlic and onion in a Saladmaster skillet and sauteed for about 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion was starting to carmelize.
  3. I added the seitan and cooked for another 4m or so until the seitan was starting to get a bit crisp.
  4. I then added the bell pepper, fennel, and half the orange. I was originally going to keep the orange for the end, but came up with the idea of gently squeezing down on the orange pieces so that the acidic juice would clean up what little sticking I was; I did that as I gently scraped the bottom of the pan with my spatula, almost instantly releasing any food that was at all sticking.
  5. I cooked for about 3m until the pepper and fennel were softened.
  6. I added the coconut aminos, stirred, and turned the heat off.
  7. I added the remaining citrus and served my daughter. Normally, I'd mix in the jerk seasoning, but I just sprinkled some atop my wife and my servings.
I also made some Jade pearl rice (1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water, pinch or two of salt, and vegan bouillon cube simmered for 20m) by first sauteeing some onion in the pan and also by including some frozen green peas with the rice, water, salt, and bouillon cube. A lovely colored tomato was our "salad".

Results

All of us loved dinner! What a great idea my daughter came up with.

Ideas for the future

The main course could have used another clove of garlic and possibly 20% or so more citrus. I would have liked the seitan more crispy and should have cooked the seitan on my cast iron pan, which, even without adding oil, crisps the seitan. I could have then added the seitan to the other ingredients after they too were cooked.

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Green Split Pea Dhal with Mixed Vegetables, Israeli Couscous Blend (No Added Fat)

I made dinner not just for my family but thought that I'd get a start on cooking for some clients, so decided to make a large pot of mixed vegetables with split peas. My clients don't eat much spice, so I just used a little bit of ginger and added other spices to our portions after cooking. Here is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 2 2/3 cups green (or yellow) split pea, sorted with debris eliminated and then rinsed
  • 8 cups water
  • (Optional) vegan bouillon cube; I skipped
  • 1 t finely chopped (1/8") ginger
  • 16 oz frozen cubed vegetables (I used a carrot-pea-corn-green bean combination)
  • Approx. 1/4 t salt
  • 2T fresh squeezed lime (or lemon) juice
  • Approx. 1/8 t each lemon pepper, turmeric
  • Approx. 1/4 t ground cumin

Process
  1. I added the split pea, water, ginger, and vegetables to the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked under high pressure for 6m. I was a bit concerned that the 6-quart pot was maybe 2/3 full, and I know that foods that foam, like split peas and lentils, should generally not be cooked with the pot more than halfway full.
  2. Once it was done, I waited a few minutes then slowly let out the steam till I could open the pot. Indeed, I got a bit of foam on the top, but I could easily clean it.
  3. The dish had significant liquid, so I poured it through a strainer to thicken it a bit, then added the salt and lime juice.
  4. I reserved most of the dish for my clients and put about 1/4 of what I made, for my family, in a separate large bowl, to which I added the lemon pepper, turmeric, and cumin, then served.
I also made some some "harvest grains" that I had purchased from Trader Joe's as I described in late January as "a mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa made simply by using a ratio of 5 parts grain to 7 parts water, along with a vegan bouillon cube, that I brought to a low 10-minute simmer". I also added a little salt.

Results

I had planned a thick and not runny main dish, but was happy to serve it in bowls and call it a dhal. All of us, including my Kindergartener, loved the dish. The harvest grain was good.

Ideas for the future

I am not sure why the dish came out so liquidy initially. I would like to try making this with a little less water next time. More ginger and some jalapeno would have enhanced the dish.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pressure Cooked (Tofu or Tempeh) with Vegetables, Mekong Flower Rice (No Added Fat)

My wife originally was eating at a friend's house tonight, and I had my heart set on a pressure cooked tofu dish. She ended up at home, so we decided to try pressure cooked vegetables both with tofu (for me) and tempeh (for her). She is a bit intolerant to tofu, and we hope that eating food cooked with tofu won't cause her any problem.

I've tried pressure cooking tempeh before; it doesn't seem to add any flavor, but doesn't hurt the tempeh. I cooked some tofu, tempeh, and vegetables (asparagus, onion, garlic) along with chopped basil, ginger, vegan bouillon cube, salt, lemon pepper, and a little bit of water on high pressure for 2 minutes. I also made some brown Mekong flower rice.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Split Pea - Artichoke Heart Stew with Tricolor Quinoa-Spinach and Corn-off-the-Cob (No Added Fat)

I love ArtiHearts™, packaged grilled artichoke hearts. I wanted to make a dish with them and came up with the unusual idea of cooking them with split peas or lentils. Here is what I did:


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup green (or yellow) split pea
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 t finely chopped (1/8") ginger
  • 6 kale leaves, stems excepted (composted or discarded), roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" leaves
  • 2t chopped basil (I used frozen cubes)
  • Approx. 1 cup artichoke hearts (I use most of a packaged ArtiHearts™) roughly chopped into approximately 3/4" pieces
  • Approx. 1/8 t each dried oregano and lemon pepper
  • 1/2 t or to taste salt
  • Lemon juice to taste (I used about a teaspoon of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice)

Process
  1. The normal way to cook green split peas is to sort through them, eliminating any debris, then to rinse them, which I did.
  2. The next step calls for cooking in a 1 part to 3 parts water ratio for a 45m simmer or 6-10m high pressure cook. I used my Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook the split peas, water, and bouillon cube for 5m under high pressure; the split peas tasted good and just a bit undercooked.
  3. I added the ginger, kale, and basil, and cooked on high pressure for another minute.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I gently let out the remaining pressure and added the artichoke, oregano, lemon pepper, salt, and lemon juice.
I also made some tricolor quinoa with 1/2 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, a vegan bouillon cube, maybe 1/4 t salt, and a teaspoon of tomato paste brought to a boil and simmered on low for a few minutes, then kept covered, off the heat, for about 10m till the moisture was absorbed. I flame-roasted two corn cobs, stripped the kernels, and mixed in a bit of salt and Meyer lemon juice.

Results

I took a risk today as the main course combination was rather unusual and just the product of my imagining what may work. But it came out great! We all loved the dish. I am coming to the conclusion that the tricolor quinoa is not as enjoyable to eat the fluffier yellow only, but the quinoa dish was good, as was the corn.

Ideas for the future

I don't take credit for anything but the combination, as the Instant Pot and ingredients really made the main course. Surprisingly, I can think of no improvements - the spices were "just right". Yay!!

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