Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Smoky Tempeh (No Added Fat)

I haven't cooked with broccoli rabe (also known as rapini) in a long time and found this not-so-common-here vegetable at Whole Foods Market. I found a simple recipe for sauteed broccoli rabe online and made simple changes to come up with this recipe.

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 medium onion cut into approximately 3/8" wide half moons

Process

  1. I put all of the ingredients except the onion into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked at high pressure for 2 minutes.
  2. After the pressure cooking and when I was ready, I slowly released the pressure and removed the top.
  3. Because the Instant Pot serves many functions, I was able next to do some sauteeing right in the same pot. I mixed in the onion and turned the machine on in saute mode.
  4. I stirred frequently until the greens cooked down a bit and the onion started turning transparent, about 2 minutes.
That's it! They were serving smoky tempeh-lettuce-tomato sandwiches at Whole Foods, which my daughter liked, so I cooked some smoky tempeh without oil, and served it with the meal, too.

Results

Dinner was good! Apparently, Italians like this slightly bitter vegetable and serve it with pasta. My daughter was initially taken by the bitterness, but then seemed to like it. I thought that it was luscious and tasty.

Ideas for the future

The recipe that I foundcalls for including 2 cloves of garlic and 2 shallots. I thought that I put too much onion into this dish; I could have used 1/2 to 2/3 as much, and a little bit (maybe 1 clove) of garlic would have been nice. A little bit of orange or tangerine juice would add a nice surprise sweetness to the dish. I wish that I could more commonly find broccoli rabe!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Kale with Mixed Miso Sauce (Waterless); Quinoa with Pomegranate; Corn off the Cob (No Added Fat)

We are a bit low on groceries and I didn't have much time to come up with dinner, but we did have Japanese and white sweet potatoes (both are white inside; the Japanese has purple skin and the white has tan skin). I thought it would be good to make a waterless (put vegetables in a high quality Saladmaster pan with no added water or oil, and cook on low heat for 20m or more) main course.

My wife had gone to a potluck lunch yesterday and had made a quinoa with pomegranate salad; I also served the leftover. Finally, I roasted two cobs of corn over my gas range's flame and served the stripped kernels with lime juice and a bit of freshly ground Himalayan pink salt. Here is what I did for the main course. (Incidentally, yesterday I put the main Thanksgiving menu together - here is the tentative menu for Thanksgiving and the one for our pre-Thanksgiving.)

Ingredients
  • 3/4 medium onion cut into 3/8" half moons (approx. 1 cup)
  • 4 kale leaves, stems excepted, roughly hand torn into approximately 1/2" squares
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • Carrot cut into 3/8" slices and then larger diameter portions quartered
  • 2t miso (I used 1t red miso and 1t chickpea miso)
  • 1/2 tangerine (ideally without seeds, and I tried to tease them out)
  • 3/4 t black sesame seed
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 medium tomato
  • 1/8 onion
  • 1t ginger

Process

  1. I put, in order, the onion, kale, sweet potato, and carrot, into my large Saladmaster stock pot (the onion was at the bottom to keep the denser potato off the bottom and make the already easy cleanup even easier), covered, and brought to heat over medium high.
  2. Within a few minutes, the steam escape valve started jiggling lightly. I then reduced the heat to low till there was no more rattling and cooked for at least 20 minutes undisturbed.
  3. In the meantime, I put all the remaining ingredients (in practice, I left out the healthful ginger as my daughter doesn't, unfortunately, like ginger - I served the sauce on her course, and then added the ginger for the sauce for the adults) in my blender. I blended on high a few seconds till homogenized.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I mixed the sauce into the vegetables.


Results

I thought that the meal came out quite well, even better than I had anticipated. The waterless cooking made the sweet potatoes particularly tasty.

Ideas for the future

Normally, some garlic in the sauce would have been good, but my Dad doesn't eat garlic. A little bit of jalapeno or smoked poblano in the corn would have been nice, too.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jade Pearl Rice with Bell Pepper, Kale, Scallion, and Broccoli; Pressure Steamed White Sweet Potato; and Seeded Ciabatta Bread with Smoky Cashew Nut Cheese, Tomato, and Scallion (Almost No Added Fat)

We were supposed to go to a friend's house for a party including dinner, but my daughter was looking tired, so we decided to stay home. I wanted to put a nice meal together fairly quickly.

I used my Instant Pot pressure cooker to cook white sweet potatoes (whole). I put a cup of water in the pot, put the steaming trivet in, and set three sweet potatoes on top of the trivet, above the water level. I set the pot to high-pressure steam for 14 minutes. When I slowly let the steam out some minutes later and opened the pot, I found the potatoes not soft enough, so I turned the pot on in regular pressure cooking mode for another 4 minutes.

I also made some Jade pearl rice. I sauteed maybe a teaspoon of ginger, a garlic clove (I had thought we were going out so had already fed my Dad, who doesn't eat garlic), a scallion, 2 broccoli florets, and a quarter bell pepper, all finely diced (to 1/4" or smaller cubes) for a few minutes with no oil or liquid, then added about a half cup of rice, a cup and an eighth (I usually use a 1 : 1 3/4 or 1 : 2 ratio, but thought I'd add a bit more with the vegetables) of water, and 2 kale leaves, roughly cut into approximately 1/2" squares. I skipped a vegan bouillon cube as I had so many vegetable flavors already included. I brought the rice to a boil then reduced the heat and simmered on low, covered, for about 20 minutes.

A few days ago, my daughter and I had met some friends for dinner at Fiction Kitchen, a favorite local vegetarian restaurant. They make a nice cashew nut cheese that even my wife, who doesn't like almost any kind of cheese, likes. We brought home some of their smoky cashew cheese spread and I used it for the final part of the meal. I lightly heated some seeded ciabatta bread, spread the cheese, and topped with tomato, scallion, and hemp seed. The "cheese" of course has some fat as it is made from cashews, but each of our servings was just a swipe of the spread, so I feel justified in calling this dinner "almost no added fat".

Dinner came out great! Jade pearl rice is always so good, and this was certainly no exception. I wonder if a bit of nutritional yeast could have been good in it, as well. In my love for purple sweet potatoes, I had forgotten how much I love white ones. The sandwich was great!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brown Rice Pasta with Vegetables and Capers, Curry Tofu, Tempeh (Gluten-Free, No Added Fat)



I had to put dinner together quickly and pasta was appealing to my daughter. My Dad, visiting for a few months, won't eat garlic so I didn't have as an option the prepared marinara sauce that I had on hand at least for his serving. My wife can't digest tofu, but my daughter and I like it and had picked up some prepared curry tofu from Weaver Street Market earlier.

I decided to try to pressure cook a few vegetables, including tomato, all chopped into fairly small pieces, and serve that atop pasta on my Dad's plate, then mix in a bit of marinara and use that for my wife, daughter, and myself. I cooked some tempeh for my wife, but served tofu for the rest of us (I enjoyed two slices, as well). It ended up being a quick, filling, and good meal. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4" slices then quartered
  • Approximately a 3" length of broccoli stalk, cut into 3/8" cubes (approximately 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 small onion, cut into 3/8" cubes (approximately 1/4 cup or a little more)
  • 1 medium tomato cut into 3/8" cubes (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Capers; I used about 3T, but more or less could be used, to taste
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • Pasta; I used a brown rice penne rigate
  • Marinara sauce - see below for details

Process

  1. I put all of the ingredients except the capers, oregano, pasta, and marinara into my Instant Pot and cooked at high pressure for 3 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, I set a large stock pot of water to boiling, then reduced the heat and added the pasta, stirring occasionally. The brown rice penne rigate that I used cooked in 9 minutes, after which I drained the water.
  3. After the pressure cooking and when I was ready, I slowly released the pressure, mixed in the capers and oregano, and served over the pasta for my Dad.
  4. I mixed in about 1/4 cup marinara then served the other plates. Were I not cooking for my Dad, I actually would have included some garlic in the initial cooking, as well as perhaps 1/2 cup marinara, reducing the water to 1/8 cup and possibly leaving out the bouillon cube.
  5. I served tofu and/or tempeh on the plates, as well as a little salad of greens, olive, and preserved lemon slices.

Results

Dinner was good - everybody enjoyed their plate.

Ideas for the future

I'd like to try additional melanges of pressure cooked vegetables such as eggplant, yellow and winter squash, fennel (bulb in small quantity), and parsnips. Cubed artichoke hears would have been nice added in at the end, as would have been nutritional yeast.

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Hilary's Veggie Burger, Leftover Butternut Squash Soup (for me only)

My wife ate on her own tonight and had a concert to attend. I was at a fun school function with my daughter; once home, I wanted to get dinner together quickly. I put a quick meal together for her and made a simple burger meal, using Hilary's frozen veggie burger (I wish that their hemp burger were easier to find - that's really good!), for myself, including some marinara sauce mixed with hot sauce. I finished the yummy leftover butternut squash soup, and had a simple kale salad.

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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Quinoa with Plantain and Kale, Waterless Asparagus with Purple Potato (No Added Fat)

I enjoyed going to a vegetarian festival (downtown - my family rode our tandem bicycle and trailer) today and picked up some very healthy looking organic kale from a local farmer. Inspired by a recipe Kale, Quinoa, and Artichoke Salad from my friend Nava Atlas, but not having artichokes in stock, I was intrigued about the possibility of cooking quinoa in the pressure cooker. I found a recipe that suggested that putting quinoa and liquid in the typical 1:2 ratio in the Instant Pot and cooking at 2 minutes would do. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients
  • 4 kale leaves cut into approximately 3/4" squares (stems excepted)
  • Medium plantain, cut into 1/2" lengths and then quartered
  • 1/2 small red onion cut into 3/8" thick half moons (approx. 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion cut into 1/4" cubes (approx. 3/4 cup)
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water (i.e., twice the quantity of quinoa)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t oregano
Process

I put all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot pressure cooker, stirred, and cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes, then served.
I also made a waterless asparagus dish by putting into a small Saladmaster stock pan, in this order, a dozen and half spears of asparagus cut into 1 1/2" lengths, 1/2 small red onion cut into 1/4" thick half moons (approx. 3/4 cup - the other half of the red onion used above), 1t finely diced ginger, and 2 small purple potatoes cut into 5/8" cubes (approx. 1 1/4 cups), covering, and heating up on medium until the vapor lock started vibrating. I then turned the heat down to a low simmer so that the lock wasn't moving, and cooked for 20m or so. I mixed in a little bit of dill weed and salt, and served.

Results

Except for my daughter (she doesn't like asparagus but she loves kale - I didn't remember that she says she doesn't like plantain, alas), we all enjoyed the meal. I had a hunch when I added the quinoa that it might not cook fully as it wasn't submerged, and I was right. I ought to first mix the quinoa with the liquid and then add ingredients, or perhaps just make the quinoa separately and then mix it in. I really liked the slight sweetness of the plantain with the other ingredients. The asparagus was quite good!

Ideas for the future

I would love to try and see if putting quinoa and water first into my pressure cooker, and then other ingredients, works. I suspect it will still be undercooked as the liquid would be partially absorbed by other ingredients, at least potentially. But I wonder if a moist cooked quinoa dish could be made by using even more water. The main course could have used some heat, and I added hot sauce at the table. Garlic would have been nice in the main course; while my Dad visits, I don't use garlic for food that I serve to him, as he doesn't like it.

The asparagus dish was indeed quite good. It would be fun to try making a similar dish with potatoes added, and perhaps Indian spices.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Vegetables in Lentil-Drenched Brown Rice Noodles (No Added Fat)

I came up with the idea of pressure cooking vegetables and serving them in a brown rice noodle nest. I had never pressure cooked asparagus, and was curious to know how it would come out. I was originally going to include seitan in the recipe, but instead mixed the Turkish lentil soup that I made two days ago. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 3/8" slices
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 12 spears of asparagus, cut into 3/4" lengths
  • (Optional) 3 kale leaves, stems composted (or discarded) and leaves roughly hand-torn into approx. 3/4" squares
  • 2 scallions cut into 3/8" lengths
  • 5t tomato paste
  • 3t capers
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 3/8 cup water
  • (Optional) 1/4 cup lentil soup (I used leftovers from two days ago)
  • (Optional) soy sauce and/or salt and/or hot sauce to taste
  • Brown rice noodles (approximately 3 cups dry)

Process


  1. I put all of the ingredients except the lentil soup, soy sauce/salt/hot sauce, and noodles, into my Instant Pot and cooked at high pressure for 3 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, I set a large stock pot of water to boiling, then reduced the heat and added the noodles, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the noodles were cooked in just 2 or 3 minutes, I drained and rinsed, and mixed in the lentil soup.
  4. I made a noodle nest on each plate with a hollow in the center, and served the pressure cooked vegetables atop.


Results

Dinner was tasty! I was pleased with how mixing the lentils with the noodles came out. The vegetables all tasted good!

Ideas for the future

I'd like to continue to explore combining soups like lentil with noodles, rice (like kicheri), or pasta. All of my experiments with pressure cooking vegetables have been great!

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