Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cauliflower with Quinoa and Black Beans, Waterless Kale (No Added Fat)

I decided to try cooking cauliflower in the pressure cooker since my stew from August 29 came out so well. I had prepared some black beans (soaked for 10m in boiling water, rinsed and drained, then put in the Instant Pot pressure cooker with boiling water just covering the beans, along with a bit of diced ginger and kombu, and cooked on high pressure for 34m) for tomorrow's Food for Life class, and reserved 1/2 cup prepared beans for tonight's dinner. I wanted to put some quinoa into the main dish, and read that quinoa can be cooked in a normal 1 part quinoa : 2 parts water or broth for 2m in the Instant Pot. (I put a little extra water because there were other ingredients.)


Ingredients
  • Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa (any kind of quinoa would do)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1t finely diced ginger
  • 1/4t dried oregano
  • 1T miso
  • 1 cup prepared black beans
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • (optional) 1/8 t garam masala
  • 1 cup onion chopped to 3/8" cubes
Process

  1. I put all of the ingredients except the black beans, turmeric, garam masala, and onion into my InstantPot and cooked at high pressure for 2 minutes.
  2. I let the pressure cooker come down in temperature so that I could open it (one could slowly release pressure, as well). I added the beans, turmeric, garam masala and onion, and served.
I also made a waterless kale dish by chopping half of a medium onion into half moons. I put the onion into a small Saladmaster stock pot. I hand stripped about 1 1/2" squares from leaves from a bunch of kale, composting the stems. I put the kale into the pan, turned the heat on to medium-high, and covered. Once the vapor lock started rattling, I reduced the heat to low and simmered till I was ready to serve (at least 20m of cooking). I mixed in 1T of coconut aminos (soy sauce would also be fine) and served.

Results

TBD

Ideas for the future

TBD

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anasazi Beans with Vegetables served with Jade Pearl Rice with Shiitake Mushroom

I was looking for cranberry beans in the store a few days ago but didn't find them. Instead, I thought I'd try a bean new for me, Anasazi ones. My wife and I enjoyed a trip through many of the Southwest US national parks some years ago, and learned about the three sisters' diet of the Native Americans in the four corners area - meals consisting of beans, corn, and squash. These Anasazi beans are named after some of these early Native Americans.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups Anasazi beans
  • 3 plum tomatoes (1c), cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 c (half of a small onion) onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 small shallot cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 medium carrot cut into 1/4" slices and then quartered
  • 1t ginger, cut into 1/4" or smaller pieces
  • 1/2 t salt (I used a lavender sea salt, but any salt is fine)


Process

  1. I had wanted to soak the beans overnight but forgot; I did soak them for about 4 hours
  2. I rinsed well and drained the beans, then put them in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m under high pressure.
  3. I happened to cook well before I needed the beans so could open the top when I was ready as the pressure had long ago decreased. I tried the beans - they were good but not as sumptuous or hardy as cranberry beans.
  4. I drained the beans then added the tomato, onion, shallot, carrot, and ginger, and cooked under high pressure for another 3m.
  5. I let the pressure drop for a few minutes then slowly released remaining pressure, mixed in the salt, and served.
I also made some Jade pearl rice by first sautéing some shiitake mushroom and onion, then adding about 1/2 cup of dry rice and 1 1/2 times (3/4 cup) water (I normally would also add a vegan bouillon cube, but skipped it this time), as well as a bit of salt, bringing to a boil, then simmering, covered on low heat, for 20m. I mixed in a bit of nutritional yeast and sprinkled a bit of hemp seeds on top.


Results

Dinner came out well. I don't like these beans as much as I do cranberry beans, but I want to try working with Anasazi beans again, perhaps adding some more spice.

Ideas for the future

I'll bet that a bit of jalapeno and something a bit crunch or textured, maybe a bit of tempeh, would go well with the Anasazi beans. Some raw onion added to the main course at the end would be good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crimini Mushroom and Vegetable Medley served with Jade Pearl Rice with Coconut Curry Tempeh (No Added Fat)

My wife was out and my daughter was hungry, so I made a quick dinner for her (leftover South Indian food from a restaurant). That freed me up to use some hot chili pepper for tonight's cooking for my visiting Dad and my wife and me. I had some crimini mushrooms and wondered what they would taste like pressure cooked; 3m is a time many vegetables take to be pressure cooked, so I thought I'd try that.

Before I detail what I did tonight, I wanted to describe a fun dessert that my daughter and I made earlier in the day. As I described on June 29 and 18, I tried out a local company, Purple Carrot, who distributes healthful vegan meal recipes and ingredients. I hope that they will in fact make it as we'd probably subscribe.

There was a third recipe of theirs that I had and only today made, chocolate chip and coconut energy bites. The "bites" came out well but, even better, I love the blog that it comes from, Paint + Tofu.  It's an intriguing name with some great recipes and discussion! Anyway, on to dinner.

Ingredients
  • Carrot cut into 1/4" pieces
  • Baby broccoli bunch, stems cut into 1/4" pieces and crown area simply halved
  • 1 scallion (green onion) cut into 3/8" pieces
  • 8 ounces crimini (also known as baby bella, but regular white can also be used) mushrooms, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • (optional) 1 small hot chili pepper cut into quarters
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 t black salt (kala namak), or any other kind of salt

Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the salt into the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  2. I let the pressure cooker come down in temperature then removed the top, mixed in the salt, removed the chili pepper (I knew it would be hot so had cut into large chunks so that I could easily remove at this point), and served.
I also made jade pearl rice by simmering for 20m the rice with 1 1/2 times as much water and a vegan bouillon cube. When done, I mixed in a scallion cut into 1/4" pieces, 3 ounces of marinated coconut curry tempeh (it comes in a 7 ounce packet of slices; I cut the slices into 5/8" squares) and a little bit of soy sauce, and served.


Results

Dinner was very good! The rice was excellent. The marinated tempeh, uncooked and just heated, went quite well with the rice. Regular tempeh, preferably browned, would be good; uncooked regular tempeh could work, but I'd cut it in smaller chunks and use less. The main course was good and I liked the very nice treatment, like roasting but keeping the moisture in, that the mushrooms received.

By the way, the marinated tofu comes in at 3g of fat per half package. I used less than a half package, and made 3 servings, so I feel justified in calling this a no-added-fat meal.


Ideas for the future

I think that even less water could be used in the pressure cooker. I liked the main course but wonder if something else could have been added - perhaps some corn kernels or zucchini? The rice is a winner!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Waterless Plaintain and Seitan, Crusty Bread with Vegetable Salsa, Leftover Soup (No Added Fat)


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chickpeas with Brown Rice Maifun Noodles, Quinoa with Vegetables (No Added Fat)

My brother in Southern California sent us a package that we just received today of pomegranates! We love them fresh, but they are also interesting to cook with.

One of our favorite local restaurants, Sage Cafe, makes an excellent fesenjan pomegranate and walnut stew with tempeh; I should try their recipe. I made a stew with pomegranates when my brother last shipped the fruit to me last November; perhaps I could try a variant on that again in the coming days.

For today, I had already soaked about a cup of chickpeas overnight and wanted to use them. I had the idea of using thin maifun brown noodles and mixing them in. Here is what I did; my Dad has been visiting since Monday night, so it was for my family, including him.


Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • Water
  • Bay leaf (I was out so instead I put in about a half dozen cloves for their flavoring)
  • 3 1" squares of kombu (I realize this isn't a common ingredient; it could be skipped and salt and other preferred seasonings could be added at the end of the pressure cooking)
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Approximately 1 cup of thin brown rice maifun noodles; really, any thin noodle could do


Process

  1. I rinsed and then soaked the chickpeas in ample water (at least 3 parts water to 1 part chickpea) overnight. I have read that the number of hours makes a difference; I think that the chickpeas were soaked for about 15 hours.
  2. I drained the chickpeas, rinsed, and put in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I put enough water in to just cover the chickpeas, as well as the cloves and kombu, then cooked on high pressure for 25m. It's important not to fill the pressure cooker more than halfway when cooking beans and not to let pressure out quickly, for fear of foam generation that can clog the steam outlet.
  3. I let the pressure cooker come down in pressure naturally for as long as I could then gently let out remaining pressure.
  4. I added the onion, cumin, and salt.
  5. I boiled water and added the noodles, stirring for a few minutes till they were done, then drained and stirred in to the chickpeas, roughly cutting some of the noodles into smaller pieces with the stirring utensil.
I served along with a simple quinoa dish (I sauteed with no fat some onion, bell pepper, and small potato cubes, then added a vegan bouillon cube and, in a 1:2 ratio, quinoa and water, and cooked for about 4 or 5 minutes, then covered and let sit with no more heat for another 5 or 6 minutes till the water was absorbed and the quinoa got its characteristic spiral), that I topped with fresh pomegranate. A thick slice of a luscious heirloom tomato completed the meal.

Results

We all loved the meal. I was surprised that my daughter had seconds as she often fills up after her first serving.

Ideas for the future

To my wife's surprise, the combination of chickpea and noodle turned out well. I'd like to try this combination with beans like cranberry or great northern ones. My Dad doesn't eat garlic, but a little garlic in the chickpea, along with jalapeno, would be good.

I'm glad that the chickpeas came out just right - still firm and intact but fully cooked. So, 15h of soaking then 25m of cooking under high pressure seems to do the trick. I should note that another minute or two of cooking would be in order if I want soft chickpeas.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Cranberry Bean Stew, Waterless Baby Broccoli with Seitan (No Added Fat)

On Wednesday, I had soaked some cranberry beans and was planning on pressure cooking them for 20-25 minutes as the main part of a dish the next day. However, I had a new Food for Life series beginning on Friday and was out with my daughter shopping (and then eating at the store) Thursday night. I am a professional photographer and ate on-site after a rehearsal dinner on Friday and the wedding on Saturday. Yesterday, we were in Raleigh and enjoyed a meal at Irregardless Café with some friends.

The beans were patient! After being soaked overnight at room temperature, I drained the beans, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. They were fine for using today - I just rinsed once more then put in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, put enough water in to just cover the beans (keeping the volume well below the halfway point of the pot), then cooked on high for 20m. Here is what I made tonight.

Ingredients
  • One cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight (see above for variation)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Water (just enough to cover beans)
  • Half medium bell pepper cut into strips approx. 1/4" x 3/4"
  • 2 scallions cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly diced into 1/8" pieces or so
  • (Optional) Hot sauce, salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Process

  1. Rinse and drain the beans
  2. Put the beans and bouillon cube in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 20m
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top
  4. Add bell pepper, garlic, and scallion into the pressure cooker with the beans and cook another 2m under high pressure
  5. When I was ready to serve, I slowly reduced the heat then mixed in maybe 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t black pepper
I also made a waterless dish with a head of baby broccoli, stems removed, 7 ounces of seitan strips, and 2 scallions cut into 1/4" pieces. I put this all into a small Saladmaster stock pan, brought to medium heat and, when the vapor lock started rattling, I continued cooking, covered, on low heat for about 20m more.
Results

Dinner was great! I sampled the beans right out of the pressure cooker before I added the other vegetables, and they were succulent. I need to add cranberry beans to my list of staples! I would love to serve them pretty much by themselves, as well as cook them with other vegetables.

Ideas for the future

I was out of bouillon cubes, but the beans would be even more tasty with a cube. The beans could have used some hot sauce and possibly a bit more salt. I served with a little bit of the cooking water to make it a stew, but it would also have been fine with less water and a plated side dish. The broccoli and seitan was also excellent but could have used a hint of citrus.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Leftover Cauliflower Stew, Fiction Kitchen Cornbread, Sauteed Tempeh

I was on my own for dinner tonight. I had a simple but filling dinner. My wife had dinner last night at a local favorite, vegetarian Fiction Kitchen. We almost always get their tasty cornbread; my wife brought home one piece that I heated and served with their accompanying onion chutney.

I also heated and spiced up the remaining cauliflower stew from last Friday. Finally, tempeh and onion sauteed without oil (with hot sauce and soy sauce added at the table) completed the meal, with some tasty heirloom tomatoes cut up raw and served on top.

I don't know how the vegan cornbread is made, so I won't make any no-added-fat claims. In any case, dinner was good.

I had started soaking some cranberry beans this afternoon, and was thinking of making a nice bean dish. I'll let the beans continue to soak. When I want to prepare them, I'll rinse the beans, cover them by 1 inch of fresh water, and cook in my Instant Pot for 20-25 minutes (note: when cooking beans, a pressure cooker should not be more than half full to avoid foam sticking to the pressure cooker). The instructions for non-pressure cooking these pretty cranberry beans (borlotti) are to soak overnight, rinse then cover by an inch of water, bring to a boil for 3 minutes, then cook, covered, for 45 minutes or till tender. One unit of dried beans makes three units of cooked beans.

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