Friday, February 12, 2016

Black-Eyed Pea Soup (No Added Fat)

We are having some really cold weather even below freezing. Yesterday, we had stopped at a favorite restaurant, Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe, for a snack, and enjoyed a black-eyed pea soup. I thought that I would put together a version of such a soup for tonight.


Ingredients
  • 2c black-eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup fennel stalk chopped into 3/8" cubes
  • 3/4 cup leek cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 packed cup kale leaves, stems excepted, roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • (optional) 1/4 t amchoor (mango) powder
  • 6c water
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1 cup onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4"
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the salt and onion into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and pressed the "Soup" button for half hour of pressure cooking.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the salt and onion and served.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sweet Potato and Kale with Tempeh (No Added Fat)

I had a yummy 8 ounces of tempeh that I wanted to cook, but I know that my daughter doesn't like tempeh, though she sometimes enjoys smoke-flavored tempeh. She and I love tofu, but my wife can't digest tofu. I decided to make a dish with tempeh cooked in and to serve around the tempeh for my daughter, substituting raw tofu. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 8 ounces tempeh cut into approx. 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/4" cubes
  • 10 ounces of sweet potato in 3/4" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Half of a large 28 ounce can of stewed tomatoes (i.e., 14 ounces)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 t chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
Process
  1. I put all of the ingredients except the onion into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for only two minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then opened the pot and mixed in the onion, and served.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Artichoke - Split Pea Stew with Brown Rice (No Added Fat)

I was wondering what a simple lentil or split pea stew with artichokes might be like. This may come from a recent idea that I had, and still am looking forward to trying, of cooking big pieces of lemon into a dhal and making a Mediterranean-flavored lentil soup with plenty of lemon.

I thought that I'd let the artichokes cook instead of having them added at the end, to soften the artichoke and possibly partially dissolve the artichoke, marrying the flavor with the split pea base. Split peas cook in a 1:3 ratio to water over 6-10 minutes, and I cooked for the full 10m to soften the artichoke as much as possible. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 2 cups yellow (or green) split pea
  • 6 cups water
  • 12 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups leek, 1/2" from root end removed then leek cut into half lengthwise and carefully washed and sliced into 1/4" lengths (I used most of a small-medium leek)
  • 2 cups chopped kale (I used frozen)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 2t lemon juice
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
Process
  1. I put the split pea, water, artichoke hearts, leek, kale, bouillon cube, and cumin into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 10m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the lemon juice, salt, and garlic powder.
I also made long-grained brown rice (1:2 ratio of rice to water, a bouillon cube, and the brown rice 50m program in my Zojirushi rice cooker).
 
Results

Dinner was very good! We all really liked the split pea and artichoke combination. I added just a bit more salt after serving to bring out the flavor of the main course better.

Ideas for the future

A little caper or chopped olive added at the end, as well as raw onion, would be welcome. I should have put ginger and garlic in when I started cooking. I should continue experimenting with cooking with artichoke. I wonder if a longer pressure cooking time would further soften and mingle the artichoke with other ingredients.

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Green Lentil Stew with Spinach and Corn, Quinoa with Edamame (No Added Fat)

This is the last night of my Dad's few week visit, and I thought that I would prepare a green lentil dish. Green lentils cook in a 1 part to 1.5-2 parts liquid over 15-20 minutes under pressure. I love citrus and thought that I'd include some fresh squeezed navel orange juice in the liquid. Here is what I did.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups (a bit more than 1:1.5 ratio) water
  • 1 cup fennel root chopped into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups carrot chopped into 3/8" cubes
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1t lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1c corn kernels
  • 1c chopped spinach
Process
  1. I rinsed the lentils then put them in my Instant Pot pressure cooker, along with the water (I actually substituted the juice of two navel oranges, about 1/4 cup, for part of the water), fennel, carrot, turmer, cumin, and bouillon cube, and cooked for 18m.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then tried the lentils. The citrus was not noticeable, so I added the lemon juice and remaining ingredients.
  3. Because I used frozen corn and spinach, I turned the Instant Pot on for another minute under low pressure.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and served.
I also made some quinoa with edamame.
 
Results

Lately, my wife and daughter have been enjoying dinner more than I have, and today seemed to be the case, again. Dinner was good, but the two of them enjoyed the lentils more than I did. My Dad seemed to also enjoy the meal.

I was quite pleased with the texture of the lentils; I wanted a thick stew that I could serve on a plate, rather than a dhal, and that's exactly what I got. The Instant Pot pan had just a bit of sticking, which means I put just under the right amount of liquid in. The lentils were not very soft, but were certainly cooked and ready to eat, even for somebody like my Dad who likes soft food.

I loved the simple combination of the edamame and quinoa! It was the star of the meal, but just for me.

Ideas for the future

I forgot to add ginger to the lentils. Next time, the lentils may benefit from maybe a 20m cook time. I should try cooking lentils entirely in citrus juice. Let me remember the quinoa and edamame and make it again soon!

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Chickpeas and Cauliflower with Greens (No Added Fat)


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas
  • Water - first batch to amply cover the chickpeas and the second batch to just cover them
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Head of cauliflower cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 head of kale, stems excepted, roughly hand torn into approximately 3/4" squares
  • 3/4 cups onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 garlic powder
Process
  1. Chickpeas cook under pressure in 35-40m if unsoaked or 20-25m if soaked. I rinsed then soaked in ample water for about 7 hours the chickpeas, then did a final rinse.
  2. I covered the chickpeas in enough water to just cover them, added the bouillon cube, and cooked in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 20m.
  3. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, and opened the pot.
  4. The chickpeas were, predictably, done, but just a bit firm (they could have been served as they were). I added the cauliflower and kale, and cooked for another 2 minutes.
  5. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot slowly, and added salt, turmeric, cumin, and garlic powder.
I also made Jade Pearl rice.

Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Acorn Squash stuffed with Chard, Refried Beans (Almost No Added Fat)

Today, I picked up three small acorn squashes and, though my daughter isn't fond of squash, thought I'd cook them especially for my Dad, who likes soft food and has requested squash. It's so easy with my Instant Pot pressure cooker to prepare squash using a technique by my friend Lani Muelrath that I described last February.

She puts a trivet (to keep the food from touching the pot) into the Instant Pot, rinses an intact acorn or butternut squash, puts in a cup and a half of water (I think that I put even less in; it shouldn't be so much as to get over the level of the trivet), and pressure steams for 8 minutes. The squash can then be sliced very easily, seeded, and served. I was thinking of going with 7 minutes since my squashes were small, but I stuck with 8 minutes to ensure a soft end product for my Dad.

I also found a nice sale on frozen chopped chard. Why not stuff the squash with the chard? Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • Acorn squash (I used three), intact and just rinsed
  • 1 or 1 1/4 cups water
  • Another 1/4 cup water
  • 10 ounce frozen (or fresh) chopped Swiss chard
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1T peanut butter (peanut butter has a whopping 17g of fat per tablespoon, but my 1T was spread amongst about 6 servings, so less than 3g of fat per serving)
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped into 1/4" cubes (a small onion)
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Juice of a tangerine (about an ounce)
Process
  1. I prepared acorn squash in the Instant Pot as described above.
  2. In the meantime, I put the 1/4 cup of water and bouillon cube in a small stock pan, brought to a boil, then added the chard, peanut butter (I normally cook with no added fat, but thought that a little bit of the peanut butter would add an interesting dimension of flavor - and, as noted above, this amounted to just 3g or so of fat per serving), onion, nutritional yeast, and salt, and simmered for 7-9 minutes uncovered (the package suggested simmering covered, but I wanted to thicken the greens a bit), stirring occasionally.
  3. I sampled and liked the greens, but wanted to add a slightly sweet nuanced flavor, so mixed in the tangerine juice
  4. I served the greens within the hollowed out squash cavities
I also cooked some no-fat "refried" beans, mixing in a little bell pepper and, for the adults, jalapeno pepper.


Results

I was surprised! I liked dinner but wasn't enthusiastic about any of the flavors. The greens benefited, I think, from the peanut butter and tangerine. It was all good but I didn't love the meal. However, everybody else seemed to enjoy it more than I did! I was particularly surprised by my daughter who has said that she doesn't like squash - for the first time in a while, she quickly ate everything on her plate, and praised the meal numerous times. Yay!

Ideas for the future

I'll bet this would be even better with additional touches of flavor, such as capers or olives or possibly dill pickle pieces, and/or raw kale pieces. I wonder what a thick dhal would be like served inside a halved squash.

By the way, I'm a citrus fiend and loving the winter citrus crop. On a public radio program today, somebody called in from Arizona with the "problem" of having tangerine trees that all ripen at the same time and yield 4 or 5 bushels at once. The host had a number of suggestions, such as:

  • removing seeds then freezing, and then blending to make a sorbet, possibly with a bit of lime and (vegan) cream
  • making savory salsas
  • cooking a number of savory dishes
  • using the (organic) rinds in any variety of dishes
I definitely need to explore some citrus cooking!

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pressure-Cooked Tofu and Vegetables, Portobello-Kalamata Olive Ravioli (No Added Fat)

My wife ate out tonight so I made a tofu dish since she doesn't eat tofu, but my daughter and I enjoy it. My Dad wanted a simple mixed vegetable dish, so it worked for him, too, and I served him a single piece of tofu for good measure. I just cooked kale, peas, carrots, and tofu at low pressure in my Instant Pot for 3 minutes. I also made some Candle Cafe portobello and kalamata olive ravioli, topped with fire roasted tomatoes. Dinner was good!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yellow Split Peas with Potato and Red Chard Dhal, Quinoa with Peas and Shallot (No Added Fat)

My Dad is visiting and asked for a thin yellow split pea dhal. I had yellow split peas on hand; they are so easy to pressure cook using a ratio of part split peas to three parts water for 6-10 minutes. I picked up some red chard today, and wanted to cook with it and potato. Though my daughter doesn't like ginger, it is so healthful that I still used it with the meal. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow or green split peas
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Medium russet potato cut into 3/4" cubes (2 cups)
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1T Fresh ginger finely (1/8") grated
  • Head of chard (or other green - crunchy like chard or bok choy is preferable)
  • (Optional) Apple core
  • 3/4 t (or to taste) salt (I used a combination of my usual Himalayan pink salt, as well as kala namak, "black salt" that is actually pink in color)
  • 2 cups onion cut into half moon slices approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" ( maybe 2/3 of a medium onion)
  • 1t lemon or lime juice
Process
  1. I rinsed the split peas several times then combined them with the water, bouillon cube, potato, turmeric, cumin, and ginger.
  2. I wanted to cook some of the chard down so it was soft or even dissolved into the dish so that my Dad could easily get some greens. I cut the bottoms off of the chard up to the greens, and diced to 1/4" cubes (about 1/2 cup), and added the cubes. I cross-cut the rest of the chard, stem and leaves together, into 1" squares and reserved them.
  3. My wife had just sliced some apple and I had the idea of throwing in the apple core to see if it would lend a bit of a slight sweetness, so I did.
  4. I set my Instant Pot pressure cooker to 8 minutes and closed it.
  5. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure.
  6. I was going to remove the apple core and put it in the compost pile, but it must have cooked into the dhal as I couldn't find it! (I'm taking some leftovers to friends; maybe one of them will find an apple seed or two.)
  7. I added the salt, onion, and lemon juice, and served my Dad. I quite liked the taste, and he seemed to enjoy it.
  8. To the rest of the dish I added the chard squares, mixed, and let sit for about 5 minutes so the chard could cook just a bit in the remaining heat.
I also made a simple quinoa dish by briefly sauteeing, with no oil, sliced shallot, then adding quinoa and twice as much water, as well as a vegan bouillon cube, a little turmeric, a little salt, and a little ground cumin. I brought to a boil and simmered for 3 or 4 minutes, covered, then turned the heat off, mixed in some frozen peas, and re-covered the pan for another 10m or so.
Results

We all loved the dhal. It had a nice, hearty flavor, and the greens added an extra health boost and nice flavor and texture dimension. I loved the potato cubes - done perfectly for this dish, yielding nicely to tongue pressure in the mouth but otherwise maintaining shape. Surprisingly, my daughter normally doesn't like quinoa, but quite liked it today. She also didn't complain at all about the ginger - yay!

Ideas for the future

A few cloves of garlic would have been nice cooked with the dhal, as well as perhaps a bit of jalapeno. Let me remember - 3/4" cubes of potato cooked in water for 8 minutes is yummy!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Peruvian Giant Bean - Rice - Spinach Soup with Roasted Corn (No Added Fat)

Introductory comments go here. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups Peruvian Giant Lima Beans
  • 3/4 cup brown basmati rice
  • Ample (maybe 3 cups) boiling water
  • 6 cups (3 x 2 1/4 cups = 6 3/4 cups, but it seemed too much, so I used 6 cups) boiling or tap water 
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 2t chopped basil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1t lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
Process
  1. I rinsed the beans and rice then covered with the boiling water for 2 1/2 hours
  2. I rinsed the beans and rice again, added the 6 cups of water and bouillon cube, then cooked in my Instant Pot pressure cooker for 30m.
  3. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the stewed tomatoes, onion, basil, salt, lemon juice, and spinach
  4. I put the Instant Pot in saute mode, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, then served
I also heated some frozen roasted corn kernels and served with lemon juice and salt.
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Black Beluga Lentil Dhal, served with "Cheeze"-topped Broccolini and Brown Rice (Almost No Added Fat)

I was thinking of using black beluga lentils for a main course today. They cook in a 1:4 ratio of lentils to water over 15-20 (12 for salads) minutes. My Dad is visiting us for a few weeks, and I thought he'd enjoy the dish.


Ingredients
  • Medium shallot cut into 1/4" cubes (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 t mustard seed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup black beluga lentils
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup kale leaves (no stems) roughly hand-torn into approximately 1" squares (4 leaves)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (if fresh, they can just be added in for the last minute of cooking)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) lemon or lime juice
  • (optional) fresh ginger and jalapeno to taste
Process
  1. In a large Saladmaster stock pan, I put in the shallot and sauteed with no added oil for a few minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the shallot was softened, I added the mustard seed, stirred for about 15 seconds, then added the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon juice; I skipped the ginger and jalapeno entirely, for my daughter's sake.
  3. I brought to a boil then covered (with the broccolini in a bowl, as below, for a side dish) and simmered on low heat for about 17 minutes.
  4. I added lemon juice, stirred, and served.
  5. I would have liked ginger and spicy heat; I just added some hot chili powder to the bowl for all the adults.
In addition to simmering the main course, I decided to steam a bunch of broccolini in the same pan. I couldn't find my steamer basket, so just put the broccolini in a bowl atop the other ingredients. When I served the main course, I also served the steamed broccolini. I topped the broccolini with a small amount of Heidi Ho brand Chia "Cheeze" that I had put in a bowl and left in the finished pot for a few minutes to nicely melt. I used maybe a teaspoon per plate - at 4g of fat per ounce this was probably 2g of fat, so I'll classify this meal as almost no added fat.

For some time, I've been enjoying rices like Madagascar Pink and Bhutanese Red, and will continue to do so. But I've recently had a desire for plain old brown rice. I made a batch (1 part rice to 2 parts water, along with a bouillon cube and a little salt; 50m simmer should do it or perhaps 20-30m under pressure, but I usually make brown rice in my Zojirushi rice cooker, as I did today. Boy, does the rice come out great!
Results

Dinner was great! We all enjoyed the dhal. I had originally thought that I would make a less liquidy lentil main course, but it was just fine being a dhal. The rice was so good! I think that both my wife and I had seconds and thirds of both dishes.

I like kale, and it's so healthful! This batch was particularly tasty and I couldn't stop eating pieces of raw kale as I was cooking. My daughter also enjoyed nibbling on kale. We are in the midst of a few-day ice storm; my wife shopped yesterday and noticed a lot of good and tender produce. She surmised, correctly I think, that local farmers probably harvested a bit early in advance of the storm.

This vegan cheese is very good. Used in small quantities, it contributes just a little fat but a lot of nice flavor.

Ideas for the future

I have made vegan cheese sauce before and should do it again. I should also get this Heidi Ho brand of "cheeze" again. I'd like to experiment with cooking these lentils with less liquid and getting a plated side dish. It would also be nice to try a black beluga lentil salad.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Quinoa Polenta with Marinara, Greens, and Roasted Bell Pepper (No Added Fat)

. Here is what I did.


Ingredients
  • Bell pepper
  • Ancient Harvest brand quinoa polenta
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup onion (about 1/3-1/2 of a medium red onion that I used) cut into approx. 3/4"x1/4" pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1/8"; I only had one, but would have liked to have used three)
  • 2t chopped basil (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/8 cup water
Process
  1. I fire roasted the green bell pepper till it was uniformly charred, then put in a brown paper bag and closed down the bag.
  2. I put all of the remaining ingredients except the bell pepper into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 3m.
  3. After the cooking was done, I removed the now cooled pepper from the bag, rinsed and massaged it under water to remove the excess charring, cut it in half, removing the stem and seeds, then cut it into strips approx. 1/4" x 1".
  4. I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure from the Instant Pot, then opened it, mixed in the bell pepper, and served..
I also made long-grained brown rice (starting with 2/3 or so of a cup of rice, I cooked with the typical 1 part rice : 2 1/2 parts brown rice, along with a vegan bouillon cube, in my Zojirushi rice cooker for its cycle of about 45-50m).
Results

Pending

Ideas for the future

Pending

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mixed Split Pea Dhal with Collard Greens and Cauliflower, Quinoa with Papaya and Avocado (No Added Fat)

I love children and babies, and felt so fortunate to have a fellow vegan family with a baby just 1 month old over for dinner. How lucky for us!

The husband especially likes Indian food and enjoys a lot of spice, but the wife likes minimal spice. I wanted to use fenugreek, which is supposed to help breast feeding mothers to produce more milk (though it may only be effective in higher dosages and possibly problematic at even higher ones).

I thought that I'd make a split pea dish; it's so easy in my Instant Pot, cooking in a ratio of 1:3 over 8-10 minutes of high pressure. I loved my recent collard green experiments, and thought I'd cook collards with the split peas. I also used a head of cauliflower.

My wife had picked up a papaya a few days ago, and I wondered what a savory quinoa-papaya-avocado side dish might be like, subtly flavored with onion. Here is what I did.


Ingredients (I usually cook for my family of 3, but was cooking for 2 more adults, and still ended up with leftovers)
  • 2 cups split peas (I used 1 cup green and 1 cup yellow, since I didn't have 2 cups of either)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1T fenugreek
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups collard greens; after removing bottoms of stems, cut into 1/2" squares (3 collard leaves)
  • Small-medium cauliflower cut into florets (mine generated 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots cut into large 3/8"-1/2" slices (it took 5 small-medium carrots)
  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 2t lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients except the onion, lemon juice, and salt, into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 9 minutes.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then mixed in the onion, lemon juice, and salt.
  3. I served with cut jalapeno on the side for any who wanted to add some spicy heat.
I also made the quinoa, simply by sauteeing 1/2 cup of roughly (maybe 1/2" or even a little larger cubes) chopped onion, and 2 t of chopped (1/8") ginger with no oil in a large Saladmaster stock pot over low-medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then adding 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 3 cups water, along with a pinch or two of salt. I covered the pot and brought to a boil for 3 or 4 minutes, then turned the heat off and let the quinoa sit for at least 10 minutes while the dhal was cooking. I mixed in half of a large papaya with seeds (surprisingly, only had hints of a few seeds - I've never otherwise seen a seedless one) and skin removed and then cut into 5/8" cubes (about 2 cups), as well as similarly cut avocado (my large avocado resulted in a bit over a cup of cubes).
Results

Wow, dinner came out better than I had expected. All seemed to enjoy.

It was nice seeing how the cauliflower cooked down essentially into a thickening agent. The fenugreek added just a bit of bitterness, but it was fine.

The star of the meal was the quinoa. What a great combination papaya, avocado, and quinoa makes. Why didn't I think of something like this before?

Ideas for the future

Split pea dhals always come out well. I should make more dishes with cauliflower both cooked just for a few minutes to keep its contributory texture, and also cooked down like I did today. Maybe we need to buy papaya more often - it sure was great in the quinoa. Both the avocado and papaya were just barely ripe, and I think it probably worked well, as they were suitably firm.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Great Northern Bean - Vegetable - Hard Red Winter Wheat Berry Soup, Bagel Half w Chia "Cheez" (Almost No Added Fat)

My daughter suggested soup for tonight, and I was happy to make it on this cold day.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup hard red winter wheat berries
  • 1 1/2 cups golden beets (1 medium beet) cut into 3/8" cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot (2 medium carrots) cut into 1/2" slices then halved
  • 1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans
  • 2 1/2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes (2 medium potatoes) cut into 3/4" slices then halved
  • 1 1/2 cups peas (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach (frozen, but fresh fine)
  • 1 3/4 cup onion (about half of a medium onion) cut into 1/4" x 1" half moons
  • 2 cups (or did I use 3?) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3t chopped basil
  • 2 vegan bouillon cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8" or so) diced
  • 6 cups water (when I added this, it all added up to 9c)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 2t fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
Process
  1. I put all the ingredients but the salt and lemon/lime juice into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and pressed the "Soup" button, which resulted in a 30m cook time.
  2. After the cooking was done, I waited a few minutes and gently released pressure, then added the salt and lime/lemon juice.
I served the soup with a bagel half. I didn't realize that we were out of tomatoes, as I was going to serve the bagel with a slice of tomato. Instead, I put on just a light smear of Heidi Ho Chia "Cheez"; it is 4g of fat per ounce, and I put on well under an ounce, so maybe 2g of fat (hence the "almost no added fat" for dinner). We were also low on other salad ingredients, so I chopped some Napa cabbage for a simple side salad.

Results

Wow, this soup was excellent! I shouldn't take credit but rather pass it on to the Instant Pot. It's amazing what it does for soups. The flavor was rich and tasty. Yum!! I made about 9 cups of soup and my wife, daughter, and I ate 2 or 3 servings (or 4?!) each, eating up a total of 5 cups!

Ideas for the future

The soup could have used a stronger garlic flavor; I ended up adding some garlic powder and also a little more salt at the table.  The potatoes were great. A little (just a little - maybe 2 cups total) more greens might have been good; I was glad that the spinach was chopped, as a coarsely cut green would have changed the mouth feel of the soup disadvantageously. Maybe a little more beans (starting with 2 cups maybe) would be good. I could hardly tell there was wheat berries, so those could have been at least doubled. Adding a few tablespoons of wine and maybe nutritional yeast could have been nice.

But, really, this was excellent as is. I should make soups in my Instant Pot more often!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Macaroni and Chia "Cheeze" with Seitan, Waterless Collard Greens

My daughter loves (vegan, of course) macaroni and "cheese" and a few days ago I picked up the relatively new cashew-based Heidi Ho brand Creamy Chia Cheeze. I boiled some whole wheat pasta shells, drained, and mixed in seitan chunks and onion, as well as a little of the "cheeze" and soy milk and warmed. I also made a waterless collard green dish in my Saladmaster small stock pan.

Dinner was great! Everybody, including my wife who doesn't usually like cheese of any kind, enjoyed the meal.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Ravioli, Sweet Potato

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