Category Archives: Recipes

There are a lot more recipes at my old address, fanaticcook.blogspot.com

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Corn Grits

I just made this for breakfast. It was so good I had to immortalize it in a photo:

PumpkinOatmeal3

Maybe it doesn’t look at good as it tasted. To be honest, I’m more into taste and technique than presentation. In fact, I took the photo while it was still in the pot because I knew that was the last place it would be before my mouth. Oh well.

Here’s what it was. It cooks up fast:

3 tablespoons dry oatmeal, quick-cooking
3 tablespoons dry corn grits
1 to 2 cups water
2 big dollops precooked winter squash (e.g. pumpkin, kabocha, buttercup, butternut)
Dash cinnamon
Tiny pinches of nutmeg, clove, ginger
Salt to taste
Maple syrup to taste

Boil the oats and grits together on high with about 1.5 cups water. I don’t measure, I err on too much and just boil the rest away. When the cereal starts to thicken, lower heat and stir until it reaches desired consistency. (If it sticks, remove from heat for a few seconds, stir, and return to heat.) Stir in the pumpkin or squash (I used buttercup squash puree that I made over the weekend), spices, salt, and maple syrup while still warm.

Dr. Weil Recommends Liberal Use Of Olive Oil

When Dr. Weil speaks, I listen. Not that I believe everything he says, but he has a certain charisma, and I like the foundation of his thinking, his wholistic, mind-body approach to health.

A couple of things I can’t sign on to are his guidance about supplements and his liberal use of oil, a calorically dense, highly processed, nutritionally wanting substance.

“Continue your 2014 healthy eating habits by making extra virgin olive oil your main source of dietary fat, using it liberally for eating and cooking.”

Use it as your main cooking oil (be sure not to use high heat, as it can oxidize the delicate oil), in place of butter and margarine in most baked goods, and as a drizzle on vegetables or salads or a dip for bread. Or get decadent and make Lemon Olive Oil Cake!” [Recipe follows]

Does everything we eat have to be prepared with fat? On vegetables and salads, on and in baked goods, as a medium for cooking? In my mind, Americans are overdoing it with the fat and oil. A healthful diet does not team up the word “oil” with the appeal “use it liberally.”

Lemon Olive Oil Cake, from Dr. Weil’s restaurant, True Food Kitchen.  Serves 4-6.

LemonOliveOilCakeIngredients

4 lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups evaporated cane sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Instructions

– Combine zest, juice and olive oil in a small bowl.
– In the mixer combine eggs & salt. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until pale and thickened.
– Turn mixer to low and slowly sift in the flour and baking powder, followed by the olive oil mixture. Do not over mix at this point; just incorporate the ingredients.
– Pour this mixture into a cake pan or muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes for cupcakes and 35 minutes for large cakes. Poke with a toothpick to check for doneness.
– Serve with Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries.

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Chef Michael Stebner coats the muffin cups with oil and sugar and recommends serving it with Greek yogurt.  “Greek yogurt’s got a lot of fat in it.  It’s got twice as much fat as regular yogurt.  That’s why it tastes so good.”

If this served 4, each person would be eating 1/4 cup oil, 1.5 eggs, and a half cup of sugar. Not counting the oil in the pan and the cream or yogurt side.

I can hear it already … “everything in moderation” …

What do you think?

Bean Paste Revisited

I first posted this in March 2012, almost 2 years ago! I still make bean paste (or beanbutter as Shaun calls it) every day, believe it or not. I don’t eat animal foods and I find these bean pastes a great way to boost protein (I know, I know) and add variety without having to eat so much soy.
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This is how I make the bean paste I use in soups, stews, sauces, and spreads. I soak a few handfuls of dried beans overnight, about 12 hours. In the morning I rinse them and toss the water. These are cannellini beans:

BeanPaste2

Into a heavy pot. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer. Cover but leave vented about 1/2 inch. Stir periodically and add more water to keep beans submerged. After about 3 hours the beans will be very mushy. Let remaining water simmer away then. (Add water in small amounts, about 1/2 cup increments, slowly, down one side of the pot. You don’t want to lose the simmer.)

BeanPaste3

This is what it looks like after it cools a little. It’s not beautiful but it works great. Easier to digest than the intact beans you get from a can (plus there’s no BPA in a can lining to worry about), and it creates a nice thick background for soups and sauces.

BeanPaste4

I store my bean paste in the fridge until I’m ready to put together a soup. I’ve slowly been transitioning my storage containers from plastic to glass. You can buy these Pyrex storage bowls for a few dollars, very reasonable.

BeanPaste5

I use the same process as above for black beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, etc. I also cook split peas and lentils this way, although I don’t soak those overnight. Here’s one soup using this cannellini bean paste: Cannellini Beans With Red Pepper And Rapini.

BeanSoup2

A New Year, A New Bean: Moong Dal

A new Indian food market just opened near me. I’ve been wanting to try some traditional Indian dals but I didn’t have a good source for the ingredients. So excited! Here’s my first purchase:

MoongDal2

I don’t know much about Indian cooking. I don’t even know how to pronounce Moong Dal. But since I cook some type of bean every day I didn’t think it would be that different. My friend Anrosh gave me these instructions:

Step 1. Soak the dal.

Soak the moong dal for at least 4 to 5 hrs. Wash and rinse the dal well before it is put on the stove to boil.

Step 2. Cook the dal.

In a pot add 1 cup of dal to approximately 2.5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil before it is put on a medium flame partly covered. (We can always add more water if the water dries out and the dal is not yet cooked.)

Asafoetida – this is time you add them to the pot. Skip the step if it is not in the pantry. Asafoetida aids in digestion. It also adds a flavor which is distinct. This will help the dal to get the flavor of the asafoetida. If you have the compounded asafoetida, it needs to be powdered by keeping it between a kitchen towel and pounded with a masher. Use half an inch. One gets asafoetida powder as well. It doesn’t bring out the flavor as much as it should.

Cook till the dal is soft.

Step 3. Spice the dal.

This is where the spices meets the cooked dal. In another pot, heat a teaspoon of oil/butter. I use coconut oil. When the oil becomes hot, add mustard seeds, 1/4 of a teaspoon. It will splutter and pop. Now reduce the flame to the lowest point because this is the time you are going to add the rest of the spices. (No mustard seeds? Skip the step.)

If we are adding many spices keep it to a minimum – lesser than 1/4 of a teaspoon. Add finely minced garlic, ginger, cumin, green chilies/paprika (optional), fennel, and here is the time to be creative: asafoetida, fenugreek, turmeric powder. You can always mix and match the spices for dal.

What do you have in your pantry? We can work with that. But if one has only garlic and cumin and turmeric that is good as well. Increase the quantity of the cumin to half a teaspoon. Let it cook for a minute; let the cumin get toasted in the oil to bring out the flavor. Cook the garlic, but it will become dark if the heat is very high.

Add tomatoes (diced, because it helps to cook faster). This is the time to add them and let it cook till it is soft. We can add as much as we like or as little. Tomato adds the acidity that a dal requires.

Salt.

Reduce the flame. Pour the cooked dal into the pot slowly so that it doesn’t create a hot splatter. Let everything mingle well for another 5-7 minutes on a medium flame. The pan cake consistency of the dal is what I prefer. If we add more water now, let it come to another boil.

Switch off the flame and let the dal rest for some time (at least 15 minutes) and the pot covered.

Do you like cilantro? Add them finely diced, stem and all of it. Cilantro completely changes the flavor of the dal.

She adds:

Have it with rice or drink it for soup.
There are times when I have added Basil pesto to boiled dal.
Also have added dal to tomato soup to give it some weight.
Added pasta sauce to dal, and had it with pasta.
There are 100 other ways of making dal and everyone of them is correct.

Don’t you love that last phrase? So … I soaked it overnight and boiled it in the morning. It took about 2.5 hours to get a thick, creamy consistency. I’m used to that from cooking so many other beans.

Since I don’t cook with added oil or fat, I proceeded to use the dal as a base for a thick stew, similar to my white bean paste.) The stew was made from the following vegetables, all fresh and finely diced: cabbage, green/string beans, red bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomatoes. I boiled the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes, added the cooked dal, added most of Anrosh’s spices, and about 2 teaspoons of tamari.  That was simmered an additional 10 minutes.

Here it is ready to be heated for dinner with some rice:

DalCooked3

Broiled Tofu

A few slices of tofu, marinated for a couple minutes in a mixture of: tamari, lemon juice, hot mustard, spices (ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, chipotle).

That’s an inexpensive tile we bought from Home Depot for about 60 cents. It worked great, gave the tofu a nice crust. I turned them a few times. It took about 10 minutes total on a low broil setting.

These are great in a sandwich, like a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato), except a TLT. Especially if you use smoked paprika in the marinade.