Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Recipes & Cooking’ Category

Butternut-Kale Soup (aka Lotsa Lutein Soup)

leave a comment »

After I posted about the brain’s strong preference for lutein as an antioxidant (picky brain!), I of course started thinking about tailoring some of my eating to the brain’s preferences. (I am aware, of course, that it is my brain making these choices.) I picked up a bunch of Lacinato kale and a butternut squash (found in this post) and figured I’d make a soup. I also got some corn tortillas made locally. (See this table for corn tortillas — a double win: both lutein and zeaxanthin.) I figured I would eat the tortillas with the soup.

A quick search found at this recipe by Ramses Bravo, executive chef at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California and the author of the cookbook, Bravo! The ingredients:

4 cups diced butternut squash
2 cups tightly packed chopped kale [and I might use collards sometimes – LG]
2 cups diced yellow onion
8 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped ginger

Changes I’ll make:

• Red onion instead of yellow (because red — darker than yellow — has more nutrients)
• Add 4 cloves garlic and 1 good-sized turmeric root (and black pepper for the turmeric)
• I don’t have veggie broth, so I’ll use water with some MSG (it’s okay) and salt substitute (which brings in some potassium and some iodine — and omits sodium). And I probably won’t use half a gallon, as he does. More like a quart n— I want it thick, maybe even a purée.
• Maybe a couple of Serrano peppers.
(Red cayenne season seems to be over, alas.)
• Maybe some beans or lentils
• The name — new name is Lotsa Lutein Soup.

Written by Leisureguy

2 October 2022 at 2:03 pm

Broccoli in garlic sauce, incidentally vegan

leave a comment »

This recipe looks interesting — and presented at a good clip. I particularly found the Marmite tip of interest: use it in a sauce to add umami (and B vitamins). 

I certainly would not use white rice, which lacks the minerals found in the bran. I would use brown rice or — more likely — a more nutritious grain (like kamut or rye) or pseudo-grain (like quinoa). Those are more nutritious than rice and also tastier, IMO.

Another change I would make: after cutting up the broccoli, I would let it rest for 45 minutes to prevent the loss of sulforaphane. (The video at the link provides a workaround to preserve the sulforaphane if you don’t let the broccoli rest.) I routinely use the “hack-and-hold” method when I cook broccoli (or kale or cabbage or any other cruciferous vegetable). I like doing that better than using the workaround.

I would also probably skip the sugar and molasses, but that’s me.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2022 at 5:06 pm

Ribollita My Way

leave a comment »

After I had the Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup blogged earlier, I decided I could make a better (more nutritious and — who knows? — tastier) version of my own. And then I came across a Wikipedia article on ribolitta. That sounded like just the ticket, though I would do it my way (hence the title), which for one thing meant no bread (an essential ingredient in ribollita) — not a whole food. But oat groats certainly can thicken as well as any old bread and have the benefit of being a whole food (and a grain, to complement the beans).

When I start thinking up a recipe, I hope a TextEdit page and list ingredients. Here’s the list I came up with, after being modified slightly in the making — modifications in square brackets

• Black beans (have more nutrients than white beans — lentils would be even better)
• Kale — Lacinato kale, I think; seems appropriate
• Red cabbage, shredded and allow to rest 45 minutes
• Leek or spring onion or scallions; maybe red onion as a fallback [red onion it was]
• Some diced carrot — 1 medium regular carrot or 1/2 Nantes carrot [1/2 Nantes]
• Diced purple potato [used half of an enormous Stokes Purple potato]
• Tomatoes [6 Roma — the season for San Marzano seems over]
• 3/4 cup oat groats [next time 1 cup oat groats — or hulled barley — & cook before adding]
• 2 Red Habanero Pepper, seeded [should have worn gloves — fingers on fire]
• Garlic [4 cloves Russian red garlic — enormous cloves]
• [2 garlic scapes I found in the fridge]
• Ginger [I used only part of the root shown
• Turmeric + Black Pepper [4 turmeric roots, chopped fine]
• Dried Marjoram [about 2 tablespoons]
• Dried Thyme [about 1 tablespoon]
• Mexican oregano [about 3 tablespoons]
• Salt substitute [about 2 teaspoons]
• MSG [about 1 teaspoon]
• Water [enough; I used water from cooking beans and then a little more]

Half the Stokes Purple potato

I Evo-sprayed my 6-qt wide diameter pot well — probably 2 teaspoons (8 sprays) and prepared the vegetables, putting them in the pot as I went. 

I wanted to sauté some of the vegetables, so I held back on tomatoes, beans, and oat groats. Everything else went into the pot (except black pepper — wanted to add that after pot had liquid because pepper can burn). Because prep took a while, the garlic and red cabbage (which I did first) had some time to rest.

I sautéed what was in the pot for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then added the tomatoes, beans, oat groats, black pepper, and water — the water in which the beans were cooked and more water to boot. Here’s what it looked like (on the left, before cooking; on the right, after cooking — and you can click on any of these photos to enlarge):

I cooked it roughly an hour, all told. The “timer” in this case is the grain: once the oat groats are cooked, it’s ready. (The beans were cooked until not quite done in the expectation that they would finish cooking in the ribollita.) 

I just had a small bowl of the soup to test it. The habaneros are certainly present, but they are not overwhelming (probably because of the amount of soup and presence of potatoes, carrots, beans, and grain). The grain will probably open a bit more after it sits overnight in the fridge and then on being rewarmed.

Some observations after having a few small (“tasting”) bowls:

  1. The intensity of the habaneros quickly faded. Now the soup is just warm (in the spicy sense).
  2. I added some of Simnett’s vegan buffalo sauce on top — very nice.
  3. Encouraged by the buffalo sauce, I decided to have a small bowl of soup after putting in a spoonful of cashew butter. Also very nice.

I think this worked out really well, and I’m sure I’ll make it again. All the purple vegetables (red onion, red cabbage, purple potatoes) are full of nutrients — see this post.

I’d stack this up against regular ribollita any day, strictly on nutrient value. And next time I’ll use Du Puy lentils instead of black beans (already bought them), and that will take the nutrient value up a level.

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2022 at 5:31 pm

This ‘wine mom’ never questioned her drinking. Then she stopped for a month.

leave a comment »

Cathy Alter has an interesting article in the Washington Post on how she interrupted her drinking. It was particularly interesting to me because I have realized that I have stopped drinking without having made a conscious decision to stop. I have always enjoyed alcohol in the form of wine and spirits and (good) cocktails, but when I started tracking my budget more closely, I realized how much wine and spirits cost, so I decided to cut back on buying them. And as I read more about the effect of alcohol on health, I realized that in fact drinking alcohol significantly increases health risks. The health risk from a single glass of wine or just one cocktail is insignificant, but as I discussed in an earlier post, the “compound-interest” effect of consistently (e.g., daily) doing something that, on any one day, makes but a small difference, will over time result in major gains (e.g., Nordic walking) or major losses (e.g., smoking cigarettes).

One Nordic walk will not do much to improve one’s fitness; daily Nordic walking for a month will make a noticeable improvement. One cigarette (or one drink) will not do much to damage one’s health; daily smoking (or drinking) will in time do considerable damage.

At any rate, once I started tracking my weekly grocery/miscellaneous budget, I stopped buying alcohol. That was at the beginning of this year, and since restaurants are no longer really a thing for me since Covid, I haven’t eaten out much. (When I had dnner in a restaurant, I usually had a drink before dinner and a glass of wine with the meal.)

So, without really meaning to, I did stop drinking, and once I had gone several months without a drink, I realized I didn’t much want a drink because I didn’t like the fuzziness of mind that it produces.

I doubtless will have a drink at Thanksgiving and at Christmas as part of a family celebration, but the occasional and rare drink doesn’t present a problem. It’s the day-in, day-out glass of wine or evening cocktail that presents the compound-interest outcome and, eventually, a serious problem — just as the day-in, day-out Nordic walk results in a significant improvement in fitness (an improvement that is not really noticeable when comparing one day to the following day).

At any rate, I found Cathy Alter’s article (gift link, no paywall) in the Washington Post quite interesting — and the comments also are interesting. The article begins:

It all started with a news release. As a journalist, I get multiple pitches a day: “Best and Worst Cities for Healthy Dogs,” “Why the Buzz about Glutathione?” and, sit down for this one, the opportunity to talk to the founder of Parting Stone, a start-up that turns the ashes of loved ones into smooth rocks and pebbles (40 to 60 of them).

But this email, from Dry Together, really got my attention. Despite sounding like a communal bathhouse, Dry Together is an online hamlet for midlife moms who are seeking ways to cope — with work, with family, with life — that don’t involve a tumbler of alcohol. Founders and former college roommates Holly Sprague and Megan Barnes Zesati, who are both nondrinkers, were inviting women ages 35 to 60 to participate in their second annual Dry January challenge, which would include, among other avenues of support, a weekly one-hour Zoom get-together facilitated by Sprague and Barnes Zesati. “A month without alcohol is sometimes just what moms need in order to

Also by Cathy Alter: When the ‘mean girl’ is a woman

Being the 56-year-old mother of a 10-year-old named Leo and having a nightly habit of a glass or two of boxed red, I met the criteria and, to some degree, the “wine mom” stereotype. I do own a pair of socks that read “My Favorite Salad is Wine.” I once considered bringing a colossal wine glass — a gag gift capable of holding an entire bottle — to my book club. And I texted friends the link to that “Saturday Night Live” sketch where Aidy Bryant unwraps her birthday gifts, a series of increasingly barbed wooden signs reading, for example, “I like you better when I’m effed up.” (Scary Mommy wrote a piece entitled “ ‘SNL’ Wine Skit Is Hilarious Because It’s True.”)

The fact that I was a stereotype gave me pause. Perhaps it was time for me to take a break and, as suggested by Dry Together’s promotional email, consider my relationship with alcohol. I also had recently lost 30 pounds gained in a covid stress haze and had been talking to my husband, Karl, about wanting to get healthier. January, after all, is a time for new beginnings.

I hadn’t gone cold turkey since I was pregnant. But in less time than it takes to say Beaujolais, I paid the $39 monthly fee and awaited instructions.

According to a recent study, while Americans drank 14 percent more compared with before the pandemic, women increased their alcohol intake by 41 percent. I saw this play out in real time, not only in my own uptick (think three glasses of wine on “Bachelor” nights), but also in the renewed habit of a dear friend, an empty nester and recovered alcoholic who had been sober for 40 years.

“Once covid hit, and I was alone in my apartment, I started drinking a glass or two of Prosecco every night — just to ease the loneliness and fear,” she told me. She assured me that she has since stopped, adding: “The precipice is deep and always close.”

Dry Together, which has 40 members, does not ask anyone to identify as an alcoholic. It doesn’t even ask its members to quit drinking — during the month or forever. Abstinence is a choice and, as I learn the first night, a few of the women present were already planning to go back to drinking come February, while others weren’t sure what they would do. It’s a delicate dance, this come-here-go-back dalliance with booze.

As we went around the Zoom room, the 15 women — . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

25 September 2022 at 6:39 pm

Made Simnett’s vegan buffalo sauce

leave a comment »

And adjusted the recipe as follows:

In a blender [or in an immersion blender’s beaker – LG] add:

• 3/4 Cup of Frank’s RedHot [I used Original and XTRA Hot, 50-50 – LG]
• 3-4 Tbsp of Cashew Butter [I would say 4-6 Tbsp – LG]
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder [I used 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – LG]
• 1/2 tsp Paprika [I used Spanish smoked paprika; will use 1 tsp next time – LG]
• 1/4 cup of water [I would start with 2 Tbsp water, more if needed – LG]

BLEND! [Since the garlic is blended, no need to crush. Just chop. – LG]

I used a locally made cashew butter. Ingredients: cashews.

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2022 at 11:14 am

Store-bought vs. homemade, soup division

with 6 comments

I just had some soup from a little neighborhood market. I went in to look, and wanted to buy something. (Looking was rewarded: they have Red Boat fish sauce, which can be hard to find locally.)

The soup was pretty good, but I immediately thought of making my own version. I had checked the label and found that the ingredients were on the whole okay — well, take a look.

That’s Allen Family Foods Tuscan White Bean and Kale soup. I could certain do without the Agave syrup (pure refined fructose), and while I”m glad to see turmeric included, it is the very last ingredient. The major ingredients are all fine, and the minor ingredients are very small in proportion. (For example, note that this soup has less white wine than sea salt.)

Note also that the word “Tuscan” is important to increase the appeal of the soup. “Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup” is more appealing than “White Bean and Kale Soup.” See this post for more on the importance of recipe names.

Here’s the first cut of an ingredient list for a version I think I’ll make:

Exotic Black Bean and Kale Soup — or, Ribollita My Way

• Black beans (have more nutrients than white beans)
• Kale — Lacinato kale, I think; seems appropriate
• Leek or spring onion or scallions; maybe red onion as a fallback
• Some diced carrot — 1 medium regular carrot or 1/2 Nantes carrot
• 2 Cayenne Peppers (or 1 Red Habanero Pepper, seeded)
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Turmeric + Black Pepper
• Dried Marjoram
• Dried Thyme
• A little ground cinnamon
• Salt substitute
• MSG 
• Water

and after some reading:

• Oat groats (about 1/2 cup)
• Red cabbage, chopped and allowed to rest 45 minutres
• Purple potatoes, diced 

Depending on mood, I might include some pumpkin seed or walnuts, either in cooking or added when served. I’ll probably cook the black beans separately, then add them (already cooked) to the soup. I might spray in a little olive oil — in fact, perhaps sauté the the non-bean ingredients, then add beans and water to make a thick stew. 

I might also include mushrooms along with carrot. I could also include tempeh, but this already has beans. So perhaps some sort of grain cooked in the stew — a millet, or hulled barley, or oat groats, which would make a nice thick stew. Now that I write it, I like the sound of using oat groats, perhaps half a cup for the batch of stew. That would thicken it, which is what they were going for with chickpea flour and tapioca flour, but using a whole grain (with the beans, a better protein). 

I might add balsamic vinegar, now that I see that they’ve done that. Acid brightens the taste, and balsamic vinegar would bring a little of that along with some sweetness (that was the point of the Agave syrup, I imagine). Or instead I might blend a couple of peeled lemons and add that pulp to the stew just before serving.

Update:  In terms of nutrients, lentils would surpass black beans — Du Puy lentils would be nice. Or I could keep to the original color scheme with chickpeas.

I’m thinking Lacinato kale for the kale. And possibly tomatoes. Definitely the oat groats. 

More ideas: A Wikipedia article on ribollita gave me more ideas. Oat groats will work well in lieu of day-old bread (for thickening and for grain — and oat groats are a whole food, whereas bread is not), and I think I’ll include some red cabbage and some chopped purple potatoes. I’ve added those to the recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2022 at 11:22 am

A Plant-Based Take on Buffalo Sauce and Wings

leave a comment »

I am particularly interested in the sauce. From the Description of the video on YouTube (which also has the recipe for Cauliflower Wings):

Vegan Buffalo Sauce

In a blender [or in an immersion blender’s beaker – LG] add:

• 3/4 Cup of Frank’s RedHot [I used Original and XTRA Hot, 50-50 – LG]
• 3-4 Tbsp of Cashew Butter [I would say 4-6 Tbsp – LG]
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder [I used 2 cloves of garlic, chopped – LG]
• 1/2 tsp Paprika [I used Spanish smoked paprika – LG]
• 1/4 cup of water [I would go with 2 Tbsp water, more if needed – LG]


From Wikipedia:

Frank’s RedHot is a hot sauce made from a variety of cayenne peppers, produced by McCormick. The Original blend ranks low on the Scoville scale, with 450 SHUs [Scoville Heat Units – LG], but the XTRA Hot variety measures 2,000 SHUs.

Frank’s RedHot Original is the usual choice, but I’m going to try Frank’s HotSauce Xtra Hot.

Here are the recipes being made:

Written by Leisureguy

18 September 2022 at 8:04 am

What Prohibition was really about

leave a comment »

Mark Lawrence Schrad, professor of political science and director of Russian area studies at Villanova University in Pennsylvania and author of Smashing the Liquor Machine: A Global History of Prohibition (2021), writes in Aeon:

I have only the highest respect for the documentarian Ken Burns. He’s America’s storyteller: an unrivalled filmmaker whose creativity, passion and style shine through every history he portrays. My intent is not to dunk on anyone, but rather to start a conversation about how Americans as a society grapple with our own contentious history. Our identities are shaped by the collective experiences of our past, and how we see ourselves in relation to them. Together, we constantly reframe and revise the past to make it make sense to us in the present.

It just so happens that the best place to start that conversation is with Burns and Lynn Novick’s five-and-a-half-hour TV miniseries Prohibition (2011), which covers that most misunderstood chapter in US history, from the 1919 ratification of the 18th Amendment – prohibiting ‘the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors’ – until its repeal by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Prohibition deserves our attention because it reflects what we think we know about history, rather than the actual history itself. It is what the comedian Stephen Colbert called ‘truthiness’ in truth’s stead. The problems start within the first five seconds of the film. The filmmakers set the narrative tone for the entire series with an epigraph – stark white letters centred against a black background:

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky.

It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.

– Mark Twain

Direct. Eloquent. Authoritative. Damning. The framing is clear: temperance activists are the bad guys, ‘fanatics’ hellbent on changing other people’s habits who are dumb enough to ‘never learn’ the most obvious lessons staring them right in the face. The problem is that Twain never really said that. Instead, it is a mosaic of unconnected quotes, spanning different works of fiction and nonfiction over the years.

‘Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits’ comes from Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894): Twain’s serialised novel about race, slavery and small-town religion. ‘Fanatics will never learn that …’ was scrawled in Twain’s travel notebook while in London in November 1896 as he extolled the virtues of ‘temperate temperance’. And ‘it is the prohibition that makes anything precious’ came 11 months earlier while in India, as Twain ruminated about Adam, Eve and forbidden fruit during his visit to Allahabad.

When stitched together, they make for a compelling framework for what we feel to be true about temperance and prohibitionism. In the 11 years since the release of the TV series, nobody seems to have noticed this. Still, the epigraph sets the stage for what’s to come. Burns and Novick are gifted storytellers, and every story needs conflict – heroes versus villains, good guys versus bad guys. They’ve cast prohibitionists as the bad guys, as they so often are when prohibition is remembered: hard-headed fanatics intent on dictating ‘other people’s habits’ in a manner most undemocratic and un-American.

The key to really understanding temperance and prohibition history can be boiled down to one word: traffic. Generations of social reformers and activists – both in the United States and around the world – focused not on the alcohol in the bottle, nor on ‘other people’s habits’, but on what they called ‘the liquor traffic’: unscrupulous sellers who got people hopelessly addicted to liquor for their own profit. The difference between opposing liquor and the liquor traffic is subtle, but hugely important. Liquor is just the stuff in the bottle, but trafficking is about profit and predation; like human trafficking, diamond trafficking or the traffic in narcotics and opioids.

The ‘traffic’ gets mentioned only three times in the Prohibition series. In the first minutes, the 19th-century Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher – who inspired the modern temperance movement with his series of sermons condemning alcohol in 1826 – declares that ‘like slavery, the traffic in ardent spirits must come to be regarded as sinful.’ After that, the traffic – the thing prohibition was all about – all but disappears from the Prohibition documentary.

Beecher’s Six Sermons on Intemperance (1827) are often credited with kick-starting temperance, though not because they were ‘eloquent’, as Prohibition suggests. Rhetorically, they were pretty unremarkable. Instead, they began an entire social movement by providing a blueprint for action: a boycott to undermine the profit-driven traffic. ‘Let the consumer do his duty,’ Beecher suggested to his temperance followers, ‘and the capitalist, finding his employment unproductive, will quickly discover other channels of useful enterprise.’ Rather than invoking Biblical tales of drunken sinners, Beecher’s Sermons repeatedly cite one verse in particular: Habakkuk 2:9-16: ‘Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunk also.’ From its very inception, then, temperance was a movement for economic justice and community betterment, rather than a gaggle of religious cranks as they’re more conventionally portrayed.

Prohibition articulates the conventional narrative, as the voiceover by Peter Coyote proclaims that America’s prohibition experience ‘would raise questions about the proper role of government’ and ‘who is – and who is not – a real American’. The framework is clear: the ‘drys’ are the bad guys, and the ‘wets’ are the true patriots, fully exercising their freedom to drink.

In building their case about the ubiquity of booze in early America, Burns and Novick then line up some of the greatest leaders in US history. Yet painting them as pro-liquor patriots requires a very selective reading of the historical record. ‘For most of the nation’s history, alcohol was at least as American as apple pie,’ Prohibition’s narrator explains:

At Valley Forge, George Washington did his best to make sure his men had half a cup of rum every day, and a half a cup of whiskey when the rum ran out … Thomas Jefferson collected fine French wines and dreamed of a day when American vineyards could match them … Young Abraham Lincoln sold whiskey by the barrel from his grocery store in New Salem, Illinois. ‘Intoxicating liquor,’ he later remembered, was ‘used by everybody, repudiated by nobody.’ A young Maryland slave named Frederick Douglass said whiskey made him feel ‘like a president’, self-assured ‘and independent’.

In reality, each of these men – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Douglass and scores more – could rightly be listed among America’s great prohibitionists. But how is that possible? Simple: by again recognising that prohibition was not about the stuff in the bottle, but against the predatory capitalism of the liquor traffic.

Did General George Washington ensure that his men had liquor at Valley Forge? Sure. But he also understood that the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania had – at the request of local Native American tribes – a strict prohibition against trafficking the ‘white man’s wicked water’ dating back to William Penn’s Great Law of 1682. That the early colonial Pennsylvania was arguably spared the bloody Indian Wars that plagued the other colonies is credited to the justice and fair play between colonisers and natives embodied in the Quaker prohibition.

When ragtag militias from across the colonies arrived in Valley Forge in 1777, they often supplemented their meagre provisions by trading their liquor with local tribes in defiance of the Quakers’ prohibition. The backlash was so great that General Washington ordered his own prohibition against liquor trafficking, commanding:

All Persons whatever are forbid selling liquor to the Indians. If any Sutler or soldier shall presume to act contrary to this Prohibition, the former will be dismissed from Camp, and the latter receive severe Corporal Punishment.

Washington also required prohibition to maintain discipline in the ranks. Eleven soldiers in each brigade were charged ‘to seize the liquors they may find in the unlicensed tippling-houses’ and ‘notify the inhabitants or persons living in the vicinity of camp that an unconditional seizure will be made of all liquors they shall presume to sell in the future.’ During the Continental Army’s military campaigns, any . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2022 at 2:00 pm

Summer joy: Cooking fresh vegetables

leave a comment »

Just cooking some dinner. Starting at upper left and going roughly clockwise, we have:

• Russian red garlic — I used two of the (enormous) cloves
• ginger root — I used all of the piece shown
• turmeric root — just below the ginger and mostly hidden — chopped fine
• red habanero pepper — just to the right of the ginger; I seeded this and chopped it
• 2 red cayenne peppers — above the habanero; I chopped these without seeding
• 3 garlic scapes — mostly hidden; cut into short sections
• 2 long sweet peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow — seeded and chopped
• 1 zucchini — quartered lengthwise and cut into good-sized pieces
• a few kale leaves — chopped
• diced red kidney bean and millet tempeh, marinated in Smoky-Maple overnight
• 1 leek, chopped including leaves
• a few scallions, ditto
• several crimini mushrooms, sliced
• a few spears asparagus, chopped
• 1 San Marzano tomato, chopped

That’s my Bulat knife in the photo. Not shown but added:

• a couple of pinches of MSG
• a good amount of ground black pepper
• roughly 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• roughly 1.5 tablespoons dried mint
• good shaking of salt substitute (potassium chloride, iodized)
• good dash of tamari — a tablespoon or two
• about 1/4 cup Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar

I added all of the above to my 12″ MSMK nonstick skillet which was sprayed with about 1.5 teaspoons olive oil, covered the skillet, turned the induction burner to “3,” and cooked it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


And here it is after cooking.

It tastes good, and the presence of the habanero is definitely noted. It was a good decision to use only one. (I bought three.)

The Smoky Maple Marinade is a hit, and the tempeh tastes great. I think I probably should have used the entire 8 ounces I made. I’ll add the rest now and cook the dish a bit longer. 

Overall, a good meal. Other elements of the Daily Dozen I got earlier — for example, the chia pudding included spices (cinnamon and cloves), walnuts, flaxseed, and berries (frozen berries plus dried barberries plus 1 teaspoon amla). And I had a 1.71-mile walk (3.32 mph, so 31 minutes).

Update: I added the rest of the tempeh, including the marinade, and cooked for six minutes. I just had a bowl of that — also delicious. Also, the aftereffect of the habanero (and cayenne, I imagine) is a sustained warmth in the mouth — not heat, not painful, but warm and pleasant.

Written by Leisureguy

16 September 2022 at 4:31 pm

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

leave a comment »

While I was walking, I got to thinking about dinner and decided I wanted to marinate my tempeh before I used it in a stir fry, so I did a search and found this one (a couple of adjustments made in the version below):

Smoky Maple Tempeh Marinade

• 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp liquid smoke
• 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 garlic clove, crushed

  1. … Add all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Alternatively, add all the ingredients into an air-tight jar and shake until combined. You can either store the marinade in the refrigerator or freezer as is or marinate the tempeh (steps below).
  2. Pour marinade over tempeh in a freezer-safe container or bag and toss until tempeh is fully coated in the marinade. Each marinade is enough for 8 ounces of tempeh.
  3. Immediate Use: Refrigerate and let the tempeh marinate for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  4. Freezing: Transfer the marinated tempeh to the freezer and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, place the frozen marinated tempeh in the refrigerator overnight or until completely thawed. Alternatively, place the tempeh in a bowl of hot water and change water as it cools until thawed. Now the tempeh is ready to be cooked!

I cut off a chunk of my red-kidney-bean-and-millets tempeh that weighed 7.9 oz. (Good eye, eh?) I diced it bite-size put it in a Glasslock storage container, and poured the marinade over, snapped the lid in place, and gave it a shake. It will marinate a total of two hours, and then I’ll make my stir-fry.

Written by Leisureguy

12 September 2022 at 3:00 pm

Red Kidney Bean and Millet Tempeh done

leave a comment »

This is the red kidney bean and millets (fox-tail millet and little-millet, both unpolished) that I started three days ago. It fermented about 75 hours total. The very pale areas in the photo are an artefact of the lighting. 

It turned out okay, though I think the millet was a bit challenging. Here is a cross-section:

This will meet my bean and grain quota for a few days. I think I had better luck with my soybean and kodo millet tempeh, and also with my chana dal and barnyard millet (which was more matched in size).

It definitely has a different look.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 6:26 pm

Peppers galore!

leave a comment »

Our produce market had many peppers of different varieties so I got a selection:

• Red cayenne peppers
• Red habanero peppers
• Pale green Hungarian peppers
• Banana peppers, some red, some yellow, some orange
• Dove peppers, some yellow, some red

I just made a dish to use a bunch of the peppers. I sprayed my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet with a few sprays of EVOO and then added:

• 3″ or so of ginger root, sliced thin and then minced
• 3 large clove Russian red garlic, sliced thin on garlic mandoline

I let that rest for 10 minutes, then put it into the skillet along with:

• 2 San Marzano tomatoes, diced fairly large (quarter lengthwise, then cut into pieces)
• 1 seedless lemon, peeled and then diced (as described at the link)
• 1 large yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thick pieces
• 3 red cayenne peppers, chopped small
• 1 Hungarian pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 banana peppers (2 red, 1 yellow) seeded and chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• about 1/4 cup walnuts
• about 8 oz soybean and Kamut tempeh, diced medium-large
• about 8 stalks asparagus, chopped
• 4 or 5 leaves kale, chopped
• 1 large baby bok choy sliced
• about a tablespoon of dried mint
• about a tablespoon of dried majoram
• about two tablespoons dried oregano
• about 1 teaspoon MSG
• about 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
• about 2 teaspoons Windsor salt substitute (iodized)

I covered the skillet turned my induction burner to “3” and cooked it for six minutes. The I stirred to mix, covered again, and cooked on “3” for another six minutes (the last two minutes with cover removed).

This will be enough for several meals. I have some Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce and some Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce and I’ll use one of those on a bowl. I also have some fermented raw Stokes Purple potatoes, diced, and I think I’ll put some of those in a bowl, top with the dish I made, and add some sauce.

When I write up what I’ve done to make a dish, I’ll often forget an ingredient or two; when I remember, I return to the post and revise the recipe — in fact, I just remember something I left out: a diced peeled lemon — so I’ll add it now.

I’m having a bowl. Damn good.

A couple of additional notes

First, I use tempeh just because I like it, and also it takes care of two Daily Dozen categories: each meal (if you follow the Daily Dozen) includes both beans (or lentils) and grain (or pseudograin like quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat). By making tempeh that includes both, in a 50-50 ratio, I can use a serving of tempeh to meet that requirement. And, as I said, like tempeh. I also like to make it. But certainly one could just eat some beans and also some (intact whole) grain.

Second, I put the above meal together by just looking around and seeing what I had on hand. But take a look at how it relates to the Daily Dozen and, parentheses, what I had in mind.

• ginger root – Other Vegetable (good health benefits, says Johns Hopkins University)
• garlic — Other Veg (good taste, health benefits, with excellent prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS))
• tomatoes — Other Veg (good source of lycopene if cooked; umami; adds liquid)
• lemon — Fruit (vitamin C, acid to brighten taste, adds liquid)
• zucchini — Other Veg (good fiber, good taste, adds liquid)
• cayenne peppers — Other Veg (capsaicin good for diabetics, good taste)
• Hungarian pepper — Other Veg (good taste, vitamin C, fiber)
• banana peppers — Other Veg (ditto)
• scallions — Other Veg (good fiber (FOS), good taste, leaves with good flavonoids)
• walnuts — Nuts&Seeds (omega 3, good fiber, good texture and taste)
• soybean and Kamut tempeh — Beans and Grain (fiber, protein, minerals, taste)
• asparagus — Other Veg (FOS, taste, phytonutrients)
• kale — Greens; Cruciferous Veg (fiber, minerals, phytonutrients)
• bok choy — ditto
• mint, marjoram, oregano — Spices&Herbs (loads of antioxidants, good taste)
• MSG — umami and flavor enhancement
• fish sauce — umami
•  Windsor salt substitute — potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iodine; no sodium; taste)

One thing I omitted that I should have included: turmeric (and of course black pepper so I can get the benefit of it). I have some fresh turmeric root, or I could have used dried turmeric or turmeric paste. I’ll add that when I warm up a serving.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 3:20 pm

New batch of tempeh: Red Kidney Bean plus Little and Foxtail Millets

leave a comment »

I had a small amount of Foxtail millet, so I added enough Little millet to make a total of 1.5 cups before cooking. I also cooked (separately) 1.5 cups red kidney beans (measured before cooking).

The millet seems to want to clump and stick together, so I’m a little apprehensive about this batch. In the future, for a 3-cup batch I might go with 2 cups beans and 1 cup millet instead of 1.5 cups of each.

Still, there it is bagged after cooking, drying, cooling, adding vinegar, and adding starter culture. It is now on the rack in the incubator for the next 24 hours. If all goes well, I’ll have a new batch of tempeh ready about this time on Friday afternoon. 

I am following my usual method of making tempeh.

Tempeh done

I called a finish after about 75 hours. Cross-section is at the right, and more details can be found in this post.

I’m not totally happy with how it turned out. I think a couple of problems might have been a) the red kidney beans were a lot larger than the grains of millet, and b) the millet tended to clump.

Still, it’s perfectly edible, and before I know it, I’ll be fermenting the next batch.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2022 at 2:13 pm

Boiled mushrooms — who knew? Gotta try

leave a comment »

Written by Leisureguy

5 September 2022 at 7:35 am

Pepper sauce complete and bottled

leave a comment »

Liquid from fermented peppers.

Two weeks ago I started fermenting a batch of cayenne peppers (with enhancements — details at the link). I figured two weeks was plenty of time to ferment (though as I recall from the movie, Sriracha pepper sauce is fermented for a year), so today I strained the fermented peppers, reserving the liquid for use in (say) fermenting raw potatoes, using it as a (spicy) fermentation starter. At the right is a photo of the 1/2 liter of liquid I saved.

The photo at the top shows the two liters of sauce that I got after using my immersion blender to pulverize peppers and then adding 1/4 cup fermentation liquid plus 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar. The vinegar will add some zing and also help preserve the sauce (which will in any case be refrigerated — it’s not pasteurized because I want the live culture). The liquid also thins the sauce a bit. It is still quite thick (which I like), and the wide-mouth jars will make it easy to spoon out as much as I want.

After 14 days

The pepper sauce is reasonably hot — cayenne peppers, after all — but not in the least painful, just a good flavorful spicy fermented pepper sauce.

Just as when I made the giardiniera ferment, the peppers sort of collapsed, as you can see in the photo at the left, taken just before I drained the four jars and blended the solids.

I started with almost 4 liters of peppers, and ended with 2 liters of pepper sauce (a bit more, in fact: enough to fill a small Maille mustard jar) and 1/2 liter of fermentation liquid that I saved. (I discarded the rest of the fermentation liquid.)

I have to say the fermenting vegetables is quite satisfying. More people should give it a try. In combination with a whole-food plant-based diet, the result is an excellent gut microbiome.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2022 at 1:25 pm

Chia-seed pudding recipe

leave a comment »

I’ve recently added chia-seed pudding to my morning food line-up:

• 1 brazil nut
• chia-seed pudding
• 3 pieces of fruit (today, peach, tangerine, and apple)
• 1 pint of hot tea
• 2 sheets of nori (for the iodine)

Also, I eat 1 B12 tablet (cyanocobalamin) — that is, I chew it up.

The fruit I use varies, and recently has included plums of various varieties and nectarines. Soon Fuyu persimmons will be available, and I like those. I often have Bosc pears as well.

Until I added the pudding, I also ate 1 square 100% cacao chocolate (usually Baker’s unsweetened). Now I get the chocolate in the pudding, and now I usually use natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa, which is not so rich in nutrients). I do sometimes chop up a square of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate and use it in the pudding instead of the cocoa powder.

My breakfast now also includes this:

Chia-Seed Pudding

Step 1

I use a Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder for a variety of things, including this pudding. Put into the grinder’s cup:

• 1 tablespoon flaxseed, ground (see note below)• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chia seed, ground (see note below)
• 1 teaspoon amla (powdered Indian gooseberries)
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon (taste plus antioxidants)
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (very high in antioxidants)
• 1-2 squares Baker’s unsweetened (100% cacao) chocolate, chopped finely;
or 1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process — that lacks nutrients)

Grind those together well.

Step 2

Now assemble in a 2-cup storage container the following layers:

• 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) chopped walnuts or peanuts, or pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup rolled oats
• 2 tablespoons dried barberries (available on-line or at Middle Eastern delis/stores)
• the ground mixture from Step 1, spread out and leveled
• 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (a rounded 1/2 cup)
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup*
• 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• enough “milk” (oat milk or hazelnut milk or walnut milk) to fill the container

*Maple syrup: I first used 2 tablespoons, then I tried using none. When I did that, the milk was not fully absorbed so there was some small amount of free liquid. Apparently the syrup helps in absorption. So I tried using just 1 tablespoon (rather than 2) and that worked: all milk was then absorbed.

After adding the milk, use a spoon to mix the ingredients to ensure the milk is mixed with everything. After I stir the ingredients a little, I generally have to add a bit more milk.

I first used whole chia seed, assuming that overnight soaking would make them digestible, but now that I’ve tried grinding the seeds in my Cuisinart Spice & Nut Grinder, I find that works really well. So I then decided to include flaxseed. I first grind the flaxseed and then add chia seed and grind the combination. (I eat a tablespoon of ground flaxseed each day, and including it in my breakfast pudding is a good way to have it.) And then I thought of adding the two powders (amla and cinnamon) to mix those in as well. — I added cloves specifically for their extremely high antioxidant content. That addition might not be to everyone’s taste. After adding these to the ground flaxseed and chia seed, I “grind” briefly to mix.

The nut milks I use have just two ingredients: finely ground nuts and water. Some milk analogues contain quite a few ingredients and seem to be more highly processed — manufactured, as it were. I like to keep it simple (and I also like to avoid dairy). I also use Elmhurst 1925 Unsweetened Oat Milk, which has only 3 ingredients (water, oats, salt). Nowadays I mostly use the Unsweetened Oat Milk: cheaper.

Barberries and alma are extremely high in antioxidants and other valuable flavonoids as discussed at the links above. And 100% cacao chocolate is also highly beneficial. (I now generally use natural (not Dutch-process) unsweetened cocoa powder in place of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate.)

I earlier blogged a chocolate chia pudding, and also a guacamole chia pudding.


Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2022 at 10:34 pm

66 tempeh recipes

leave a comment »

I just received an email from Better Nature, a company with an interesting backstory. That page has at the bottom a link to download a free cookbook of 11 of their favorite tempeh recipes, but check out the page of 66 recipes on their website. The photo above is from one of those recipes (Creamy Lemon & Garlic Tempeh Pasta).

Written by Leisureguy

30 August 2022 at 8:06 am

Plant-based breakfast bites

leave a comment »

Long-time readers may recall my recipe for a breakfast on the go, Breakfast Bites, from back when I was following a low-carb/keto diet. That recipe is basically a sausage-and-greens frittata, and it was really good, if I say so myself. I made them for The Wife to have as breakfast for her commute. (That recipe superseded the bran muffin recipe that I had been making until we switched to a low-carb diet, a switch I now see as a mistake.)

I switched to my current whole-food plant-based diet a few years ago. Still, I did miss the breakfast bites idea: tasty, filling, and handy to eat on the go.

Simnett Nutrition today has a recipe from Crystal for an equivalent breakfast without eggs and meat. (I subscribe to that channel because they regularly have interesting and helpful food ideas.) Today’s recipe looks quite good: Plant-based breakfast bites. (I don’t call the “frittatas” because a frittata is made using eggs. This recipe does not use eggs.)

I would make one addition. I would dice 8 ounces of one of my homemade tempehs (my current tempeh of soybeans and Kamut would be ideal) into small dice, Evo-spray those with some extra-virgin olive oil, and toss them with (say) Merguez seasoning. Then I would cook them in a skillet Evo-sprayed with a little olive oil until they were toasted. Let them cool, then add them to the recipe in the video below. That would get beans and grain into the mix, and I try to have those with every meal (since I basically structure my meals with Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen in mind — example).

Here’s the recipe. Click the “watch on YouTube” to get to the video Description, which includes the list of ingredients and the steps to make the frittatas. Important: The silicone muffin tray is terrific, but it lacks the rigidity of a metal muffin pan and so must be supported as it is filled. You will see in the video that the tray is placed on a wire rack, which provides the support the filled tray requires.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2022 at 12:28 pm

Impromptu sauce

leave a comment »

Left after first use

Just made a sauce for my stir-fry — and the new batch of tempeh really is good (i.e., it doesn’t just look good) — and thought I’d share. As usual, I’m just describing what I did. Feel free to vary; I generally do. In fact, I thought about adding a good dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce, but my stir-fry was spicy enough that I thought in this instance it would be coals to Newcastle.

Put into the immersion blender’s beaker:

• 1 large lemon, peeled
• 1.5 Tbsp Kozlik’s Sweet & Smokey Mustard
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup gemai miso (I buy Amano)
• 3-4 tablespoons Soom tahini
• 2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• about 1/2 cup water
• [dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce if you want spicy — or chop a jalapeño or Serrano or cayenne pepper and include that, since it’s blended.] 

Be sure to chop the dates, otherwise they may jam and break the blender.

Blend the ingredients, using as much water as needed to get the consistency you want. 

As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been getting South African lemons, which are large, juicy, and thin-skinned. I like them a lot. 

Now that I’m writing about it, I wish I had included some herb(s) — say, marjoram or spearmint or savory. I can do that next time. I might also have included some ginger root and/or a clove of garlic. Perhaps a dash of tamari would have been good. 

One thing about these sauces, you can play around with them a lot.

See also this post for a variety of sauce recipes.

Date trick for grocery shopping

I learned an interesting tactic. As you set out to go grocery shopping, eat one or two Medjool dates. They totally eradicate any feelings of being peckish, so you can shop with no particular longing for the foods you see.

Written by Leisureguy

23 August 2022 at 3:25 pm

Soybean and Kamut tempeh done

leave a comment »

This batch turned out exceptionally well. The slab at the end — 3 days and 4 hours — was slightly warm, velvety smooth, and solid with good rigidity. Aove is a cross section, with the bigger pieces being soybeans and the smaller ones Kamut.

There as not a trace of sporing or any bad patches. Really this was a perfect batch. And I now have the timing down — today I used the last of the previous batch, and this new batch is ready for tomorrow. I didn’t really have to think about it: on Thursday as I looked at how much tempeh I had on hand, I thought, “I should start a new batch” and put 1.5 cups of soybeans in the pot to soak overnight. Friday morning I cooked those and, separately, 1.5 cups of Kamut and combined them to start this new batch.

I followed my usual method. You can take a look at the full post for this batch to see earlier stages.

Below is the batch at the end, in the Ziploc Fresh Produce bag on the left and lying unbagged on the cutting board on the right.

Below are photos of the batch at the end, bagged on the left, unbagged on the right.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2022 at 4:35 pm

%d bloggers like this: