Later On

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Archive for the ‘Recipes & Cooking’ Category

Tempeh Spinach, a What-I-Have-On-Hand™ recipe

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A cutting board on which are a large carrot, a beet half a small red cabbage, a large red onion, 2 boxes frozen spinach, 2 large jalapeños, 3 small red Thai chiles, half a head of red garlic, a turmeric root, a piece of ginger root, a block of tempeh, a tin of smoked paprika, a jar of dried marjoram, a pepper grinder, Windsor salt substitute, a jar of chipotle-garlic paste (homemade), and a big slab of tempeh (also homemade).
Tempeh Spinach (before)

I have eaten through the dishes previously prepared, and so I looked around for what is possible with what I had on hand. I came up with this, for which I used my 4-qt sauté pan:

Tempeh Spinach

• extra-virgin olive oil
• 10-12 oz diced tempeh (chickpea and rye)
• 1 big red onion, chopped
• 1 enormous carrot, diced
• 1 red beet, diced
• 2 jalapeños, chopped small
• 3 Thai red chiles, chopped small
• 1 tablespoon chipotle-garlic paste
• 5 dried tomatoes, chopped
• 3 cloves red garlic, chopped small
• 1 small piece ginger root, minced
• 2 turmeric roots, minced (only 1 in photo; didn’t seem enough)
• 3 small Meyer lemons, diced
• 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• 1/2 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
• about 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Windsor salt substitute

Sauté the above for a while. Then add:

• 2 pkgs frozen spinach
• about 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• good splash of tamari
• about 3 tablespoons Bragg’s apple-cider vinegar
• about 1/4 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth

Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A pot of greens, with pieces of lemon, carrot, and other vegetables visible.
Tempeh Spinach (after)

This recipe covers seven of the Daily Dozen:

Beans, Grain: Tempeh (chickpeas+intact whole rye)
Greens, Cruciferous Vegetable (cabbage) – Spinach, red cabbage 
Other Vegetables – Onion, carrot, beet, chiles, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic  
Fruit – Meyer lemons 
Herbs & Spices – Marjoram, paprika, ginger, turmeric pepper 

And breakfast took care of

Berries (frozen mixed, dried barberry, amla)
Grain
(rolled oats)
Flaxseed
Nuts & Seeds (walnuts; chia seed)
Herbs & Spices (cloves, marjoram, spearmint, cinnamon, cocoa)
Fruit (3 pieces: mandarin, Bosc pear, apple)
Beverages (1 pint of tea)

But no real Exercise today, I admit.

I’m having a bowl of Tempeh Spinach now, generously sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seeds (more Nuts & Seeds). Very tasty, and not so hot as the chiles might suggest — but definitely some spicy warmth, good on a cold night.

Next day: I put some fermented beets in a bowl, topped it with Tempeh Spinach, and sprinkled roasted pumpkin seeds on top (a good source of zinc).

Written by Leisureguy

27 January 2023 at 4:58 pm

Sounds like a great restaurant

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If I could have a dinner here, I would set aside my whole-food plant-based diet for the evening.

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 8:15 pm

Why I added baking soda when I cooked dried beans

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In my guide to making your own tempeh, I include a warning on not adding any baking soda to the water when cooking dried beans: Rhizopus oligosporus, the fungus that turns beans (and grain) into tempeh, requires an acid environment and will not grow if the beans are alkaline.

Someone in the Tempeh Makers group on Facebook asked why would I even add baking soda when I cook dried beans. Here’s why: if you’re just cooking beans to eat, a little baking soda makes them cook much faster, be more tender, and (some say) less gassy. See this Cook’s Illustrated article. It worked so well when I tried it, I made it a habit. All well and good, until I tried to make tempeh with beans cooked that way: consistent failure until I twigged to the problem.

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 7:22 pm

I tried boiled mushrooms

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I got some good mushrooms — domestic white, good-sized — and decided to try boiling them, much as described in the video at the link. The only change I made was to include alliums, which the video neglected to do: 1/4 large red onion, chopped, and 4 large Russian red garlic cloves, thinly sliced. I put those along with 10 large mushrooms, sliced, in a skillet, covered them with water, and set them on the induction burner turned to 250ºF until the water was gone, about 35 minutes.

Then I added a pinch of salt, decided to forego the olive oil, and served them with some of my Tempeh Greens.

They’re very tasty. I’ll make them again..

Written by Leisureguy

25 January 2023 at 6:54 pm

A simple chili, the kind with asparagus and sweet vermouth

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A pot of chili, in which are visible mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus.

I was in a chili mood, so I got out my 4-qt All-Clad Stainless sauté pan and drizzled in:

• about 1.5-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

And then I started prepping, adding to the skillet as I went:

• 1 large red onion, chopped coarsely
• 3 BBQ/spring onions, chopped (or use 1 bunch thick scallions)
• 10-12 small white mushrooms, quartered
• about 8 oz chickpea-rye tempeh, diced large
• about 2 tablespoons chipotle-garlic paste
• about 2 tablespoons chimayo chile powder
• about 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• about 3-4 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• about 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• about 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• about 1 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I then turned on the induction burner to 4 and sautéed that, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula. As it cooked, I added:

• 1 small can tomato paste

and continued to cook and stir until the tomato paste darkened somewhat. Then I added:

• 1 19-oz (540ml) can Aylmer’s Italian Seasonings stewed tomatoes
• enough sweet vermouth to fill the little can that held the tomato paste
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tablespoon ground coffee

I turned the burner to 225ºF and the timer to 10 minutes and covered the pan. When the bell went off, I added:

• about 12-13 ounces thin asparagus, chopped

I had a pound of asparagus, but I didn’t use the bottom portion of the spears.

I stirred that in, turned the burner on to 225ºF for another 10 minutes, and covered the pan. I just had a bowl, with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on top. 

It’s extremely tasty. The vermouth was a good idea, and the chocolate and ground coffee worked well. 

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 4:02 pm

Potato-carrot ferment

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Vegetables on a cutting board: 1 large carrot, 5 redskin potatoes, 4 red Thai chiles, 1 red onion 1 segment of ginger root, and 6 cloves garlic, along with two 1-liter canning jars, fermentation weights, airlocks, and lid rings.
All ingredients ready to start — except Medjool dates, which I forgot

As I mentioned on Mastodon, I liked the previous raw-potato ferment so much, I decided to repeat it right away and get the next potato ferment underway. As I filled the two 1-liter jars (using them to measure how much to prepare, I realized I should have bought two more of those redskin potatoes.

I diced the five potatoes I had and added those to the jars, along with 1/2 the red onion (halved again and then cut across into slabs), 6 garlic cloves (each sliced into fourths), a segment of ginger root (peeled and sliced thin), and 4 Thai red chiles (stem removed and cut in half across). I then used diced carrot to finish filling the jars. I did have a small piece of carrot left over.

Diced vegetables — orange white, purple — in two 1-liter canning jars covered with a liquid that's reddish at the top.

The vegetables weighed just over 1kg — 1.016kg — and I tossed them with 25g grey sea salt. As I did, I separated the onion slabs into quarter-rings. I totally forgot the Medjool dates I had planned, but I think the lactobacilli will find plenty on which to feast.

At right the ferment is in the jar, covered with 2.5% brine with fermentation weights in place. The slight coloration at the top is because I added some brine from the jar of Beets & Leeks in the fridge, to serve as the starter culture. 

I will try for two weeks with this batch: until February 1.

Written by Leisureguy

18 January 2023 at 3:48 pm

Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health

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I have de facto quit drinking — that is, I gradually became aware that I wasn’t drinking any alcohol (except at family celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving). I just drifted away from it without making any conscious decision (though I imagine my unconscious knew what it was doing).

I’ve read that studies whose findings show better outcomes for those who drink a little (than for those who do not drink at all) included among the non-drinkers people who had quit drinking for reasons of health — thus the observed findings. When the studies were rerun, excluding from the non-drinkers those who had formerly been drinkers, the supposed health benefits of moderate drinking vanished.

Dana G. Smith has an article in the NY Times (no paywall) that explains what is now known about the effects of drinking:

Sorry to be a buzz-kill, but that nightly glass or two of wine is not improving your health.

After decades of confusing and sometimes contradictory research (too much alcohol is bad for you but a little bit is good; some types of alcohol are better for you than others; just kidding, it’s all bad), the picture is becoming clearer: Even small amounts of alcohol can have health consequences.

Research published in November revealed that between 2015 and 2019, excessive alcohol use resulted in roughly 140,000 deaths per year in the United States. About 40 percent of those deaths had acute causes, like car crashes, poisonings and homicides. But the majority were caused by chronic conditions attributed to alcohol, such as liver disease, cancer and heart disease.

When experts talk about the dire health consequences linked to excessive alcohol use, people often assume that it’s directed at individuals who have an alcohol use disorder. But the health risks from drinking can come from moderate consumption as well.

“Risk starts to go up well below levels where people would think, ‘Oh, that person has an alcohol problem,’” said Dr. Tim Naimi, director of the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. “Alcohol is harmful to the health starting at very low levels.”

If you’re wondering whether you should cut back on your drinking, here’s what to know about when and how alcohol impacts your health.

“Excessive alcohol use” technically means anything above the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended daily limits. That’s more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women.

There is also emerging evidence “that there are risks even within these levels, especially for certain types of cancer and some forms of cardiovascular disease,” said Marissa Esser, who leads the alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recommended daily limits are not meant to be averaged over a week, either. In other words, if you abstain Monday through Thursday and have two or three drinks a night on the weekend, those weekend drinks count as excessive consumption. It’s both the cumulative drinks over time and the amount of alcohol in your system on any one occasion that can cause damage.

Scientists think that the main way alcohol causes health problems is by

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2023 at 4:23 pm

Potato ferment done (by fiat)

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The potato ferment was started on January 7, and I’ve decided to end the ferment today, a week later. It hasn’t changed much in appearance from two days ago except that the water is more cloudy, and the original instructions call for just a two-day ferment (which seems way too short to me). The cubes are crunchy and good. I’ll add them to my lunch and also they will work in a salad. One nice thing: they have zero net carbs. My interest, other than the resistant starch (which acts as fiber to nourish the microbiome) is in the potassium, something that potatoes have in good measure.

I’m happy with the outcome, though next time I might go for two weeks rather than one. The tarragon sprigs were a good idea, and I think the onion helped. Next time I’ll include some garlic and perhaps a jalapeño or two.

Update: Just had a bowl of cooked vegetables and greens (Tempeh Greens) with some cubes of fermented potatoes mixed in. Damn good!

Written by Leisureguy

14 January 2023 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

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Make Kale Taste Delicious

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Useful and fun little video from Cook’s Illustrated:

Written by Leisureguy

13 January 2023 at 8:28 am

The potato ferment: Progress report after 5 days

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I started this ferment of raw potatoes on December 7. If you click the link, you will see how much the vegetables have collapsed. I observed the same thing when I fermented giardiniera (and an earlier batch collapsed even more, but I failed to get a photo).

I also saw the same sort of collapse when I fermented mushrooms.

The first time I fermented (raw) potatoes, I do not recall much collapse, but I followed (mostly) the instructions, which said to end fermentation after two days. (I actually went for 52 hours, but that’s close.) That fermentation did not use a starter. This time, I used some of the active fermentation liquid from my beet ferment that I had started the previous day, which was quite active. That took hold after 24 hours, producing a good string of bubbles when the jar was tilted.

The bubbles are not so active as that now, but they still appear, so fermentation continues. My plan this time is to continue the fermentation for two weeks (until January 21). In the meantime, I was just curious to see the potato pile collapse so much.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2023 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

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Sauce variant: Instead of avocado-lime-cilantro, avocado-lime-tarragon

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I wanted to have a sauce on hand, and I do like this one, a whole-food variation of a Derek Simnett sauce — garlic instead of garlic powder, scallions instead of onion powder. I don’t know why he bothers with the powders. Since this is a blended sauce, the real deal could readily be used instead and provide more nutrients.

I also used a jalapeño instead of hot pepper sauce: again, going for a whole food.

I could perhaps used more tarragon — I used the leaves from three sprigs rather than the whole box — but it tastes good and will serve. Now in a jar in the refrigerator.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2023 at 12:18 pm

How to cook pasta properly and save money

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I don’t eat pasta — I prefer intact whole grain to highly processed grain — but I am aware that there are those who do, so I thought a tip, by David Fairhurst, Principal Lecturer, College of Arts and Science, School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University, published in The Conversation, would be of interest. He writes:

Italians are notoriously – and understandably – protective of their cuisine, as regular arguments about the correct toppings for pizza or the appropriate pasta to use with a Bolognese ragu will attest.

So it was hardly surprising that, when a Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist weighed in with advice about how to cook pasta perfectly which seemed to upend everything the countries’ cooks had been doing in the kitchen for centuries, it caused an almighty row.

Professor Giorgio Parisi – who won the 2021 physics Nobel for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales” – suggested that turning off the heat midway through cooking pasta, then covering with a lid and waiting for the residual heat in the water to finish the job, can help reduce the cost of cooking pasta.

In response, Michelin-starred chef Antonello Colonna claimed this method makes the pasta rubbery, and that it could never be served in a high-quality restaurant such as his own. The controversy quickly spilled over into the media, with several food and science heavyweights contributing.

But for those of us at home trying to save our pennies while cooking pasta, is Parisi’s method really cost effective? And does it really taste that bad? Inspired by the thought of saving some money, students Mia and Ross at Nottingham Trent University took to the kitchen to cook pasta in different ways, helping to pick apart the tangled strands of this question.

What happens when you cook pasta?

The first thing to ask is . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2023 at 11:55 am

Tempeh Greens

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I’m thinking about what I’ll cook today. Because I use a lot of ingredients, I often will list them in a text document so I can more easily mull them over, revise the list, and print it for reference while I cook. I did that today, beginning with the thought “I should cook the Brussels sprouts” followed by “oh, and the red kale,” and then “tarragon” and “celery! that was good.”

The holy trinity of Cajun cooking is onion, green bell pepper, and celery. The onion here is white or yellow storage onion, though I will always prefer red — and I prefer spring onions or scallions because they are so much more nutritious (due to the leaves, I imagine).

French cooking has its own holy trinity, the mirepoix: onions, carrots, and celery. Spanish cooking’s holy trinity is the sofrito: garlic, onion, and tomatoes (and often smoked paprika). For the Cantonese, the trinity is scallions, garlic, and ginger, and Indian cooking often uses onions, garlic, and ginger.

My own trinity seems to be garlic, ginger, and turmeric, each of those fresh, not the powdered, processed versions. Another trinity that I often use as a complement to that is (thick) scallions, mushrooms, and chiles — usually jalapeños, but sometimes red Fresno or Thai chiles. If I have them, I’ll use spring onions or BBQ onions in preference to scallions.

Here are my thoughts on today’s dish, with the two trinities in italics:

extra-virgin olive oil
diced tempeh (today, chickpea and rye)
BBQ onions
mushrooms
jalapeños
dried tomatoes
garlic
ginger
turmeric

Sauté the above until mushrooms loosen up. Then add:

celery
brussels sprouts
red kale

Sauté some more. Then add:

pulp of 1 lemon
a little veggie broth (don’t want a soup, just enough for simmering)
dried marjoram
dried thyme
Spanish smoked paprika
2 dried chipotles, stem cut off
a good amount of ground black pepper
tamari

Simmer for 10 minutes. Add

tarragon

Simmer 10 minutes more.

Serve with a sauce — one of these, or perhaps this, or something else.

Written by Leisureguy

8 January 2023 at 1:21 pm

Fermented Potatoes, reprised with enhancements

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A one-liter canning jar filled with diced yellow potatoes, with some chopped red onion and 2 springs of tarragon, in brine.

I am on a fermenting roll (doesn’t sound very tasty), and I am revisiting the idea of fermenting potatoes. The post at the link explains the nutritional benefits of fermented potatoes. That earlier attempt was somewhat tentative, due to my inexperience. I since have gained a fair amount of experience, so today I went deeper:

• 3 medium yellow potatoes (not the same as Yukon Gold)
• 1/4 large red onion, chopped large
• 2 sprigs tarragon
• salt

As I did with the beets yesterday, I diced enough potatoes to fill my 1-liter canning jar (after first chopping the red onion and adding that to the jar). I dumped the contents of the jarful of potatoes and onions into a bowl already tared on the scale: 350g of additional weight from potatoes and onions.

I added to the bowl 2.5% of that weight — 8.75g, call it 9g — of sea salt and used a rubber spatula to mix well: potatoes, onion, and salt.

[Update – I think I should have skipped this step and just used the brine for salt. Mixing salt with potatoes isn’t like mixing salt with cabbage, say. The potatoes don’t really absorb the salt, and this salt just will dissolve, making the brine much stronger. Next time I’ll not add any salt to the potatoes and rely purely on the brine for salt.]

Then I refilled the 1-liter jar to about the 1/3 mark. I put a coiled sprig of tarragon on top, added more potato and onion to the 2/3 mark, put in another coil of tarragon, and finished filling the jar. The potatoes were heaped high, but a little pressure from the kraut tamper compacted the mass to below the jar’s shoulder. I filled the jar to the shoulder with 2% brine.

Then I went to the beets I started yesterday. They were already active last night — when I tilted the jar, a string of bubbles floated to the surface — and they had brine well above the weight. I took about two tablespoons of excess brine from each of the two jars to serve as the starter for this jar.

I capped the jar of potatoes with the lid and screwed on the lid-ring firmly, then shook it well to mix the culture through the jar (thus the cloudiness of the water). I then uncapped the jar, used the kraut pounder to press the potatoes back down to below the liquid, and added a fermentation weight. No cabbage leaf was needed for this batch since potatoes sink rather than float. I replaced the lid with a fermentation airlock, screwed the lid-ring on to hold it in place, and Robert is your mother’s brother.

This will go for two weeks — January 21 is its date. When I fermented potatoes previously, I let it ferment for just two days (and without any starter culture). I think this will do better.


.
After 5 days

Canning jar half-filled with diced potatoes with some chopped red onion and some tarragon. Slightly cloudy liquid fills the jar.

The photo at the right shows the potatoes (and onion and tarragon) after 5 days. There is still fermentation underway — tilting jar results in some bubble emerging from their hiding places — but fermentation is not nearly so active as it was on days 2 and 3.

I still plan to continue fermentation for two weeks. The previous potato fermentation went only 52 hours, and that was without using a starter. I think this will be much better.


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After 7 days

I decided to call it done after 7 days. Perhaps next time I’ll go for two weeks, but I was eager to try it. It definitely is better than the two-day batch. Adding the tarragon and onion was a good idea, and next time I’ll also add some garlic, ginger, and jalapeño peppers — and maybe some apple slices or chopped dates to provide more nourishment to the microbes. And I think I’ll use Yukon Gold potatoes — more potassium than yellow potatoes.

I put some of the fermented potatoes in a bowl and added a good serving of Tempeh Greens on top. Very good. I might have added roasted pumpkin seeds as well.

Written by Leisureguy

7 January 2023 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

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Chickpea-Rye Tempeh done

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Cross-section of a slab of tempeh, the top perfectly white, the cross section revealing large tan blobs of chickpeas sliced in two along with smaller grains of rye.

The batch of tempeh that I blogged earlier is now done. It took 72 hours, the usual time for the method I follow. At right is a photo of the tempeh still in its Ziploc Fresh Produce bag; above is the tempeh cut free of the bag and the first cut made to break it down to fit my storage jars. The chickpeas are the large beige blobs, with the grains of rye smaller and darker. The mycelium has filled the interstices nicely.

This is a very good batch: solid, rigid slab. I really like the TopCultures starter. It produces a vigorous mycelium.

Once I finish the lentils and the cooked amaranth (seed) I have on hand, I’ll use this tempeh for the beans and grain in my meals.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2023 at 4:26 pm

Basic Beet Ferment

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On a cutting board, a stack of 7 red beets, a large red onion with top cut off, 6 large cloves of garlic, two 1-liter canning jars with fermentation locks, and two glass fermentation weights.

I just started the ferment described in an earlier post. I of course varied the recipe a little, mainly by using a little more garlic and adding half a large red onion.

I sliced the garlic a little thick and put the slices into one of the jars. I then diced beets fairly small and added to the jar until it was filled. 

Next, I halved the red onion vertically and cut one half vertically in half again, then sliced it into fairly thick slices, breaking them into strips, which I put into the second jar. I used just half the onion. I diced a couple more beets and filled the jar. There were 3 beets left unused; those, along with the other half of the onion, will be cooked with some red kale I have in the fridge.

I put a large bowl on the scale, tared it to zero, then added the contents of the two jars. That weighed just over 1kg — 1033g. 2.5% of that is 26g, so I measured out 26g of grey sea salt, which was about 1/4 cup (but I was going by weight, not volume). I sprinkled the sea salt over the contents of the bowl and used a silicone spatula to toss and mix well.

Then I used a canning funnel to load both jars. I had started some of the starter culture I use in 1/2 cup water. I stirred that and added 1/4 cup to each jar and then filled the jars with a 2.5% brine. I used my kraut pounder to compact the beets, and then placed a red-cabbage leaf in each jar to cover the diced beets and put the fermentation weights on that. I finished by screwing on the lids with the fermentation airlocks. 

This batch will be read on January 20. I have a post that lists all the ferments I’ve done and also includes the reference information I use.

Update 17 Jan: A guy on Mastodon says that he always goes longer than 2 weeks, so I’m going to stop one jar at 2 weeks and go 4 weeks (to February 3) with the other.

Two 1-liter canning jars filled with diced beets, sliced garlic, some sliced red onion, and salt water.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2023 at 2:22 pm

Celery Kale

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Vegetables on a cutting board along with a jar of dried marjoram, a tin of Spanish smoked hot paprika, and a tube of tomato paste. Vegetables include Tuscan kale, celery, 3 BBQ onions, a lemon a small pile of crimini mushrooms, a turmeric root, several large cloves of garlic, a piece of ginger root, two jalapeños, and a couple of springs of tarragon.

I learned recently that celery is more nutritious cooked than raw, so I’m including a few stalks (chopped) in today’s kale dish. I used my 6-qt pot, expecting the pre-cooked volume would be fairly large. (My expectations were fulfilled.) 

Celery Kale

I began by drizzling about 2 Tbsp EVOO over the bottom of the pot, then added the following as I prepared them. I went more or less left to right, beginning with the bottom row:

• 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, chopped small (first to allow rest time)
• 3″ piece of ginger root, minced
• 1 bulbous turmeric root, mince (unusual shape for a turmeric root)
• 6-7 medium cremini mushrooms, halved vertically and sliced
• leaves from a couple of springs of tarragon, chopped
• 2 small jalapeños, quartered vertically and chopped
• 3 BBQ/spring onions, chopped
• 4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise then chopped
• 1 bunch Tuscan kale (aka lacinato kale, black kale, dino kal, et al.)
• 1 Tbsp Spanish smoked hot paperika
• 2 Tbsp dried marjoram
• about 2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper (for the tumeric)
• 1/2 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I turned the burner to “4” and started cooking the veggies, stirring frequently to mix. Once they had wilted and collapsed somewhat, I added:

• 2 Tbsp tomato paste
• 6 dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil — not in photo)
• about 1/2 cup vegetable broth
• about 1/4 cup rice vinegar 

I stirred to mix, cooked a few minutes more, then covered the pot, turned burner to 225ºF and the timer to 20 minutes. I stirred once halfway through as it simmered.

Pot of cooked chopped vegetables, a mix of dark green and light green

I have cooked brown lentils on hand, and I cooked some amaranth earlier today, so that will be my meal — beans/lentils, (pseudo)grain, and cooked vegetables that include greens, cruciferous vegetable, other vegetables, turmeric, herb (tarragon) and spice (black pepper, paprika). I’ve already have berries, fruit, and flaxseed (plus chia seed), so overall I’m doing well on the Daily Dozen today.

At right is the finished result. I should have included some chopped red and/or yellow bell pepper for color, or a yellow summer squash. Still, it’s very tasty and definitely healthy — see next post on treating/preventing atrial fibrillation (afib).

It’s extremely tasty and the celery adds some pleasant crunch. I sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top.

PS. I just realized that I had some roasted purple potatoes in the fridge. I could have chopped up one of those and included it. Still, I can (and have) added some potato to the Celery Kale when I serve it, along with lentils and amaranth and a dab of this.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2023 at 3:40 pm

Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bites

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The Wife is about to take a long flight, and I’m making a batch of these for a good in-flight snack.

They’re easy to make, they’re tasty, and they are a nutritious plant-based whole food.

I got the recipe from this collection of whole-food plant-based recipes.

If you manufacture food and your primary goal is to increase profits (cf. capitalism), then deliciousness is a design goal and satiation is a design flaw.

Another goal of a capitalist food manufacturer is to lower or (ideally) remove any barriers that stand in the way of the customer’s consuming the food because the sooner the food is consumed, the sooner another purchase is possible.

Ready-to-heat foods remove the barriers of measuring and mixing. Ready-to-eat foods remove the barrier of cooking. Eat-from-the-bag foods remove the barriers of using and later washing bowls and plates and flatware.

The best food for increasing profits is a food that is tasty, unsatisfying, and can be eaten immediately with no dishes to clean afterward — Doritos, for example.

The oatmeal cookie dough bites are delicious, but they are also satiating. After eating one or two, you don’t feel the urge to eat more, even though they are delicious, because they are satisfying. I imagine that is one reason you don’t find these in stores and have to make them yourself.

Written by Leisureguy

3 January 2023 at 4:18 pm

Chickpea & Rye Tempeh

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Plastic bag in which you can see a mix of chickpeas and rye grain.

I’ve run out of tempeh, but on Friday this new batch should be ready. I’m following my usual procedure, except that instead of 1.5 cups of beans/lentils and 1.5 cups of intact whole grain (measured before cooking and cooked separately), I used 2 cups of chickpeas and 1 cup of whole-grain rye. The reason is that the chickpeas came in a 1-pint container. I did not want to deal with 1/2 cup of uncooked chickpea, so I just cooked the lot and cut back on the rye. I could have gone with 2 cups of rye as well, I suppose.

Lesson learned: use a little less water when cooking the rye so that the grains don’t burst open so much. When they do, they are sticky and tend to mass together. With less water, they will be cooked but intact.

I again used the starter culture from TopCultures. Last time that seemed to provide a vigorous start. I used 1/2 teaspoon, along with 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar, and added the starter gradually, mixing well after each addition to ensure even distribution.

Above you see it ready for the incubator, in a Ziploc Fresh Produce bag, nicely perforated and ideal for tempeh growth.


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After 24 hours

Chickpeas and rye in plastic bag mut mold covering them enough so that they are difficult to distinguish. Looks like white haze with dots stick through here and there

The mold has taken hold very well, but clearly more time is needed. At this point, the developing slab is removed from the incubator and put on the table to continue at room temperature (low 70s F). 

I have to say that the starter from TopCultures seems quite vigorous. This was a free sample, but when it runs out, I’ll buy my replacement from them.

Click the photo to see an enlargement in a new tab. 

After 48 hours

Tempeh in plastic bag: white with speckles of brain and tan where beans and grain poke through.

I probably could stop fermentation at this point, but as usual I want more mycelium — it’s like cowbell, you always want more — so I’ll go for another 24 hours.

The slab is rigid and strong at this point, but that will increase over the next 24 hours. Some slight signs of sporing on the other side, which is why I turned it over. The sporing areas are a light gray. In previous batches, putting the sporing areas on the bottom resulted in the sporing ceasing or being overgrown.

Yeah — after I turned it over and several hours had passed, the sporing was no longer visible.

After 72 hours — it’s done!

Click image above to enlarge. On the left, is a photo of the batch still in its Ziploc Fresh Produce bag. On the right, the slab is cut free of the bag, with the first cross-section cut made as I break it down to fit storage containers. With the full 72 hours, the mycelium is nicely developed and the white coating is velvety smooth. The interstices between chickpeas and grains of rye are packed with mycelium.

I find that the starter culture from TopCultures.com produces vigorous growth of mycelium. I like it a lot.

I’ll use this tempeh for the Daily Dozen beans and grain checkboxes. 

Update: A summary of nutritional research on chickpea tempeh. The article mentions separating the hulls from the chickpeas (Indonesian style) as well as leaving them in place (Malaysian style). I follow the Malaysian style because it’s easier and Rhizopus doesn’t seem to mind.

Written by Leisureguy

3 January 2023 at 4:00 pm

Beets & Garlic ferment

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I just got a recipe I’m eager to try. Cynthia on Facebook provided it. It’s not so different from my Beets & Leeks ferment, but I can more readily make this recipe — good long leeks are hard to find.

3-4 beets, pleeled and chopped into 1/4” cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pint filtered water
4 tsp unrefined salt
1 wide mouth quart jar

Put veg in a bowl and tossed them, then put them in a jar and poured the brine over them. Let them ferment for 2 weeks.

No starter is shown, but she used some whey from yogurt as a starter. I’ll use my usual starter.

She used a leaf on top in addition to a fermentation weight because the small cubes float up around the weight. Using a leaf that way is a good idea. I’ll use a leaf of red cabbage since I usually have that on hand. So: beets, garlic, culture, and brine; then top with a red cabbage leaf; then put the fermentation weight on that.

I weigh the beets (I’ll go for enough to fill a 1.5-liter jar) and add 2.5% of that weight as the amount of sea salt, and I’ll use a 2.5% brine.

I’m eager to make this, but first I need to eat enough of the current ferments to empty a jar.

Written by Leisureguy

3 January 2023 at 12:14 pm

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