Stir-fry with any vegetables

A surprisingly delicious simple stir-fry with rice.

When you’re going out to an evening meeting and want to eat something when you come home, do what I did and eat contentedly.
Before leaving, put up some brown rice in the rice cooker. I like medium grain. 2/3 dry with 2-1/2 x water and some salt is a good amount for two servings.

Ingredients:
Red onion, large dice, 1/2
Brussels sprouts, cut in half, rinsed and sliced
mushrooms, 4, cut into large slices and cut in half
Leftover chicken

Directions:
Sauté onion for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add in Brussels sprouts, and turn and cook a minute or so. Add good splash of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and let steam and water escape. Add mushrooms, cook a couple minutes, then add chicken in pieces to warm through.

Very delicious served with fresh rice. A dabble of olive oil on top is nice. Or nutritional yeast if it’s around.

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Curried coconut milk vegetables & tofu

For winter, when fresh green produce is not on the scene, but you’re craving some veggies.

Put up pot of brown basmati rice (22 mins timed in instant pot)

Ingredients:
onion, 1 large, diced
cauliflower, scant 1/2 head, separated into large florets, rinsed
potatoes, 2, cut into very small dice
Carrots, 4+, peeled and cut
Tofu, 1 block, pressed to drain, cut into cubes (add at end)
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, peeled and grated
Red curry paste, about 2/3 can
Coconut milk, 1 can
Vegetable stock, 1 pint, approx
Fish sauce
Salt

optional: scallions, cilantro, etc to top when served

Directions:
In large dutch oven, sauté onion in peanut/olive oil mixture for 5+ minutes until softened. Add ginger, then curry paste, stir and add garlic. Then add vegetables:
Cauliflower
Carrots
Potato

Stir and cover with coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cook 20-30 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add salt.
Five or more minutes before done, stir in tofu to heat up.

Adventures in cooking beans in Instant Pot

Factors that have led me to cook beans recently:
1. I purchased an Instant Pot.
2. Instant Pot led me to purchase dried beans at my food coop.
3. Frugality. Reading about it; not actually practicing yet! But it led me to a stockpile of dried beans.

Two successes of late:
Cranberry aka Borlotti beans are the bomb.
Oh the gigante were creamy, smooth, delicious.
Today’s black beans were off the charts. I thought I liked canned black beans well enough, but MAN, these are scrumptious! Delicious, not just as a mix-in for the greater sum.

Note it takes longer than cooking time — It takes 9-14 mins to come to pressure, then there’s the cooking time PLUS to release pressure, either by itself, for 10-15 minutes, or by human power, turning the steam release valve.

Here’s how I prepared today’s rice and beans with black beans:

Prepare brown rice in rice cooker. Medium grain is nice. 1 c rice, rinsed well to 2 1/2 c water, and salt.

Rinse 1 # beans. Measure out 5 c water.

Ingredients:
onion, 1 large, diced
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
cumin, 1 t
salt, 1 T

Directions:
Rinse beans
Cut up onion. Heat up Instant Pot on sauté function, add 2 T olive oil, and then onions. Sauté for 20 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.
Mix in garlic and cumin. Stir and cook for less than one minute until fragrant.
Add: beans, salt, water, and stir.
Pressure cook for 45-50 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release manually. If beans are not cooked through, cook for another 5 minutes, and then manually release pressure.

Serve:
Steamed spinach, sprinkled with za’atar
Rice
Beans
Hot sauce
Dab of sour cream
Pepitas

Other ways to do it: skip za’atar; add 1 t chili powder to beans with cumin; top with cilantro and scallions and Monterey Jack cheese.)
Another option: Purée 1 tomato, cilantro, scallion whites and 1 garlic clove with 3 T olive oil and salt. Mix tomato mixture into beans when cooked and let sit for 5 minutes.

Inspiration: Melissa Clark, Dinner in an Instant, Black Beans, p. 109

Bean cooking times and proportions:

Gigante
1 # beans to 7 c water with aromatics, 32 minutes +

Black turtle beans
1 # beans to 5 c water, with sautéed onion, then 3 garlic cloves, minced and 1 t cumin, 50 mins. (or less)

Cranberry beans
1 # beans to 7 c water, with 3+ garlic cloves, smashed, 4 T olive oil, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some fresh sage leaves if ya got ’em, 24 – 27(?) minutes. (14 mins to come to pressure.)

Garbanzo
1 #, covered with water to halfway mark. Add 1+ T salt

Cook for 42 minutes. Let pressure release naturally (for all beans) for 10-15 minutes, then release pressure manually

***********************

Here are some guidelines

And more on timing beans in Instant Pot

And here is a collection of Instant Pot cooking info:

Miso Mushroom Pasta

What’s great about cooking a lot is that we lazy-ish home cooks can find recipes that are easy-peasy yet delicious. Contra the two-dozen steps over three days recipes that turn out bleh. That’s why I write this blog — to record the recipes, adaptations and techniques I have used with success and would like to repeat.

When there is little in one’s pantry and no desire to shop, it’s very welcome to have a recipe like this one. The only fresh ingredients one needs are mushrooms and heavy cream. Fancy are good; cremini in a pinch will do. Browning the mushrooms I read increases the unami flavor. It’s like a Japanese fettuccine Alfredo — all comfort and deliciousness and okay, indulgence. Perfect for a cold winter eve. Stay home. Cook this. Relax.

Ingredients:

Dried pasta, 4 oz Bucatini is good
mushrooms, 3 oz — cremini, oyster, shiitake, any other exotic/Japanese type especially
Sherry vinegar, 1 t
Miso paste, 2 t White or red
Butter, 2 T, cut up to soften to room temp
Garlic cloves, 3, minced
Heavy cream, 1/2 c
Optional: scallion, finely sliced

Directions:
Take out butter to come to room temp; cut up to hasten process if needed.
Put up pot of water for pasta.
Cut mushrooms into large bite-sized chunks.
Heat large sauté pan over high heat, add 1 T canola oil, and sauté mushrooms until well browned, about 4-5 minutes, adding S&P. Add sherry vinegar to pan, toss and set aside.
Cook pasta until 1 minute underdone. Drain and set aside.
Whisk together butter and miso.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 T oil and minced garlic and cook for less than one minute until fragrant. Add mushrooms, then add miso-butter mixture, then cream, and bring to a boil, stirring.
Add drained pasta to sauce, and stir. Add salt, and cook and stir until pasta is desired doneness.
Place into bowls, top with sliced scallion and pepper.

Source: Miso-Mushroom Pasta, by Yi Jun Loh, Food 52

Coconut Thai-inspired chicken breasts

When you want to change up the preparation of boneless chicken breasts, try this simple marinade and technique. It’s akin to the classic Thai soy-fish sauce-chili-ginger flavor notes, with coconut milk added to mellow the whole thing and no lime for acid. It can be made in less time than it takes to cook rice, if you have not thought ahead to marinate the chicken. The chicken ideally would like 2 to 4 hours of marinade time, but if you’re pressed, less than one hour still works.

Put up a pot of coconut rice in your rice cooker. Easy: 1 c brown jasmine rice, rinsed and salt added to pot. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into 2 c measuring cup, add water to bring to 2-1/4 c (!), and cook in the regular way. (I used the cream on top of the can, and next time I think it would be better to spoon that off and perhaps save for sautéing, rather than use for the rice.)

Make a marinade for chicken breasts:

1 c coconut milk — heat to simmer in small pot. Add:

1 hot pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Ginger, grated, ~ 1 T or less (Will need same amount later for cooking chicken)
2/3 T fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
Star anise or smallish piece of cinnamon stick
Brown sugar, 1 T
1 T chili garlic sauce

Stir together, transfer to flat bottom bowl, and then let sit together and then cool to room temp.
Cut 1/2 # chicken into strips, and then large bite-size pieces.
Add to marinade. Refrigerate if going to be more than one hour until cooked. Ideally marinate 2-4 hours.

Heat sauté pan over medium high heat and add 1 T canola or coconut oil. Scoop chicken out of marinade and add to pan. Sauté for about 4 mins, turning. Right before removing, add reserved minced garlic, toss a bit for one minute, and then remove onto plate or atop rice on plate.

Nice served with plain steamed fresh local broccoli.
Otherwise add peas to rice, perhaps.
Or roast a sweet potato, in wedges. Or carrots, roasted or boiled/stove-top braised.

Source: Jonathan Rosenberg’s Coconut-Marinated Chicken over Coconut Rice, p. 359 in One Big Table; a portrait of American Cooking by Molly O’Neill

Beans and greens deluxe

I thought I had the beans and greens dish down: Sauté lots of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes in oil, add greens, some water & salt, cook gently covered, then add beans from a can, warm up and douse with parmesan. Pretty Good.

THEN . . . . I finally dragged my Instant Pot out of its box on the floor of the dining room where it had been neglected for months. And I got Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot book out of the library, again. She has a recipe for Garlicky Beans with Broccoli Rabe. With book by a NY Times recipe provider and dispenser of kitchen advice, and with a bunch of farmers market broccoli rabe in my fridge, I set about it. Okay a preview: FABULOUS in all ways.

The traditional Italian way I believe is to sauté a mess o’ minced garlic in oil. That’s what I have long done. Melissa takes it to another dimension combining garlic-infused beans with garlic-infused oil that hasn’t had the chance to get at all bitter, solely deeply flavored. Brilliant!

Ingredients:

Cooked beans — gigante or cannelini, with their cooking liquid (1 # beans to 7 c water)
Garlic cloves — 4 smashed, and 3 sliced thin
Red or sweet onion, 1/2 large
Broccoli rabe, 1 bunch, large ends cut off, and washed
Olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, good pinch

Directions:

Cook beans in pressure cooker. Either keep warm, or make ahead and refrigerate. (Good idea to pop some in freezer too. Mixed in with their liquid for soups later, and some dry in a bag.)
Prepare broccoli rabe, onion and garlic.
Put a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add 4 T olive oil, sliced garlic and pinch of salt. Sauté about 3-4 minutes, stirring, until garlic is just golden. Transfer contents to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pan back on the stove (you may have to wipe the bottom so you don’t ignite any dribbled oil) over medium-high heat, and add 2 T oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes and then red pepper flakes. Turn heat up to high (!), add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing in oil, and add good pinch salt. Add good ladle-full of bean liquid and cook until liquid is absorbed/evaporates, about 8 minutes.
Serve: Beans in shallow bowl, drizzle with oil (and garlic!), dump broccoli rabe mixture on top.
You won’t miss the parmesan. So very deeply satisfying and delicious with good beans and heavily garlic-infused oil.

20-minute Instant Pot soup in the fall

My first attempt at using the Instant Pot. Is it a great soup? No, not really, but it’s nutritious and fairly delicious and satisfying. And it’s a one-pot endeavor, even using frozen stock! Has extra step of briefly sauteing onion, and then a quick toss of garlic and carrots, and then everything goes into the pot. Pressure setting of soup with steam vent locked closed and 20 minutes later: Voila! Soup in pot.

Ingredients:

Onion, small, diced
Carrot, large, cut into half moons
garlic, minced
Kale, rinsed and torn from stems, perhaps into smaller pieces
Mushrooms, sliced. Nice selection of mitake, shiitake and oyster perhaps
Potato, scrubbed and cut into medium chunks, not large.

Directions:

Turn on sauté function and heat up. Add 1 T olive oil, and sauté one small diced onion for 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, carrot, and sauté briefly. Add one potato, cubed, sliced mushrooms and kale leaves, rinsed. Add in 1 pint frozen vegetable stock and equal part water and perhaps some dried thyme or even better, fresh stems.
Cook on high pressure on soup setting. Release steam vent manually.

Add to bowls: leftover chicken and/or rice.