Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes
Instant Pot Quinoa Made In Artichoke Water

Instant Pot artichokes are so tender.

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Instant Pot Artichokes
Some nights we make an entire dinner out of giant steamed artichokes dipped in creamy hummus accompanied by a glass of our Sauvignon Blanc. Cooking the artichokes in our Instant Pot produces really tender leaves and, best of all, produces delicious and healthy cooking water that you can enjoy as tea, use as a broth for soup, or use to cook grains. 

Artichoke leaves contain some powerful phytonutrients - cynarin, silymarin, quercetin, rutin, and gallic acid, which can help protect us against liver disease, cancer, and heart disease. 

Artichokes are rich in vitamin C, K, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, much of which ends up in the water when you cook the artichoke.

The cynarin in artichokes helps stimulate bile production and is beneficial for your liver. Silymarin is also a very good liver protectant so artichoke tea and broth are excellent for helping you detox.

Artichokes are a natural diuretic and can help prevent water retention and allow you to shed some water weight. And when you eat the artichoke, with all its wonderful fiber, it will act as a natural laxative and remove additional waste and toxins. Just one medium artichoke has a whopping 7 grams of fiber. And your gut microbes will have a feast too!

Clean the Artichokes
Holding the stem, cut the pointed top of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Then, with a pair of scissors, cut the tops of each of the remaining leaves by about ½ inch. Remove the bottom stem with a knife so that the artichoke can sit flat. Peel the stem and set aside. Wash the artichoke under cold water while slightly opening the leaves. 

Place the artichoke directly in the Instant Pot with an 1 1/2 inches of water. Sprinkle with salt. Place the stem on the top of the artichoke. 

Secure the lid and press the "Manual" button, setting the time for 30 minutes at high pressure. (Note: this time is for the giant artichokes we get here in Northern California. They can be 5" in diameter. If you are cooking smaller ones, cut the cooking time down significantly.) When done, press the "Off" button and let the pressure come down naturally. 

Open the lid carefully and test a leaf to see if it's tender. If not, cook for another 5 minutes. 

Remove the artichokes carefully and SAVE the cooking water.

Serve the artichokes with your favorite creamy hummus. Dip each leaf in the hummus. When you get to the bottom, clean out the choke material and fill the bottom with more hummus. That's our favorite part!

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Quinoa with Artichoke Broth
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes six (1/2-cup) servings]

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups artichoke water

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer with cold running water. Drain and place in the Instant Pot with the artichoke water.

Artichoke water

Secure the lid and press the "Manual" button, setting the time for 5 minutes at high pressure. When done, press the "Off" button and let the pressure come down naturally. Open the lid carefully. Fluff with a fork and serve. 

Quinoa with artichoke broth

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Happy Cinco de Mayo
Some Recipes For Your Celebration!

Serve Sangria at your Cinco de Mayo party.

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Some Cinco de Mayo Favorites
Let's start with a beverage - Sangria! Check out Enrique's Apple and Pear Sangria Blanca

Or make make Ryan Fitzgerald's Margarita recipe.
For each drink: 2 parts Tequila, 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/2 part agave nectar. Shake with ice and serve in a chilled glass or over ice with a slice of lime. 
Some replace the agave with 1 part Cointreau.

I prefer a Reposado tequila for Margaritas.

For appetizers, make a Healthy Vegan and Gluten Free 7-Layer Bean Dip with Walnut Taco Meat. 

7-layer dip

Or, since Manilla mangos are in season, try this easy to make Mango and Avocado Salsa.

Mango and Avocado Salsa

A good main course could be Easy Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Enchilada Sauce.

Stuffed peppers

Or, try using Soy Curls to make Vegan Fajitas.


End your meal with a Mexican Chocolate Cake with Strawberries. Top with some vegan vanilla bean ice cream.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Whatever you serve, have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Beyond Meat's Beyond Sausage
Now Available In Whole Foods

Vegan Beyond Sausage - Soy and gluten free.

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Beyond Meat Burger Lovers
For those of you who have fallen in love with Beyond Meat Burgers (see my review), the vegan hamburger that really tastes like a hamburger, you've no doubt been waiting anxiously for their Beyond Sausage. I personally have been stuffing the suggestion boxes at every Whole Foods in my area asking for them ever since I read that Beyond Meat had a sales agreement with Whole Foods.

So I was pretty excited to find them in my little Sebastopol Whole Foods last week. I grabbed all three flavors and couldn't wait to cook them. 

Although some vegans avoid foods that even look or taste like meat, Beyond Meat makes great products for vegans and vegetarians who miss burgers and sausages and for meat eaters who are trying to eat less meat or who are transitioning to a plant-based diet. Most of all, people eat products like this because they taste great.

Beyond Sausage comes in three flavors:
Brat Original
Hot Italian
Sweet Italian

Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up
The first one we tried was the Brat Original. It didn't taste like a bratwurst. In fact, it had an anise flavor which we weren't expecting. My mini focus group (me, Doug, and our nephew Cody) gave it a rating of 3.5 to 4 out of 5 in terms of flavor and texture although Doug and Cody both said that they would eat them again. Unfortunately I give the brat a thumbs down.

The brat was just OK. I was disappointed in the flavor.

Today I made both the sweet and hot Italian Beyond Sausages. They were wonderful! The sweet was yummy and the heat of the hot sausage was just right. They earned a 5 out of 5 rating on texture and taste. We will definitely buy them again.

I mixed them with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms (but do not cook them together.)

First I sautéed the vegetables, removed them from the pan and set aside.

I grilled the sausages using the same pan.
Then, removed them from the pan and cut in pieces.
I put the vegetables back the pan to heat and to get the flavoring of the sausages. 
The dish tasted like traditional Italian sausage and peppers. Delicious!

I give both the sweet and hot Italian sausages a big thumbs up!

Like the Beyond Meat Burgers, these aren't what I would call a health food but they aren't a sinful one either. They are made with pea, rice, and faba bean protein and have fat from coconut oil and sunflower oil. They are 190 calories each, providing 16 g of protein, 12 g of total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g of dietary fiber, and 500 mg of sodium. 

I cooked them on a ceramic coated pan with no oil, since they have quite a bit already. I found that they take a few minutes longer than the 7 minutes they recommend. And like I do with the Beyond Meat burgers, I blot them lightly with a paper towel to reduce their fat content. 

I look forward to making the Italian sausage again and putting them on top of a big bowl of spaghetti! And if I do buy the Brat Original again, I will try cooking it on a BBQ grill.

Thanks Beyond Meat!
You've got to love a company that has a mission like this:

We believe there is a better way to feed the planet. Our mission is to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein. We are dedicated to improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare. At Beyond Meat, we want to make the world a better place and we’re starting one delicious meal at a time.