Thursday, January 28, 2016


Recipe taken from Whole Foods -

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Stir together paprika, salt, allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cayenne, fenugreek (if using) and ginger in a small bowl; set spice mixture aside. 

Toss chickpeas with a tablespoon of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Roast chickpeas, stirring occasionally, until somewhat dried out and just golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and chopped ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in reserved spice mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted and very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cook 2 minutes more.

Stir in broth, potatoes, carrots and reserved chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes and carrots are just tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer until stew is thickened and potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes more. Ladle stew into bowls.
Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: 400 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 710mg sodium, 66gcarbohydrates, (10 g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 13g protein.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Homemade Yogurt using the Instant Pot

Happy New Year !

Even though I already have an Electric Pressure cooker, I took the plunge and purchased an Instant Pot a couple weeks ago when they were on sale at Amazon for $125.   Sounds expensive, but I use my pressure cookers often.  I have one that is used on the stovetop - All-American - that I use for canning as well as cooking larger meals.   I did an entire 17 pound turkey right before Christmas - it took less than 2 hours to cook, and it was amazing !  I'll do another post on that later.  I also have this cheaper Cuisinart electric pressure cooker - which I purchased about a year ago.  When I bought the Cuisinart I didn't think I'd use it that often, so I didn't want to invest the $240 that the Instant Pot was selling for at the time.  A year later, I've seen how often I do pull out the electric pressure cooker - especially with the kids and all their activities - it makes a great meal fast.  Since we are going to slowly go entirely whole foods (no, they don't know yet) I know I'll be cooking more often, so I used that reasoning to allow myself to purchase another electric pressure cooker.  Today's the first time I'll be using it !

For Yogurt I'm using -

A gallon of whole milk - I've heard you can use 1% and 2%, but for my first batch, I'm sticking with
                                         whole milk
Vanilla - I'll use pure vanilla from Penzey's spices, plus I have some vanilla beans to stir in at the end.
Yogurt to use as starter - I picked up a couple individual serving sized Brown Cow yogurts with lots
                                        of live active cultures.
Powdered Milk - I'm using it with this batch, but it's not really necessary.

Step one - if using powdered milk, put a few Tablespoons into your gallon of milk and shake, shake
                 shake.  If there isn't enough room in the gallon jug, pour a little off into the Instant Pot
                 which is not plugged in yet !

Step two - plug in the Instant Pot, hit the yogurt button, then hit the adjust button.  It will display the
                 word boil.

This step will take about an hour - I started exactly at 9 a.m.  After it beeps  - you have to cool it back down.

It's faster to take the insert out and let it cool on the counter.  If you have a thermometer - it's good to get it down to about 120* - this too will take about an hour.  I have this Polder thermometer - it will beep  when the correct temps are reached, which takes about another hour.   One of the things I love about this thermometer is that you can change between Celsius and Fahrenheit - so I don't have to adjust recipes that I find online :)    After it has cooled -  add the yogurt starter - about 1/2 a cup for the entire gallon of milk !  For this batch I used Brown Cow yogurt - I've heard that whatever yogurt you choose has an effect on the final taste - so use a yogurt that you like as long as it has live cultures !
 You can also add vanilla when you add the yogurt starter - if you choose.  Then - back into the Instant Pot - push the yogurt setting button.  The number 8 will flash, and then it'll go to 0 and start counting up 8 hours.  After 8 hours - you'll hear a beep and your Instant Pot will tell you the yogurt is ready !

  I like Greek Yogurt - so I strain mine.  I got this strainer at Amazon as well.  I may end up getting another - because if you do an entire gallon of milk at one time - it'll only hold about 1/2 the pot at a time.  The first whey that comes down I save and use as buttermilk - great for baking !  In the summer you can save the whey to water your tomatoes.  The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will get.  I let mine sit about 1 1/2 hours - and it got really thick.   

After it was thick enough - I pour out all the whey, and I dumped the yogurt into the clear container so I could use a whisk and get rid of any lumps.  I also took the opportunity to add some fresh vanilla beans.   

And the final product !  No, the yogurt is not green, my canning jars are.  I just love all the colored jars - I'm sad that I missed the baby blue ones - but there is no way I'm paying premium for blue ones !  Anyway, I ended up with 5 pints of thick Greek type yogurt, and 2 pints of buttermilk.   I dumped out the rest of the whey.  The verdict - excellent - I'll be making this again.  I'm going to try with goats milk ... a bit more expensive, but since I'm somewhat lactose intolerant, if it works, it might be worth it.  

UPDATED -- I have now made batches of yogurt, trying different milks.  Surprisingly the Lactose Free Skim Milk makes awesome yogurt - nice and thick.