Post Valentine’s Day Back to Reality
Now that you have been bombarded with Valentine’s Day chocolate and sweets, let’s get back to some kind of non-sugar normalcy. Is this possible? It is such as sugar-filled world. I find even the original types of some plant milk too sweet for me. I buy unsweetened whenever possible. And I make my own soy yogurt because it’s not sweetened and I am frugal. I don’t want to pay $1.50 or more for a small cup of plain non-dairy yogurt. Keep reading because I will share my “secret” (well, not so secret) recipe for easy to make soy yogurt which is in my cookbook Vegan Under Pressure. You can order it from Amazon here or on my website.
But that’s not why I started writing this. I actually began a few days ago and had some distractions, such as an out of town trip. The original blog post is about my breakfast so back to that…
My husband calls my breakfast weird a lot of the time. Today I made a nori roll with black and brown rice (not weird yet), tofu, sweet potato, avocado, cut up sugar snap peas (but could have been green onions if I had them), sesame seeds and a splash of ume vinegar. Okay, it’s not your typical breakfast, probably not even in Japan.
Neither are my bean tacos with avocado, salsa, red onion and cilantro. When I am at Rancho La Puerta, it’s all prepared for me so I add sliced cabbage to this mix.
The other day I was finishing off the last of the steel cut oats that I made for the week for my husband. I don’t usually eat them but with so little there, I thought, “What the heck?” I put them in a bowl and reached for what I thought was the cinnamon but it turned out to be lemon curry powder. Luckily I only sprinkled on a little which is not what I do with cinnamon. So, I added my usual teaspoon or more of cinnamon (I must admit that I love the stuff) and figured that I might not notice the curry powder. But I did, so I added a bit more. I thought, “What an easy way to get more anti-inflammatory turmeric in my diet, first thing in the morning.”
I shared my mistake on Facebook where someone from the UK told me that they eat savory oats there. I know all about it, as I have a recipe for savory oats in Vegan Under Pressure. But this was a new thing for me. Maybe next time, I will just add the turmeric and not the mixed curry powder. It wasn’t bad. Not sure how it works with the raisins but here’s my point, as if I have one: IT’S JUST FOOD.
It doesn’t matter to me if it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. I will eat what I want, when I want. Call it what you will: weird or unusual. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, nor does it hurt my body.
With this in mind, here I share my recipes for soy yogurt and my Savory (Smoky Cheesy) Steel Cut Oats, both of which are made in the Instant Pot and are found in my cookbook Vegan Under Pressure.
Once you make your own, your idea of vegan yogurt will be forever altered.
At least that’s what happened to me: I learned that homemade nondairy yogurt is more affordable, convenient, and tastier than store-bought.
The process is easy. Unfortunately, you will have to start with commercial soy milk, because making your own soy milk in the pressure cooker renders it too pasteurized to then turn into yogurt. (At least that is my theory, and I am sticking to it for now.)
After you have completed making your yogurt, enjoy it as is or use it to make a variety of wonderful sauces; see my suggestions below.
Makes 1 quart
- 8 to 12 (or more) hours on yogurt setting
- 1 packet vegan yogurt starter, or 1 to 2 probiotic capsules (50 billion of mixed strains), or 1 to 2 tablespoons commercial vegan yogurt with active cultures
- 1 (32-ounce) box plain (not enriched or fortified) organic soy milk (just beans and water), at room temperature
1. Add the yogurt starter, probiotic, or yogurt to the milk. Shake well in the box or pour into a quart glass jar and shake well. If in the box, transfer to a quart jar, or smaller jars if desired. No need to seal the jars but make sure that they are sterilized which you can do by running them through the dishwasher. I like to use 8 or 16 ounce Ball or Mason jars.
2. If you have an electric pressure cooker with a yogurt setting, this step is easy. Set the yogurt setting for 8 to 12 hours and add the jar(s). Lock on the lid, close the vent and do not check until the time is up.
3. If you don’t have a pressure cooker with a yogurt setting, do not despair. Find a place that is between 100° and 110°F, but no hotter. This can be your oven with the light on, the pilot light on, or set at 100°F if your oven goes that low. You can set a rack on top of 4 closed jars of boiling water in a Styrofoam or other kind of cooler, and put the jar(s) on the rack, then cover the cooler. Or even set it outdoors (on a porch, perhaps), if the temperature is close to 100°F. You can also use a yogurt maker.
4. It takes 8 to 12 hours for your soy milk to become cultured and turn into yogurt. Sometimes it will separate into curds and whey. You can pour off and drink the whey and keep the curds.
5. For Greek-style yogurt or yogurt cheese, strain the yogurt in a fine strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander for 8 hours or more. The drained liquid contains active “good” bacteria (cultures), so don’t toss it: drink it in smoothies, straight, or use in recipes that call for buttermilk-type flavors.
6. Refrigerate the yogurt after making and use within a week.
Here are some suggestions for flavoring combinations to add to your yogurt to make it saucy for savory dishes:
- Fresh chopped dill and chives
- Scallion and black pepper
- Fresh grated horseradish with Dijon mustard
- Garlic and parsley
- Raita, page 263 of Vegan Under Pressure
- Cilantro and curry
- Lemon zest and cumin powder
- Mango and chutney
You get the idea: Stir in your favorite spices and veggies and it’s sauce.
Reprinted with permission from Vegan Under Pressure, Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt
Smoky, Cheesy Steel-Cut Oats with Sweet Potato and Greens
If you like to start your day in a savory way, like I generally do, then you’ll like this version of steel-cut oats for breakfast. If not, enjoy it for lunch or dinner.
You can add any leftover cooked vegetables that you have, along with the sliced scallions and herbs, in addition to my recommendations. Since I try to eat probiotic foods daily, I stir in a tablespoon or two of miso along with the final seasonings.
- 3 minutes high pressure; natural release
- ½ cup diced onion or leek
- ½ cup diced carrot
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder
- 1 cup ½-inch diced sweet potato
- 3½ cups vegetable stock; or 2½ cups vegetable stock plus 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 2 cups chopped greens of your choice, such as kale, chard, or collards
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
- 1 to 2 tablespoons mellow white or other miso
- 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1. Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat, or set an electric cooker to sauté. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and dry sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, and smoked paprika and cook another minute.
2. Add the sweet potato, stock or stock and milk, and tamari. Stir. Add the oats and stir once.
3. Lock the lid. Bring to high pressure; cook for 3 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Quick release any remaining pressure after 20 minutes. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you.
4. Add the greens and nutritional yeast, if using. Stir once. Lock the lid back on the cooker. Let sit for 3 minutes.
5. Open the cooker carefully. Add miso, lemon juice, scallions, and herbs to each serving.
Note: The miso should be added just before serving, as its probiotic qualities can cause the oats to break down if it sits, and reheating will diminish or destroy its beneficial properties. If you won’t be serving this all at once, add the miso, a teaspoon or two at a time, into each serving.
Smoky, Cheesy Grits with Sweet Potato and Greens: Instead of steel-cut oats, you can make this with grits (“coarse polenta,” for those not living in the South). Use 1 cup grits (or polenta) and 4 cups stock. Add the grits when the oats would be added but do not stir. Lock on the lid and continue with the recipe but cook for 5 minutes at pressure.
©2020, Reprinted with permission from Vegan Under Pressure, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt