John Legend’s Chili

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I came across this recipe for chili in Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, “Cravings”. I decided to follow the recipe exactly (with a slight variation) just to find out what ole John is up to in the kitchen when he’s not at the piano working on another chart-topping single.

It’s super-simple if you’ve ever cooked a pot of soup. The recipe follows what I call standard procedure: saute the aromatics and vegetables, add seasonings and liquid, simmer and adjust seasonings. In this case I always save the beans for last, which I have pre-cooked, so they don’t fall apart.

I substituted Gardein meatless crumbles for the ground beef in John’s recipe and I would suggest taking it easy on the seasoning salt, depending on how much salt is in your tomato sauce. I also cut the original recipe’s measurement of 1 teaspoon ground red pepper down to 1/4 teaspoon, but you do you ūüôā

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John Legend’s Chili

1 1/2 – 2 cups Gardein Meatless Crumbles
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp. seasoning salt (preferably Lawry’s)
3 tbsp. chili powder
¬Ĺ tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 tbsp. garlic,minced
2 cans tomato sauce, 14.5 ounces each

2 cups water
2 cans Kidney beans, 14.5 ounces each
2 tbsp. brown sugar, light

Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in a bit of oil or water.

Add seasonings, crumbles, tomato sauce and water. Bring to simmer until thickened.

Add beans and taste, adding more salt or spice as desired.

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Soup Magic: Homestyle Split Pea

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Okay, I know ’tis the season, but we can’t live on vegan holiday cookies and peppermint bark! Put something warm and nourishing in your belly with this super-easy soup recipe.

When I think of split pea soup, I think simplicity. A  savory stew of peas, tender chunks of carrots and celery with just a hint of onion and garlic.

This recipe is simple as simple can be. I load the ingredients in the crockpot on my way out the door in the morning, and a few hours later I have a thick, hearty soup. That’s magic.

Magic Split Pea Soup

1 pound green split peas, rinsed

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

6 cups vegetable broth

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 Method:

Just pour everything into the crockpot, cover and cook on low for 3 ¬Ĺ – 4 hours. Check for salt and add seasonings to taste. Yield: 6 ‚Äď 8 servings.

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Soup Magic: Hearty Lentil

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Lentil is one of my favorite high-protein meal soups. It’s simple and low maintenance, and comes together in just a few minutes.

¬†I enjoy cooking soup on the stove‚ÄĒthat aromatic slow-simmering, stirring, tending, nurturing activity.

But, during the work week I usually don’t have that kind of time. The last thing I want to read in a crockpot recipe is the direction to sauté vegetables before adding them to the crockpot. If I had time to do that, well I would probably take it all the way on the stove!

Instead, I left my crock pot in charge this morning, and brisked out the door for work. By lunch time I had a rich, satisfying stew, and lots of it. I think about what a prepared cup of soup costs, about $3. For less than that, I could feed a family of four, dinner sized portions of this hearty, healthful, tasty meal. Just saying…

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Hearty Lentil Soup

1 ¬Ĺ cups raw brown lentils, rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2 or 3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 or 3 stalks celery, diced

Handful of celery tops (optional)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Big sprig of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp. ground)

5-6 cups vegetable broth (or water)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

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Prepare all ingredients and add to crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir and check for seasonings. Depending on your broth, you may wish to add salt. With a pair of tongs or a fork, fish out and discard the bay leaves, thyme stems and celery tops, if used. Add a generous grind of pepper and add broth if needed, depending on how ‚Äúsoupy‚ÄĚ you like it.

Yield:  4-6 big servings

Soup: A Vegan’s Best Friend

 

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With the popularity of the raw food movement over the past few years it seems some of our old standbys may have faded into the background. I’m here to remind you that soup is good food.

I like salad as much as the next vegan, but, there is something to be said for that satisfied, warm tummy feeling that can only come from hot food, eaten slowly. We often make a meal out of a simple bowl of soup at my house. Maybe a little chunk of bread, maybe not.

It’s filling, it’s nutritious and most soups are inexpensive to make and prep for the week’s menu or even as a fill-in for those moments in-between when you want a quick something hot.

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Beyond my own personal preference, I did a bit of research and found there are actually benefits to eating hot food. Who knew??

 

Benefits of Eating Hot Food

excerpted from the cable lifestyle blog thecable.ng

Mode of digestion

Hot meals aid proper digestion because of the time it takes to consume it. This enables the consumer to eat in adequate proportions which in turn gives less work to the organ that breaks down food.

Also, during the preparation of the meal, the chemicals in the food would have been broken down before it is served and consumed; the body easily absorbs the nutrients as they diffuse into the system, increasing the nutritional value.

Low risk of bacterial contamination

It is difficult for micro-organisms to survive in hot foods. Micro-organisms die while cooking but allowing the food get cold will reintroduce the bacteria, if not careful; which makes eating the meal in a hot state healthier.

Generates energy for consumption

Warm food restores the energy cold food saps from the body and equally stores up more energy for future use.

Regulates body temperature and weight

One key thing about ingesting hot food is that it regulates the body temperature in response to a cold climate, as it provides warmth from the hot food ingested.

Hot meals also help with body weight and fat; the suppression of appetite observed during the body’s exposure to heat causes the body weight level to drop below set-point which aids greater metabolic efficiency.

Once the body is able to rid unwanted products, the weight would be regulated.

The after-feeling

The feeling you get after taking a hot meal is an amazing one, compared to a cold meal.

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Check out my selection of delicious soup recipes HERE!


Senate Bean Soup

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U.S. Senate Bean Soup  is traditionally made with navy beans, ham hocks and onions. It is served in the dining room of the United States Senate every day, in a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century.

This hearty, economical soup grew in popularity during and between World Wars I and II. It was frequently served to the military.

Here, I have taken the original recipe and made it vegan, by replacing the ham hocks with vegan bacon, kicking up the flavor with a bit of veggie paste and liquid smoke. I’ve given it a creamier consistency by pureeing half of the beans and I finished the dish with crisp, fresh-baked croutons.

Senate Bean Soup

Ingredients:
1 pound dried navy beans
2 quarts  water
1-2 cups chopped vegan bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoons olive oil

1 Tbsp. vegetable broth paste, such as Better Than Bouillon (optional)
1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Soak beans overnight in water to cover, plus 2 inches to allow for swelling.

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Drain and rinse beans then add to a large pot with water to cover plus another inch or two over medium high heat. Bring to boil and skim off any foam that accumulates on the surface. These are impurities that should be removed.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour.

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Meanwhile, cook the onions and bacon in olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes over medium heat. When the beans have been cooking for an hour, they should be tender, almost done.

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At this point, scoop out about half of the beans and puree them in a blender until smooth. You may want to remove some of the cooking water if it looks too watery. You can set it aside and add some back in later if you need it.

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Add the pureed beans back into the pot along with the bacon and onions. Add a tablespoon of vegetable broth paste and liquid smoke, if using. Stir and adjust water as necessary to make the soup the consistency you like. Simmer for another half hour or so, stirring occasionally until flavors are blended and heated through.

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Serve with crispy croutons, if desired. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Thai Red Lentil Chili

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This is my new favorite stew! Imagine spicy smoky chili flavor mingled with sweet creamy coconut milk, hearty kidney beans, lentils and sweet potatoes. This dish is tasty, nutritious and filling. Oh, and did I mention…it’s super quick and easy to make!

This is one that I think most non-vegans can enjoy as well. Veggie stews and chili are a great introduction to vegan cuisine. Today’s chili was just one of the five entrees I cooked for my client’s weekly meals.

IMG_1938 I enjoy cooking vegan and sharing wholesome food with others. I love my job!

Thai Red Lentil Chili

Recipe courtesy of Post Punk Kitchen

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced medium

1/2 red bell pepper, diced medium

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. chili powder

3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups vegetable broth

14.5 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp. Thai red curry paste

8 ounces coconut milk

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Method:

Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more. Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil

Let boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.

Taste for seasoning, top with cilantro and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Chik’n Noodle Soup

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There’s nothing quite like the distinctive experience of a steaming bowl of fragrant broth brimming with fresh simmered vegetables with plenty of slurpy noodles. Especially when the weather is cool or when you are feeling low.

Making a pot of soup is a caring, healing thing we can do for one another as well. A fresh-cooked, mindfully prepared soup tastes nothing like soup from a can or even from the local deli. This soup is so simple, anyone can do it.

The stars of my vegan show are a golden chicken-less broth, ¬†a dash of ¬†poultry seasoning, Gardein chicken substitute and lots of fresh parsley and cracked black pepper. Guaranteed to heal whatever ails ūüôā I hope you enjoy this soup and I hope you share it with a friend.

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Chik’n Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups vegetable broth (chicken-less flavor, if you can find it)

1 large carrot, sliced into wheels about 1/8 inch thick

2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1-1 1/2 cups egg-free noodles, cooked ( I used 2 lasagna noodles, cut into thin strips)

2 Gardein chik’n-less scaloppini filets, frozen or thawed

Big handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning (optional)

Fresh ground black pepper

Method:

Combine first four ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and set to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, saute filets in a little oil in a small skillet until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

When vegetables are tender, remove lid from pot and add the cooked noodles, stirring to make sure they are well distributed throughout soup. Dice the cooked scaloppini filets to about the same size as the vegetables and stir into the soup. Add parsley and lots of ground pepper. Taste for salt and continue stirring until all ingredients are heated through.

Yield: 4 servings

 

French Onion Soup

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They said it couldn’t be done…but here it is, a veganized version of the classic French onion soup!

This recipe comes from Allison Rivers Samson, owner and operator of¬†Allison’s Gourmet Online Vegan Bakery and Confectionary.¬†She is famous for her ultra-decadent gourmet vegan chocolates and other sweets, but it doesn’t end there.

Allison is also the author of the “Veganize It” column for VegNews magazine. ¬†Her recipes feature veganized versions of many comfort food favorites, like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, burgers–even Caesar salad! These recipes and so much more can be found here on her blog. I am a big fan of Allison’s work, both sweet and savory!

¬†Here’s a basic rundown of this deceptively simple, yet impressively elegant recipe:

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Slice onions very thinly and sweat them in a large stock pot with a bit of salt.

Prep

The most critical step in this recipe is the caramelization of the onions. It is important to allow the onions to really cook down nice and brown. This is going to provide a very rich flavor to the soup.


Carmelize

Once the onions are done, the pan gets deglazed with a bit of white wine then vegetable stock and seasonings are added and the soup simmers for a few minutes.

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Top with a toasted vegan cheese French bread slice and serve immediately!

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Soup and Bread

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It occurs to me that there are two foods I can simply never do without–soup and bread. ¬†I will never tire of a hot, comforting bowl–be it a thick, hearty stew or a thin, savory broth as long as I have a nice chunk of bread to sop in it.

The best soups and the best breads are those made at home. Here are a couple simple recipes worth trying for yourself.

Easy Olive Oil Bread

Creamy Chick’n & Mushroom Soup

from EpicureanVegan.Wordpress.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
12-oz pkg Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips, cubed
4 C (about 18) mushrooms, quartered
5 C vegetable broth
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 C vegan sour cream
3 Tbs flour
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C unsweetened, plain almond milk
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes, then add the onion and celery. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.

Add the broth and let simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Toss in the chick’n and mushrooms and let cook for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, flour, nutritional yeast, seasonings and almond milk; stir into the soup. Season with Herbs de Provence. Let simmer a few minutes until it thickens. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Carrot-Ginger Bisque

If you’re ready to get back on the good foot after the holiday indulgences of the past few weeks, here’s a place to start. A nutritious, light yet satisfying soup of simmered carrots and onions, finished with ginger and coriander. And so easy to make–you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

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Carrot Ginger Bisque

¬ĺ tbsp. Olive oil
2 med Onion
4 cups Vegetable broth
4 large Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, finely grated
¬ĺ tsp. Cinnamon
¬ĺ tsp. Coriander

Method:

1. Saute onions about 5 minutes. Add broth and 1/2 cup of water, more or less–carrots and half of the ginger.. bring to boil, reduce & simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes until carrots are tender.
2.Remove pot from heat and let cool for one hour, covered. Puree with immersion blender  (or Vitamix) until smooth, adding remaining  ginger, cinnamon and coriander. Taste for salt and pepper and add more water if needed, returning to pot if necessary to heat through. Finish with parsley (optional).

White Chili

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Cooler weather calls for a warm, satisfying soup. This alternative to traditional chili is a thick and hearty stew of white beans, yellow squash, onions and yellow bell peppers mingled with cumin, garlic and chili powder. You can spice it up or keep it mild.

White Chili

¬Ĺ Sweet onion, diced
¬Ĺ Yellow squash, diced
¬Ĺ Jalapeno pepper, diced, with seeds
¬Ĺ Yellow bell pepper, diced
Pinch Rosemary, dried
Pinch Oregano, dried
2 cloves Garlic , minced
1.2 tablespoons Olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Cumin
¬Ĺ teaspoon Chili powder
2 cups Veg stock
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Lime Juice
1.5 tablespoons Cornstarch, Mix w/ 6 T cold water
2 Corn tortillas, Julienned
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped

1. In large stockpot, saute vegetables in 2 T oil over medium-high heat 13 minutes.

2. Stir in cumin, chili powder and salt

3. Once veggies are soft, add 2 cups broth and bring to a simmer over low heat.

4. Puree 1 can of  beans in a food processor until smooth. Stir into soup until well incorporated. Stir in remaining beans, lime juice and cornstarch mixture. Cook for additional 10 minutes over medium-high heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.

5.Garnish with crisp-fried tortilla strips and cilantro.

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Golden Indian Dal Soup

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Dal is my go-to comfort food. A warm, savory, nourishing meal, filled with creamy, protein-rich¬†lentils and healing turmeric–tempered with cumin seeds, ginger and garlic.

GOLDEN DAL SOUP

¬Ĺ CUP RED LENTILS
3 CUPS WATER
1 TSP SALT
¬Ĺ TSP TURMERIC
‚Öõ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
2 TBSP CANOLA OIL
¬Ĺ TSP CUMIN SEEDS
1 TBSP MINCED GARLIC
1 TBSP GINGER, GRATED
¬Ĺ CUP ONION, YELLOW, FINE DICE
¬Ĺ CUP TOMATOES, CANNED, FINE DICE

1.RINSE AND DRAIN LENTILS. COMBINE WITH WATER IN SAUCEPAN.:

2.STIR IN SALT, TURMERIC AND CAYENNE AND BRING TO ROLLING BOIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. SKIM OFF AND DISCARD THE CLOUDY WHITE FOAM THAT APPEARS ON THE SURFACE. :

3.REDUCE HEAT TO LOW AND SIMMER, UNCOVERED, FOR 20 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.:

4.MEANWHILE, HEAT OIL IN FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. ADD CUMIN SEEDS AND COOK FOR 1 MINUTE, UNTIL SEEDS BEGIN TO SIZZLE AND POP.:

5.ADD GARLIC, GINGER, ONION AND TOMATO AND TOSS GENTLY FOR 1 MINUTE. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM AND COOK 5 MINUTES, TOSSING OCCASIONALLY. SET ASIDE.:

6.ADD ONION MIXTURE TO LENTILS AND CONTINUE COOKING 5-10 MINUTES, OR UNTIL LENTILS ARE COOKED. STIR WELL AND REMOVE FROM HEAT. TASTE FOR SALT AND SERVE IMMEDIATELY OR HOLD WARM.:

Mixed Indian Dal with Savory Aromatics

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I have an abiding admiration for and a bit of an obsession with Indian cuisine. I find the complexity of the spices and the aromatics absolutely intoxicating. On any given day I would happily choose a hearty, fragrant bowl of Indian spiced dal for any meal, including breakfast!

Dal, or dhal is¬†a dried pulse (lentil, pea or various types of bean) which has been split. Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t realize just how many varieties and types of these pulses there are–each with its own characteristic texture and flavor.

At the store’s freezer section one day, I read the ingredients on a box of¬†¬†Amy’s Vegetable Korma and was stunned to find listed several different types of dal I have never heard of. I just had to make a visit to my local Indian grocery to investigate. I brought home several bags of different colors and types of lentils and split peas and beans.

Next stop, the library. I gathered as many Indian cookbooks as I could manage and dove right into the lentils and beans chapters. One book that stands out as offering the most accessible, easy-to-prepare dal recipes turned out to be

“The Indian Vegan Kitchen” by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D.

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Here is one of several recipes I have prepared from this book (with slight modification) and the journey continues!

Black Gram and Bengal Gram Dal (derived from a recipe by Madhu Gadia)

*3/4 cup urad dal (split, hulled)

*1/4 cup chana dal (split, hulled)

7 cups water (I used only 5 cups, for a more stew-like consistency)

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. salt

Seasoning (chunk)

3 tbsp. coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)

*1/4 tsp. asafetida powder (hing)

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 cup onion, finely chopped

2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and grated

2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

Lemon wedges

*These items may be hard (or impossible) to find at your local grocery, so if you don’t have an Indian grocer nearby you can find everything you need on amazon.com. However, it will be way less expensive if you can find¬†a local resource.

Method:

I prepared on the stove, but the original recipe gives directions for either stovetop or pressure cooker.

First, wash the lentils in 3 to 4 changes of water. Really wash them well, until the water is clear if possible. Drain and cover with water and allow to soak for at least 2 hours.

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Drain lentils and add with water and salt to saucepan and bring to boil, skimming off any foam that collects on the top. Add turmeric, then cover and cook on low, until soft, about 30-45 minutes.

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Meanwhile, gather the aromatics and seasonings.

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Heat the oil on medium high and add asafetida followed by the cumin seeds.  Allow to sizzle, stirring for a few seconds, then add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander and cayenne then fry for a few seconds until soft.

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Combine the seasonings and the cooked dal in the same pot and stir gently until well combined. Heat through to serving temperature. Continue to cook, uncovered on low heat for a thicker consistency. Check for salt before serving. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

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This dal has a hearty, yet creamy texture. The flavor is rich and savory. Just delicious!

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Shopping at India Bazaar, West Palm Beach, FL ūüôā

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Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

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This soup is a perfect blend of smooth and creamy, slightly sweet and spicy. Great served on its own or as a first course, it is super-easy to make, too.

Thai Sweet Potato Bisque

adapted from a recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Red Sweet Potato Curry with Cauliflower and Adzuki Beans

1 pound sweet potatoes (approximately 3 medium) to make 3 cups, mashed
4 ¬Ĺ cloves Garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons Ginger, fresh, minced
1 tablespoon Peanut oil
4.5 tablespoons Thai Red Curry paste
3 cups Vegetable broth
3 Star Anise Pods
3  tablespoons Tamari Sauce
1 15 ounce can full fat  Coconut milk
¬ĺ teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
Sriracha (optional)
Lime juice (to taste, approximately 1 lime)
Cilantro for garnish

1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 1 hour first. Peel and mash. :

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2. Saute garlic and ginger in oil. Add curry paste, veggie broth and star anise. Let boil about 5 minutes, covered. Uncover, remove star anise.:

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3. Add sweet potato, coconut milk, tamari and salt and mix well. Use immersion blender if needed, to get to a very smooth consistency.

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Add lime juice and sriracha to taste.:

Cauliflower-Kale Soup

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A tasty way to get your greens! This  creamy, satisfying soup is a client favorite and only takes about 20 minutes to prepare!

Cauliflower- Kale Soup

Source: Prevention Magazine
(4 servings)

2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 Onion, diced
2 clove Garlic
8 cups Vegetable bouillon
4 cups Cauliflower, florets
4 cups Kale, shredded
¬Ĺ teaspoon Crushed red pepper (optional)
Saute onion in oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and cauli, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted about 4 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth. Season with crushed red pepper if desired.

Pasta Fagioli

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Pasta fagioli is a classic Italian soup combining hearty white beans and pasta in a savory tomato broth with fresh thyme and a hint of garlic. It makes a perfectly filling dinner and reheats well for lunch the next day.

Pasta Fagioli

Adapted from a recipe by Chloe Coscarelli

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup water
4 ounces tomato sauce
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup pasta shells or other small dried pasta, cooked and cooled

Method:

Saute onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add broth, water, tomato sauce and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add beans and pasta and simmer until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stock Options: Vegetable Broth

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The classical foundation of a successful soup or sauce is a well made stock. In vegetarian cooking many cooks use prepared stocks, bouillon cubes, powders and pastes. However,  to avoid the excessive sodium and fat contained in prepared products, a fresh stock can be made easily at home.

Most importantly, to create a clean, delicious tasting stock, the vegetables must be fresh, organic if available. This recipe will produce a light, delicate result, perfect for a broth based vegetable soup or sauce and the flavor can be intensified with the addition of tamari or soy sauce and heartier vegetables such as mushrooms, leeks or parsnips.

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This is the classical French method I learned in culinary school. I find it worth the little bit of extra effort to create a very pure, clear result. I hope you give it a try!

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Basic Vegetable Broth

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 large celery ribs, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

8 cups cold water

1 Bouquet Garni (see below)

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to an active simmer and allow to reduce by half, uncovered (about 1-1 1/2 hours). Lightly skim off any foam that accumulates on top of the stock. Do not stir the pot. This will help avoid cloudiness.

Strain through sieve, pressing lightly against vegetables with the back of a spoon to catch juices. Season to taste with sea salt. Store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days. May be frozen for 3 to 4 months.

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Bouquet Garni

1 square piece of cheesecloth (approximately 4″x4″) rinsed and squeezed out

Kitchen twine

Handful fresh parsley stems

3 springs fresh thyme

1 Bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 clove garlic

Place flavoring ingredients in center of cheesecloth. Gather and tie into a sachet with enough length of twine left to tie to the handle of the stockpot (careful to trim the end so it doesn’t catch fire on a gas stove).

Souper Easy Tom Yum Soup

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This recipe comes right off the label of my jar of Tom Yum paste. Sometimes I just want something good and I want it fast. How fast? Try about 5 minutes.

Tom Yum Soup

2 cups water

3 tablespoons vegetarian Tom Yum paste (most Asian markets carry this)

1-1 1/2 cups fresh chopped vegetables of your choice (I choose broccoli every time)

Extras (optional)

Frozen vegetable dumpling

Leftover grilled tofu, cubed

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Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add vegetables and simmer covered about 5 minutes, until tender. Add any extras and stir to heat thoroughly.

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Add Tom Yum paste and stir until completely dissolved and soup is heated through.

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I just adore the flavor of Tom Yum–the blend of salty, spicy and sour combined with the aromatic lemongrass is a real go-to comfort food for me. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it often.

Soup Magic: Spicy Black Bean

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Another weeknight meal I pulled off with minimal work! This soup didn’t even require any vegetable chopping! Can it get any easier?

I fired up the crockpot and added a few ingredients and let it cook on low for four hours. Dinner. Done.

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Spicy Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked black beans

3 cups vegetable broth

16 ounces of your favorite tomato salsa

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Method:

Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook, covered, on low for 4 hours. Feel free to add a cup or so of frozen corn or other vegetables near the end of the cook time. Make it your own!

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Yield: 4 – 6 servings

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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Soup is a comforting food. It warms and soothes me, no matter the weather. Soup and a sandwich, soup and salad, soup and crackers, croutons or bread. It can be a healthy, filling and economical addition to any menu. This is a delicious, simple to make recipe that uses just a handful of ingredients.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

adapted from a recipe by Allison Rivers Samson

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

1 cup chopped onions

3 1/2 cups vegetable broth

28 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saute.2

Saute the onion in a 4 quart pot in the oil and margarine until translucent (about 7 minutes).

Simmer.2

Add tomatoes, broth and maple syrup. Bring to a low boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Grind

In a dry food processor, grind cashews to a fine powder, then blend with water and vinegar. Add the mixture to the pot and blend well with an immersion blender or (carefully) in a high speed tabletop blender, in batches. Simmer another five minutes or so, stirring until heated through.

Chiffonade

Taste for salt. Depending on the tomatoes and vegetable broth you use, you may not need to add any salt. Sprinkle with black pepper and basil chiffonade just before serving.

Closeup

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

IMG_2401

It’s still winter where I live, in sunny Florida. Happily, our little cold snaps are short-lived. This is great weather for curling up in a blanket with a hot bowl of nourishing soup.

This broccoli soup is refreshingly light as compared to the traditional butter, milk and cheese recipe many of us grew up with. It is thickened by the puree of vegetables, and lightly finished with a rich and flavorful blend of cashews, silken tofu and seasonings  combined to create a wonderfully cheese-like experience that compliments vegetables, nachos, pizza, tofu scramble, and many other dishes.

Broccoli Soup

  • 1¬†tbsp.¬†Canola oil
  • 1¬†White onion, chopped
  • 2¬†stalks¬†Celery, chopped
  • 1 ¬Ĺ¬†pounds¬†Broccoli
  • 4¬†cups¬†Vegetable stock
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†Sea salt
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp.¬†Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 ¬Ĺ¬†cups¬†Spinach leaves, fresh, packed
  • 1/2 recipe Cheezy Sauce (see below)
1.Trim and chop broccoli, including stems, reserving 2 cups of florets.
2.In a large soup pot, saute onions and celery in canola oil until transluscent, about 10 minutes.
3.Add broccoli, except reserved floret, and stir in stock, salt and pepper. : Cover and bring to simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, until very tender.
4.Stir in spinach and continue to simmer until wilted. Puree with immersion blender until smooth.: Add broccoli florets and simmer until tender.
5.Drizzle individual servings with cheezy sauce and serve immediately. Yields 4-6 servings.

Cheezy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1¬†cup¬†Cashews, raw
  • 12¬†oz.¬†Soft, silken tofu
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp.¬†Garlic powder
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp.¬†Onion powder
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp.¬†Turmeric
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†Yellow miso
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†Paprika
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp.¬†Salt
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp.¬†Chipotle powder
  • 2¬†tsp.¬†Olive oil
  • 2¬†tbsp.¬†Nutritional yeast
  • 3¬†tbsp.¬†Water

Method:

1.In a small pot, cover the cashews with water, and boil for about 8 minutes to soften. Drain and let cool.
2.In a food processor, process cashews until they’re finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Two Bean and Bulgar Chili

chili

I came across this recipe, while sifting through a drawer. It was a page torn from one of those little paperback supermarket cookbooks at the register called “Meatless Meals”.

There is a handwritten note beside the recipe, “Steve’s favorite 2005”. This little memory jog took me right back to that year when I first met the man who would become my husband, though neither of us knew it yet.

Neither could we imagine the journey we would share–a winding path filled with surprises, some happy, some sad and some bursting with instantaneous joy and laughter.

Two-Bean and Bulgar Chili

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups water

1/2 cup uncooked bulgar wheat

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

3 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Method:

Saute in oil over medium-high heat, carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir 4 minutes.

veggies

Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes, until bulgar is tender and flavors are blended, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

pot

Add drained beans and simmer 5 minutes until heated through. Serve with your favorite cornbread.

cornbread

I am really glad this recipe was Steve’s favorite back in 2005, because that was long before we ¬†became vegan. What an evolution together, over time, to a more compassionate lifestyle, a deeper enjoyment of food and a more humble appreciation for nature.

I am ever grateful for my husband’s love and support on my personal journey, and I can’t imagine a better partner with whom to share the ride.

“Oh, You Beautiful Dal”

I read somewhere…the spices in Indian food can purify and heal the body. I do believe this to be true. I can almost feel it, when I enjoy a warm, fragrant bowl of Indian dal. Maybe it’s the heat of the cayenne and ginger, or the smoky cumin and turmeric that seduces me into a state of near-euphoria. All I know is I crave Indian flavors and enjoy them whenever I can.

Our favorite spot for Indian delights is Bombay Cafe in Fort Lauderdale. We have been known to make the hour drive just to indulge our craving for spice!¬† Continue reading ““Oh, You Beautiful Dal””