vegansaurus!

05/20/2010

What’s this? Oh nothing, just some soup I invented, drowning a be-Earth-Balanced whole wheat sourdough biscuit.
Here’s the recipe. It’s insanely easy, you’ll love it.
Ingredients(note: all the measurements are approximations, as I was freestyle-souping)3 Tbs. Earth Balance2 small onions4 cloves garlic1 Yukon Gold potato2 sweet potatoes1 cup baby carrots, or equivalent in regular-size carrots2 tangerines1/2 inch fresh ginger5 cups vegetable stockZatarain’s! [Ed.: Ooh la la!]smoked paprikatoasted sesame oil
InstructionsPreheat your big soup pot to a low-ish setting, and throw in the Earth Balance. Dice the onion and throw it in the pot. Peel the potatoes and chop into small-ish cubes. Chop the carrots into roughly same-sized pieces. Dice the garlic and ginger, and zest the tangerines. Juice the tangerines (always zest before you juice!)—you can add the juice to the stock for the time being.
Once the onions are soft and clear, add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, tangerine zest, and spices. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the tangerine juice and stock, cover, turn the heat up to high, bring to a boil, and let simmer for a while. Maybe 20 minutes or so, I guess.
Once everything looks nice and mushy, turn the heat off. If you have an immersion blender, I am envious of you. Also, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, you had better let the soup cool a bit before pouring into your regular blender/food processor and turning it into something approximating the above. Then put it back in the pot and reheat.
If the soup’s too thick, add a bit more stock. Finish with a dash of toasted sesame oil, for extra flavoring, and pepper if wanted (I didn’t). Something I recently learned: cooking black pepper for very long will turn it bitter! So, only add it toward the end. Eat it with fresh breadstuffs for A-plus number-one enjoyment.

What’s this? Oh nothing, just some soup I invented, drowning a be-Earth-Balanced whole wheat sourdough biscuit.

Here’s the recipe. It’s insanely easy, you’ll love it.

Ingredients
(note: all the measurements are approximations, as I was freestyle-souping)
3 Tbs. Earth Balance
2 small onions
4 cloves garlic
1 Yukon Gold potato
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup baby carrots, or equivalent in regular-size carrots
2 tangerines
1/2 inch fresh ginger
5 cups vegetable stock
Zatarain’s! [Ed.: Ooh la la!]
smoked paprika
toasted sesame oil

Instructions
Preheat your big soup pot to a low-ish setting, and throw in the Earth Balance. Dice the onion and throw it in the pot. Peel the potatoes and chop into small-ish cubes. Chop the carrots into roughly same-sized pieces. Dice the garlic and ginger, and zest the tangerines. Juice the tangerines (always zest before you juice!)—you can add the juice to the stock for the time being.

Once the onions are soft and clear, add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, tangerine zest, and spices. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the tangerine juice and stock, cover, turn the heat up to high, bring to a boil, and let simmer for a while. Maybe 20 minutes or so, I guess.

Once everything looks nice and mushy, turn the heat off. If you have an immersion blender, I am envious of you. Also, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, you had better let the soup cool a bit before pouring into your regular blender/food processor and turning it into something approximating the above. Then put it back in the pot and reheat.

If the soup’s too thick, add a bit more stock. Finish with a dash of toasted sesame oil, for extra flavoring, and pepper if wanted (I didn’t). Something I recently learned: cooking black pepper for very long will turn it bitter! So, only add it toward the end. Eat it with fresh breadstuffs for A-plus number-one enjoyment.

05/10/2010

 
From the vegetarian artislovely comes this recipe for Mexican Fiesta Soup, which looks delicious and seems totally appropriate for a blustery spring day.
Ingredients4 tomatillos, peeled and rinsed2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed, rinsed well2 garlic cloves minced2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice1 small white onion, diced1 jalapeno, diced, plus more sliced for garnish (optional)1 teaspoon ground cuminOne 28 1/2-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (about 8 tomatoes), drained and crushed3 ears corn, quartered4 cups vegetable stock1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slicesNonstick cooking sprayFreshly ground pepper
Directions1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tomatillos on a small rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven, turning once midway through, until they are softened and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor; add cilantro, one garlic clove, and lime juice. Process until smooth and combined; set aside.
2. Lightly coat bottom of a large nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Add onion, remaining garlic clove, and diced jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add cumin, tomatoes, corn, and chicken vegetable stock. Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons reserved tomatillo mixture, and season with pepper. Add sliced avocado. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish with jalapeno slices, if desired. Serve with remaining tomatillo pesto
Your Vegansaurus knows that some of you have issues with cilantro, so for you we recommend substituting some tarragon, a pinch of rosemary, maybe a pinch of thyme—all fresh!—and a couple extra garlic cloves. Try it and see!
[photo from Whole Living via artislovely]

From the vegetarian artislovely comes this recipe for Mexican Fiesta Soup, which looks delicious and seems totally appropriate for a blustery spring day.

Ingredients
4 tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed, rinsed well
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced, plus more sliced for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 28 1/2-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (about 8 tomatoes), drained and crushed
3 ears corn, quartered
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Nonstick cooking spray
Freshly ground pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tomatillos on a small rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven, turning once midway through, until they are softened and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor; add cilantro, one garlic clove, and lime juice. Process until smooth and combined; set aside.

2. Lightly coat bottom of a large nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Add onion, remaining garlic clove, and diced jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add cumin, tomatoes, corn, and chicken vegetable stock. Bring liquid to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons reserved tomatillo mixture, and season with pepper. Add sliced avocado. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish with jalapeno slices, if desired. Serve with remaining tomatillo pesto

Your Vegansaurus knows that some of you have issues with cilantro, so for you we recommend substituting some tarragon, a pinch of rosemary, maybe a pinch of thyme—all fresh!—and a couple extra garlic cloves. Try it and see!

[photo from Whole Living via artislovely]

01/26/2010

Recipe: Meave’s ma’s fresh mushroom soup!  »

It’s cold and rainy in the Bay Area! But I am neither whining nor complaining about it; when you are having a life crisis and more depressed than usual, you should not question a legitimate reason to stay the hell in bed all day, you know?

Luckily, in addition to sleeping your feelings away, you can eat them! That’s why I present to you today my mother’s recipe for fresh mushroom soup. It is hearty and healthy and warming and filling, so you can eat an enormous bowlful (or two or three or however many) and not add to your reasons to weep. What I’m saying is, this soup is John Mackey-approved, i.e., choke it down and it won’t lose you your PLATINUM DISCOUNT.

The directions are copied nearly verbatim from my ma’s recipe cards, which she keeps in a recipe tin she got from mailing in Grape-Nuts proofs-of-purchase a long time ago, when I was a small girl and cereal companies made it worth your while to shell out for postage.

Ingredients
2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbs. (plus a little extra) non-dairy butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
5 Tbs. uncooked barley
3 fist-sized potatoes, diced
3 cups water
3 1/2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk

Directions
1. Saute the onions in the non-dairy butter (we like Earth Balance at my house) in a pan.

2. Add the mushrooms, a bit more non-dairy butter, and continue to saute another 10 minutes over a low heat.

3. Place the onions and mushrooms in a large pot. Add the barley, salt and pepper to taste, the potatoes, and the water. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. More water can be added now and then.
N.B.: Up to this point, everything can be done the night before, in which case you perform step 4 just before you plan to eat the soup. If you’re cooking to eat it now, the 45 minutes have fragrantly passed.

4. Add the non-dairy milk (we used soy) and very slowly heat soup, stirring constantly, just to the brink of boiling. A bit more or less milk can be added, depending on how you like the consistency of soup. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley.

I like mine sprinkled with nutritional yeast as well, but I am in the minority around here. My ma reports that this recipe can be easily doubled, but you might not need to because it really makes a lot of soup.

01/22/2010

An article I just read refers to this kid as a “chef,” which offended me because he is two and plainly not a chef, and also I am easily offended. But as you can see, his father doesn’t consider him a chef so much as his kitchen helper, and aside from the whole “posting videos of your child online without your child being old enough to give consent” issue, seems to be a pretty good parent, all normal about food and wanting to have something to do with his unemployed days. Also, Archie, the two-year-old in the toque, is really fucking cute, with his English accent and his big fat cheeks, which helps distract from any ethical questions you may have.

The complete recipe—which is vegan, no doy—is at the My Daddy Cooks blog.

10/07/2009

Recipes: seasonal soups!  »

Newspapers: not entirely useless! Today’s Contra Costa Times (newspaper to the stars! of the East Bay! kill me!) features a few soup recipes that sound delicious and can be easily veganized. Really, there’s no reason why they aren’t vegetarian; no one needs to use chicken broth when vegetable stock is just as easily made/obtained and doesn’t involve animal death. That cruelty-free isn’t the default is stupid and careless. We’ve got a long way to go, vegans.

Still, the soups—butternut squash chipotle bisque, roasted tomato with garlic croutons, and carrot with cumin and lime—look tasty, uncomplicated, and pretty perfect for early fall in the Bay Area, when the nights are growing longer and colder but the last of the tomatoes are still lingering on the vine.

Butternut Squash Chipotle Bisque (serves six to eight)
Ingredients
1 medium butternut squash
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 cups stock or broth
3 tsp. minced, canned chipotle in adobo
Salt, fresh ground pepper
optional: ½ cup vegan sour cream

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, discarding the stringy pulp. Put the seeds in a sieve and rinse. Set aside.
2. Grease a glass baking dish with 1 Tbsp. oil, then place the squash in the dish, cut side down. Pierce all over with a fork and roast 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrot for 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Scoop the flesh of the squash into the pot and stir. Add 4 cups broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.
5. Meanwhile, toast the reserved squash seeds in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crunchy, about 30 minutes. Season heavily with salt and set aside.
6. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, adding more broth to get the desired consistency.
7. Stir the remaining 2 tsp. chipotle into the bisque and ladle into soup bowls. Top each with a dollop of vegan sour cream, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of seeds.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons (serves six)
Ingredients
Soup
18 plum tomatoes
2¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil plus extra
3½ cups stock, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
Garlic Croutons
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1½ Tbsp. nondairy butter
2 cups bread cubes (half-inch dice), made from French bread, crusts included
1½ tsp. minced garlic

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a large baking sheet generously.
2. Halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Let drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix pepper, salt, rosemary, garlic and ½ cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add tomatoes and toss well. Marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture over them. Roast until tomatoes are softened and browned around the edges, about 50 to 60 minutes.
5. Place half the tomatoes in a food processor. Pour in 1 cup stock and pulse until pureed.
6. Coarsely chop remaining tomatoes. In a soup pot, combine the chopped and pureed tomatoes and remaining stock and bring just to a simmer. Season with salt.
7. For the croutons, melt the oil and nondairy butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until bread is golden and crisp.
8. Garnish each serving with basil and croutons.

Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime (serves 6)
Ingredients
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped leeks
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6½ cups stock
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Kosher salt, pepper
Garnish: chopped cilantro and grated lime zest
optional: 8 Tbsp. vegan sour cream, divided

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot and leeks and saute until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add cumin and red pepper flakes and saute 30 seconds more.
2. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, about 35 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in batches and return soup to the pot. Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice stirred into each bowl. Or cool the soup, whisk in 6 tablespoons of sour cream and refrigerate for three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, stir in lime juice, season to taste and serve topped with a sprinkling of cilantro and lime zest, and a dollop of vegan sour cream if desired.

09/15/2009

RECIPE! Ms. Lonelyhearts’ lentil soup  »

Sometimes you are on top of the world; life could not possibly be greater, everything is sunshine and lollipops, and those rose-colored glasses have become permanently affixed to your face, but in a pretty way (obviously, everything about you is pretty). The view is amazing from your shining city.

Then, one day, you open your eyes and you can’t see the view for the fog; someone has ousted you from your dream-house and you can’t keep those pretty glasses on, all the tears make them slide down your face too much. One day the sunshine leaves.

When you’ve eased back from the copious weeping, you may realize you’re starving to death. Possibly because you haven’t been able to drag yourself to the grocery store in two months, possibly because you haven’t had to cook for yourself since you were eligible for The Real World, regardless, there are zero nonperishables in your cupboard but you still need to eat. Before you gnaw off your own hand, or spend obscene amounts of money and dignity on takeout for one, try this quick and easy recipe for soup!

Because it’s a liquid, it expands to fill the gaping hole inside where your ability to feel (anything but wretched self-pity) used to be. Because it’s lentils, it’s full of nourishing protein, vitamins and minerals, all of which you’re missing at the bottom of this well of mope. Because it’s quick, you’ll barely have time to reflect on the fact that this really is a meal for sorry little you before you’ve devoured it and are much sleepier than pathetic.

Ingredients
water
red lentils
cooking oil
assorted spices
lemon or lime

Directions
Rinse about 1 cup red lentils in a mesh strainer until they seem “clean”; pick out any tiny stones or other non-lentil materials. Transfer the lentils into a small-to-medium-sized pot. Should you feel compelled to shake the lentils while in the strainer, or perform any other fancy-type moves, refrain; wet red lentils, once spilled, are quite difficult to pick up, and your antics will only prolong your pre-meal suffering, as well as increase your anger with yourself—yes, it’s possible to feel even more upset than when all this started. Really.

Next, add about 4 cups of water to the lentils in the pot. Maybe add a little more, it’s not that important. Best to err on the wetter than drier side, anyway, lest you end up with burned lentil sludge instead of delicious lentil soup. Ms. Lonelyhearts does not recommend fucking up this recipe; it could be very detrimental to your already precariously low self-esteem, and besides you have really got to eat something. Put the pot on the stove, turn the heat to high, cover the pot and wait for it to boil. This won’t take more than five minutes, during which time you can return to your online crossword to fill in a couple more clues. Don’t cry if you don’t make any progress; a hungry brain is a slow and stupid brain.

Once your lentils in water are boiling, remove the pot lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Now, throw in anything in your cupboards for flavor, bearing in mind that lentils are, by themselves, on the blander side. Ms. Lonelyhearts’ recipe includes black pepper, basil, rosemary, a healthy pour of oil (olive? canola? whatever, just get some fat in there, your hair is a ball of split ends), and more salt than you think you should add. No, really. If you are an undersalter, close your eyes and pour. If you oversalt, go with your gut, shake in as much as you think best. If you are a perfect salter, then maybe you should be making something fancier than this sad recipe for sad people, Mr.-or-Mrs. Perfectpants. You and your perfectly salted food and your smooth skin and your happy face are in the wrong place, and are welcome to scoot on back to the sunshine any time. The rest of you should note that if you happen to burst into tears while seasoning your soup, try to cry directly over the pot, so as to better flavor your supper.

After you’ve seasoned, cover the soup and leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure the timer is set loud enough that you can hear it from underneath the heap of bedclothes. When the 10 minutes are up, go stir the soup, taste it, make whatever flavoring adjustments it needs. You will probably need to add more salt. That is not a lie; Ms. Lonelyhearts would never mislead you. If the lentils feel like they’ve been sticking a bit to the bottom of the pot, turn the heat down a little—of all the things you’ve ever wanted not to happen, your lentils sticking is now at the top of the list (handily, the top five already happened, so prioritizing the rest is a matter of momentary importance). Now, cover the pot again and let the lentils simmer for 15 minutes, while you do whatever you need to do to get through them. Try updating your Depressing Music For The Body-Wracking Sobs playlist; some of those songs do lose their meaning after so much repetition. No, don’t pretend you don’t have one.

Once those 15 minutes are up, give the soup one more good stir—see how thick it is? that means it’s soup now—and turn off the heat. All you need to do now is add a little acid for contrast. Fortunately you have been drowning your sorrows in liquor these past weeks, and consequently have at least one lemon or lime around. Cut it in quarters, and squeeze them in one at a time, stirring and tasting after each one. When everything tastes right—about one fruit’s worth, give or take—ladle your soup into a bowl, grab a spoon, and retreat to your sanctuary (bedroom) to eat your supper, all by yourself. There’ll be enough for seconds, unless you’re using an enormous soup bowl, which you certainly can; there’s no one around to see or judge you for behaving a little feral right now. When you inevitably go back for seconds, being hungry and depressed without anyone to share with or stop you from eating more than your share, which is all of it, anyway, you are alone.

But you are also full of nourishing soup! Congratulations, you have taken care of yourself today. Don’t forget to rinse out your dishes before you crawl back into bed with a stiff drink.

This recipe is easily doubled for those not convinced of their inevitable solitary death!

07/13/2009

Summer vegetable soup!  »

After sitting near the open windows during so many workweeks, I’ve become used to the smells and sounds of the neighborhood. Mostly it’s cars and kids and fresh summer air (read: cold-ass wind), but on the warmest evenings, it’s backyard barbecue, and it’s starting to make me nuts. A person can only stand the delicious smell of barbecue for so long before she absolutely has to do some grilling as well.

Unfortunately, grilling isn’t the thrill that it once was, back in those halcyon days of ignorance (read: animal cookery). Your only real outlet for creativity is with vegetables, and grilled vegetables are extremely delicious, yes, but a person can tire of grilled vegetables.

Today in his Bitten blog, Mark Bittman shares a recipe for grilled vegetable soup, which solves a lot of problems and sounds super-good. It seems like you can get pretty creative with it, and I’d bet you could eat it cold, too, making it a most superior summer soup indeed.

Maybe the next time you’re invited to a barbecue, you can bring extra vegetables specifically to grill for the soup. That’d be smart.

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