Category Archives: Soup

Homemade Vegetable Stock or Broth

March 20, 2017

I make a lot of soups, stews and chowders, especially during the cooler months. And I also use stock for sautéing veggies, instead of oil. As a result I go through a lot of bullion cubes. I always assumed making your own stock was a waste of good veggies. Many recipes call for onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks. You boil these until a tasty stock results then strain out the veggies and throw them out. Why not just make a veggie soup and eat the veggies???

A short while ago, I had a chance conversation with a friend of my daughter’s. Turns out he also follows a plant based diet and loves to cook. He shared with me his method for stock and it changed my opinion on homemade stock. The next day, I began saving veggies for my own stock making. Thank you Shain Brown. I am forever in your debt. (Check out Shain’s Not-Meat Loaf and Creamy White Bean Soup recipes as well.)

Shain’s question to me was, “What do you do with your vegetable scraps?” I compost them, of course. He challenged me, “Why not make a broth with them, then compost them?” Now that makes perfect sense.

Returning home after our conversation I was gung-ho to start my stock. For two weeks I threw every veggie scrap into the pot. Almost nothing went in the compost pail.  It’s cold here in Manitoba right now, so I can keep my stock pot in the porch and the veggies stay frozen until I am ready to make stock. (You can store yours in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.) When the pot was over half full, I set out to make my stock. The result was not bad but not as good as I had hoped. I consulted Google and found that some veggies can produce a bitter broth, namely the crucifers – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussell sprouts. Quite a few of those had made it into my stock pot.

For my second batch, I was more choosy on my veggie scraps, opting for the trimmings from onion , tomato , garlic , carrot , parsnip , celery and leek. After a couple of weeks, I had enough to try again. Eureka! It was delicious. I am hooked on homemade stock now. If you are not convinced, read the ingredients on the box of your favorite bullion cubes. I used an organic, non-GMO boullion cube and the first ingredients are: corn starch, salt and palm oil. All of these before any veggies are listed. None of these in homemade stock.

I have now finished cooking my fourth batch of stock, still mostly the basic veggies – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsnip, celery and tomato.  (Mushroom stems can also be used, but I seldom have any to throw into the pot.)  I also add the insides of one jalapeño pepper (the pith and seeds left when you slice of the outer flesh). It gives the stock just the slightest hint of spiciness. But limit it to one pepper unless you want a spicy stock. Two makes a pretty fiery stock!

A few ground rules in making stock. Don’t use any veggie that you wouldn’t throw into a soup – that is, nothing dirty or rotten. Scrub your carrots and wash you leek and celery trimmings well to remove any dirt. Avoid cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts). Also they say potatoes, sweet potatoes and squashes will result in a cloudy stock. However, I now add small amounts of sweet potato and squash trimmings just because I love the flavor they bring. You can also add herb trimmings in small amounts – rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, but keep in mind how you use your stock and if these flavors will complement. You may not want a strong rosemary flavor in every soup you make. However, a handful of parsley or cilantro stems makes a good addition. A bay leaf is also a good addition to the pot, as is a pinch of peppercorns. I have also added the remnants after squeezing one organic lemon. It gave the stock a mild bit of zip.

You can add salt or not, depending on your preference. I prefer no salt in the stock, instead adding it to the final product to the desired degree. In my last batch I added a teaspoon of no-salt seasoning (like Mrs. Dash).

Watch this good video clip on making broth from scraps.

Vegetable Stock

  • clean vegetable trimmings – onion, garlic, leek, carrot, parsley, celery, mushroom, tomato
  • optional – small amount of sweet potato or squash trimmings
  • small amounts of herb trimmings – parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc (optional)
  • water
  • bay leaf, peppercorns (optional)

Save your vegetable trimmings and freeze until you have at least a few litres of trimmings. (Keep a plastic bag in the freezer for trimmings.) When you slice an onion, save the top and bottom you slice off as well as any fleshy leaves you peel off. The dry outer skin can be used in small amounts as it makes the broth darker. When you use garlic, save the bottom heal part you generally cut off. You can also add the garlic skins.  With leeks, wash well and toss in the top green parts you usually throw away.

When you are ready to make stock, place the trimmings in a large pot and add water to fully cover the veggies. Throw in a bay leaf and some peppercorns if desired. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for several hours. (about 5 hours) A crock pot set on low and simmered for 12 hours or more will also work. When the veggies are very soft turn off the heat and let the stock cool. Once cool, strain out the veggies. Taste the stock and if desired, you can continue to simmer the stock to reduce it to make a stronger, more concentrated stock. Compost the veggies.

Finish broth, with head space for freezing

Store the stock in containers in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, leave at least 1 inch of head space in the jar for expansion during freezing or your container will crack. You can also freeze the stock as ice cubes if you often use small amounts, or if you have made a very strong, concentrated stock. I like to keep one jar in the fridge at all times for oil free veggies sautéing,  If you are planning on making soup, take a few jars out the night before to thaw or place sealed jars in warm water to speed thawing. (Warm water not hot, as you don’t want glass jars to crack due to sudden temperature change)

 

 

 

 

Creamy White Bean Soup

March 19, 2017

This super simple, creamy soup is another recipe from Shain Brown. Its a basic recipe for a hearty filling soup that can be modified so many ways.

You can buy white beans (also called navy beans) in a can, but it is super simple to cook them from dry beans. And there are benefits to using dry beans – no BPA from the can, cheaper (about 50% cheaper), smaller carbon footprint (dry beans are lighter to transport than cans full of water)…and you don’t have to lug those heavy cans home after shopping or recycle them later.

One cup of dry beans makes three cups of cooked beans. Step 1 below outlines how to cook beans from scratch by soaking them first, then cooking. (You can cook the beans without soaking first, but soaking will remove more of the compounds that cause the gas issues common with bean consumption.)

I like to cook up a big batch of beans and then freeze the drained beans on cookie sheets. Once frozen , store in ziplock bags and whenever you need them for a recipe you can easily remove how much you need.

Shain’s basic recipe starts with dry beans, but you can easily substitute already cooked beans. I was out of frozen cooked white beans, so I cooked up another big batch to restock my freezer. If your beans are already cooked, you will skip Step 1 and start at Step 2.

I love this soup as it is so versatile. All you really need is white beans, and the rest you can modify. I had a leek in the fridge and some leftover squash that I added to the soup (in Step 2). I also added smoked paprika and liquid smoke to create a bacony flavor. Use your imagination and whatever you have in the fridge to create your own version.

Basic Creamy White Bean Soup

  • 1 cup dry white beans (or 3 cups cooked, or 2 15 ounce cans)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Cooking white beans

Step 1 – If using dry beans, soak the beans overnight. (In a hurry, no problem. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let sit 1 hour. You will get the same results as soaking overnight.)

Drain soaked beans and place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 hour. Drain beans. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans.

 

 

Beans, leeks, squash and garlic simmering

Step 2 – Add vegetable broth, and garlic to the cooked beans. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

You can vary the soup up by adding other veggies at this point. I added one chopped leek and 1 cup of butternut squash. The squash gave the soup a nice golden color. You could also add diced carrots, sweet potatoes or onions at this point as well. Cook until your veggies are tender.

 

 

 

Puree using an emersion blender

Step 3 – Using an emersion blender, puree the beans until smooth.

Alternatively, you can puree the beans in a blender. Let the mixture cool slightly and be sure to vent the container to let the steam escape.

If you are not a fan of pureed soups, the soup is also delicious left chunky.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. For a smokey bacon-like taste, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of liquid smoke, if you have it. If you like it spicy, add a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder as well.

 

Step 4 – Dry fry mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Stir often and cook until nicely browned and slightly crispy.

To add a bit more texture and color to the soup, you can also dry fry up some diced onion and red pepper and add it to the soup.

The soup is also good with finely chopped kale in it. Add it after pureeing and let it simmer for 5 minutes to cook the kale.

Thin the soup out with additional broth or water to your desired thickness.

Step 5 – Serve soup with mushrooms on top. Or green onions.

 

 

Corn Chowder

November 19, 2016

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When the cold weather hits, there is nothing quite like a steamy bowl of homemade soup for lunch. Yesterday, I made Angela Liddon’s Metabolism-Revving Spicy Cabbage Soup, from her Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook. It was delicious with some added crush chili peppers to add a bit more spice. Today I made this corn chowder. I am not sure where I got the original recipe from, but it has been a favorite of mine for some time.

The original recipe calls for 4 cups of corn, but I only had 2 on hand, so today’s chowder will be not so corny. And I had some celery that needed to be used up, so I added that to the recipe.  I had a piece of sweet potato left from my cabbage soup yesterday, so used that instead of squash. That’s the best part of making soup; its not like a cake where you have to follow the recipe exact. Let your imagination (or fridge contents) run free.

This is a spicy, garlicy, delicious chowder. Ken was feeling a bit under the weather this morning (or maybe he just didn’t feel like rolling out of bed and going for a walk with the dog on this chilly morning.) so I am going to add extra minced raw garlic to his bowl to make an immunity boasting garlic soup. I made fresh bread yesterday, so I am pairing this chowder with homemade whole grain buns.

Chowder ingredients
Chowder ingredients

Corn Chowder with a Kick

  • 2 to 4 cups corn niblets (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 1 cup butternut or buttercup squash (or sweet potato), cubed
  • ½ cup cooked white beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced (red or Yukon Gold)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp chilli paste (or substitute jalapeños, cayenne or hot sauce), to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley, fresh or dried
Chowder before mashing
Chowder before mashing

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, except for the parsley, chilli paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mash with a potato masher or lightly blend with an immersion blender to make a thick soup but with lots of chunks of veggies in it. Add parsley and chilli paste, salt and pepper to taste.

Cookbook Review – Oh She Glows Every Day

September 29, 2016

Angela Liddon’s new cookbook, “Oh She Glows Every Day” was just released two weeks ago. I pre-ordered my copy (and three more, one for each of my kids) so I am already enjoying the recipes. I am a big fan of her first cookbook, “The Oh She Glows Cookbook“, as well as her on-line blog and was eager to see what was new from her.  At first I was a bit disappointed as there didn’t seem to be much in the way of Wow Recipes. However, I soon realized that is the theme of the cookbook – quick and easy to prepare everyday recipes. As I am now a grandmother looking for great kid friendly recipes, I appreciate Angela’s suggestions on feeding kids.

So far I have tried several of the recipes and Angela does not disappoint.  While the recipes are easy to prepare for everyday eating, they as so delicious you will want to serve them for company. So far I have tried:

Sheppard’s Pie – this is the first recipe I tried, and I made it for company. A hearty lentil pie topped with garlic mashed potatoes and served with her Cozy Gravy. This gravy is easy to make and so delicious. I am craving mashed potatoes just thinking about it. I used to make my Sheppard’s pie very runny so I would have lots of sauce to mix with the potato topping; however, I like her version with a ‘drier’ filling and gravy on the side. I served the Sheppard’s Pie with a garden fresh cucumber, tomato and red onion salad. For dessert, Angela’s Apple Crisp from her first cookbook. My non-vegan company lapped it up and declared the meal delicious.

Satiety Smoothie – A delicious stick to your ribs smoothie made with almond milk, hemp seeds, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries and cinnamon. I did modify slightly to eliminate the protein powder and avocado and add a handful of fresh greens. (after all its not a smoothie without leafy greens!) I love the combo of banana, blueberry and cinnamon. Delicious and filling.

Coconut Chia Pudding – Can’t go wrong with a classic chia pudding served with fresh fruit. I love this for breakfast or a satisfying dessert after a simple supper.

Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup – a rich cream soup with a good bit of kick from red curry paste. Made this one for a couple of local ladies who came over to pick wild mushrooms.  If you are not a spicy food fan, reduce the red curry paste to 1 tablespoon and omit the cayenne. Personally, I found it spiced just right. Made with carrots, sweet potatoes and almond butter its a bit different then the usual coconut milk Thai soup. Omit the oil she uses for frying up the onion and fry in a small amount of water instead.

6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup – made with onion, garlic, celery, carrots, broccoli (I used cauliflower) and sweet potato this is a very veggie cream soup with added nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste. I liked it as it was; however, it was much better with a bit of added cashew cream. (Creamed 1/2 cup of soaked cashews with water) I used cauliflower instead of broccoli as I didn’t have any broccoli and I really liked the taste and the color of the soup. A rich lemony yellow color. Omit the oil she uses for frying up the onion and fry in a small amount of water instead.

Eggplant Parmesan – My favorite dish at the Olive Garden used to be Eggplant Parmesan and I have been looking for a vegan alternative. Most recipes are just too fussy and use a lot of oil for frying. This recipe was remarkably easy to prepare and the taste did not disappoint.  While sweating the eggplant, I quickly mixed up the milk/flour batter and a pumpkin seed parmesan. The rounds are baked up crispy in the oven without the use of any oil. I also did a batch using zucchini and they were also excellent. Angela recommends serving them with a marinara sauce on top of pasta; however, I like mine without the pasta and using the marinara as a dipping sauce. Ken and I polished off a whole eggplant and large zucchini in one sitting. I can’t wait to make again and again.

Mac and Trees – A classic cheesy sauce made with potato, carrot and cashews served on pasta with broccoli. Her recipe called for a couple tablespoons of oil added to the sauce but I omitted and the sauce was still rich and creamy.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Pudding –  Delicious, nutritious, fast and easy. You will never guess the secret ingredient – and its not avocado. It adds a great nutritional punch while adding creaminess. Serve this to your kids without any guilt.

Peanut Better Balls – I am in love with these. The balls are super easy to make with peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut flour and brown rice crisps and are coated in dark chocolate. The second batch I made, I rolled the balls in hemp seeds before coating in chocolate for an extra nutritional punch. These are not too sweet and very satisfying. I omitted the coconut oil she adds to the melted chocolate as I don’t find it necessary. Just melt a good quality chocolate on very low heat.

Homemade Coconut Butter – Who knew you could make your own coconut butter using regular shredded coconut. I haven’t used the butter for anything yet but could not resist the temptation to make my own. It turned out so smooth and creamy. Unbelievable when you consider the price of store bought coconut butter. Next to try her Macaroons made with coconut butter.

This is a great cookbook. Although many of the recipes call for oil, I was able to omit it and still get a great end result. There are no fancy ingredients, no fussing around. Just great, simple, nutritious, flavorful food for every day.  What more could you ask for.

 

 

 

 

August 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Lentils

August 15, 2016

Our August cooking class focused on lentils. Lentils are little powerhouses of nutrition. Full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are many different kinds of lentils, each with different properties.

I generally use red, green and black lentils. I love the red lentils for soups as they dissolve into the broth for a hearty, filling dish. Green lentils hold together better when cooked and are great for soups, stews and dishes where you want a bit more texture. And black lentils are very firm once cooked.  Cook up a batch of black lentils and leave them in the fridge. Add them to any dish your are cooking or sprinkle them on salads, or rice for an extra boost of protein and visual interest.

For the class we made a soup using red lentils and lentil-rice balls using green lentils. Of course the class also included a green smoothie and a dessert – apple crisp. I hope you will give the recipes below a try and enjoy them.

A big thank you goes out to Shirley who facilitated the class for me. I took an unfortunate tumble off my bicycle and am not getting around well right now. Shirley did not have time to pre-test my recipes and made them first time for the class. Thank you for taking on the challenge Shirley.

Our photographer, Michael, is away on vacation, so no pictures. I know a recipe is better with pictures, so I will try to add them later after I make these recipes again.

Kale Smoothie

This is my basic go to smoothie and I make it at least once every week. It follows the basic smoothie recipe from The Raw Family, 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water.

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

I have been making this lentil soup for years. Its from a cookbook my mother gave me, 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. I have adapted it slightly over the years. I love this soup even in the hot summer months. The red lentils dissolve into the broth so even those who don’t like lentils will love it.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water and set aside. Place all ingredients except coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and it’s ready to serve.

Lentil Rice Patties or Balls

This Forks Over Knives recipe makes a great patty, ball or loaf. I have adapted the original recipe to add a bit more spices and flavorings. Its great as a burger or in a sandwich. If using the balls to top spaghetti or with gravy or a sauce, heat the balls separately in a frying pan. Don’t heat in the sauce as they will not hold their shape.

Don’t forget to add the oats when the rest of the mixture is quite hot as I find this helps bind the ingredients together well. You can use a food processor to partially mash the ingredients into a finer texture but it is not necessary. Just chop your veggies fine and mash everything together well.

  • 1¾ cups water
  • ½ cup brown-green lentils
  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 medium white or brown (cremini) mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaf (or 1½ teaspoons dried, rubbed sage)
  • 1 tsp dried  thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced)
  • ¾  tsp dried ground rosemary (or 1 ½  teaspoon fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular contains anchovies)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan on high heat, combine water, lentils, rice, poultry seasoning, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, and cook covered for 45 minutes. When done cooking, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid still on. (Prepare your remaining ingredients while the rice and lentils are cooking.)

In a medium skillet on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and cook stirring for about 3 minutes, adding water just as needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook stirring for an additional 2 minutes, until the vegetables have softened (adding water as needed). If you’re using dried herbs, stir them in with the garlic (if using fresh herbs, add them in next step). Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the oats, tomato paste, nuts, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and if you’re using fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) add them now as well. When the cooked vegetables, and rice and lentils have cooled for about 10 minutes but are still very warm, add them to the bowl and  until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste (vinegar, soy sauce, spices).

If desired, place the mixture in a food processor and pulse just blended but still chunky.  Shape into patties or balls. Fry in a frying pan until crispy on both sides. Or bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until crispy. Also good as a loaf (bake 1 hour at 350).

Apple Crisp

Right now local apples are plentiful and this recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook is a great way to use them up. It is low in sugar and fat but super tasty. I have adapted the original recipe slightly to add more apples. I love this recipe for an easy dessert and then the leftovers for breakfast.

Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows has a new cookbook coming out in September 2016, next month. You can pre-order your copy of Oh She Glows Everyday from Amazon. I have mine ordered and one for each of the kids too. I love every recipe in her first cookbook.

Filling:

  • 10 to 12 heaping cups of apples, chopped but not peeled
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Toppiing:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 11 by 9 inch baking dish with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper.

Make filling. Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle arrowroot powder on top. Toss well to combine. Add the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice and combine well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top out evenly.

Make topping: Place all ingredients in the same bowl you used for the apples and combine well. Sprinkle evenly over the apples in the prepared pan.

Cover dish with foil and poke a couple air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until topping is nicely browned.

Serve hot or cold, your preference. Great with a scoop of vegan ice cream or Whipped Coconut Cream. (Check out this step by step tutorial for making Whipped Coconut Cream by Oh She Glows) Leftovers are great for breakfast.

 

Bonus Recipe

We did not make this recipe in class, but its another great lentil soup recipe that I hope you will try. Its from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook (I told you I loved every recipe in  the book and I meant it). I adapted it slightly to increase the veggies. The best part about this soup is the delicious broth, I love the spice mixture.

Red Lentil Kale Soup

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of destemmed kale, chopped very fine (or spinach)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, broth and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper, discard bay leave. Stir in kale and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Cream of Zucchini and Potato Soup Without the Cream

September 19, 2015

cream of zucchini soup

My friend Theresa sent me this soup recipe with her personal stamp of approval. Good thing because the ingredient list didn’t catch my interest and I doubt I would have tried it otherwise. However, it is super fast and easy to make and its absolutely delicious. My Mom and I made it and it was so good we did not even bother adding the milk. I made it again and added cashew milk which made it really rich tasting. With or without the milk, I highly recommend trying this soup.

We used golden yellow zucchini and added carrots to mix so that the soup was a gorgeous creamy yellow color. If you use green zucchini, you still get a creamy colored soup but with green flecs in it. I added parsley to the soup so the green flecs aren’t noticeable.

I am sure the soup would also be good substituting any other winter squash for the zucchini. But this time of year I have too many zucchini and too few zucchini recipes, so a recipe using 6 cups of zucchini is welcome in my house.

Cream of Zucchini and Potato Soup

  • 2 or 3 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (about 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or bouillon for flavoring 4 cups liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (1 tbsp dried)
  • 3 cup unsweetened plant based milk (soy or cashew recommended)

Sep 19 2015_Soup ingredients

Roughly chop the veggies and place in a large saucepan. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender. Blend a small amount at a time in a blender until smooth. (Use a hand held immersion blender for a chunkier soup) Add the milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. (note if your bouillon is salted you may not require any additional salt) Do not boil soup after milk has been added. Reheat gently on the stove or in a double boiler.

June 2015 Cooking Class

The June cooking class started, as usual with a green smoothie. Smoothies are fabulous way of sneaking more greens into your diet. This time the smoothie featured a green I had not previously used before, watercress. The basic recipe is 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Watercress
Watercress
Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie
Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie

Watercress Smoothie

  • 2 cups chopped watercress
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

The items prepared for the June class were chosen because they were easy to prepare with common ingredients, involved little time in the kitchen and could be made ahead of time, making them perfect for the hot busy summer months. The menu consisted of Pasta e Fagioli Soup (a vegetarian version of the popular Olive Garden soup), Rice Buddha Bowl (a simple dish of rice and veggies in a teriyaki sauce topped with marinated tofu) and Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie (a variation of the One Ingredient Chef’s Epic Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Pie).  The recipes are below.

Thanks again to James for the wonderful photographs.

Pasta e Fagioli - vegetarian style
Pasta e Fagioli – vegetarian style

PASTA e FAGIOLI SOUP

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, diced or julienned
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1- 28 oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ of a 340g package Veggie Ground Round
  • ½ lb ditali pasta

Sauté onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients except pasta and simmer 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the Veggie Ground Round, if using.

(Note: I have increased the canned tomatoes to two 28 oz cans rather than the previous 1 1/2 cans and increased the broth to 4 cups from 2. This makes for a lighter summer soup. Also , if using your own cooked beans, be sure not to overcook the beans as when added to the soup they will thicken it.)

Cook pasta until al dente. Cool under cold water. Either add pasta to hot soup just prior to serving or place pasta in individual bowls and ladle hot soup over.

Adapted from http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Olive-Garden-Pasta-e-Fagioli-Copycat-Recipe.html

BUDDAH BOWL

  •  Cooked brown rice (or soba, vermicelli or spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 cups chopped veggies of your choice per person (onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, celery, green peas, broccoli, mushrooms, etc)
  • Marinated tofu (recipe below)
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
  • Toppings – green onions, toasted sesame seeds
  1.  Make marinated tofu.
  2. Make teriyaki sauce.
  3. Stir fry your choice of veggies in oil, broth or water until almost done. Add teriyaki sauce and sauté until tender crisp
  4. Warm up brown rice. (optional, when warming up rice, add chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce and ground pepper)
  5. To serve: In a bowl layer warmed rice, veggies and marinated tofu. Top with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds

Adapted from http://ohsheglows.com/2014/06/03/speedy-veggie-lsquon-brown-rice-noodle-bowl-with-homemade-teriyaki-sauce/

 

Buddah Bowl
Buddah Bowl

TERIYAKI SAUCE:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons coconut sugar (or granulated sugar of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

 

MARINATED TOFU

Marinated Tofu
Marinated Tofu
  • 1 350 g package of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dry ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu. (this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used) Add the oil and continue to cook until tofu is crispy. (this will take another 30 to 60 minutes) (Note, you can also make this in a low oven (250F). Store in the fridge, will keep for at least a week. Also freezes well.

 

FROZEN CHOCOLATE ALMOND BANANA PIE

Crust:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted

First Layer:

  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • ½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract (if using peanut butter, omit or substitute vanilla)

Second Layer:

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk

Topping:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp raw sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

coconut cream

  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for 1 day.
  2. Crust – In a food processor, process almonds until fine, add walnuts and process until fine. Add cocoa powder and salt and process until mixed well. Add the dates one at a time. Process until mixture is crumbly and holds together when pinched between your fingers. (if your dates are very dry, soak in water for several hours then pat dry). If the mixture won’t hold together, add a teaspoon of water to the mix. Press the crust mixture into a large spring form pan lined with parchment paper. Press in well with your hands or a small roller. Place in freezer.
  3. First Layer- In the food processor, place bananas, nut butter, and almond extract. Process until smooth. (It helps to let the frozen banana slices thaw slightly first) If needed, add almond milk to help it process, if needed. Spread over the crust and return to the freezer. If you have the time, let this layer freeze up well before adding the next layer, but if strapped for time, you can add the next layer right away.
  4. Second Layer-In the food processor, place bananas and cocoa and process until smooth, adding almond milk if necessary. Spread over Banana Nut layer and return to freezer. Freeze these layers well.
  5. Topping- Open the bottom of the can of chilled coconut milk. Pour out the coconut water (reserve for use in a soup or smoothie). Open the top of the can and scoop out the coconut cream. Whip the cream with a hand held beater with vanilla and adding enough sweetener to taste. Add the topping over the chocolate banana layer and smooth out. (If desired, top with shaved chocolate or chopped nuts.) Freeze sell before serving (about 24 hours)
  6. To serve – remove from freezer and let sit in the fridge for about ½ hour. Remove from the spring form pan, slice and serve.
  7. To store leftovers, slice and put in freezer so they aren’t touching. This way you can take out one or two pieces as needed.

Adapted from http://www.oneingredientchef.com/banana-pie/

Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie
Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie