14 June 2010

Second Soup: Cream of Potato and Endive

I've been trying to use fewer animal products in my cooking, and have found it difficult to find the same sense of richness in plant-based foods, but this soup is creamy and hearty and has a quality which cannot be described as anything other than rich. I started with the "Cream of Belgium Endive Soup" recipe at the site devoted entirely to Belgian Endives, and then made vegan substitutions and modifications for those who, like myself, do not currently own a food processor. I actually enjoy learning how to cook without a lot of gadgets. Like solving math problems without a calculator or spell-checking your own work, I think it's good to be able to do something by scratch or by hand if you need to.

Take 2 endives. Remove the cores. Chop finely. Finely chop one white onion. Finely chop one clove of garlic. Peel and dice two potatoes. Heat canola oil in large skillet, add endives, onion, and garlic. Saute for about three minutes. Add the potatoes and 2 cups of vegetarian vegetable broth. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or so, until the potatoes are very soft and the broth is significantly reduced. Much of the creaminess happens when the starch from the potatoes begins to bleed into the broth. Add 1 cup soy milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add one chopped green onion.

I hope you like this as much as I did. I froze some of it. It unfroze very well. This is definitely something I'll make again.

09 June 2010

First Soup: Vegetables with Cinnamon and Curry

This was my first soup-making experience, and I loved it! Soup-making is a mixture of inspiration and science, innovation and convention. And there's something nice about the harmony of having everything in one pot. So read, try, and taste, and lend me your thoughts on this or any soups.

Start by simmering a bag's worth of split peas, according to the package directions. Add 32 ounces of vegetarian vegetable broth. Add diced tomatoes, chopped celery, chopped carrots, chopped romaine lettuce, and at least 3 minced garlic cloves. (You'll want to add diced onion as well, but I didn't have any at the time.) Throw in a few bay leaves. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Add ground cinnamon and curry powder to taste. The result is a beautiful medley of texture and flavor--sweet, savory, and warm.

This soup contains about 9g of protein and 200 calories per 1/2 cup. I served it with pasta, but I think something like barley might be nice as well. Also, if you want a thicker, creamier soup, you might try sour cream. It complements the curry and cinnamon flavors nicely.

Baked Sweet Potatoes à la Candied Walnuts

This is not an original recipe, but it is worth repeating. Bake sweet potatoes, wrapped in tin foil, for about an hour. Roast chopped walnuts in a 350°F oven, on a cookie sheet, for five minutes. While roasting the walnuts, heat 1/2 cup of white sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar just browns. Then add the walnuts to the saucepan, coating them in the sugar. Remove from heat. Dust with salt. Top the potatoes with vegetable spread and candied walnuts.