Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Bisque

So I spent 2 years in Florida and never experienced a hurricane's devastation.  Less than 30 days after I move to DC, "Frankenstorm" hits.  For the record, I was watching the weather reports and radars and what not and to be honest, I was not worried at all.  I told my parents we'd get rain and some wind but it wouldn't be terrible.  Well, looking out into our backyard is the best picture of the true devastation we experienced here.  The ground is completely covered with hundreds thousands of fallen... LEAVES! LEAVES THAT'S IT!!!  (For the record I know that other places were hit hard--my thoughts and prayers go to everyone up north-- but I knew the DC area was going into a panic for no reason.)

Anyway, Sandy brought us cold, wet weather which continues to be perfect weather for another soup recipe!  This one stems from an idea I read once in a book and the fact that my parents stocked up on tons of food (fresh veggies for the vegan in the house, me).  This recipe is kind of a pantry recipe... or I guess "crisper/pantry" recipe, use the veggies you've got (with some exceptions).  I used zucchini, potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes but still have mushrooms, cabbage, fennel, asparagus, and brussel sprouts that I wasn't sure would complement the soup plus I'm saving some of them for other recipes like potpie and noodles and cabbage.  But this bisque turned out deliciously and would be great paired up with a vegan grilled cheese sandwich, just like you would with tomato soup only a little more "sophisticated"! :-)

2 zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium potatoes, coarsely chopped
1-2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 med-large tomato, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 (14oz) cans of vegetable broth
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a roasting pan, combine zucchini, onion, potatoes, carrots, tomato, and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil to coat the veggies.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and tarragon.  Cover pan with foil.

Roast in the oven, covered for 30 minutes, until the veggies soften.  Then, uncover and roast for 30 more minutes to allow for some browning to occur.

Add celery, roasted vegetables*, and broth to a pot and bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, or until celery softens.  Then, with a blender or immersion blender, blend until completely smooth and serve!

*make sure to add a little water to the hot roasting pan to be able to scrape up all of the browned bits leftover! This will add great flavor to your bisque.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegan Winter Veggie Chowder

A long time ago, when I was in middle school I think, I decided to be vegetarian for the summer.   I remember being at the doctors office one day for my sister and sitting in the waiting room forEVER.  Luckily there was a ton of magazines.  One, and now I can't remember which one, had a great vegetarian recipe for a Winter Vegetable Chowder.  As I read over the recipe I knew I had to try it! So I typed out the whole recipe on my mom's little... I don't know what to call it... "personal-organizer-mini-laptop-looking-thing"?? yeah, that works I guess. 

Anyway, took the recipe home, we got all of the ingredients and I made it... it was a lot of work but it was DELICIOUS!  I found the recipe a few years ago and have recently made the chowder again only this time, I veganized it... which wasn't hard.  I also want to add that I don't really chop/cut anything to an exact size, I just make it small enough that the pieces can fit in my mouth! (The first time I made it we tried to be exact with the sizes recommended in the magazines recipe... but it took FOREVER to make everything so little.  Save yourself some struggle and don't worry about the size.  Also add more potatoes or squash if you want!  It "beefs" up the soup a bit.. Hahaha "beefs" on a vegan food blog! (haha I crack myself up!)

6 med leeks
2 TBS olive oil
4 med stalks celery, chopped
3 med parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 med red potatoes, chopped
1 (2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and chopped
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cups water
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1 cup mimicreme or unsweetened non dairy creamer (try So Delicious original)

Cut off roots and trim dark-green tops from leeks. Discard any tough outer leaves. Cut each leek lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Rinse leeks in large bowl of cold water; swish to remove sand. With hands, transfer leeks to colander, leaving sand in bottom of bowl. Repeat rinsing and draining, several times, until all sand is removed. Drain well.

In 6-quart saucepot, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add leeks, celery, and parsnips, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add potatoes, squash, broth, water, thyme, salt, and pepper; heat to boiling on medium-high. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the non-dairy cream and heat through, about 13 minutes. Spoon half of soup into bowl and garnish with thyme sprig; then spoon remaining into freezer-safe containers and keep for a cold day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dijon-dressed Asparagus

I had a few requests for this recipe following the picture posted on my last entry "Grown-Up Mac N Cheese".

This is a simple side dish that can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes. Asparagus is a great spring veggie, and it is seen a lot at Easter time (or at least in my family it is).  My dad makes the best asparagus EVER!  I was brought up on his asparagus and only wanted my asparagus done like daddy made.  I (nor my family) will eever forget this story, so I feel compelled to share it with all of you before I give you a new asparagus recipe.

One night my family went out to dinner at a pretty fancy restaurant.  Already a major foodie, I ordered for myself, a steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus (thinking it would be like daddy's).  Well out comes my order and I noticed the asparagus didn't look anything like daddy's!  They didn't cut it, and well, it didn't taste like daddy's white wine, with butter and caper dressed asparagus.  It was just plain old steamed asparagus.  BLECH!  When our waiter came to ask us how we were enjoying our meal, I was not afraid to speak up... "I don't like the asparagus... It's lonely!"  (Gosh I was so friggin cute!) My parents chuckled and explained that it just wasn't what I was used to...

Well now, I like asparagus... just plain old steamed asparagus, but this recipe is not that, though it does start off with you steaming your asparagus!

For this recipe, you'll need:

1-lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS minced shallots
1 TBS white vinegar
1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
3 TBS olive oil

In a bowl combine the mustard, shallots, vinegar, and liquid aminos(or soy sauce).  Whisk in the oil, until fully emulsified, and set aside. 

Steam the asparagus until tender, about 5 min.  If serving hot, transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and serve at once.

If serving chilled, run the asparagus under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain on paper towels then cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Again, transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

I enjoyed mine served hot but it would be great cold at a buffet lunch or brunch!  Also, the vinaigrette also makes for a great salad dressing!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegan "Grown Up Mac N Cheese"

First off let me say that this recipe is a hit for vegans and carnivores alike! It makes a 13x9 pan of Mac N Cheese, and when I made it the other night for my mom, dad, and myself... welllll lets just say that there was only like 1/6 of the pan leftover!!!  You will want to go back for seconds and thirds and you will be completely stuffed!

I call this one grown up mac n cheese because I think of it this way...  Growing up as kids we would eat the incredibly processed, blue box mac n cheese. Where the cheese color was reminiscent of the school buses most kids (not including myself) had to ride to school.  Sometimes, when there was company you may have been treated to a more "grown up version" that was made with real cheese and baked in the oven, topped with bread crumbs.  As we got older we were introduced to fancy kinds of mac n cheese that were white in color and came along with fancy names, "Fettuccine Alfredo" and "Pasta alla Carbonara".  Both are authentic Italian dishes with the main focus being pasta and some kind of cheese. 

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook my grandmother got me for my birthday.

1 TBS olive oil
4 med shallots, minced
12 oz white mushrooms, lightly rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-lb pasta (I like to use rotini)
3 cups creamy cashew sauce, recipe follows
Optional: 1/2 finely chopped roasted unsalted cashews, 1/4 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium.  Add in the shallots and cook until soft.  Next add the mushrooms and cook until softened.  Add the sherry and peas cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain well, return to the pot, and in the mushroom and pea mixture along with the cashew sauce (recipe follows). Mix gently to combine then transfer to the baking dish.  If using, sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and cashews.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  (if using the bread crumbs/cashews, uncover after 30 min and bake about 10 min more or until lightly browned on top.)  Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Cashew Sauce
1 cup unsalted raw cashews
2 TBS nutritional yeast
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy is used in the recipe book but I love the taste of almond milk in this one)
a few shakes of garlic powder

In a blender, process the cashews to a fine powder.  Add the nutritional yeast and 1 1/2 cups of non dairy milk and blend until smooth. Season with salt and garlic powder.

Transfer the sauce to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Stir until the sauce is hot.  Add more of the non dairy milk to thin the sauce out (it will thicken more in the oven). 

*If not using right away, cool the sauce to room temperature, transfer to an air tight container, and refrigerate until needed.  This sauce will keep for 2-3 days.  Just reheat in a sauce pan over low heat until hot.

This one is definitely a crowd please! Take it for potlucks, family dinners, etc!  And don't be ashamed when you want to lick the pan clean!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vegan Potato Soup

As previously stated the next few blog posts will be soup recipes!  The temperature is dropping here which means that it's getting to be that time that everyone gets sick.  Well, that is case for my parents house at the moment.  My daddy is not feeling 100% so I offered to make him his favorite soup, Potato Soup.

Typically made with butter, cream, and sometimes bacon/ham... This recipe is completely vegan and yet totally carnivore friendly.  You're carnivore friends/family won't notice that there are no animal products in this soup!!  Also, this is a quick soup that doesn't need hours to simmer or develop flavors!! My parents couldn't believe how quick after I started cooking that we were ready to eat.

I'm also including in this post the recipe for easy homemade croutons that I love to put on my soups and, when made smaller, my salads too! (you're welcome)

1-2 TBS olive oil
2 leeks, sliced and rinsed
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5-6 potatoes, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth or vegan chick'n broth
hickory liquid smoke, to taste
1/2 cup non-dairy, unsweetened milk

In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the leeks, carrots, and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks become soft.

Stir in the potatoes and the veggie broth, increasing heat to medium-hi.  Bring to a boil and boil until the potatoes are fork tender.

With an immersion blender, blend some of the veggies to create a thicker consistency. Leave some chunks of potatoes and other veggies whole for some extra texture.  When the soup's consistency is to your liking, add remaining ingredients to taste.  Serve warm topped with croutons.

For Croutons:
1 loaf French Bread, cubed
olive oil
granulated garlic

Coat the French bread cubes in olive oil on every side.  Heat a pan over medium heat adding the oiled chunks of bread and cook until browned and crusty on each side.  Remove the croutons when all of sides are toasted.  Sprinkle with granulated garlic.  Serve as a topping for soups or salads.

Enjoy this incredibly comforting and soul warming soup!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Big Move

Welp,  I did it.  After 2 years, I've moved back home to my parents house in the DC area.  Most people think I'm crazy for leaving sunny, warm Florida for DC just as the temperatures are starting to drop.  But me, I'm excited.  One of my favorite foods "groups" is... SOUP!  Florida only has soup weather for like a month or two before its back to being unbearably hot. For me, there is something so warm and cozy, and just comforting about cuddling up with a warm bowl of soup...  Not to mention the amazing smells that waft throughout the house as your soup is being made.  For me, I make a HUGE (stock)pot of soup so that I can enjoy it for many days to follow!

I'm excited to bring you all some new soup recipes that will hopefully warm your home, tummy, and soul.  Here's what to look for soon:

AND MORE!!! :-) 

**Sorry there haven't been any posts... I've been moving so there was no food and I was living off of ramen, spaghetti, and salad!

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