Thursday, December 17, 2009

$127 Vegetable Soup

Why is it that you can't go to the grocery store for just one thing? Such was the case when I went in to buy only ingredients for this delicious veggie soup, but ended up spending $127. Well, this soup actually might be worth that much - it is that good! My friend made it for me when we went to his house for a party - they kindly always make me something I can eat (the "regular" people got shrimp gumbo - boy, did they miss out).

This soup is called "Mike's Vegetable Soup," and it comes from one of Paul Prudhomme's books, in case you are browsing in the library. I don't know which one, but it is an older one back from the days of lowfat cooking. If you can imagine that Paul Prudhomme was ever on a diet, I think the book said he lost 100 pounds using the recipes in this book. The spice list was so extensive that even I had to buy three that were not in my cabinet. But the soup was still easy to make. It has a wonderful smoky flavor, although no smoke flavoring was used. Also it has apple juice in it! It sounds weird, but I urge you to seek out the recipe. If you are interested but can't find it, I can e-mail you the recipe. By the way, those big orange chunks are not squash, but rutabaga - something I would never think to make soup with. Try it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Oily Dilemma

Well, once again I can't get the photos out of my camera. It is so frustrating to have to constantly shut everything off and start over! So in the interest of time, here is a post without pictures.

I know I have mentioned a few times that my muffins/cupcakes have come out with oily bottoms. Well, today I made chocolate thumbprint cookies from VCON, and again, oily bottoms. Now I have made this recipe before, and did not have that problem. I think in the past I have used canola oil from Spectrum. Lately I have been using Trader Joe's. It sounds crazy, but I can't think of any other difference. Does anyone have this oily problem?

On another note, you know how those low carb people always try to make mashed potatoes with cauliflower? Well, I am not a low carb girl by any stretch, but I was trying to find a way to enjoy cauliflower. I just steamed it until very soft, and mashed it with some lemon juice and Earth Balance. It was really quite good! Although not a sub for mashed potatoes!

Hopefully, pictures next time!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sweet Vegan Life

Have you noticed that so many vegan foods are sweet? Not necessarily sugary sweet, but inherently sweet. Like cashews, yams, tomatoes, soy milk, even beans. In a way, that's good, as we are hard-wired to seek out sweet tastes (think (human)mother's milk). But for those of us who were formerly omnis, it takes a bit of getting used to. I think that is why it is so hard for some of us to give up cheese. I crave fat and salt! Umami! And sometimes soy sauce doesn't cut it.

So, our meal last night was based on that craving. Panko breaded fried (baked) tofu with the Hurry Up Alfredo sauce from Vegan Yum Yum's new book. And my sweet potato had EB and Tabasco, and the broccoli had mayo-based ranch. Yay for fat and salt! How do you satisfy you umami cravings?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Pies

I made two pies for Thanksgiving. The first is a pumpkin pie from La Dolce Vegan. I must admit I did not care for it. I think because it was made largely with maple syrup as the sweetner. Normally I love maple syrup, but somehow it did not work. I compared the spices to a "traditional" pumpkin pie, and they were similar. The good news is that the texture was good. It was made with cornstarch as the thickener, and it worked well. I will try again with sugar and see if that makes the difference. Also, I topped the pie with melted chocolate when it came out of the oven. I think this would have been good if the pie was good.

The second pie was a cherry crumb. This was really good and easy. Pour cherry pie filling into an unbaked crust. Top with crumb mixture:

1/2 c flour
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 (or 1/2) t cinnamon
1/4 cup Earth Balance

(Mix all until crumb-like.)

Bake for about 45 minutes at 375 (I covered the crust edges for the first 20 minutes to keep them from burning).

Although I don't have a picture, I also made the Butternut Squash and Orange Soup from Nava's book. This was very nice - mild and comforting.

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was joyful!