Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 New Years Cocktail - The White Squirrel

OK, every year for the last several years, my spouse and I have rung in the new year with our dear friends, M and D. About 3 years ago we started including another couple, B and R.  The six of us have season tickets to a local theater company, and always attend a Sunday matinee together then head out for a dinner somewhere afterward.

So the six of us do this collaborative 5-course dinner for New Years Eve. This year I am responsible for the cocktail, the soup course and the seafood course.

The cocktail always poses a quandary, these dinners are an endurance event, wine with each course so you can't get too liquored up during appetizers or  you won't be able to enjoy the rest of dinner!  Let's just say, it's happened.  SO. I want to make something in the Cosmo-family of cocktails but not quite so boozy as a Cosmo - which are usually mixed with mostly vodka and cranberry juice dribbled in for color.

I thought I would make a sweet clear cocktail using Citrus infused Vodka (I used Burnett's, which is a middle shelf brand), DeKuyper's Triple Sec, and WHITE Cranberry juice (which is mostly white grape juice when you read the label)






















We have had an unusual resident in our yard this fall and winter.  He/She is a White Squirrel!  Have you ever seen one?  He doesn't seem to be albino, because he's got black eyes and a black snout.  He's been hanging out here since late fall.  He's a beautiful squirrel, we call him Whitey - being really creative people as we are, so this cocktail is in his honor.

I tried this first without lemon juice because I wanted a totally clear cocktail, but it was too sweet. So I added the lemon juice to cut through the sweetness, and it works!  The lemon juice makes it slightly cloudy, but the taste is there, so that's the main thing.

THE WHITE SQUIRREL

2 oz Citrus Infused Vodka (Burnett's Citrus)
1 1/2 oz White Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Thyme Simple Syrup*
1/4 oz lemon juice

Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice, shake, pour into a martini glass or coupe. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

*Recipe for Thyme Simple Syrup

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil and dissolve:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water

When it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat, add 6 to 8 sprigs of thyme and steep for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and cool.  Use in whatever you want.  It's great in iced tea, lemonade and sparkling water!  It keeps in the fridge indefinitely.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Clark's Ham Potato Corn Chowder



Long time, no post.  I'll try to fix that this year.


This is something to do with leftover ham from Christmas.  It relies on a LOT of convenience items (condensed soups) that I don't use a lot.  These Cream of Whatever soups are fantastic shortcuts in the kitchen, but they tend to be a little heavy on sodium and bland - so you really need to add your own flavors to make the dish special.  

In a large skillet or sauce pan:
Melt:
2 tbls butter


Add to the pot, and saute, until onions and celery are translucent:
2 medium onions, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced or shredded
1/2 cup celery, diced


Add, 
Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender
3 cups potatoes, diced
4 cups chicken broth

Add,
1 can, Campbells Cream of Celery Soup
1 can, Campbells Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 - 3 cups diced ham
1 can of creamed corn


Simmer for another 10 minutes, and the chowder is ready to serve.  However, if your are feeling extravagant, and want to really bump up the comfort-and-joy you can add:
1 cup of heavy cream (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Best enjoyed with some sourdough bread! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lemon Cheese...because Lemon Curd is a little too fussy.



I am sure you are wondering what I filled that awesome Shortbread crust.  Lemon Cheese, of course!  This was adapted from an old Nathalie Dupree cookbook, New Southern Cooking.  I cut it by 1/3 because it's the perfect amount for a 9-inch tart, her's was created for a 12-inch tart crust.  But the great thing about it is that you can adjust up or down depending on how much you need.  The magic ratio is:

1 egg
1 lemon (juice and rind)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbls butter

Adjust up from there...

Lemon Cheese differs from Lemon Curd in that it's much, much less fussy.  Lemon Curd requires you to separate eggs.  I don't like separating eggs. [I know I did separate an egg in the previous recipe, but that was only one, and I used the white immediately in a quick morning scramble] Lemon Curd usually uses 4 - 8 egg yolks - which means you have to figure out what to do with your 4 - 8 egg whites - not a tragedy, but long after separating eggs I have often come across a container with an un-determined number of eggs whites/egg yolks...of in-determinant age.  Sometimes, there were smells...eww.

Anyhoo.  This makes about 1 1/2 cups of delightful, lemony goodness!

In a sauce pan, add:

2 large eggs
2 lemons -
[OK, this is a little fussy, use a microplane or other implement and remove the rind from both lemons, just the yellow, not the white pith, which is bitter, if using anything other than a microplane mince the lemon rind finely. Then juice and strain both lemons]
2/3 cup of sugar

Whisk this well, then add:

4 Tbls butter



Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes stirring constantly. The butter will melt and it will be loose, like this...


Then all the sudden it will seize up, and become "custardy" like this. See how it becomes lemon yellow and much thicker?  It should JUST come to a slight boil, but don't let it boil, remove it from the heat immediately. By the way, if you let it boil, the eggs will scramble and you just have to throw it away and start over. [Voice of Experience, or VoE, again]


Ok, so Lemon Cheese is actually rather fussy, but well worth it.  Mrs. Dupree used it to fill a pie shell and she topped it with blueberries.  You can use this in all sorts of ways, though - a parfait, with alternating layers of fruit, whipped cream and Lemon Cheese, perhaps?  Buy those pre-made dessert shells and fill with Lemon Cheese and top with fruit?  You can do all sorts of stuff with this.

Enjoy!

Perfect (and super easy) Shortbread Crust

A few years ago, my friend, St Cheryl of Shirlington, gave me a recipe for a Shortbread tart crust that I thought was pretty much perfect.  It had 3 ingredients - flour, confectioners sugar and butter, was quickly assembled in a food processor, patted into a tart shell and baked.  I have been using it ever since.  Over Christmas this year, I found a recipe on the Martha Stewart site for a Press-In Shortbread Tart Crust.  It's brilliant, and the perfect amount for a 9-inch tart pan. It similar to St. Cheryl's, but a bit richer.  It has a single egg yolk, regular sugar, butter and salt.  Martha assembled it by hand, which I file under "Life Is Too Short", so I used the food processor - if you don't have one, I highly recommend one, I have had this Cuisinart for over 20 years.  I also reduced by half the amount of salt, because I thought it was too salty.

So here goes.

PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN TO 375*F

In your food-processor bowl, with the blade attachment inserted, add:

1 cup AP Flour
4 Tbls. Butter, cut into 4 or 5 pats
3 Tbls Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt (I used kosher salt)

Pulse the processor about 10 times or so, until it resembles coarse crumbs.



Add through the food-tube:

1 large egg yolk

Pulse about 5 times until the yolk is completely incorporated.



Dump the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and press the crumbs into the pan and up the sides of the pan.



Note that I put it on an aluminum pizza pan, those removable bottoms can be tricky and this ensures that you don't make a mess (voice of experience, again).

Place in the freezer, and freeze for at least 20 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and bake in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, turning the pan after about 10 minutes, remove when the crust is slightly browned - do not over cook.




Allow to cool.


Then comes the fun part.  You can fill this with anything your heart desires.  Make a chocolate ganache with some chocolate chips and a bit of heavy cream, top with fruit.  Make some pastry cream and top with fruit. If you don't feel like cooking anymore, soften 8 oz. of cream cheese and sweeten with some confectioners sugar, top with fruit....you get the idea.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What's for lunch? A Refridgerator-Clearer Frittata

Frittatas are a go-to leftover clearer in my house.  Leftovers present a challenge to cooks that have finicky eaters in the house. I happen to love finding things to do with them, but I have run across finicky eaters that don't like leftovers, or anything do to with them.  Frittatas, which are essentially a baked omelet, are a great disguise for anything that you need to rid of in your fridge. 

Last night was a "Wii Kirk" at our little Presbyterian church in Arlington, VA. WE have about one a month in the cooler times of the year.   The pastor's wife, St. Cheryl of Shirlington, and I bake a total of about 20 to 30 pizzas for whoever shows up, we set up a big screen with a Nintendo Wii attached for the kids or whomever to play.  People bring things to share, like salads, dessert, wine, home brewed beer, etc.  It's a grand way to start the weekend!

Anyway, I found myself looking for something to make on Saturday for lunch.  These were the things that fell out of my 'fridge, some were left over from the Wii Kirk ...

 So above we have, clockwise from the far left in the rubbermaid plastic bowl - sauteed peppers and mushrooms, in the small container above there's about 5 cloves of roasted garlic from something I made last week, in the center is a single carrot, above that 1/2 a yellow pepper, then 10 spears of asparagus, at the top there's a small container of leftover roasted potatoes, on the right that's about a single onion, thinly sliced, 3 eggs, and finally at the bottom fresh basil.

PREHEAT YOUR BROILER WHILE YOU PREPARE THESE THINGS AND YOU WILL NEED A BROILER SAFE PAN TO PREPARE THIS DISH>
 Above are these things all prepped - from lower left, those roasted potatoes, 1 shredded carrot, those peppers and mushrooms, the green stuff next to the carrots is the basil, between the carrots and basil is that roasted garlic minced, next to that is the yellow pepper, and in the ramekin in the upper right is the asparagus.
To start I added 1 Tbls of olive oil to a saute pan and heated for a couple minutes over medium heat:

Add, and saute until the onions are translucent:
Onions
peppers
carrots


 Add, and saute for about 3 minutes, do NOT overcook the asparagus, or it will get stringy and gross [bleah]:

Asparagus
Roasted garlic
roasted potatoes
sauteed peppers and mushrooms

At this time also add whatever herbs/spices you'd like:
I added about 1/2 tsp of salt, some freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of Italian Seasoning.

 Break the 3 or 4 eggs into a bowl and scramble well, pour over the vegetable mixture and make sure that it's well incorporated throughout the dish.  Allow to cook on your stove top for about 2 minutes so the eggs are starting to set.

Remove from the cooktop, and place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Don't let it burn, it can happen quickly, so you need to watch it.  You can't walk away or you can have a disaster on your hands.  Voice of experience here...


SO this is the finished product, this was enough for the two of us, but if you have smaller appetites you could stretch this to feed four - add a salad and some bread, maybe. That's dinner!  I served this with my Faux-oli - Mayo, dijon mustard and horseradish and a slice of my Knearly Kno-Knead Bread.  It was pretty choice, and my 'fridge is cleared of a LOT of stuff!

You can really put anything you can imagine in a frittata,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Clark's Knearly Kno-Knead Artisan Boule

Several years ago, the NY Times Mark Bittman, published a  No-Knead artisan bread recipe that launched thousands of youtube and blog posts. It's really simple - flour, water, salt and a lot less yeast than you think you'd need, bake it in a cast-iron dutch oven in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes with the cover on, 15 minutes with the cover off.  The result is a lovely, round "store bought" appearing loaf.  The crust is crunchy and the inside is moist and chewy.  A long rise time gives it a tangy, sourdough flavor. The magazine Cook's Illustrated, tweaked this recipe a year or so ago, adding beer and a some vinegar - allowing for a shorter rise time and a more pronounced sourdough flavor.

Mark Bittman's recipe never worked right for me, the bottom was always burned.  Also, because it was no-knead, I often found streaks of unincorporated flour in the boule - not cool.  Kneading for just about 2 minutes, will ensure this doesn't happen.  I have made several changes to his basic method that work for me and my oven and kitchen - YMMV (ye olde geeketh-speaketh for "your mileage may vary").  I reduce the temperature to 450 degrees, and decrease the final "un-lidded" baking is 10 minutes instead of 15.  I add 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 2 cups of all purpose or bread flour, instead of all white flour  - NOTE: I have tried all wheat flour and it was a door-stop - dense, dry, heavy, I tried 1/2 WW Flour and 1/2 unbleached AP, and it was okay, but I prefer 1/3 WW/2/3 AP flour best, I keep the addition of vinegar from the Cook's method, but left out the beer because it's too fussy.  I also use parchment paper to add and remove the boule to the pot, and it also protects the bottom from getting too browned.  Which probably sounds fussy, but I wouldn't bake bread without it. I might get into that in a future post. Parchment paper is God's gift to bakers.


Here's what the finished loaf looks like.  Pretty, right?  This too can be yours!


I usually bake it in the winter months, when I don't mind heating up the kitchen.

NOTE: You need a cast-iron dutch oven with a secure fitting lid for this recipe. Mine is a Lodge #10 1/4. It holds about one gallon. I bought it at Walmart sometime in the 1980s after the earth had cooled, but the dinosaurs were not yet wiped out by the massive asteroid - but I digress. The idea is that when the dough it cooking the steam is captured in the closed vessel - mimicking a commercial bread oven that injects steam during the baking process.  This makes the crispy, crust and chewy interior.

Clark's Knearly Kno-Knead Artisan Boule

In a large pyrex bowl dry-wisk together(you can see in the pix, that I used an 2 quart mixing bowl - Pamper Chef's finest!):

2 cups unbleached flour or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of instant yeast (use a 1/2 tsp measure, and don't fill it all the way...you really don't need as much yeast as most bread recipes call for, I have found)


When these ingredients are completely mixed together, stir in with a rubber spatula:

1 1/2 cups of warm water (it doesn't have to be hot, it just needs to be warm to the touch)
1 Tbls of distilled vinegar

Mix these together, adding more warm water if it's too dry.  Pour out on a lightly floured surface.  Knead for about 1 - 2 minutes, until the ball of dough is smooth and all the dry ingredients are incorporated.




Put the ball back in the glass bowl (you don't need to clean it out, it's unnecessary).  Put it in a warm space (I put it in my microwave), allow to rise undisturbed (well, if you need the microwave for something, go ahead and use it, just replace your boule when you are done) for at least 18 hours - longer is ok, though.  I made this one at noon on a Friday, and baked it at 9am the next morning, so it was something like a 21 hour rise.

Here's the ball of dough after 21 hours, it's roughly doubled in size and it's beautiful!  You wouldn't believe the wonderful, yeasty smell!


Put the lidded dutch over in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. 

Pour out on a floured surface (just a little), and form the dough into a ball.  Put the round on a piece of parchment paper, about 10 inches wide, and long enough to hold both ends with the boule in the middle. Score the boule with a sharp knife, however you'd like. This pattern makes an interesting design when it's baked. Scoring helps keep the boule in a uniform shape.

Cover this baby with a clean cloth towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes or so, while the oven and the pot are pre-heating.



Remove the lid from the dutch oven, and use the ends of the parchment paper to place the boule in the middle of the pot.  Replace the lid, and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. This is hard, because the boule looks done at this point, but resist temptation and bake it 10 more minutes uncovered anyway.


Then you're done!  Allow the boule cool, until it's not to hot to handle, and enjoy! You have a perfect loaf of artisan bread to serve with whatever your heard desires!  Hmmm, beef stew sounds perfect, right? How about a hearty, black bean soup with sausages...the possibilities are endless!

Cheers!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Garden Season is Nigh!!

ZOMG!!!  It's getting near to garden season!!!  I cannot wait!  Are you with me??

Vegetarian "Pizza" Soup



Ok, it's not pizza, but it's really tasty. This is how this soup came about, it's one of the few recipes that I made up all by myself [preens a little :-)],  We do this thing out our Presbyterian Church called Wii Kirk every month or so.  Wii Kirk is on a Friday nights and the pastor's wife, whom I will always refer to as Saint Cheryl of Shirlington, bake an assortment of pizzas from scratch for whomever shows up.  The kids play Wii on the big screen, the parents have a glass of wine or two and have a nice start to their weekend.  It's become a mostly secular tradition at our little church. Saint Cheryl and I have a good time doing it, and it brings people to the church that might not attend a Sunday service.

Last year my spouse and I were doing this 28 day diet called Shred, and a Wii Kirk happened in the middle of this program.  I created this soup so that we wouldn't be tempted by the luscious pizzas- it didn't work, but it's a really amazing soup, with everything you'd put on a veggie pizza - plus cannelli beans for added protein. It was lacking in cheese flavor, but that's to be expected. If you weren't watching calories and fat you could add some Parmesan cheese to the top....ooooh!  A 1 cup serving will set you back about 170 calories (without cheese, of course).



So here it is:

ADD, 1 Tbls of olive oil to a stock pot, and sautee over medium heat the following, until the onions are translucent, about 2 - 3 minutes:

1 onion chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped (not mashed, it's nice to have the little chunks of garlic in the soup)

ADD, and sweat for about 2 - 3 minutes:

1 lb. of mushrooms, diced
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

ADD,

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
2 cups of water

SIMMER, until the mushrooms are fully cooked, about 10 - 15 minutes

ADD, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

20 Kalamata Olives, chopped
6 Oil-packed Sun Dried Tomatos, diced
8 Artichoke hearts, halved or quartered depending on size (optional)
1 14-oz can of Cannelli Beans

All done!  Top with parmesan cheese if your are feeling reckless!







Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spinach-Cannelli Bean Soup

I have made a version of this before with chicken and chicken stock, but this version is vegan and 'fasting-day' friendly.  I think a serving (a heaping cup) would probably be around 150 calories.  The two cups of pureed beans for the 'Bean Broth' add a creaminess to the soup that "almost" makes it seem like there is dairy in it.  I believe that this was adapted from a Lynne Rossetto Kasper (the host of that awesome public radio show, The Splendid Table) recipe, hers had chicken in it, I am pretty sure.



ABOUT THESE BEANS:  I prepared one pound of cannelli beans according to package directions, but they came out mushy. I am not sure what I did wrong.  I boiled them for a minute, then allowed to soak for an hour, then cooked for about 40 minutes (the package said to cook for ONE HOUR(!)).  One pound of dried cannelli beans yeilded between 5 and 6 cups of mushy beans.  They taste fine, it's just the texture.

PREPARE THE BEAN BROTH:

PUREE in a blender, and set aside:

2 cups of prepared beans, or 1 15-oz can Cannelli Beans (or other white bean)
4 cups of water

Set aside the rest of the Cannelli beans, there should be between 3 - 4 cups leftover.

PREPARE THE SPINACH:

Bring to a boil in large pot or sauce pan,

6 cups of water,
1 Tbls salt

ADD, all at once or in batches, cook a couple of minutes until wilted (all that spinach cooks down to about 2 cups):

1 20-oz bag of fresh spinach

REMOVE THE Spinach and strain in a colander, when cool enough to handle, chop the spinach into smaller pieces.  Set this aside.

SAUTE in a large stock pot, in one Tbls of olive oil, until the onions are translucent:

2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped,
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (not minced)

ADD, the spices and saute for about 2 minutes:

1 tsps salt ( more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning

ADD, and bring to a simmer:

The Bean  Broth you previously set aside,
The chopped spinach you set aside.
The other 2 + cups of Cannelli beans that was also set aside (or 1 15 oz can of Cannelli beans)
1 - 2 cups of water, if the soup is too thick, it should be the consistancy of cream soup/chowder
(NOTE: I also added 1 TBLS of a vegetable broth concentrate, called "Better Than Broth" that I bought at our Safeway)

Cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes.  You are all done! Buon Appetito!



Monday, March 2, 2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

I am still looking for low fat, vegan soup options for our two 'fasting' days. I combined two different recipes, that I found out on the intertubes and the results were WONDERFUL, you have the black beans with a with savory spices and big chunks of sweet potato that add a subtle nutty, sweetness. It's hearty enough to stick with you for a while.

About The Beans:  this recipe uses one whole pound of black beans.  I made them from dried beans, because I had the time and it's no big deal, they take approximately a couple hours ( pick through for small stones, add a tsp of salt, cover with water, bring them to a boil and remove from heat, soak for an hour, then cook until they are tender - black beans take about 30 - 40 minutes).  You don't don't have to babysit them, which makes it easy if you work-from-home.  One pound of dried beans yields about 6 - 7 cups of cooked beans.  If you don't care to cook your own beans, use three 15-oz cans of canned black beans (I usually use Goya brand).  Rinse them first, they have a lot of added salt.

In a big stock pot:

Heat 1 tbls of olive oil until shimmering

ADD and saute, until the onions are transluscent (about 3 minutes):

1 onion, chopped,
3 - 4 stalks of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced

ADD, your spices and sautee for about a minute until fragrant

1 tsp garam masala or curry powder (optional, I know some don't like this)
2 tsps salt or more depending on taste
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika

ADD,

7 cups of water or vegetable broth
3 sweet potatoes, diced into 3/4 inch cubes

Bring to a rapid simmer, and cook until the potatoes are done, 20-30 minutes

PUREE in a blender, with some of the liquid from the stew and add to the soup:

2 cups of black beans (or one of your cans of RINSED black beans)

[this black bean puree adds a richness to the stew]

ADD,

the rest of the Black Beans, or 2 cans of RINSED canned black beans.

That's it!  It actually was better than I thought it would be.  Let me know what you think!









Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet Potato, Collard and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sriracha Sauce

OK, so Joe Yonan of the Washington Post published this a couple weeks ago in the Food Section.  Joe is a vegetarian, and I have used his recipes before because Joe likes really big flavors.  This recipe appealed to my Southern roots - hello! - Sweet Potato, Collards AND Black Eyed Peas - what's not to like??

Anyhoo, when we tasted this, my beloved said, "It would be perfect with BACON!", which would completely negate my goals of reducing meat consumption, right?  Even though it was true - it was  bland.  I bumped up the salt and pepper amounts and it was better, but still a little boring.  I thought, what about Sriracha?  This made a LOT of soup, so I added probably about a 1/4 cup of the Sriracha to the batch.  It was really good, the Sriracha added the Umami that this soup was missing.  Though, there's no bacon in it, the Sriracha adds a sweet, smokiness that was sorely missing.

It's a gorgeous soup, as you can see from the WaPo pic.  I actually made my own Black-Eyed Peas, rather than using canned, and just measured 30 ounces of them and added at the end, it's super easy if you have a little extra time.



INGREDIENTS
  • FOR THE SWEET POTATO BROTH:
Heat:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
SAUTE until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded on a box grater
ADD, bring to a decent simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 whole cloves (tie a string around the cloves so they are easy to remove - important tip, I think I missed one and had clove bits in my broth after I pureed it - bleah)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed 
Remove the cloves, then using an immersion blender or a regular blender processing in batches, puree until smooth.  Set aside.
  • FOR THE SOUP
HEAT:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
SAUTE until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes:
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch coins
ADD, and saute for a minute:
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
ADD the Sweet Potato Broth, then add these ingredients:
  • Leaves from 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed
  • 14 1/2 ounces canned, no-salt-added diced tomatoes, and their juices
Bring to a boil and ADD:
  • 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups, make sure you don't have any of the stems, they are too fibrous, and unpleasant )
Simmer until the collard greens are done, about 30 minutes, but it could be closer to an hour, seriously I wouldn't steer you wrong, collards can take a little while).

ADD, 
  • 30 ounces cooked or canned, black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed (I needed more...probably closer to 2 tsps total for the whole recipe, including the 1 tsp in the broth).
  • Sriracha sauce to taste, I used about 3 tbls for the whole batch, maybe 4 tbls.
This would be lovely served over rice or by itself.  I would serve it with a crusty loaf of bread, but that's just me.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Vegan Cabbage Soup

So, my spouse and I started this 5-2 diet in January, that started over in England.  The gist is that you subsist for 2 days a weeks on 500 - 600 calories for the day.  Our "fast" days are on Monday and Thursday, because that works well for us both.  I am chief-cook in our marriage, so I thought it would be cool if we went essentially vegan two days a week. Baby-steps, right? The first week was the hardest, but it's gotten much easier every week.

Anyhoo...I have been looking for really hearty, but low calorie soup options. I used to love this soup that my Grandmother, we called her Dee-Mama, made back when I was a kid. It was hearty and  comforting.  Dee-Mama's was, most assuredly NOT vegan (I think it either had bacon or sausage in it). So, this is not a family recipe, but it's inspired by one.  This may be too spicy for you with the Chipotle pepper (from Penzey's, by the way), but adjust accordingly.



Vegan Cabbage Soup

In a large-ish stockpot heat:

1 - 2 tbls  olive oil

Saute for about 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent:

1 large onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
3 or more cloves of garlic, diced or pressed (according to taste, I LOVE GARLIC)

Add, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted:
1 carrot, shredded on a box grater (I don't like carrots unless they are shredded...it's me, not carrots)
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika (mostly optional, it's really nice)
1 tps Chipotle Pepper (totally optional)
2 tsps salt, or more to taste (I used more like a tablespoon)

Add:
1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso Crushed tomatoes with basil, I bought it at BJs Wholesale)
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (I used Hunts)
6 cups of vegetable broth or water (I used 6 cups of water, with 1 tbls. of vegetable broth concentrate)

Simmer for about an hour.  If you weren't fasting, this would go well served over some rice and with a crusty loaf.

Question for Vegans:  Would you do anything differently?