Sunday, March 5, 2017

The best Asparagus Soup I have ever tasted...

Great title - heh?

So, this recipe was adapted from a recipe for "Slimming Asparagus Soup" that was included in the "Super Shred Diet" book that was all the rage a couple years ago.  It's a terrible name. I never made this when we were on the Shred plan, but I tried this version recently and wanted to share - it's better than I thought it would be.

1 lb fresh asparagus
2 cups of water
1 TBLS of vegetarian stock base
2 potatoes, peeled and diced into a 1/2 inch dice
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 TBLS olive or coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1 shallot diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (to measure about 2 tsps)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups water or vegetable stock

Trim the woody stems from the asparagus and set aside (you'll need them shortly). Cut the remaining asparagus into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

In a big sauce pan, bring the water, stock base, potatoes and the woody asparagus ends to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender - roughly 10 to 15 minutes (if you're unsure, a paring knife should pierce the potato with no effort - no crunchiness). When the potatoes are done, remove all the asparagus stems with tongs. Discard or compost the stems.  Set the rest of this aside.

In a sauce pan heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onion and shallots, and cook until they are translucent - about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the asparagus pieces, salt, cayenne pepper and cook for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Dump everything in the big sauce pan that the potato mixture is in, add the water or vegetable stock.  Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Add the whole lot to a blender and blend until smooth - or use one of those hand blenders.  It should be creamy, and the consistancy of cream of wheat. If it's really thick, use vegetable stock to thin.

You can serve this for company, if you are hosting vegetarians top this with toasted breadcrumbs, or those commercial fried onions. If you are hosting omnivores, top with bacon or proscuittio -everything is better with bacon, amiright?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Vegan Chili con Veggies

Long time no post, it's been almost two years!  Tempus sure does fugit, don't it!  

This is a vegan chili recipe, that I adapted from one on Epicurious.  One thing that they don't specify in the other recipe is about the bulgar. Bulgar is a wheat groat that has been boiled and dried, it's used a lot in middle eastern and east European dishes.  It has a sort of meat-like quality when it's added to this and other dishes, but if you cook it too long, it gets a bit mealy.  So, cook the 1/2 cup of bulgar, according to the package directions, then just add it at the end.  Bulgar is usually found in the grocery aisle with wild rice, quinoa, spelt, millet and other weird grains. 

I am not vegan, but I am really making a concerted effort to consume less meat in my diet.  I am a committed omnivore. Don't judge.

Anyway, I really like this.  The barbeque sauce adds a nice sweetness.

            1 T, Sunflower Oil
·         1 Onion, chopped
·         1 cup Carrots, shredded
·         2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
·         3 cloves Garlic, minced
·         1/2 cup Bulgur
·         2 T chili powder
·         1 T  Cumin, ground
1    1 tsp Chipotle pepper, ground
·         1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
·         1 10-oz can ROTEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
·         ½  cup, Tomato sauce
·         ¼ cup, Tomato paste
·         1 cup water
·         1 14-oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
·         1 14-oz can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
··         ¼ cup Barbeque Sauce
      Salt to taste

1.       Cook the Bulgar according to package directions, and set aside to add at the end.
2.       Add the oil to a soup pot over medium-low heat, and heat until shimmering.  Add:
§  Onions, carrots and garlic until the onions saute until the onions are translucent. Do not burn your onions, turn down the heat if it's cooking too quickly.
3.       Add the Chili powder, Chipotle powder and cumin and saute with the vegetables for 1 minute.
4.       Add the crushed tomatoes, ROTEL’s, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water, stir until blended well.
5.       Bring the mixture to a low simmer, and cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
6.       Add the Black beans, Kidney beans and Barbeque sauce.  Bring back to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
7.       Add the Bulgar and stir to combine throughout.  
8.   Adjust seasonings to taste, you may need to add salt.  Add a little more water if it's too thick.

Serve hot –add ins are cheese and sour cream if you aren’t being vegan, corn chips, green onions, etc.