Monthly Archives: September 2012

Soup’s On!

Well, the fall days are definitely here with the shorter days and the chilly nights, the addition of yellow, rust, orange to the green foliage, the winding down of the garden harvest, and, of course, the return to school.  Here, on the west coast, despite an autumn of beautiful sunny, warm, dry days and the ability to keep wearing sandals and bare legs, I am feeling the pull of SOUP!  I like to eat soup the year round, but I particularly enjoy it in the fall and winter.  Not only is it warming and comforting, it is easy to make, lasts for more than one meal, and can appear in endless permutations.  Here are a couple of soup recipes for you to try out.  (And don’t forget to check my other blog for other soup recipes such as Black Bean Soup and Marvelous Minestrone).

Smoky Split Pea Soup

 (adapted from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

1 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced small

4 cloves garlic, minced

several pinches of black pepper

1 tsp salt

4 tsps smoked paprika

2 tsps dried thyme

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

1 1/4 cups split peas

6 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat a soup pot over med-high heat, add the oil, then saute the onions for about 4 minutes.  You’ll need to stir regularly and maybe add a bit of water to keep the onions from burning.  Add the garlic, pepper and salt and continue to saute.  Add the paprika and thyme and cook for a few seconds.  Add the carrots, split peas and broth.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or more until the split peas are thoroughly cooked and soft.  You’ll need to stir the soup occasionally to prevent sticking and to check to make sure the soup is simmering not boiling or warming.  Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice (and more pepper and salt if you want).  This makes about 6 servings – enough for 2 suppers for 2 people plus 2 lunches to pack in a container to take to work and heat up in a microwave.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

(adapted from Forks Over Knives)

This is an amazingly delicious soup that looks and tastes like it was made with butter and cream.  It gets it’s creamy deliciousness from the cashews.

6 cups vegetable broth

1 rounded cup raw cashews

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped *

1 large carrot, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 large red pepper, chopped

2 medium potatoes, cubed *

1 large head broccoli, including stem, chopped (about 4 cups)

2 tsps dried thyme

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Puree 1 cup of the vegetable broth with the cashews in a blender until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.  In a soup pot, cook the onion, celery and carrot over medium heat in 1 cup of the veg broth for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, red pepper and potatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the remaining 4 cups of broth and the broccoli, thyme, salt and pepper and bring just to a boil.  Turn down the heat, cover and simmer until the broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the cashew/broth mixture to the soup and stir until mixed.  Using an immersion blender, puree about 1/2 the soup.  This makes about 6 servings depending on your serving size – I think we only got 4 servings out of it, but we had big servings because it was so yummy!

* I didn’t have any celery when I first made this soup, and it was still delicious.  I only had 3 or 4 tiny little potatoes when I first made this soup, and it was still delicious!  So what I’m saying is you can vary the vegetables a bit, just don’t change the cashews or broccoli.

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Coconut Curry Bean Thread Noodles

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The original recipe is from Vegan Express, but I tampered with it a bit:

1/2 package bean thread noodles (I used brown rice vermicelli)

1 tbsp olive oil (I used 1 tsp)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can light coconut milk

1 can baby corn

1 cup snowpeas

1 medium Zucchini, cut in 2″ strips

1 medium red or orange bell pepper, cut in 2″ strips

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3 green onions, cut in 1″ lengths

2 tbsps curry powder

1/4 tsp Thai red curry paste


Cover noodles in boiling water and let stand, covered for a few minutes until soft.  Drain, rinse and cut up with scissors.

Heat the oil, add garlic and saute over med-high heat until golden.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to boil, lower heat, simmer 3 minutes.  Add the noodles and season with salt.  cover and let stand 5 minutes until noodles have absorbed most of the coconut milk.

Note:  Each time I make this, I vary the vegetables.  I think, in the pictures, I used asparagus and cauliflower and slivered carrots and no baby corn, zucchini or snowpeas.  In other words, throw in whatever vegetables work for you!

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Lettuce Wraps

1 package of veggie ground round (this product is  not gluten-free as it contains wheat protein)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, grated

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Asian chili sauce

Heat a frypan over medium heat and put the veggie ground round in.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir and heat through.  Add a bit of water is necessary to keep the mixture moist.

Sliver up some green onions, cucumber and red peppers like so:

On a nice big piece of lettuce:

place a big spoonful of the ground round mixture, add some red peppers, cucumbers and green onions, roll up and eat.  Yum!

I want to explore using Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) in my cooking rather than the pre-made veggie ground round.  That way I can control the ingredients. If you have any recipes using TVP please post or link them in the comments.  Thanks.

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Tasty Tofu Triangles

If you’ve been following this blog, you may recall my Scrumptious Cubes of Delight.  Well, now you’ve got to try these triangles of delight!

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Step One – press the tofu:

  • wrap a block of tofu (I like to use medium-firm) in a clean tea towel
  • place the wrapped tofu on the counter and put 1 or 2 big, hardcover books on top
  • press for at least one hour – I try to press overnight

Step Two – make the marinade:

  • whisk together in a square Pyrex pan (or similar):
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Step Three – cut the tofu:

  • cut the tofu block diagonally in half
  • flip each half on the side and cut into 1/4’s
  • flip back into a stack of 4 triangles and cut each stack into 2 triangles
  • cut those 4 triangle stacks into 2 again
  • you will end up with 32 triangles

Step Four – marinate the tofu:

  • toss the tofu triangles in the marinade
  • leave to marinade for 2-3 hours or longer
  • toss the triangles around occasionally
  • the tofu should soak up most of the marinade

Step Five – baking the tofu:

  • remove the tofu triangles from the marinade and place on a baking sheet
  • bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the underside is light brown
  • flip the triangles and bake for another 15 minutes until the other side is browned as well

Now you can eat the tasty triangles right off the pan!  I like to cool them, then put them on top of a salad that has been dressed with the same marinade.  Like so:

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Asian Fusion Salad

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After a bit of tinkering and some testing and some requests for the recipe, I’ve decided that this salad is now blog-worthy and I will post the recipe here.  Hope you enjoy it!

handful of brown rice noodles (vermicelli) *

3-4 cups bean sprouts **

2-3 carrots, grated or julienned

1/2 red or orange pepper, thinly sliced

4-5 green onions, chopped (or 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced)

3/4 cup edamame beans, steamed and cooled

4 handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsps tamari sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp garlic chili pepper sauce

1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

slivered almonds or chopped peanuts

Pour boiling water over the noodles and let sit for a few minutes until soft.  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.  Combine the bean sprouts, carrots, pepper, onions, edamame, spinach in a large bowl and toss to mix.  Mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, pepper sauce, pepper flakes.  Pour over the vegetables and toss to mix.  Add the noodles and toss again until well combined.

* These are the noodles I have used to make this salad so far, but I think the salad would also be good with slightly fatter noodles like spaghetti size.

** Make sure the bean sprouts are fresh – I buy them loose from an Asian market rather than packaged from the grocery store – and rinse them well before using.

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