Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocci. It's Vegan.

It's day three. My official title? 'woman of leisure'. Ok, not really... let's go with 'domestic engineer' instead.

Things I have learned in the last three days:

1. The cat sleeps in the same chair for no less than seven consecutive hours every day. How does he do it without getting up to go to the bathroom? Seriously. He doesn't move and I am not exaggerating (and then he gets up, moves to another chair and does it again! Crazy.);

2. That impossibly long list of things to do does not necessarily get done as fast as you might think;

3. Next time I think 'project!' I will remember that it probably shouldn't involve paint;

4. Being a woman of leisure, does not, unfortuantely, validate having mimosas for breafast; and

5. As a woman of leisure, your husband will frequently remind you that you can't go shopping to fill your time. (Editor's note: who does he think I am? :))

Aside from daily chores and other mindless awesome activities which include not shopping, I have been doing a lot of recipe developing and experimentation. I am sure, if you have been here before, that you also noticed the new blog look. I won't change it again... I like this one.
So recipes... you also must know by now that I love gnocci! I have made basic gnocci several times before and recently I decided it was time to branch out so for the holidays I made a delicious sweet potato gnocci.

This version is super delicious and pairs very well with a simple garlic white wine sauce. It, like all gnocci is simple to make but a little time consuming. Dont' let that get you down! Schedule an hour or so to give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Yield: About 7 or 8 dozen gnocci


2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and pressed through a ricer.
About 2-2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (start with 1 1/2 cups and go up from there)
2 teaspoons salt

For the Sauce:
1 Shallot, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine or smashed through a garlic press
1 bottle white wine (one that you like the taste of/to drink)
4-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper
Optional: About 1, maybe 2 teaspoons flour (for thickening)

Fresh green onion, chopped, for garnish

Your potatoes are cooked, cooled and ready to go. Scoop 1 1/2 cups flour onto a large surface. Add salt to flour and mix lightly to combine.

Rice the sweet potatoes right on top of the flour/salt mixture. Once all potatoes are riced, take off your jewelry and use your hands to mix the flour and potatoes together. Note: initially it will seem like it won't come together. It will.

As it comes together, gradually add more flour in about 1/2 cup measurements, kneading/mixing dough fully before adding more. You are looking for a lovely round dough ball that is slightly sticky. Note: slightly sticky. If the dough is too sticky it will make your gnocci gummy. Keep adding flour until you get there.

Additional note: making gnocci with sweet potatoes is more 'wet' than using other varieties of potato. For this recipe I ended up using far more flour than in the basic version.

Once combined, separate dough in half, then separate both halves in half. From there, separate the quarters in half as well. This will give you good dough ball sizes for rolling.

To roll, lightly flour your surface and roll your first dough ball out  into a about 1/2 inch thick 'snake'. Using a knife, slice the dough 'snake' into about 3/4 inch pieces.

To shape each piece, you can use a fork or a gnocci board. Currently I don't have a gnocci board (but I want one!!) so I use a fork which works fine. Roll the gnocci down the fork, creating the ridged design. One side will be slightly indented which helps catch the sauce.

Repeat for all your gnocci dough, placing the 'finished' gnocci pillows in a lightly floured container until you're ready to cook them.

For the sauce: (and you can do this while you're preparing your gnocci pillows)
Start by combining the olive oil and shallots in a saute pan. Cook on medium heat until shallots are slightly soft; about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. When garlic and shallots are soft, turn heat down to low/med and add white wine, sage, salt and pepper. Let cook, reducing the wine.

Note: sauce will take a while to reduce. If you are in a hurry, you can add a little flour to help thicken it up.

To cook gnocci:
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Carefully add gnocci pillows, one at a time, to the boiling water. I am able to get about one dozen in at a time. Boil until gnocci pillows float in the water, about 3-4 minutes.

Once gnocci is cooked, fish them out of the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to your serving dish. Top with your delicious white wine garlic sauce and garnish with fresh chopped green onion for added color and flavor.

A lovely green salad of butter lettuce and simple vinaigrette pairs perfectly with this filling and colorful dish. It is very easy to make ahead and is sure to be not only tasty, but also impressive!

Sweet Potatoes

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seitan Roast... Vegan Meat and Potatoes

I am by no means a 'meat and potatoes' kind of gal. Even when I ate meat I wasn't. I distinctly remember being severly disappointed whenever my mom would announce she made roast beef or stroganoff or something of the like for dinner.

Now, don't get me wrong, when it came to the cooking, the food was always fantastic. Never dry, always perfectly cooked. The type of meals a carnivore dreams of. I just wasn't all that in to it. Everyone else in the family? Completely different story. Like, 'licking the plate' completely different story.

Fast forward to current times. I am married to a one hundred percent bonafied meat and potatoes man. I mean we're talking seriously in to it. Funny he should marry me, the complete and utter opposite. Now he doesn't eat any meat. Unless he buys it. And cooks it. Which never happens because he isn't usually home until 'late-thirty'.

This recipe is in honour of my sweet husband who enthusiastically eats my food even though it's a far cry from his meat and potatoes background. I got the idea and of course visited my good friend Google who never fails me. This recipe is inspired by one posted at Vegan Chef which, by the way, is an awesome resource!

Oh, and the leftovers make fantastic sandwiches!

Yield: About 8 servings

1 small white onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups  plus 2 cups vegetable stock (or mushroom stock)
1/4 cup Braggs (which by the way is awesome and so much better for you than soy sauce!)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
4-5 cups vital wheat gluten
3/4 to 1 cup unbleached white flour

Combine olive oil and onion in a pan and saute on medium/high heat for 6 to 8 minutes then add garlic and ginger; saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn off heat and transfer the contents of your pan into a food processor. Add the 1 1/2 cup broth, tamari, sesame oil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and blend until smooth, about 2 min.

Pour about 1/2 of your mixture into a bowl and set aside. To your other half, add the remaining 2 cups vegetable broth.

In a large bowl, combine wheat gluten and flour. Slowly add the wet ingredients which you added the extra broth, stirring as you go. Once all the wet ingredients are in, knead the dough with your hands for 3 to 6 minutes.

Note: The dough gets very tough to stir with a spoon. I suggest washing your hands and working it like that vs. battling with a spoon.

Preheat oven to 350

Lightly spray a loaf pan with a little olive oil and transfer your dough. Stretch and form your dough to fit nicely into your loaf pan.

Get your remaining wet ingredients and pour 1/2 of it over the top of your roast in the loaf pan.

Put roast in oven and bake for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes of baking, pull out your roast, reduce oven heat to 325 and pour the remainder of your wet mixture on top of your roast.

Return roast to oven and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed into the roast. Note: roast should be firm.

Remove roast from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Note: if there is a bit of liquid left, that's ok! I will absorb more as it cools.

Serve with a delicious and simple mushroom gravy topped with some fresh chopped green onion for color and added flavor.

On the side, add some roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans and you have a lovely 'meat and potatoes' meal sure to melt the heart of any carnivore!


Seitan on FoodistaSeitan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Carrot Agave Cookies... for santa and his reindeer

We're stepping out of the box this year in the cookie department. I mean, let's be real: how many oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies can Santa really consume without a: being a little disappointed at the lack of creativity and b: worrying about his already portly waistline?

And the reindeer? Sure, apples and carrots are always lovely standards, but do you ever wonder if the reindeer feel left out, not receiving any cookies for themselves?

What am I talking about? A cookie that is sure to be a favorite with the jolly man and his trusty four legged friends. Carrot agave cookies. Vegan, of course.

Not only are they delicious, they're healthy as all get out, good for you no matter how many legs you have and guilt free to eat!

I will clarify one thing... they're more biscuit or scone like, rather than a dense heavy cookie. Tolley and I were trying to come up with a clever name for them while we shamelessly stuffed at least a dozen in our mouths. And I'm not kidding.

These little late night goodies don't have any sugar aside from the agave so you can rest assured Santa won't be bogged down by a sugar coma, which would ultimately result in delivery delays. None of that here. Strictly healthy and tasty. How refreshing!

So hop to, get in the kitchen and make some yummies. There isn't much time left and that's ok because these cookies are really easy to make. Off you go.

Yield: About 30 cookies

2 teaspoons ground flax seed
3 Tablespoons water
2 cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mace
3/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup grated carrot

In a small bowl, combine flax and water. Whip with a fork and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and mace. Mix well and set aside.

In a Kitchenaid mixer (or bowl with mixer), cream together Earth Balance and agave nectar. Add vanilla extract and flax mixture and continue to mix.

Gradually add bowl of dry ingredients to wet ingredients, while the Kitchenaid is on low. When just combined, add carrot and mix briefly.

Scrape sides of bowl and put in refrigerator while oven preheats.

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil (optional) and spraying or spreading a little Earth Balance to prevent sticking.

Drop dough in rounded spoonfuls onto prepared sheet. 12 spoonfuls will fit just lovely.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until just slightly browned on top. Remove and let cool.

If they are for the big guy you, of course, should serve it with a tall glass of cold soy milk. If they are for you and your family, you can do the same!

They are also great additions to any breakfast main and are guilt free for midnight munchie attacks.

Enjoy and happy holidays everyone... I appreciate each of you sticking with me and reading/cooking with me. I appreciate each of you!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vegan Eggnog Cookies

By now you might be familiar with my affection for the delicious holiday beverage commonly known as eggnog. Traditionally, of course, it's not vegan. Traditionally it's thicker than mud, overwhelmingly heavy and definitely an acquired taste.

Personally I like the vegan version better. It's considerably lighter with the same lovely nogg-y flavor that makes you want touncontrollably belt out jingle bells or some other random Christmas song.

Recently I made my own 'egg'nog which is not only super easy, it's also satisfying. And by satisfying I mean the sense of accomplishment felt by yours truly because I made it vs. bought it. Essentially this is how I feel when I make anything instead of buying it. Oh, and it's satisfying because it tastes good.

The only thing was that I, in true 'me' fashion, made far too much for the average family of eleventeen person to consume in a reasonable time period.

So I asked myself this: 'what do I do with all this extra nog?' and, the answer I gave myself was one that I frequently give myself when I have excess of something (even brocolli), 'ummm... make cookies'.

These delicious 'egg'nog cookies worked out to be super easy and absolutely delicious, especially with the 'egg'nog frosting that I swirled on top.

Yield: about 24 cookies
Recipe veganized from good old Betty Crocker

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
3-4 Tablespoons water
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups Earth Balance
1/2 cup nog (either your own homemade eggnog or the Silk version)
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 1 teaspoon nutmeg, for garnish

For the frosting:
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/3 cup nog (again, your own or Silk)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine ground flax seed and water. Stir well with a fork and set aside to allow it to set up.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine.

In a Kitchenaid or bowl with mixer, cream together sugar and Earth Balance. Add 'egg'nog, vanilla and flax seed/water mix. Note: by now it's formed into a thick substance. Give it another quick stir before you add it.

With the Kitchenaid/Beater on, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined then turn off the Kitchenaid.

Drop dough in even rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Note: I always line my cookie sheets with foil, for easy cleaning.

Sprinkle each with a touch of nutmeg and bake for 23-25 minutes.

When finished, transfer to cooling rack and repeate until dough is gone.

While you are baking your cookies you can prepare your frosting.

Using a Kitchenaid or bowl with beater, simply cream sugar and butter together then slowly add eggnog. Mix until completely combined and smooth.

Transfer your frosting into a ziploc bag. When you are ready to frost, clip a small (be careful!) piece of one of the corners off the bag creating a perfect frosting bag.

To frost: You can do it any way you like... swirly, squiggly, polka dotty, get creative! You can also forgo the bag and simply use a frosting knife to completely cover the top of the cookie.

These little darlings are great on their own, with a tall cup of cold soy milk or, even better, with some vanilla, chocolate or even nog (for those of you who can't get enough) soy ice cream.

Enjoy and take advantage of this fantastic beverage... and the holiday season!

Holiday Eggnog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

And a mushroom tartufo balsamic reduction grilled cheese. I'm not sure which was better, the soup or the sandwich. We'll call it a wash because really it's a win win.

This meal was so simple yet incredibly flavorful and texturally amusing. I suppose though, I should also clarify my obsession with mushrooms. I just love them. Mushrooms of all type and flavor.

This soup was a perfect ending to an insanely busy and stressful week. The soup and our trip down south for Noodle Nose's first hockey game. a hockey game and the Harry Potter exhibition. Yes. And after we spent a good couple hours getting our geek on with two of our favorite geeks people (and the hundreds of other HP geeks), home we went to this delicious soup.

So, without further ado... Make it. Eat it. Off you go...

Yield: about 6 servings

Extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
15 or so shitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
4 baby bello mushrooms, de-stemmed, de-gilled and sliced
3 cups mushroom broth
5 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
About 1 teaspoon salt
14-16 oz soy cream

For the mushroom tartufo balsamic reduction grilled cheese:
4-6 sourdough dinner rolls
Crimini mushrooms, sliced
Daiya cheese
Tartufo balsamic reduction (you can buy it or make it. You can also use regular balsamic reduction)
In a soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil on med/high heat. When barely soft, about 3 minutes, add celery and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes.

Add shitakes and baby bellos to your pot, stir, then add the sage leaves, thyme and mushroom broth. Reduce heat to low/med and add sage leaves, thyme, pepper and salt. Stir then cover and let cook slowly for about 10-15 minutes.

To make your sandwiches: Cut sourdough rolls in half. Put mushrooms on bottom piece, top the mushrooms with daiya cheese. Finish by topping the cheese with a good healthy drizzle of the tartufo balsamic reduction. Put the other half of roll on top and grill in a panini pan or sandwich press. It's great to make these while your soup is cooking away.

After about 10 minutes, give it a stir and a taste. If it needs more salt/pepper at this point, add it then cover, reduce heat to low and let cook another 5 minutes.

Remove lid and slowly add soy cream, stirring as you go. Note: you want the heat to be on low so the cream doesn't separate as you add it.

Once your cream is added, you're ready to go!

Serve with the delicious mushroom tartufo balsamic reduction grilled cheese and/or a salad.

This combination makes a perfectly filling and nutritionally balanced meal.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vegan Vegetable Lasagne

I had a boyfriend a long time ago that made the best. And I mean hands down, the best lasagne known to mankind. I don't talk frequently of past relationships; probably because most of them ended in terrible heartache... or at the very least heartache all by itself. I'm sure this isn't necessarily abnormal but I do think this lasagne bears speaking about.

He, let's call him.... STEVE (emphasis on the 'e', just for fun) used to make it and it was a bit of a process but so so worth it. He was a great cook. Actually, whenever I think of making or ordering lasagne I always never do because I know nothing will ever stand up to the amazing lasagne Steve made.

So we were having friends over... again... and I needed another one of those fantastic 'cook yourself' recipes. Manicotti? Perhaps, but Honey wanted something different. He suggested lasagne. I sighed and explained that lasagne will always be a sensitive subject because Steve's lasagne will always hold a special place in my heart. (Editor's note: Only his lasagne folks, get your minds out of the gutter for Steve's pete's sake!)

And then I though, 'ok, it's been fourteen plus years. Probably time to move past the Steve lasagne obsession and make lasagne anyway. It's the right thing to do. I will admit though, I had a fleeting thought. An idea: Perhaps I should look him up? Find him, more than likely through the ever so enthusiastic help of Facebook (who isn't on Facebook?) or something like that and then ask him for the recipe. Dork. Yes I am.

But no. No I didn't. Instead I went ahead and used what I remembered, veganized it and came up with this. Pre-tty. Darn. Good. And you would never know it's vegan.

Serves: About 12? And that's leftovers for us!

For the sauce: (same sauce used for that delicious vegan manicotti!)
For the tomato sauce: (it's my standard)
1/2 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced fine or smashed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt, give or take
1 can chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes that have been blanched also)
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
For the ricotta: (same ricotta recipe used for that 'still delicious' vegan manicotti!)
2 containers firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
2-3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, give or take
2 Tablespoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped or smashed
1 package lasagne noodles, prepared according to package
6 small zucchinis, mandolined into thin strips (about 1/8 inch) Note: if using large zucchinis, do about 2 or 3
1 medium eggplant, mandolined into thin strips, same as zucchini
1 pkg fresh spinach leaves
1 pkg daiya cheese

In a cast iron pot, get your sauce going by sauteing onion in a little extra virgin olive oil over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes.

Add oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper along with your chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce. Stir well, turn heat down to med/low, cover and let cook.

Fill a large pot with water and salt and boil for your pasta. It's nice to use a lid, to help the boiling process.

Meanwhile, prepare your 'ricotta' by combining all 'ricotta' ingredients (tofu, pecan pieces, apple cider vinegar, salt, oregano, pepper and garlic) in a food processor. Blend/pulse until everything is combined and smooth.

Give your 'ricotta' a taste and add salt/pepper as needed then transfer mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

When your pasta is done, preheat oven to 350 and prepare your lasagne. In your pan, put a thin amount of sauce into the bottom. Not too much; just enough to line the bottom.

Top your sauce with one layer of lasagne noodles. On top of that, spread a generous layer of fresh spinach leaves. Top that with one layer of eggplant.

On top of the eggplant, spread a nice layer of 'ricotta' then top that with a bit of your tomato sauce and a thin layer of daiya cheese.

Then add one layer of zucchini, sprinkle with another thin layer of daiya cheese and sauce then top with lasagne noodles and start the layer process over again.

Note: as you go, press the ingredients in to each other, making more room for additional layers. I was able to get a good three layers.

Make sure you end with a daiya cheese and pasta sauce layer on top.

Cover pan with tin foil and bake for 30-40 minutes then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes. Once hot and bubbly, but not dry, remove from oven and let sit for 10-12 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serve with homemade garlic bread and a fresh salad for a complete,delicious and very filling meal.

This lasagne also pairs incredibly well with a lovely glass of red wine such as a zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon. We always love to suggest Ravenswood Lodi zin for an affordable yet delicious choice.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tofu Spring Rolls

At the current moment, Noodle Nose is in love with spring rolls. Nay, obsessed with spring rolls. When asked what he wants for dinner he either says 'spring rolls' or 'macaroni and tree' or 'spring rolls and macaroni and tree and spring rolls with macaroni and tree inside'. I have yet to conquer that one. The day will never come. But a boy can dream, yes?

But really, who doesn't like spring rolls? (or macaroni and tree for that matter) I mean, it's an adorable little compact package stuffed full of wonderful fresh goodies and flavor. It's a surprise every bite.

These were easy as pie. The most time consuming part of this version was marinating/baking the tofu. If you really wanted to make it easy you could bypass baking your own tofu and buy pre-baked tofu at the store.

In this post I'm going to do a step by step tutorial of my spring rolls. They may not be perfectly traditional but they were tightly wrapped tasty little packages that made a lovely meal for us. They would also make great appetizers for an asian inspired party or heck, even for munching while watching the big game.

Yield: about 8-10 spring rolls

1 package extra firm tofu, thinly sliced into about 2 inch long pieces
2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
fresh cracked pepper
Sesame oil, for baking
Spring roll wrappers
Warm water (for the spring roll wrappers)
1 pkg rice noodles
1 english cucumber, matchsticked
1 bunch green onions, cut into about 2 inch pieces
Carrots, matchstick style
About 2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1/2 bunch cilantro, de-stemmed
For the dipping sauce:
2 Tablespoons organic peanut butter
1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
3 teaspoons braggs
2 Tablespoons agave nectar

Combine tofu, braggs, mustard and pepper in a bowl. Ensure all tofu is adequately covered then let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle sesame oil on pan to prevent sticking then lay tofu pieces onto pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes then pull out pan and flip tofu. Bake for another 12-15 minutes, ensuring tofu is brown and crispy.

In a pot of salted water, bring water to a boil then submerge rice noodles. Once submerged, turn off stove and let noodles sit in the hot water. Move them around every once in a while but let them sit for 6 to 8 minutes until soft yet chewy.

Remove and strain then add them to your filling assembly line.

Get all your veg together and add it to your assembly line as well.

For your wrappers, use a large, shallow bowl. Fill with warm water and submerge your first wrapper. Let it sit in the water until it is adequately soft then remove and place on a kitchen towel for assembly.

Note: when you remove a wrapper, put another in the warm water so it can soften while you assemble.

For the sauce: combine all sauce ingredients and whip quickly with a fork. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl and set aside. Yes. It's that easy.

Now you are ready to assemble:

Spring roll wrapper, fresh from the water and ready to go

Start by placing tofu on wrapper. Start with the tofu so can see it on top when you roll it up.

To that add 4 green onion pieces and 4-6 cucumber matchsticks, depending on how large you sliced them. Mine were very small, like matchstick carrots so I had about 6

On top of that, add mung bean sprouts and matchstick carrots

Top with your noodles, which, at this point have had time to cool

To wrap, first fold the short end over your ingredients. Then tuck sides over top of that. From there carefully roll, tightening your roll as you go. See how the tofu shows with the veg as you roll it up?

Plate and move on to the next

Serve with peanut sauce and/or braggs (or soy sauce). Good on their own, as a meal or as an appetizer.

Simple, healthy, delicious, fun to eat.


Rice Noodles

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan Chickpea Corn Chowder

I haven't forgotten. No. But there are a lot of changes going on in our little corner of life, therefore I have been slightly distracted.

First off,  I am leaving my job of close to five years as a paralegal to pursue a new position: professional blogger! Domestic Engineer. No, in all seriousness, I am leaving my job because my sweet baby needs me. Noodle Nose needs me so I'm going to be there for him.

I do have a new little position that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon and I think I'm going to love it. It also works with my schedule with Noodle, so I can be with him which is the reason for leaving work in the first place. So for now I will say that a: it will fit in quite well with this lil' ol' blog and b: it involves a very 'purple smile'... more on that later. Oh, and it's fantastic.

So back to my neglected posts. I will get them up, yes I will. In the meantime I'll start you off with this fantastic soup I made. I'm not a 'chowder' person, persay but it just felt right one evening so I threw some stuff in a pot to see what would happen. And you know what happened? I'll tell you what happened: victory!

Yield: about 5 to 6 servings

Extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped (don't go too crazy, it doesn't have to be super fine)
3 carrots, chopped
3-4 (depending on size) stalks celery, chopped
About 8 small red potatoes, cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
About 4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more, depending
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper, plus more, depending
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (if you do dry, soak & quick cook them ahead of time)
About 2 cups frozen corn, white or yellow
3/4 to 1 cup vegan 1/2 and 1/2... Silk original 'cream' works great
Fresh green onion, chopped, for garnish

In a stew pot, combine olive oil and onion on med/high heat and saute until almost translucent. About 6 minutes.

To that, add garlic, carrots and celery. Continue to cook another 5 minutes or so then add potatoes, give it a quick stir, reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Let cook covered for about 12-14 minutes until potatoes are bsically soft. While simmering, add the chickpeas and corn, then stir and let come back to a simmer. Once simmering, give it a taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Once flavor is to your liking, turn heat down to low and let cool with the lid off for 2 to 3 minutes then add the soy cream about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously.

Now you are ready to serve!

Ladle into a bowl, top with some fresh chopped green onion, for color and fresh flavor and serve alongside fresh bread, La Panzanella crackers or even better... your own homemade crackers!

So hearty, filling and delicious. You get your protein from the chickpeas, veg from the veg, decadence from the cream. It's all there and so so good.




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