Tag Archives: onion

Tuscan soups

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Warming cold winter nights. Although the expected super snowstorm passed us by and went to Massachusetts, we got a lot of snow in the following days. So much that we don’t know where to put it anymore. The cold temperatures don’t let any of the accumulated snow melt. Warming up with a hot soup when the snow falls is the best way to prepare for shoveling duty. I found this soup recipe on Epicurious.com and veganized it. A wonderful whole soup in the cold weather. Here’s my recipe.

Light blender fare

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I am now a proud participant of the ‘Soup challenge’, challenging my soup repertoire. Pan-raw fare while preparing for a blizzard on the East Coast? I don’t know. In this weather when I am reluctant eating salad and prefer comfy food such as split pea soup. After bean and split pea soup, I’m opting for the recommended Borscht. Other suggestions have ingredients that are hard to get here in winter. Still this one also asks for fresh dill… got frozen one instead. I cooked all the beets added some potato for substance, then sautéed onions, carrot and parsnip and add to the blender with broth, almond milk and spices. It works although the sorbet-like result looks more like a light summer refreshment, I preferred it re-heated. It is also harder than I thought to sell ‘pink sorbet for dinner’ to a ‘real man equipped with real teeth’… see recipe

Happy New Year

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You will never go hungry  if you know how to make Gnocchi on the 29th in Argentina, (the day before pay-day,) or if you can make Eastern European Pirogi.
Flour, oil, salt, potatoes – both pasta dishes are easy to make and tasty soul food for a limited budget. With memories of foods in Poland, I made Pirogi, as it felt time consuming. Until I came across a copy of Terry H. Romero’s ‘Vegan eats world’. Very recommendable book indeed. The two recipes I tried were both working well and are both keepers. Following my version of pirogi and especially the awkward shaping process from an Indian Roti recipe if you have strong arms and countertop space a rolling pin may be more time saving… Get recipe here

Taboulistic

TabouDSC_6320RAW cuisine is so immensely creative. Replacing cooked grains or pasta for similar tasting ingredients solves the common sogginess of traditional Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Salad. No matter what I used to do, my grain tabbouleh was sweating. This new recipe has an unusual twist, can be made as RAW recipe and tastes great. Instead of cracked wheat or couscous pasta, it uses chopped cauliflower… See recipe. 

Malaga-torn-knee

MullagaDSC_5686.1The ‘Last Soup of the Year,’ Miss Sophie’s favorite Mulligatawny soup in ‘Dinner for One’, is known in Germany at least since the annual airing of the British play at New Year’s Night. The Anglicized Tamil-Indian soup’s name, that is spoken with a stiff lip, simply means ‘pepper water’.
There are many ways to make this soup, which always has a curry taste and a yellowy turmeric tint. Following is my vegan interpretation. Despite the Indian leaning, the soup is perfect for our Northern cold season. See recipe.

Cowboy cookoffs…

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If you don’t care how your food looks–Chili is for you!
I find it impossible to make chili look good in a picture, it has this ‘canned dog food’ appeal. But the  soul food is popular for games, tailgating, and is perfect for cold weather. Just the amount of spice should prevent several colds.
As one of our local fire departments is participating in a cook-off for the hot Tex-Mex American Cowboy dish, my own memory of tailgating with bean chillis was rather painful, so I kept avoiding them. Today, I am convinced that the beans were not soaked long enough, not cooked right, or maybe contained too much grease in combination with spices. The official Texas State dish, by the way, does not contain beans, even though chili beans are likely named after it… 

Yesterday, I found out that there are safer, fart-free chilis, very easy, pressure cooker fast that will not give you the blows for days to come, tastes are surprisingly real as a vegan version. Sorry Texas, no cows compromised for this one. Also environmentally friendly, it uses dry beans and fresh pumpkin mash, which saves at least 3-5 cans; You can make up that extra prep-time easily in using a pressure cooker. See recipe

Variation of a Theme

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Black beans are such a Soul Food. As mushrooms have Umami flavor, black beans, I am sure have something similar. While red bean Chili is an American favorite… ( just read our local fire department’s participates in a chili contest,) there are some like me, who are just not able to survive the day after Red Bean Chili (maybe the beans were not soaked?) however, I have never met anyone who can pass up a velvety Black Bean soup.
My earlier recipe contained butternut squash, this one here is even easier, it is based on tomatoes. I always recommend to go as fresh as possible with ingredients, use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, which in winter may be a challenge. This soup is more succulent less sweet and more spicy than the other recipe and it comes close to Dobbs Ferry’s Tomatillo restaurant soup. See here for recipe.

New Twist for a well known theme

DressDSC_5216Burgers again? The real advantage of plant based food is that there are so many different recipes to discover. Even though they might look the same as their carnivore cousins, they’re never the same old recipe. This time I tried a blend with mushrooms, walnuts and oatmeal. Mushrooms add umami and juice and the rest adds texture, if you want, you can also add some leftover black beans to the mix. See recipe
I also posted my variation of easy veg’n carrot ginger dressing that goes very well with a light garden salad, or even baby spinach. See recipe

The one that didn’t make it…

BSproutDSC_5151Thanksgiving has to include a brussels sprout… I had this unusual recipe but did not have time to include it this Thanksgiving. It requires cutting the little heads in half and then deliberately slicing them to fine shreds. For this side dish, had to make a couple of changes as I did not have cranberries or pistachios at home. Pistachios do well with the sprouts, several recipes list this combination, instead I used sliced almonds and vegan parmigiano. Also, instead of cranberries, I used soaked raisins, chopped even smaller. Although a bit more work, this variation on brussels sprouts recipes is well worth the effort. See recipe

Mindful Thanksgiving

KaleDSC_5139 For an alien, Thanksgiving is a strange ritual. Based on harvest festivals, to unify a Nation beyond religion, every year in every US household an imaginary feast is staged, that native Americans supposedly held for starving Pilgrims.  …For most Americans today, that means eating Turkey with a given order of sides, which makes Thanksgiving about consuming a bird, which has been industrially altered since Pilgrim’s times. Likewise all our food species, plant or animal alike, have been modified for optimum output, scientifically enhanced for maximized industry gain. Thanksgiving to me is not only being thankful to have food on the table, but also being mindful about what has happened to our food and what might happen in the future. Continue reading

What are all those grains?

GrainburgerDSC_5082 Oh, I remember Grünkern. Grünkern Frikadellen were the grain burgers of the early generation Birkenstock Vegetarians in Germany. Now on my eternal quest for the best plant based burgers I find that grains make a very ‘believable’ modern burger. Different than those crumbly tasteless early Generation ones… That reminds me to look up the difference of all those kernels: Continue reading

What to do with eggplant

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Good recipes should be passed on. Our CSA blog suggested an eggplant soup to take care of the orphaned nightshades in our kitchen. The recipe from the NY Times they recommended, looked so nice and tasty, that I had to try it. My soup looked more earthy and not as milky as on their picture, plus I photographed at night, which did not produce such a good picture, but it tasted great. Following is the link to the original recipe. The changes I made might have been due to that I had a only a white eggplant. The roasting in the oven broiler took also double the time,  than indicated, that I would consider roasting over open stove flame next time. My adapted recipe

The young princes

AuguDSC_4393Are all mushrooms with a veil poisonous? When I saw the fist sized mushrooms developing next to our compost, I thought this could not be edible. The two tops on the left side of the picture became almost 5 inches in diameter. Especially beautiful are their dropped and almost intact veils. A veil, albeit not as complete is normal for this kind of mushroom, plus a wonderful sweet scent, almost like marzipan or anise. The underside gills are pinkish or brownish, the spore print is dark and the mushroom society confirmed that it is indeed Agaricus Augustus, a relative of the champignon. Also named ‘the prince mushrooms,’ they indeed look majestic with their white culottes. Eat them for example sauteed with onions.
Mushrooms have good and bad look alikes, I recommend never to eat without consulting with a mycologist or experienced guide.

Blessed with eggplants

MoussDSC_4241It’s raining eggplants and cucumbers. While I was hoping for a green salad leaf in our last CSA delivery, I suddenly find myself loaded with eggplant bounty. Back to the Mediterranean where the nightshade recipes are a plenty. That reminded me, we never tried our own veg. moussaka, which also makes use of zucchini squash also in multiples in our fridge. Little did I know that this humble dish needs a lot of oven time. On this occasion I also learned about a nice alternative to veg. smart ground, made from scratch, however if no meat substitute is at hand, I always use some chopped mushrooms for texture and instead of bechamel, I used mashed potatoes. See recipe

New York Deli

ThunaDSC_3181New York Delis have fooled many city visitors. Expecting a real ‘Delicatessen’ store, which in Europe is a premium feast for the eye and the palate, visitors enter a Deli in New York, but calling it such is a joke at best. A NY Deli sells coffee and sandwiches in a quality found in gas stations all over the country. One staple in delis, sandwich chains and bagel cafes is the common tuna salad. An often soupy concoction with only two distinguishable ingredients: mayonnaise and celery, other ingredients, hopefully tuna, hidden in the mesh. As tuna taste is addictive and vegans commonly miss it, there is now relief: The very convincing and most healthy vegan un-tuna blend. Just what I had for lunch!

Re-Inventions

BavDSC_3137What is a German potato salad? If you think it is a potato-mayonnaise salad, (which in South America btw. is referred to as ‘Russian Salad’), you may limit yourself. Finns add frozen green peas to that blend, others add eggs. However, Germans know at least 20 different ways of making a potato salad and as I wrote before, there are complete cook books about potato recipes.
Most potato salads contain animal products such as eggs in mayonnaise, cream or bacon bits, however there are also a healthier kinds with less fat. My winter favorite, Bavarian potato salad for example, has a warm marinade blended into cooked and sliced potatoes.  don’t like too pale potatoes, so I produced something like home fries with dressing, which in winter is the perfect warm side dish with carrots and peas and maybe a field roast sausage or roast. See Recipe

Broth, bouillons and stock

Broth cubes are so ‘modern convenience’, they add a quick flavor to sauces, soups and stews. Did you know they have been around for more than a hundred years? In Northern Europe, the Maggi company built an empire with the soup extract, elsewhere did Oxo and others; Lovage is sometimes called ‘Maggikraut’ in Germany, because of its telltale scent. Continue reading

Mardi Gras

There is nothing traditional except color. I must admit, this is a wacky and not very festive combination, but despite the looks it is really tasty. The real recipe of the bake is with white or savoy cabbage, white beans and potatoes. However if you like a stronger taste with more character, try red cabbage and juicy black beans which also won’t discolor. Serve with quinoa burgers and tartar sauce. Cabbage blend recipe
The quinoa burgers or croquettes are quite tasty with tartar sauce. The recipe is adjusted to be non crumbly as the original German recipe was more like granola. Quinoa burger recipe

Home Remedies

A friend asked me about German onion cough remedy. Apparently a Greek version has alcohol in it, but I know only family style ‘onion juice’. The recipe requires the onion to be cooked. With the hot version, you can also add herbs. However there are other recipes that are using the juice cold, which some people think is more potent. Both are supposed to help with cough and cold and flu symptoms, are tasty and safe to give even small children. The remedy lasts abt. 4 weeks in the refrigerator. See recipe here

Orange vegetables

Cauliflower comes in many colors. I am a bit weary when I see bright purple varieties on our farmer’s market. However colors are common and the orange variety is supposed to be canadian form with increased levels of vitamin A. The list of cauliflower benefits includes cell repair and cancer protection and is more potent, when the vegetable is stir fried instead of boiled. I love sauces, so Aloo Gobi, the Indian curry with lots of spices and one of the red hot chilli pepper is just right when it is getting nippy outside. Use white or orange cauliflower, as the colors won’t fight the red sauce. I tried a recipe from a German book, but had to adjust it to what I had available here and I always slip some chickpeas in the recipe… See recipe