Archive for the ‘Soups and Stews’ Category

Split Pea and Barley Stew   Leave a comment

This weekend I bought Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker: 200 Ultra-Convenient, Super-Tasty, Completely Animal-Free Recipes by Robin Robertson.

I am so excited to add this book to my collection. I will continue to post as I make my way through all of the recipes, such as Spicy Tomato Queso Dip, Slow Cooker Pho, and Wine Braised Seitan with Cremini Mushrooms.

On to the meal:

Wow! I am impressed.

This Split Pea and Barley Stew was fantastic! But don’t take my word for it, my omni friends, P, PRT, and T all raved as well.

So, this stew was actually made by my awesome partner, T. He used yellow split peas, instead of green. It doesn’t define which to use in the recipe, and since we had yellow that’s what was used. I am so glad, because the yellow color really stood out against the deep red of the tomato sauce and the vibrant orange of sweet potato and carrot.

The recipe calls for 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, but here we used 1 lb. sweet potato and .5 lb. red potato. I think T also doubled (or tripled) the herbs/spices.

I topped it with Tofutti brand Better Than Sour Cream, some avocado slices, and toast. YUM! I brought a bowl of it to work for lunch, and added 1/3 C of some cooked spelt. Delicious, again.

A special thanks to my partner for making me some awesome dinner.

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Creamy Broccoli Soup   Leave a comment

So, after a long hiatus due to school, I am back! I am so excited to cook my face off now that I have graduated! Woop! I had an awesome day in the kitchen yesterday, and after throwing some veggie broth into the crock pot, I made this soup.

The original recipe can be found here.

I made a few changes. I halved the recipe. I sautéed the garlic, onion, potato, salt, pepper, and oregano (in lieu of basil) for about ten minutes in safflower oil on medium heat.

I then added 1.25 cups of water and a few teaspoons of vegetarian chicken broth powder (Whole Foods bulk section) to the pan and heated through.

Then I followed the recipe as noted. I did use veggie broth in the food processor with the cashews.

Posted May 5, 2013 by deeats in Soups and Stews

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Easiest Vegetable Broth   1 comment

When I first started making soups from scratch and buying grains from the bulk bin, I went through a lot of tetra-packed vegetable broth. That got expensive. It’s about $3 for 32 oz., or four cups of broth. This recipe is an easy way to make broth, and take advantage of vegetable scraps you would have otherwise thrown away.

Collecting the scraps is easy as long as you remember to put them in the freezer.
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Take a sharpie and ziploc bag. Write “broth” on the outside of the bag. When you are making meals take the tops, ends, and skins (really any part that you are going to throw away) of celery, carrots, onions, shallots, potatoes, and garlic, and put them in the broth bag. You could try using tomatoes as well, but only the fruit. The leaves and stems will make you sick. There are probably some other vegetables you might like as well. I do not add any vegetables from the Brassicaceae family, because they are bitter, and will make your broth bitter. The Brassicaceae family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, radishes and many more. I have never used spinach or beet greens, but those are in the Amaranthaceae family and might be okay.

So, when you have some spare time and about 1.5 cups of vegetable scraps you can make your broth. The broth takes less time to make if you chop the vegetables up before freezing them, but it shouldn’t take too long to cut them if you were feeling lazy. You will want to chop the veggies into really tiny pieces. The greater the surface area (the smaller the pieces), the better the broth will taste and the less time it will need to cook. Alternatively, you might try tossing everything in the food processor, but I think this might make straining difficult. I’ll try this next time and add an update.

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After the vegetables are cut, add them to a large sauce pan with 10 cups of water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a roaring boil. Turn the heat to medium and watch three episodes of South Park. My broth cooked for 1 hour, 20 minutes including the time it took for the water to boil. You may or may not need to cook for longer depending on the vegetables you used.

I tried the broth after it had been cooking for 35 minutes and it tasted strongly of celery. Then I tried it at one hour and I could taste the onion it, but it was faint. At 1 hour, 15 minutes I thought it needed just a little longer and it was perfect five minutes later.

You’ll have to taste the broth a few times to get it to a flavor that you like.

Take a strainer and put it inside of a pitcher (can use a bowl, but really not very good for this). Pour the broth from the pan, through the strainer, and into the pitcher. Put the leftover veggies in your compost (or the trash, if you must). Take an empty jar (I use old whiskey bottles, which hold 3 cups of liquid) and put a funnel at the top. Pour the broth from the pitcher into the bottle. Store in your refrigerator. Alternatively, store in your freezer and just take out two nights before you plan to use it, or when you run out. If you plan to freeze it, make sure the bottle is only 2/3-3/4 full.

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In total, this recipe made between five and six cups of broth. I only got five because I used a bowl instead of a pitcher and about a cup spilled all over the counter and the floor. It took about an hour of passive time, and about ten minutes of active time. Really easy, really delicious.

I don’t add salt to my broth. I salt dishes as I cook them. But if you do want to add some, do it at the end, when the flavor is where you want it. Adding salt in the beginning might be deceiving in terms of taste.

____________ UPDATE! February 1, 2013_____________________________
Last weekend I made more vegetable broth. I threw the vegetables in the food processor beforehand, and I’m going to do that from now on, because it didn’t make straining more difficult, and made the flavor even better.

My broth turned out slightly spicy. I’m not positive, but I think it’s because I added carrot greens this time, unlike the time before. Next time I will not add them and see what happens. The spiciness didn’t make the broth bad, it was just an unexpected end note. I guess I’ll have to have a taco night and see if it gives an extra kick to the rice. My rice cooker is still broken so I will try to find soon.

Posted January 6, 2013 by deeats in Soups and Stews

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The Last Saturday – Vegetable Barley Soup   2 comments

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I love soup, therefore I love to make soup. I like to take my time. I am adamant that all the vegetables be cut into roughly the same size – 1/2″ – 3/4″ cubes. This soup took me two hours to make. It doesn’t have to take anyone this long to make soup if you have a fancy vegetable cutter, but if you don’t, it takes time and care to cut up 9-10 cups of vegetables. You can also speed things along by making sure your grains and beans are cooked before you start. I don’t mind. First, I listened to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Then I listened to In Rainbows by Radiohead, and to finish up I turned on the Prince and the Revolution spotify station. I sang the whole time, and I am easily amused by repetitive tasks and the sound of my own voice. But now I sit, eating my soup, and blogging about how great it turned out.

Food:
Vegetables
2 c chopped celery*
1 c chopped turnips**
2 cloves shallots*
1/2 medium onion*
1 small yukon gold potato* Leave the skins on
1 small red potato* Leave the skins on
2 very small eggplants, chopped, about a cup***
2 c chopped carrots, cut carrots in half lengthwise, then cut on a bias*
1 c chopped mushrooms****

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Grains*****
1.5 c cooked barley
1/3 c uncooked long grain brown rice
1/3 uncooked wheat-berries

Beans*****
1.5 cups cooked adzuki beans
3 servings tofu
1/2 cup dried split peas

Herbs n spices
3/4 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried sage
1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs turmeric

Other
6 tbs sesame oil
6 cups vegetable broth (made at home, no sodium)******
1 cup vegetable broth (pacific coast, low sodium)
Water
1 tbs salt
3/4 tbs rice vinegar

Tools:
Medium size sauce pan
Large Stock/Soup Pot
Spatula
Spoon
Chef’s knife
Cutting board

Prep:
Put on an apron.
Get all ingredients out, and on the counter.
Wash your vegetables.

Action:
Add four cups homemade, sodium free****** vegetable broth to saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the split peas, rice, and wheat-berries.
When the broth/grain/bean mix boils, turn the heat down to medium or medium low and let simmer for 50-60 minutes.

Cut the vegetables*. Take your time; soup shouldn’t hurt. Turn on some music.
Make sure to keep an eye on the simmering grains and beans, and the last two cups of homemade broth as the mixture boils down. You may need more than six cups. If you run out of broth, just use water. You may have to take the grains and beans off the heat if they finish before the vegetables are ready for them to be added.

Put the soup pot on the stove. Turn heat to medium and add the 3 tbs sesame oil.
When the oil is heated (sprinkle a drop of water on it, if it sizzles it’s ready) add the herbs and spices, wait a minute, then add the vegetables.
Sauté.
Stir the veggies every few minutes and add the rest of the sesame oil as necessary.
Cook the vegetables on medium for 15 minutes.

Cut to tofu into bite size pieces, 1/2″-3/4″ cubes.
When the onions are translucent (after they’ve cooked on medium for 15 minutes), add the tofu, adzuki beans, and barley. Stir.
Add the wheat-berries, split peas, rice, and any leftover cooking liquid. Stir.
Add one cup of low sodium vegetable broth, and enough water to cover the veggie/grain/bean mix.
Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the carrots, celery and potatoes are of a texture you enjoy. Also try the peas and wheat-berries to make sure they are also cooked through.
In the last five or so minutes of cooking, add 1 tbs salt, and 3/4 tbs rice vinegar.
Eat.

I don’t have high blood pressure, in fact, I have relatively low pressure, so salt is not a worry for me. If it is for you, skip the last step, but maybe add a little vinegar still. It helps the flavor to dance.

*I use onions, carrots, celery, shallots, and potatoes to make homemade vegetable broth. Take the parts you were going to throw away and put them in a quart size ziploc and toss it in your freezer. Throughout the rest of the week, add your scraps to this bag. I don’t add bitter foods – mustards (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), or radishes because they will make your broth bitter.

**If you do not like turnips, or other bitter foods, do not add them to this soup. I love turnips, that’s why they’re here. If you do not like them, sub for more mushrooms.

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***You might be wondering where I found eggplants so small. In my garden. It froze here on New Year’s Eve at night, so I cut those off of my eggplant earlier in the afternoon. The plant had a really great run, and has been producing since April. I probably got 100 eggplants. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’m not sure. Given enough sunshine, eggplants go wild. If you do not have a mutant eggplant, substitute a cup of cubed eggplant. If you hate eggplant substitute something else, but I couldn’t even taste them in the soup.

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****There’s a chance you live with and/or feed people who think they don’t like mushrooms. If you want them to eat this soup, cut the mushrooms up into 1/4″ cubes. I have something called a salad genius or something and it does this really easily. If they don’t look like mushrooms, the mushroom haters will never know.

*****To cut down the time to make this soup. Use canned, or precooked grains and beans. Alternatively, if you don’t have any cooked beans or grains, you could cook them all together in the saucepan, by increasing the amount of broth and cooking time.

******I make my vegetable broth from scratch. It’s easy, and free, and it uses scraps of food that would’ve either gone to the landfill or my compost bucket. Is it sodium free? Probably not, since vegetables have sodium in them, however it does not taste salty, and I do not add any extra sodium to it.

I hope you enjoy the soup!

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Posted January 5, 2013 by deeats in Soups and Stews

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