Archive for the 'Soups' Category

Woo-hoo, Soup’s On!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Here I am, once again reviewing the newest 30 minute vegan cookbook from serial author Mark Reinfeld, Soup’s On! Like my previous review in this series, I’m going with recipes I’ve never tried before.

First up is the Cream of Mushroom Soup (page 127), which I’ve only ever had the canned kind. Homemade is super easy to make and much more mushroomy. Most of the recipes include a list of possible variations, it’s very handy to customize to your own taste preferences.

I did quite a few: subbing out different kinds of mushrooms; sautéed the garlic and onion in oil; used coconut milk instead of soy creamer (that last one wasn’t actually an official variation but I figured what the hay).

I also made the Vegan Crème Fraîche (page 195) to go on top. Never tried regular crème fraîche before, so I didn’t have anything to compare. While it tasted fine and added a richness, I could do without it. Although the author likes to suggest it as a topping for a number of recipes, I didn’t think the soup needs it.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

I didn’t plan on making the Creamy Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup (page 125). Much too lazy to go to the store, I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand for this particular recipe (don’t you just love it when that happens? And with the recipe variations, the likelihood of that happening is greatly increased). And just like that, another canned soup bites the dust in favor of making it myself.

Mole Soup with Veggies

Holy Mole Soup with Veggies (page 145), any soup that’s got chocolate chips in it is a soup with my name on it. So much flavor. But it felt like it needed a little something to help soak up all that flavor, so I served it with rice and roasted tofu.

Happy Pho Brown Rice Noodles

I got a package of Happy Pho brown rice noodles that I’ve been itching to try after gobbling down Strawberry Spring Rolls using their brown rice spring roll wrappers. Saving the spice packet that came in the box for another day, I made the Vietnamese Pho Real Bowl (page 74).

I had to adjust the cooking time as the noodles only took 1 minute instead of the 7 minutes in the recipe. But I love the star anise in the broth and I’ve since made it numerous times throwing in whatever noodles and veggies I had available.

Vietnamese Pho Bowl

That’s the thing about this cookbook, the recipes really are endlessly adaptable and pretty easy too. I didn’t try any of the raw or dessert soups as I’m waiting for Spring and Summer fruit and veggies to hit the local farmer’s market to dive into those recipes. And then, soup’s on.

Vietnamese Pho Real Bowl
Serves 6 to 8

6 cups vegetable stock or water
3 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce
3 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons seeded and diced hot chile pepper, or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
8 ounces beef- or chicken-style seitan, with marinade
3 ounces uncooked thin rice noodles
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Place the vegetable stock in a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the rice noodles, cabbage, lime juice, green onion, and cilantro. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the rice noodles and cabbage and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lime juice, green onion, and cilantro and stir well. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick before serving.

Variations
- For a gluten-free version, replace the seitan with cubed and roasted tofu.
- Add 1 cup of small broccoli florets, sugar snap peas, or snow peas.
- Add 2 tablespoons of chiffonaded Thai basil instead of, or in addition to, the cilantro.
- Add 2 tablespoons of miso paste and stir until dissolved just before serving.

From the book The 30 Minute Vegan Soup’s On by Mark Reinfeld. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2013. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

Disclosure: I received the book free of charge from the publisher to review. The opinions and experience with the book expressed herein are my own. There was no pay to say.

This post also contains Amazon links, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on any of the links and make a purchase of anything.

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What’s its Name Beet Soup

Beet Soup

I didn’t set out to make beet soup. It’s just that sometimes my fridge can be so bossy, telling me what to make for dinner.

Fridge: Hey you, yeah you. You gotta cook the beets.
Me: Uh, I don’t really feel like eating them right now.
Fridge: They’ve been sitting around for awhile; they won’t last much longer.
Me: Oh, I didn’t realize that, I guess I should make something with them.
Fridge: Dumb ass.

Besides the beets, I threw in a bunch of other vegetables that I had lying around so the fridge doesn’t get all snippy about those too. It has far more ingredients than in a more traditional beet soup recipe. But with such a beautiful red hue, I’m still calling it beet soup.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare

Me: Who’s a dumb ass now?
Fridge: Shut up and eat your soup.

Beet Soup
Makes 6 servings

1/2 medium head cauliflower
1 large sweet potato, about 13 ounces, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small red potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
Plain soy yogurt for garnish
Handful of parsley, chopped, for garnish

In a soup pot, heat the oil until hot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and celery, sauté for a minute or so. Add the cauliflower, red potatoes, beets and sauté for another minute.

Add the vegetable broth, stir to mix well. Cover and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the soy milk and corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. To serve, top with a bit of the yogurt and parsley if desired.

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Chipotle Cauliflower Corn Chowder

Chipotle Cauliflower Corn Chowder

I’ve been making a lot of soup lately even with the flip floppy weather. Specifically chowder, chipotle chowder. It all started when I dug up Vegan Yum Yum. It’s one of those cookbooks purchased long ago but never really saw any action. It just sat languishing on the bookshelf. Then one day, I made the Chipotle Basil Corn Chowder.

I really liked the spicy taste the chipotle added so I kept making it. And making it. Little changes crept in each time. Basil got dropped as it was no longer summer. Then the lime went. It started to merge closer to the version that I used to make.

Next thing I knew, the chowder had evolved into something else entirely. It’s still a corn chowder but now it has cauliflower and sweet potato too (results of an everything but the kitchen sink moment).

Chipotle Cauliflower Corn Chowder

My newest thing is topping the chowder with Kale Sprinkles. I found them at the Kaia Foods booth at the College of San Mateo farmers market. They’re basically the crumbled parts of their regular dehydrated kale chip product, Kale Krunch. Available in several flavors, Quite Cheesy, Southwest Ranch, Cheezy Chipotle and Tarragon Dijon. Highly addictive, I’ve been sprinkling them on everything.

I usually freeze at least part of the recipe after it’s cooled, portioned out into individual-sized servings. To reheat, just zap for 30 seconds on high to loosen from the plastic container and slide into a microwaveable bowl. Heat on high for 4 minutes. Take out and stir well, breaking up any icy chunks. Then hit the reheat soup setting. Make sure it’s piping hot throughout before eating. Your microwave time and settings may vary but you get the general idea.

Chipotle Cauliflower Corn Chowder
Makes about 6 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, small diced
1 medium carrot, small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch florets
3 small red potatoes, small diced
1 whole Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce (canned), chopped
3 – 3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable base bouillon
2 cups corn kernels fresh or frozen
1/2 cup soymilk
Crumbled kale chips for garnish (optional)

Dissolve the bouillon in one cup of boiling water, set aside.

In a soup pot, heat the oil until hot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and celery, sauté for a minute or so. Add the cauliflower, red potatoes and chipotle and sauté for another minute.

Add the bouillon broth and the rest of the water, stir to mix well. Cover and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the soy milk and corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Puree 2/3 or more of the soup in a blender and return to the pot, stir to mix well. For a smoother chowder, puree all of the soup.

To serve, top the individual bowls with the kale sprinkles if desired.

This post contains an Amazon link, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on the link and make a purchase of anything.

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Spicy Pumpkin Wonton Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Wonton Soup

With the extra ingredients from making Crispy Baked Spicy Pumpkin Wontons, I made more wontons but this time for a warming, comforting bowl of soup. In Cantonese, wonton means “swallowing clouds”. Floating around in the soup broth, they kinda do look like clouds.

In stark contrast to the crispiness of the baked version, wonton wrappers in soup turns all silky and slippery. They’re like soft little pillows. These in particular are also extra spicy, as I bumped up the amount of Sriracha (you can see how red the filling is in the below photo).

Never thought I would be making pumpkin wontons two ways out of one can of pureed pumpkin, but there you go.

Spicy Pumpkin Wonton Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Wonton Soup
Serves 2 or 4 as part of a meal

Soup Base
4 cups water
4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, discard the stems and slice the caps
2 slices fresh ginger
Salt
2 cups spinach

Start the soup base first so it can simmer while you make the wontons. In a pot, add the water, mushrooms, ginger and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and leave until you’re ready to add the wontons. Just before the wontons are done, add the spinach.

Pumpkin wontons
24 wonton wrappers

Filling
1/2 of a 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3/4″ piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 green onion stalk, finely chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a separate large pot, fill with water about halfway and bring to a boil.

In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, ginger, green onion, soy sauce and Sriracha. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well.

Place 1 teaspoon of the filling off center towards a corner of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges of two adjoining sides with your finger, and fold to form a triangle and seal the edges. Wet the tip of one of the side corners then bring the two corner tips together in an overlap and press to seal.

Gently lower the wontons into the separate pot of boiling water on medium heat. Stir gently to separate the wontons and to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Depending on the pot size, you may need to cook the wontons in batches, do not overcrowd the wontons.

When the wontons float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes, they’re done. Lift the wontons out with a slotted spoon and drop into the soup base.

To serve, ladle into bowls but let cool slightly before eating as the filling will be hot, temperature-wise (it’ll be spicy hot too).

Another Fork in the Trail Cookbook Giveaway
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway, it ends on Friday, October 21st.

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Vegetarian Pho From Ani’s Raw Food Asia

Vegetarian Pho From Ani's Raw Food Asia

Another cookbook recently landed in my kitchen for review, Ani’s Raw Food Asia by Ani Phyo. While excited, I admit I also had doubts. I’m most familiar with Chinese food and it’s usually cooked (some dishes are even cooked a couple of different ways before it’s finally served), there’s not much that’s uncooked. But if anybody can pull off Asian raw food, it’s Ani.

The nicely designed cookbook is jam packed with Asian-American fusion raw food and drink recipes, along with cooking and lifestyle tips. The style of writing is light and conversational in tone, resulting in an easy and inspirational read.

As soon as I saw the recipe for vegetarian pho, I knew what I was going to try first. What a delight! The flavors are spot-on, satisfying savory – you don’t even notice it’s raw. Served at room temperature, it’s perfect for those super hot days.

Vegetarian Pho From Ani's Raw Food Asia

The recipe calls for kelp noodles which I’ve never tried before. Made from a sea vegetable, kelp noodles are rich in minerals, fat-free, gluten-free, low in carbs and only 6 calories per serving. They’re clear and surprisingly crisp. Straight out of the fridge, the neutral-tasting noodles are crunchy. Left to warm to room temperature, the noodles become softer.

Vegetarian Pho with Vegetables and Hoisin Sauce
Makes 4 servings

Marinade
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup Nama Shoyu or Bragg Liquid Aminos

Broth
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
4 cups filtered water

Noodles
4 cups kelp noodles (about 1 pound of noodles)

Vegetables
1/2 cup shredded napa cabbage
1/2 cup tender greens like mustard, Bibb, red leaf, mache, or spinach
1/3 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

Garnish
1 cup bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 fresh red or green chile pepper, sliced
1 batch Hoisin Sauce

Marinate onion and mushrooms by tossing in a bowl with Nama Shoyu. Set aside for 20 minutes to marinate and soften.

Make broth by placing ginger, garlic, bay leaf, and 1 cup water in blender. Blend smooth. Add remaining water and the onion marinade mixture. Pulse lightly to mix.

Place noodles into four serving bowls. Put vegetables on top of noodles in each bowl. Pour broth into each bowl.

Place vegetable garnish onto one plate. Serve as a side along with Hoisin Sauce.

Hoisin Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup Nama Shoyu
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 to 3 tablespoons yacon syrup, to taste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch cayenne powder, to taste

Place all ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk until mixed well.

Will keep a week or longer in the fridge.

From the book Ani’s Raw Food Asia by Ani Phyo. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2011.

Disclosure: I received the book free of charge from the publisher to review. The opinions and experience with the book expressed herein are my own. There was no pay to say.

This post also contains an Amazon link, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on the link and make a purchase of anything.

Vegan “Menudo”

Vegan "Menudo"

News flash! My make-believe food truck, Chow Vegan, has added a new item to its pretend Asian Mexican fusion menu – vegan menudo. Should go well with the veggie duck taco, don’t you think?

Menudo is a traditional Mexican stew whose main ingredients include tripe and hominy in a spicy broth. I subbed out the tripe for dried yuba (bean curd) sticks. The yuba doesn’t taste anything at all like tripe, instead it adds a chewy texture. Some Cantonese dishes are very big on texture, adding certain ingredients just to have the texture.

Having grown up on California’s Central Coast, where most cities have Spanish names, Asian Mexican fusion was inevitable. I can’t claim my version is authentic and I’m sure someone’s grandma somewhere is turning over in her grave.

But it’s so good. It’s flavorful and hardy. The flavor becomes more concentrated after a night in the fridge, perfect for a cold day standing outside of a food truck window.

Two bucks a cup; four bucks a bowl. Seating is curbside only. Thank you and please come again.

Vegan “Menudo”
Makes about 8 cups (4-6 servings)

3 ounces dried yuba (bean curd) sticks, soaked to rehydrate, cut into 1 1/2″ rectangular pieces
2 medium red potatoes, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
14.5 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes plus the juice
15 oz. can hominy, drained and rinsed
4 cups water
1 tablespoon vegan chicken base bouillon
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
A few sprigs of cilantro for garnish, chopped

Dissolve the bouillon in one cup of boiling water, set aside.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery, sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the can of tomatoes and its juices, hominy and spices. Stir to mix well.

Add the bouillon broth, the rest of the water and the yuba sticks. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. To serve, garnish with the cilantro.

Simple Treats Cookbook Giveaway
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway, it ends mañana (Friday, October 29th).

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

With the return of cold and rainy weather this week, I made an old-fashioned “chicken” noodle soup using the newfangled meatless wonder, Gardein. As a youngster, I slurped the kind of chicken noodle soup that came out of a can. For some inexplicable reason, it’s a fond memory.

Re-made vegan style, it has the same comfort food feel as the original. I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base for a chicken broth taste. I really like this stuff, it adds a savory flavor but it’s not overwhelmingly chicken-like. All of their vegetarian bases are vegan certified. They also have regular meat bases, so make sure to read the labels carefully.

Like most soups, it’s even better when allowed to sit after cooking so the flavors develop a bit more and the noodles get really soft. Once cooled, the soup can also be frozen into individual serving portions for a future rainy day.

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes about 7 cups

6 cups water
1 tablespoon vegan chicken base bouillon
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 medium leek, white and a little of the green part, sliced into 1/8″ rounds
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/8″ rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 7-ounce package Gardein chick’n filets, diced
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
4 ounces dried whole wheat linguine noodles

Dissolve the bouillon in one cup of boiling water, set aside.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks, sauté until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the bouillon broth and the rest of the water, bay leaves, granulated onion and salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the veggie chicken pieces, parsley and the noodles broken into thirds. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen

Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen

Even though I love my spicy Butternut Squash Soup, I’m still curious about other versions, especially the ones that have fruit in them.

Seeing the Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times pushed me over the edge and into the kitchen to give it a try.

It’s a much milder, sweeter soup than what I’m used to, but still very good. Preparation and cooking were similar in both recipes. I made a couple of changes as I always seem to do; I didn’t have any coconut milk handy so I used soy milk instead.

I also didn’t have any pumpkin seeds for the garnish and so I cut up an extra piece of pear to sprinkle on top. It worked out well – adding a bit more of the pear taste and a crunch to the soup.

Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen

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