Saturday, January 21, 2012

Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup

Winter is here. I've continued to bounce back and forth between vegan and completely non-vegan recipes, mostly cause sometimes I feel like cooking different things. Well, this weekend I felt like making some soup...


1/2 large white onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced in rounds
2 short celery stalks, sliced
3 red potatoes (feel free to use one less, or three small ones) diced -- these will be boiled separately
1 large broccoli head
1/3 cup of butter
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded

red pepper flakes
thyme (though, as I eat the soup, I'd change this to one bay leaf. I probably would've done that to begin with, but I didn't have any on hand)
1/3 cup flour

First, I set the potatoes on to boil. I probably did this a bit early, as they are quite soft...but that's okay.

While potatoes were boiling, I put the 1/3 cup of butter in a heavy saucepan and heated it on medium high. Then I added the diced onion, sprinkled with pepper, red pepper flakes and some salt. Once the onions have softened a bit, add as much garlic as you think you'll like.

While all of that was cooking, I chopped the carrot, broccoli, and celery. Once the onions had completely softened, I whisked in the flour and stirred until it was well mixed. Since I left the onions in, it created a bit of a paste. Then I added the chicken broth, half and half, milk, and a small amount of thyme (this is when I would've put in the bay leaf).

Once the soup mixture has come to a boil, add the carrots, broccoli, and celery (and pepper, cause I love pepper). Then lower the mixture to low heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Drain the po
tatoes and add them to the mixture as well. While the soup simmered, I grated t
he cheese, which I added at the end of about 25 minutes. Once again I sprinkled it with pepper and plenty of salt.

Then we enjoyed! This soup really was delicious, and my boyfriend said it was "restaurant quality." So I hope y'all like it, too!

While the potatoes boiled, I diced the onion and added to a heavy saucepan with butter in

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole has been one of my favorite dishes for awhile. Obviously, it's a must have a holiday dinners. But I love taking it to cookouts, too, and I have been known to make a batch for me just to eat for several dinners.

Recently a friend gave me a whole slew of green beans from his garden, and I haven't been sure what to do with them. So when a friend invited me over for a cookout, I decided to try and make a vegan version of this favorite dish. I was pretty nervous about making something that I *knew* wouldn't measure up, but I was pleasantly surprised! While it's a bit different, it's so so very good. It definitely fulfills that savory role of regular GB casserole. There was not a scrape left after the cookout. Also, this recipe has about a 1/3 of the fat compared to the regular style (and no cholesterol). I used this recipe, and followed it almost exactly. The only thing I might do differently next time is cut out the French Fried Onion's and use onions in the mushroom sauce.

1.5 lbs of fresh green beans
10 ounces of mushrooms, I used about 8 regular white mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 c vegetable broth
3/4 c full-fat unsweetened soymilk
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1.5 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
cayanne pepper
2 Tbsp flour
those delicious French friend onions
3/4-1 cup plain bread crumbs (I didn't measure)

First, set a large pot of water on to boil for the green beans. While this water is heating up, trim the beans and cut them into bite-sized pieces (1.5 inches long). Add beans and 1 Tbsp of salt to water and boil covered for about 7 minutes, drain and let sit in a colander. I did not put any cold water on them to stop the cooking process.

Next, remove the stems from the mushrooms and cut the mushrooms into pieces -- not slices. Coat a non-stick pan with olive oil, and add the mushrooms, 3 cloves of minced garlic, some salt and pepper (you know how much you want... I am a fan of salt, so I was generous), and a large sprinkle of cayanne. Let this cook on medium until the mushrooms are soft and release their juices. You'll know it when you see it.

While the mushrooms are cooking, whisk the flour into the vegetable broth. Add the flour/broth mixture and sherry to the cooked mushrooms. Stir and simmer on low until mixture thickens. Then add in the soy milk. Let this cook for about 5-10 minutes until thick, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. I added more salt, shocker. Add the green beans and mix well.

About the time you add the soymilk, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and oil an 8x11 pan. Set the pan aside.

In a medium sized bowl, melt the margarine and add in the rest of the garlic, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well. Then stir in the onions. This will be your topping.

Pour mushroom/green bean mixture into pan, sprinkle bread crumb/onions on top and bake for 15 minutes.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vegan Lasagna

Very recently I decided to try a fully vegetarian diet with very limited dairy (so far, the only dairy I've eaten is feta cheese with my hummus). There are lots of reasons for this, but I think the best way I can put it is that I hope by intentionally eating good things, I will stop unintentionally eating crap (read: red bull and hot pocket for breakfast). I live in a city full of vegetarian and vegan dining options, and there is usually a group of veg people at cookouts, etc. So it's certainly a more friendly atmosphere than Texas, where I'm from. I grew up eating meat and potatoes (with lots of butter and milk), and many times food was fried.

I love to cook, and so I'm hoping this new lifestyle will open up different cooking experiences. Last night a friend and I made vegan lasagna. This experience was a first for me, but the end result was a tasty dish that did not leave me feeling sick after (as I often do after eating lasagna). I got the recipe from here, but I altered it
Ingredients (If you are wanting to be extra mindful, consider getting the organic versions of these):

  • One 16 oz package of lasagna noodles

  • One 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes

  • Three 14.5 oz cans of tomato sauce

  • 1/3 cup of tomato paste

  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 large white onion, diced

  • 1 bunch of parsley (chopped and separated into two half cups)

  • basil (chopped and separated into a half cup and a 1/3 cup)

  • some chopped oregano

  • some red pepper flakes

  • Lots of minced garlic, at least 7 large cloves

  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise

  • half a pound of white mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 package of tofu (mine came in water and was the "extra firm" kind)

  • fake mozzarella cheese (you can take or leave this) - thinly sliced lengthwise

  • spinach - you can use the cut frozen kind or fresh. I used 1 package of the cut frozen kind. I let it defrost, but I forgot to drain it. This turned out to be okay, as many people on the recipe site had complained theirs was dry. Our lasagna was certainly not dry.

  • salt and pepper

  • 9x13 baking pan (We only had an 8x11, so we put the leftover ingredients into a smaller one for my friend to take home)

THE SAUCE (this was, in my opinion, the best part) allow an hour to prepare this:
Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan
Add the onions, let cook for until soft
Add half the garlic - I used one of those garlic press things
After garlic and onions have cooked for about 7-10 minutes, add all the tomato sauces and tomato paste
add mushrooms and red pepper flakes
I used a lot of salt and pepper, do it to your liking
add 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/2 cup of basil and oregano
Heat appropriately to slight boil, then reduce to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally


You'll also need a fairly large pot for these, as lasagna noodles are...big. We cooked them in two batches, and we didn't even end up using all of them.
Cook until al dente. One trick we did was taking them out of the pot and putting them on a plate until we were ready to use them.


Drain the water, then in a large bowl, crumble up the tofu. It should resemble ricotta? Add in the rest of the garlic, parsley, oregano, and basil. Also, salt and pepper. Mix together with hands.

ASSEMBLY (preheat your oven to 400 at this point)

1/3 cup of tomato sauce along bottom of pan
some zucchini slices
1/3 of the tofu sprinkled on top
some of the cheese slices
spread around some of the spinach
1 1/2 cup of tomato sauce

Repeat the italicized parts above until your pan is full. On top of the last layer of noodles add sauce and cheese. The more sauce the better.

Cook in an oven at 400 for 30 minutes. Let cool. It will seem watery if you didn't drain the spinach, but that's no biggie. I have found it's preferred for leftovers, to keep it from drying.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

Last week I met a nice fella who saw the state of disarray of my phone. He offered to bring me his spare phone back from Portland, and I took him up on the offer! But being in the cooking/baking mood I've been in, I offered to make his favorite pie. That happened to be lemon meringue pie, which I've never made...and I'm not even sure I've ever eaten it. *sigh* However, he also said he preferred savory to sweets, but I wasn't about to cook him real food, so I decided to make mini pies.

(After I had finished browning the meringue, I finally found the setting on my camera to not make the pictures so yellow... This was most exciting, and will definitely result in many more posts :-) )

I only made 4 mini pies, as I was using leftover pie crust from a quiche I made. Also, I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, who may I say, pretentiously assumed her amateur bakers all own a stand-up mixer. For shame, Martha, for shame.

First it is best to prepare the crust. I used a muffin pan. Roll the crust out, use a large mug to cut out your circular crust for each pie. Then roll those individual small crusts out. Place them in the muffin pan, and stick it in the fridge to harden for awhile (15-30 min). Have the oven preheated to 400 degrees. Line each pie crust with parchment paper, fill it with beans or rice, and stick in the oven for 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven, remove parchment paper and rice... Be sure you get all of the rice ;-)

3 egg yolks

a little over 1/2 c pure cane sugar
a heaping Tbsp. of le
mon zest
1/3 C of lemon juice (I used the zest and juice of two lemons)
3 Tbsp of cornstarch
2 Tbsp of butter, diced
a dash of salt

Combine sugar and cornstarch. In a "non-reactive" saucepan mix and continuously stir egg yolks and lemon juice. Slowly add sugar/cornstarch combination, and stir continuously for 10-15 minutes on medium to medium-high heat, until boiling. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, butter, and salt. Stir until well mixed. Set aside to cool.

Once filling is cool, spoon into baked pie crusts. Cool these in a refrigerator for at least an hour.

3 egg whites
1/3 C of pure cane sugar
dash of salt

Once the filling is sufficiently cooled, turn on the oven broiler. Set a medium sized saucepan of water on to boil. Mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk over boiling water until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm. It should be bubbly. Then use the whisk attachments for your mixer and run on medium to high until you have a nice, fluffy meringue that creates peaks. Using a smaller spatula, top the pies with this. I don't have suggestions on how to make it look pretty, sorry. Place in over under broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, constantly keeping an eye on it. You want the top to be lightly browned. Remove and let cool.

I had a mishap... and I had to redo the meringue. Thank goodness I had extra!!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicken Sandwich plus plus

Tonight I made sandwiches for my roommate, his friend, and myself. We were all pretty pleased with how they turned out. Of course, I don't have any pictures. First of all, I lost my Blackberry (temporarily), and secondly my new, real camera was in my purse, in my car and needing new batteries.

4 chicken breasts
Italian dressing
lemon pepper
4-5 cups of cleaned baby spinach
4-5 white mushrooms, sliced
mozzarella cheese
tomato slices
balsamic vinaigrette
olive oil
cooking sherry

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then place the chicken breasts in a shallow baking pan (I used 9x9) sprinkled with lemon pepper and pour 2-3 Tbsp of the dressing in the pan. Put into oven.

Yikes, I have no idea how long I actually cooked the chicken, but it came out perfectly. So I'll give you a blow by blow of what I did while it was cooking.

After I put the chicken in the oven, I took an eight minute shower. Then I posted on Twitter. So I guess about 12 minutes went by before I decided to start working on the other food.

I heated 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of sherry in a small pan. I added the sliced mushrooms, and let them saute, stirring frequently. While that was going on I washed the spinach, cut the mozzarella cheese into thin slices, sliced the tomato, and prepared the hamburger buns to be toasted.

I guess about another 10 minutes went by, and I added the spinach to the mushrooms, dashing in some balsamic vinaigrette. I removed the pan from heat, to let the spinach wilt more slowly. Then I put the buns in the oven for about 5 minutes. At some point around here, I checked one of the chicken breasts. It looked like they were ready to come out of the oven and rest for a couple of minutes.

Then I added the cheese to the buns in the oven, while I cut the chicken breasts in half. They really were soo juicy and flavorful. I removed the buns from the oven, put the chicken on top of the cheese and topped it with the spinach/mushroom mixture and a tomato slice.

The sandwich was a hit. I can't wait to make them again!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Orange Glazed Asparagus

I have no pictures for this one, sorry!

I had a friend over for dinner the other night, and in addition to a roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, I made roasted asparagus. To make it a little more fun, I decided to make a glaze out of orange juice and plum sauce. It was yummy.

Basically I used the juice from 2 oranges (and then a little from the carton), dripped in some plum sauce and set to medium heat in a saucepan, whisking fairly frequently. I used the oven at 350 degrees and about 10 asparagus stalks cut in half. First I drizzled them with oil, then I used a sauce brush to apply the, now reduced and sticky, glaze. I roasted them for about 20-30 minutes.

Even though there were only two of us eating, there was no asparagus left to be eaten by the end of the meal! Totally yummy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Leftover Tacos!

*Sorry for the crappy quality of the pictures. My digital camera is broken, so all I had was my Blackberry.

For Thanksgiving this year, I roasted a smallish chicken. Even after sending my guest home with a plate and eating a couple of lunches with it, I still had plenty of leftover chicken. I'm sure many of y'all had this problem with turkey. So I decided to try and make a spicy tomatillo sauce to simmer the chicken and tortillas to make tacos!

These took longer than I anticipated, simply because I failed to remember the dough resting time. I'd recommend making these first. There are different types of flour tortillas, and the ones I made were thick and chewy (my preference).
2 cups of flour (low gluten, unbleached flour is supposedly best)
3/4 cup of lukewarm milk
a little less than a tablespoon of baking powder
a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil
a little salt
a dash of smoked paprika

Mix the salt, baking powder, paprika, and flour together. Add milk and vegetable oil and stir. It will start to be sticky and tough. Once all the flour is wet, use your hands to knead it. This was my favorite part. Once it's sufficiently kneaded, cover with a damp towel and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. This is when you can cut the vegetables for the tomatillo sauce.

After it has rested for 15 minutes, divide the dough into small balls, about 2.5 inches in diameter. Set those on a plate (not touching), cover and let rest for 20 minutes. This is when I made my margarita :-).

To cook them, I just heated up a pan on level 8 on my stove. I flattened the dough with my hands a little, and then used a rolling pin and flour to get it bigger and thinner. It should be preeettty thin. Then I plopped it onto the pan for about 30 seconds and watched it bubble (actually, while one tortilla was cooking, I started rolling out another one). Then I flipped it and let the other side cook for about 20 seconds. When the tortillas were done cooking, I put them on a plate, separated by napkins and covered with foil.

Tomatillo Sauce

This was awesome! As usual, I did not measure, so...sorry!
5 tomatillos, diced
1 medium sized jalapeno, seeded and sliced
the zest and juice of 1 lime
a handful of cilantro
some sliced garlic
about a cup and a half of chicken broth
smoked paprika

Puree the tomatillos, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Taste it and add more of whatever you like. The heat from the jalapenos diminishes a bit in the cooking process, so if it's too hot for you, don't worry. If it's just right for you --- add more. I wish I had added more. Pour the sauce into the chicken broth, and add cumin and smoked paprika. Add your shredded chicken or turkey (I had about 2 cups...maybe) and any skin you have (for flavor). I also threw in the leftover jalapeno. Let this simmer on low for awhile. Definitely while the tortillas are resting the 2nd time and while you're cooking them.

Jalapeno Rita
One half of a jalapeno, seeded and sliced -- I should warn you. This is pretty fkn spicy. Chill out on the jalapeno if you are sensitive.
the juice and zest of one and a half limes
the juice of half an orange (or..just orange juice)
Triple Sec

Luckily my roommate is a bartender, and he was coaching me a bit on the real process of making a good he had bartender tools I could use. Crush the jalapeno in the lime juice, add your tequila, orange juice, and triple sec. Add a couple of pieces of ice, and shake with one of those metal shakers. Then strain into a glass of ice. If a couple of pieces of jalapeno make it through, no biggie. I put my margarita in the freezer til I was ready to drink it.

Once I finished cooking the tortillas, I loaded up a couple with the simmered chicken, sprinkled on some feta (cotija cheese or any other white cheese would work, but I wouldn't do cheddar). Then I nommed. SOO nommy. I had leftovers for lunch, and I'm about to have leftovers for dinner. Pretty stoked.