Recipe: Kale and Bean Soup

I modified this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum and it turned out really great. I didn’t have carrots so I substituted cauliflower because I did have that and I didn’t feel like making seitan so I added mushrooms instead because I happened to have those as well. I also added some more tomato because I wanted it to be more tomato-y.

Ingredients

Onion
Kale
Cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
Potatoes
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Water
Canned tomatoes
Passata
Tomato paste (optional but I used it to thicken it a bit)
Olive oil
Thyme
Oregano
Majoram
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

You can use as many of these ingredients as you want, depending on how much soup you want to make. I always find these dishes very convenient to make a lot of to freeze or eat the next day. Just make sure the amounts of all the ingredients is balanced out and add the herbs and spices while tasting. If you want to have it more stew like than a soup, make sure that you don’t add too much water when you’re cooking. I wanted a more soup like consistency so I used quite a lot of water, which did turn out too much in the end because I had to thicken my soup.

Peel and chop the potatoes and clean and chop your cauliflower. Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil and once it’s tender, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Add water and let it cook for a while until the potatoes cauliflower are getting tender and then add the kale (I used a bag of pre-chopped kale but you can obviously chop it yourself as well or even use frozen kale). Stir everything and start adding the canned tomatoes and passata. Because my soup remained a bit thin, I added some tomato paste as well to thicken it a bit (didn’t do the trick as much as I wanted so I ended up adding some bread crumbs in the end to make it thicker). Lastly add the herbs and spices and stir everything. Let it all simmer until everything is tender and then enjoy!

Recipe: Pasta with Kale and Beans

Ingredients

Pasta
Kale
Bell pepper
Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
Onion
Garlic
Soy cream
Sriracha
Olive oil
Apple vinegar (white white or rice vinegar works as well)
Cane sugar or agave syrup (or your sweetener of choice)
Majoram
Basil
Origano
Rosemary
Cayenne pepper
Pepper
Salt
Cook the pasta and while it’s cooking heat some olive oil and saute the garlic, pepper and onion. Add the kale and keep stirring. I used frozen kale because I didn’t have any fresh one at hand but both work. Once everything is cooked through, add the beans and the spices and stir well. Then proceed by adding the cream (I used rice cream but next time I’m definitely using soy because the rice cream was too sweet for this dish) and stir everything together. Add a splash of vinegar and pinch of sugar or syrup (not to much of both, it’s just to even out the taste a bit, you could also leave out the sugar but I added it because I had made it just a bit too spicy). Because I wanted a bit of an extra kick, I added some Sriracha as well but this is completely optional. Once the pasta is cooked, spoon your sauce over it, serve and enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I had a cauliflower that needed to be used, saw a recipe for roasted cauliflower soup and it’s winter so perfect time for a warming soup. I didn’t exactly remember where I had seen the soup recipe but Google helped me find several vegan cauliflower soup recipes so I got a basic idea of where to go. I ended up going by Girl Cooks World’s recipe, which I tweaked to my likings.

I don’t know why but I’ve only recently discovered how to properly clean a cauliflower head without making a huge mess of it and while it’s probably known to most people, here’s the trick anyway:

Clean of the green parts and what you can get of the stem and then cut the head in four pieces, which then makes it really easy to get out the remaining parts of the stem and have your cauliflower fall into the florets you want.

On to the soup!

Ingredients

1 Cauliflower head
3 Potatoes
3 Cloves of garlic (I used 3 cloves but you can use less if you prefer)
3 Onions
Olive oil
1 tsp Curry powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
(I’m not completely sure on how much I used of the spices so feel free to vary or add or leave out some)
Vegetable stock (I used 700ml but I recommend a bit more depending on the amount of vegetables)
Soy milk (I have no idea how much I used, I just went by look and feel of the soup
Salt to taste

I roasted the cauliflower and the garlic with some olive oil, lots of garlic for me because one can never have enough garlic!

While the cauliflower was roasting, I sauteed the onions…

…and decided I wanted some potatoes in my soup as well so I put them in the oven with the cauliflower. I highly recommend deciding about the potatoes before and put them in right at the beginning.

I added the spices, roasted vegetables and vegetable stock to the onions.

I let all of that simmer for a while because the potatoes still had to cook through completely and once it was all done I mashed the vegetables and added some soy milk to make my soup a bit more creamier. I served it with some flat bread I roasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil sprinkled on it and garam masala on top, which worked really well with the already spiced soup.

Recipe: Indian Spiced Quinoa with Raisins and Pine Nuts

I’ve got quite some new recipes I tried to share but I’ve been too lazy to write them up, transfer the photos to my computer etc… I finally did the latter so I should start writing now as well. I guess I’ll just go backwards and see how much I remember.

Saturday I made another recipe out of Vegan Planet, something I usually do on Fridays, or well try to do unless I feel like eating something else like last night or in case I find another recipe to try elsewhere or if I feel like trying a new recipe another day. The recipe I tried was Indian Spiced Quinoa with Raisins and Pine Nuts, unfortunately it all sounded much better on the paper than it ended up tasting. Maybe it was because I had a little accident with my quinoa and had most of it going down the drain (so I used couscous), maybe it was the fact that I replaced the cardamom with turmeric (I really need to remember to look for cardamom at the Asian store next time I’m there because I’ve not been lucky at other places), maybe it was the fact that I added more water so the couscous didn’t cook dry. Or maybe it just wasn’t really my kind of thing.

About quinoa, I’ve cooked with it twice now but I’m not a huge fan of it. Mainly because of the hassle rinsing those little suckers and draining them, which was what went wrong today. I used a wrong drain with too big holes so a lot of the quinoa went through them. Yes, sometimes I don’t really use my brains. The first time I cooked chili with them and while I didn’t mind them in my chili much because they added some texture and all the other things overpowered the taste, when I tasted them before adding them to the big pot, I didn’t really like it. I’ll have to try again sometime and find a better method for rinsing and draining them. After all I gave tempeh another chance as well (another adventure I still have to write about I just realized).

I started by rinsing and losing my quinoa so that’s not pictured because there wasn’t much left of it. I then continued by chopping the shallots and ginger.

I sauteed the onion and ginger…

 …and added the quinoa, couscous, spices and vegetable broth.

While all of that was simmering, I decided to make some vegan cheese but I also had to roast the pine nuts for the dish I was cooking. Not the best of ideas because stirring and tasting in one pan and roasting pine nuts in another can lead to not paying proper attention for a second and roasting a bunch of your nuts to the point where they’re black. In the picture everything was still alright with the world.

I decided to add them all anyway and just pick out the burned nuts while eating, which didn’t make for the most relaxed meal but I was hungry by that point so I just wanted to get dinner on the table, which looked like this:

It doesn’t look like the tastiest male you’ve ever seen and as I said at the beginning, I didn’t like it that much but after I added some salt (which I forgot before) it was alright and the raisins did give it a special twist. I might try it again but maybe add some more spices or make it with quinoa completely.

Recipe: Garlic Ginger Tofu Stir Fry

I meant to post this last week when I actually cooked this but I forgot, or rather I was too lazy. While I was planning on cooking something from Vegan Planet each week, I felt like making this stir-fry the other week. It was good but not mind blowing, it’s something I had made before but with some variants. Or let’s say, I made stir-fry with soy sauce before or just tofu marinated in soy sauce on lazy days. This had a bit more additions which made it much better. I’m definitely going to make it again sometime.

Ingredients

1 small Thai pepper, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 16-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bok choy (or 4-5 baby bok choy), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Cooked lo mein or soba noodles

I did vary my recipe a bit with different vegetables and I added some brown sugar for a bit sweetness. I also didn’t go to the process of transferring the sauce and tofu to a separate bowl. Maybe it does something special I’m not aware of but the step just seemed silly to me and I was hungry.

I didn’t make it with noodles but with rice because I’m in love with my new rice cooker.

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I then proceeded to chop up my ginger, garlic and peppers. I didn’t have red peppers (or well I did as I discovered the other day but I didn’t remember when I made this) so I used milder green ones as those where the only ones I thought I had. As a huge garlic lover I can never just put in 1 clove, that’s just silly!

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After that I heated some oil

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And sliced my tofu.

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Then I stir-fried the ginger, garlic and peppers.

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Added the soy sauce, water and cornstarch, be careful to stir this in very quickly or you’ll get lumps!

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I then added my tofu which I had fried in a bit of oil in another pan first but you can also skip this step I guess, depends on how you like it.

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And finally my veggies.

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I served it over the rice and enjoyed it a lot! It was super easy and quick to cook so definitely going to make it again on days I need a quick dinner because it doesn’t require any special ingredients and you can basically make it with any kind of veggies you have at home.

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Recipe: Potato Chili Gratin

Today was the first day I cooked a recipe from Vegan Planet and because I still had some vegetarian chili frozen from when I made it a while ago I decided to go for the Potato Chili Gratin. As the recipe called for vegan mozzarella and vegan sour cream, I decided to make those myself as well. The vegan sour cream recipe is in the book as well but for the mozzarella I found something online here at Vegan Wiz that I decide to give a try because I had all those ingredients at home, well except for potato starch but I used corn starch instead.

The vegan mozzarella was really easy to make, you just have to make sure you keep on whisking everything well together so there aren’t any lumps. I think I put it in a bowl that was way too big for the amount of cheese I had and it remained a bit consisting of crumbs sort of and I think it was maybe a bit too moist because it remained very soft and sticky. It worked for the dish though and the taste and texture was quite alright. It just didn’t melt as nicely as I had hoped to but all in all perfectly fine for this dish. I just realized the first picture looks like an Alpro ad, I should’ve put the Alpro margarine in I got instead of this one. The last picture is right before it went into the fridge for some hours, it basically looked the same later, just a bit less moist and a bit hardened.

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Once the time the mozzarella had to sit in the fridge was coming to an end, I prepared the rest of the dish, minus the chili which I had gotten out of the freezer earlier already obviously so it could thaw. First I combined my salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper and basil in a small bowl and then I peeled my potatoes and sliced them to make the first layer of the dish, to which I then added the spice mixture. Next layer was onion plus the spice mixture and then chili peppers plus the spice mixture. All of that went in the oven for a while until the vegetables were done.

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While the vegetables were in the oven I made my sour cream, which was the easiest of the whole dish, I just threw my soft tofu, lemon juice, oil, salt and sugar in the food processor and mixed it all together until it was smooth which took about a minute. Put that in the fridge and went on with other things because the vegetables obviously needed some time.

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Once the vegetables were done, I added the sour cream on top of them, then the chili and on top the mozzarella and off in the oven it went again for a bit. Unfortunately it didn’t melt the cheese as much as I wanted to, not even when I put my plate in the microwave to see if that did anything. I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish but I didn’t look any different from the picture I got before it went into the oven. Neither did I take a picture of the plated dish but it wasn’t the prettiest dish to look at anyway. Got some left overs though so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

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All in all it was a tasty dish and while the cheese could have melted more or have a bit more taste, I’m pretty sure it was much better than any of the store bought variations because I knew exactly what was in there. The sour cream tasted quite good, bit different from the non vegan kind and next time I’ll add a bit less lemon juice but it was good. The dish itself, well I think I either prefer the potatoes, onions, chili peppers and maybe some other vegetables baked and also just the chili because with the chili on top the vegetables kinda lost significance. Maybe it’s because I used more chili than the recipe called for or because there was quite some sauce with the chili but I don’t necessarily need to have everything in one dish.

Vegan Challenge 2013

I received the book Vegan Planet in the mail this week, a wonderful surprise gift for Christmas from a friend. Thanks again! Since I’ve become a vegetarian, I’ve been flirting with a vegan lifestyle now and then but never really went through with it. Excuses have been:

* I love cheese too much, can’t give it up. Yes there are some cheeses that I’d definitely miss, like Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, maybe even cream cheeses because they’re so easy to throw on a sandwich to take with me to work. However every time I see another report on what actually goes on in the dairy industry I know that I should get over my love for cheese. There are substitutes and while they might not be like Parmesan or Gorgonzola, they will give me the knowledge of no cows being abused for my cheese.
* I’m lazy. Worst excuse ever, I should just stock up on soy and rice products and do it. I love soy or rice milk as much as actual milk. Still gotta try almond milk. And soy cream to cook works as well as dairy cream. Definitely no need for this excuse.
* Vegan products are expensive. They don’t have to be, there’s no need to buy the expensive stuff and a package of dried beans and lentils will go a long way. Besides I do sometimes eat meat substitutes, not too often because I feel all the ready made stuff is not good for me, and they’ve become so much cheaper nowadays. The only thing that might be expensive here is vegan cheese and the likes but no need for that, I can make my own and I have been told that nutritional yeast is a lifesaver.
* What if I want ice cream? Either try to find vegan ice cream, make your own, eat fruit flavors without dairy or suck it up!
* Some people will think I’ve gone completely crazy. Let them think what they want, it’s my life style and my decision.
* I can’t eat that delicious popcorn at the cinema anymore. Now this one will be hard and I can’t think of any solution. I’ll just have to resign to say goodbye to this addictive stuff and resort to only making my own popcorn at home without butter.
* No mayonnaise with french fries anymore. Well veganaise yes but that doesn’t really taste as good as the real thing, at least the kind that I have tasted. I’ll have to try other kinds and I’ll look into making my own without using eggs.

This said I have decided that in the new year I’m going to do a couple of vegan challenges. I’ll go vegan for 10 days. Maybe 30 after that. Also, I’m going to try at least 52 recipes from the vegan cookbook. There are 400 delicious recipes to chose from in the book, using at least 52 should definitely not be a problem. Obviously with the 10 and 30 day challenges the number of 52 will be quickly adding up and hey, when I end up cooking 92 recipes at least, let’s make it a 100 right? Or maybe more. Maybe this will be the final push I need to become completely vegan. I already don’t eat eggs and honey (honestly the latter only because I never really use it a lot anyway) and I don’t mind leaving out milk and milk products. It’s only the damn cheese that might be a challenge but I’m going to try.

We’ll see how this goes, I’m going for the proposed challenge and we’ll go from there!