I travel to the Sacramento area for work. As a plus, I get to visit my parents and Melissa. On one trip, my mother served a wonderful, green soup. I had to ask for the recipe.
2 stalks broccoli (approximately 4 ½ cups)
½ medium onion
1 stalk of celery
1 cup of water
Cut the vegetables into chunks. You’re going to blend this up later, so don’t worry about cutting the veggies pretty. You’re cutting them so they’ll cook more evenly and faster.
Put all of the vegetable ingredients in a covered kettle and cook. Don’t overcook the vegetables. If you do, your soup might turn gray like it sat on a cafeteria hot plate for hours and will taste icky.1
1 cup water
½ cup slivered almonds or raw washed cashews
1 tablespoon chicken seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon dried dill
⅛ teaspoon marjoram
Blend all the sauce ingredients in a blender until they are smooth and creamy.
Add cooked vegetables to the blender and blend smooth. Be careful when blending hot ingredients, especially hot liquids.2
Return the mixture to a kettle and reheat. Add ½ to 1 cup of water as needed.
We made it without salt and didn’t miss it. Others in my family seem to think it’s great with grated cheddar cheese or cottage cheese. So much for keeping it vegan…
Okay, maybe not icky, but it could look like it should. I cooked a double recipe for 20 minutes or so and it was great. ↩
As I explained in the vegan tomato basil bisque recipe, the expanding hot air wants to blow the top off your blender, mess up your kitchen, and burn you. Don’t let it. ↩
I was going to post a Pad Thai recipe. Before I clicked “publish” I thought to look for other Pad Thai recipes to include as additional resources. What a stroke of luck! Now instead of posting a recipe, I’m just linking to Chez Pim’s Pad Thai for Beginners.
After reading Chez Pim’s tutorial, I’m too embarrassed to post the recipe I had, but inspired (and hungry). :-)
With the first rain in Hillsboro after what seemed like months of dry weather and an honest-to-goodness record-breaking heat wave, it seemed like the right time to try a new soup recipe. Ashley found a recipe for a vegan tomato basil bisque in The Candle Cafe Cookbook at our local Hillsboro public library. That recipe, with our modifications (some not so intentional) is found below.
1 small beet
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
6 cups vegetable broth
12 small tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cubed tofu
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, trim and peel the beet. Put the beet on a baking pan and bake it until tender (1 to 1½ hours). Let the beet cool and chop it. There’s no need to be precise. You’re going to run it through a blender later. Maybe just chop it in half while it’s still hot.
Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the olive oil until tender (about 5 to 10 minutes). If you don’t like lots of dirty pots and pans, use the same large pan you’re going to use to heat the soup. And don’t worry — you’ll still have lots of dirty pans. I did…
Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano to the sautéed mixture. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Or frequently, if you’re like me. A watched pot is quite enjoyable. A stirred, watched pot, even more so.
Using a food processor or blender, blend the soup, beet, and tofu until smooth. Unless your food processor or blender is very large, you’ll need to stage this in several batches. No problem. As my mother used to say, it all ends up in the same place. (I think she was talking about something else, though…) In this case, everything ends up in another large pot or large bowl. Yup, another dirty dish.
Reheat the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. The cook book recommends garnishing with a whole basil leaf.
Variations (Or maybe just more directions…)
When we tried this recipe, we already had some boiled beets in the fridge and used one beet’s worth of that instead of trying to bake a beet. We used a food processor to blend the beet and tofu together to get a bright purple mixture that we added to some of the blended soup. Oh my! It’s still bright purple!! By the time we added all the blended soup to the mixture, it still seemed a little … purple!
We don’t know if a baked beet is less bright purple than a boiled beet. It might be worth a try. I don’t think it could be brighter purplier.
Regardless, we were concerned about the color. Drastic measures were called for. Out came the blender and we ran everything through again. This resulted in a much smoother mixture. It was also less purple, and more red, closer to what we had expected. By the time the soup was blended (twice) and reheated, the color was normal. Next time, we’ll just use the blender. And not worry so much.
Be careful using the blender. When blending hot mixtures, any air in the blender container will heat up and expand rapidly. (That’s according to Charles’ gas law for those interested in chemistry and/or physics.) The expanding air will blow the lid off at the exact moment the hot, purple mixture is testing its limits of containment. Fortuitously, I learned this by having my hand on the blender lid when I pushed “blend,” inadvertently holding the lid down and preventing any renegade soup from escaping and staining the cabinetry. You might want to put a wash cloth over the blender lid if yours has a central opening (like mine) with a smaller cap in it. Hot soup could escape through the cracks, burning your hand.
If you have no sense of adventure, let the soup cool before attempting to blend it — OSHA approved (and recommended by the cook book).
We didn’t have fresh basil. Sacrilege, I know. So we substituted ¼ cup of dried basil. Although the soup was good (why else would I be typing this recipe if it wasn’t?) next time we’re going to try fresh basil. After all, this is tomato basil bisque. Why go cheap on the named ingredients?
Speaking of which, the book mentions you can use a 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes instead of the 12 small tomatoes. We went with the fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes would be a lot easier and probably would effect the flavor a lot less than using dried basil. Obviously, I recommend using fresh tomatoes and basil you lovingly planted, tended, and harvested from your own garden. Probably the celery, onions, and oregano, too. You’re on your own making extra-virgin olive oil.
While I was pouring the vegetable stock into the pan, I realized the recipe might specify a recommended amount. It did! And I’d already added one cup too much. Oh well. I’ll just say it was intentional because I wanted more soup and leave it at that. We used a store-bought vegetable broth that touted its absence of gluten. The recipe book includes directions on making your own.
Have a go with this soup. I think we proved the recipe is quite tolerant of modifications while still resulting in delicious soup. :-)
Ashley was in the mood to cook tonight so she brought out a cookbook she got before she headed off to college last fall: College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends, by Megan and Jill Carle. It has an amazing photo of a vegetarian chili. We just had to try it.
The recipe says “serves 6.” Six what? Ravenous college students? That must be what it meant. We made a double recipe to have enough for our family of six. Oops! We now have enough chili left over to freeze and serve later over baked potatoes (as suggested by the book). Mmm.
We’re looking forward to trying this recipe again next fall when stews and soups are more “in season.” It’s a Friday night tradition for us.
1 red pepper
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
¼ cup water
2 small zucchini (about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
Cut the onion, red pepper, and celery into ½ inch pieces and mince the garlic. Place these ingredients in a pan and add the water. Cook for 5 minutes.
Cut the zucchini into ½ inch pieces, add to pan, and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder and the kidney beans, undrained. Simmer for yet another 45 minutes.