Another bowl of green. Under normal circumstances I would not have immediately followed the (secretly spinach hued) pistachio pudding with a creamy bowl of broccoli soup, but it's St. Patrick's Day on Saturday and my festive food plans this year are for green novelties. Hey look how festive! It's green! Oh and hey I just so happen to want you to eat more green stuff. In response to my holiday food plan, my neighbor declared, "Everything's less fun with Mom!"
Black sesame seeds make good eyes for (vegan) sour cream ghosts floating in a bowl of black bean soup. Pipe the sour cream from a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny corner snipped off. You could even get fancy and pour the soup side by side with a sweet potato bisque, gently swirling them together with a knife to make spooky patterns, but next time I'll just stick with a simple black bean soup.
I was skeptical. I assumed that most of the recipes in Cooking Light's new vegetarian cookbook would be filled with non-fat milk and light cheese products. And there are a number of these sorts of recipes, but there is also a ton here to recommend this book to the vegans. From Malaysian Noodles to Tempeh Fajitas, there are loads of crowd-pleasing healthy recipes for realistic meals. I've made the Mexican Bean Soup with Corn Dumplings three times now, for five different families, to universal raves. It's a simple, flavorful, hearty winter meal of a soup, with an ingenious twist in the form of masa harina dumplings. You essentially make tiny balls of corn tortilla dough and plop them into the simmering soup near the end of cooking. I just love this idea. And it turns out as delicious as I had hoped.
The book is also filled with appealing photos and really informative step-by-step photo diagram how-tos that make this a great introductory cook book. There's one on how to saute tofu and another on how to prepare spaghetti squash. Yet another teaches you how to properly roll maki which I plan to study before my next sushi making adventure because, man, my rolls are sloppy.
I have a list of a dozen recipes from this book that I still want to try and leafing through the pages right now I find myself getting excited about it all over again. I had forgotten about the flaky dinner rolls that look just perfect for a holiday table and oh! the stuffed Moroccan flatbreads. The baking recipes list ingredients by both weight and volume. Thank you. And it's this sort of attention to detail and recipe precision that really sets this book apart.
Here have a taste -
Mexican Tomato-Bean Soup with Corn Dumplings
1. To prepare soup, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven (or big pot) over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add broth and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
2. To prepare dumplings, combine masa harina and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons hot water and 1 teaspoon oil; stir until a soft dough forms (dough will be dry). Divide dough into 24 pieces, shaping each into a ball. Add dumplings to soup; cook, uncovered, 3 minutes or until dumplings float. Stir in cilantro and juice. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 4 bowls.
Yield: 4 servings
I'm pregnant. And it's hard to cook. The smell of most everything makes me want to throw up, what I make doesn't taste good, and I'm tired.
I have frequently come across the advice that you should put away meals in preparation for the arrival of a new baby, but I say do it sooner. If there's any danger of becoming pregnant at some point in the near future, go ahead and put on a pot of soup.
Unfortunately, I do not have a freezer full of nutritious single servings. I have convinced Paul to make us dinner every night until the nausea passes, and last week I temporarily solved the problem by spending 85 dollars at Whole Foods on already prepared meals and snacks that lasted me a day and a half. Oh, but it was a good day and a half. That's also the day that I splurged on the ten pass at the local indoor playground that has free wifi, and coffee (which you can't drink because you're pregnant.) So with my kid entertained and my bowl of Amy's No Chicken Noodle, I staved off the pending hormonal breakdown. But of course, I can't live that life of luxury everyday.
Assuming you too have not heeded my advice about stockpiling healthy meals, I've found an alternative. This soup is the simplest of simple comfort foods. As a matter of fact, if you're not eleven weeks pregnant, or two years old, this probably won't interest you. I remember from the last time we did this, that I had the palate of a toddler for about nine months, and this time around it kind of comes in handy, since I'm already cooking for one kid. This soup makes a perfect lunch for Desmond and me, with a bowl left over for when I'm hungry again, which is all the time. From chopping to eating it takes maybe 20 to 25 minutes. There are a couple of key happy pregnant woman factors at work here: no garlic or onions (puke), no long simmer time filling your home with delicious savory aromas (puke), plus it actually contains a bit of nutritive variety that I can stomach because it's cut up really small. I have come a long way from week 8 when I would eat only cold pears, soda water, peanut butter crackers, and inari sushi.
makes 3 grown-up size helpings
1 cup diced vege, for me that was 4 smallish carrots and 2 small celery stalks
about 1 T. olive oil
1 quart vegetable broth (I've been using the Rapunzel powdered vegetable broth that you buy in a little jar in health food stores.)
1/2 c. small dry pasta
1/2 c. shredded seitan (I've been using White Wave chicken-style seitan, because I am not cooking. One package made me three pots of soup.)
a handful of shredded greens (cut up really small if you're cooking for a toddler or pregnant woman)
Copyright 2006 - 2012 Trina Jaconi Biery