19 November 2013

Soup's On

It's that time of year, when the world falls in love with SOUP! Here are some soups that I made this month.

Pumpkin Homecoming Stew
Made with Ridley's homemade pumpkin purée. Throw the following things into a large pot, in this order, and whatever amount of each seems reasonable: olive oil; onion, chopped; garlic, minced; carrots, chopped; potatoes, chopped; pearl barley; mushrooms, quartered; ginger, grated; pumpkin purée; vegetable broth; a few pinches nutmeg and allspice; bay leaves.

Curried Potato Soup
I was cat sitting for a friend who asked me to eat the bag of potatoes she'd left. So I made a potato soup! From Pam Reiss's Soup: A Kosher Collection, one of my favourite Whitecap soup books.

Ginger-Miso-Basil Pea Soup
My cat friend also owns a NutriBullet, which anyone is welcome to buy me for Christmas, and I found the recipe for this soup in the NutriBullet cookbook. It's more of a purée that you eat over rice, which consists of: frozen peas, veggie stock, green onions, miso, ginger and basil. (From my office basil plant!)

Roasted Eggplant Soup
Part of my coping-with-having-spent-all-my-money-on-a-5-week-US-tour strategy is cooking dinners based on those $1.00 grab bags of vegetables you can get at independent grocers that must be cooked immediately or they will be rotten by midnight. You can almost always find a bag of overripe eggplants, so I consulted Pam's book again for eggplant recipes. This soup is amazing. So rich! So many subtle flavours! It has a couple secret ingredients you wouldn't expect. One of them is tahini.

P.S. If you are making soup DON'T FORGET THE BANNOCK!

30 September 2013

Dream Bannock

Maybe it's because the weather is turning colder; maybe because I've been putting in more hours on my stock photography website, but lately I've been having more and more food- and specifically cooking-related dreams. Last week I had a very scientific dream about making cinnamon hearts out of common household pantry items, which made complete sense in the dream, but upon waking... did not.

Bannock in bed

But this weekend I took a long nap in the afternoon during which I very methodically made some dough for bannock. Later when I wanted something to accompany the soup I made for dinner, I decided to go ahead and follow the recipe from my dream (with a little help from an actual recipe from the internet), and this was the tasty result.

Dream Bannock
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
a few pinches of salt
about 1 Tbsp ground-up flax and chia seeds
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
a pinch of fleur de sel

Mix together dry ingredients. Incorporate water until just mixed, and shape into a ball. Heat 1 Tbsp Earth Balance in skillet and flatten ball into a circle covering the entire surface. Cook about 8 minutes on medium heat (or until you just start to smell it maybe burning!); spread top with 1 Tbsp Earth Balance and sprinkle with fleur de sel, then flip and cook a few minutes more, covered. It’s ready when you stick a knife in it and it comes out clean.

02 September 2013


FYI: I pretty much only eat soup now. Originally this blog was to make me a better cook, but my long silences don’t mean I’ve been busy in the kitchen; rather I’ve been busy forgetting how to cook.

But at least I am mastering the art of adding ingredients to cans of soup. Yesterday’s concoction was Mushroom Barley soup, to which I added red lentils, quinoa flakes, corn and tofu. Today’s Lentil soup features barley pearls, corn, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, tomato and tofu.

I can't quite tell if I'm being healthy, but surely it beats a frozen pizza (which I still eat on non-soup days). (HOW CAN YOU NOT WITH THESE $3 NO FRILLS SALES)

16 June 2013

Potluck Café

Old news, but news from my world of food nonetheless. It's been a busy year! Less time for internetting.

14 April 2013

Mushroom Kale Tempeh Thing

What to do: Combine one sautéed onion, a can of cream of mushroom soup, some chopped up tempeh and half a bunch of kale. Season with black pepper, red pepper flakes and mushroom spice. Serve on a bed of noodles.

What not to do: Add raw green lentils to the boiling spaghetti water, thinking they will cook in the same amount of time as the pasta. They will not. You will end up with soft bloated noodles and crunchy, cardboardy lentils. Just ignore the lentils. Pretend I never mentioned lentils, ok.

11 April 2013

Namaste Meals

Untitled I spent a third of the month of March at a Buddhist monastery in California, where I ate the most amazing vegan food of my life. Maybe the mindful eating meditation had something to do with it, but being a vegan suddenly seemed so easy and awesome and natural and why was I not already doing it anyway. (More on mindful eating here, with a quote from Thích Nhất Hạnh, founder of Deer Park Monastery.)

Untitled Our monastic meals were almost always soybean-based in one way or another, but with so much variety. I was amazed at how they can take so few ingredients and make so many different dishes. Marinated tofu, tofu bakes, soft homemade tofu in pho, veggie burgers, sheets of bean curd skin... And they made their tofu, like everything else, from scratch.

The monks inspired me to cook more, get by on less, and become 90% vegetarian. (Due to my undying love of cheese, veganism will never be an option. Sorry cows.) The 10% leaves enough room for the occasional guilt-free cheating at restaurants, and for the sometimes necessary lunchtime burger-and-brew special at The Cambie.

So keeping in mind animal-friendly-cooking-more-and-using-less, my meals the past week have looked something like the following:

Black beans & salsa
The old stand-by, easy, hot and filling lunch. The prep time for this meal is as long as it takes to heat up the beans. Relative to the easiness, the taste is surprisingly pretty good.

Lentils, onions, green olives and marinated tomatoes
The two latter ingredients procured from the Ashland Food Co-op, my favourite food stop on the Pacific coast.

Vermicelli with mixed 'exotic' mushrooms; olives; olive juice (ie. the liquid the olives came in); tomatoes; roasted red peppers; artichoke hearts
Seasoning: salt, pepper, nutritional yeast
Inspired by Memories of Salt Spring II.

The end. This thing.
I was trying to recreate a meal we ate at the monastery for lunch one day. It was some kind of tofu-based bake, that was threaded with rice noodles and had carrots, green onions and some kind of seaweed AND/OR extreme-flavoured mushroom thing. One of my roommates suggested that perhaps they used soft tofu, blended up, and then mixed in uncooked rice noodles, so that as the noodles cook, they soak up the liquid and transform it into the baked thing that it is.

Sorry So what we have here is two packages of soft tofu, mashed up with a fork; mixed 'exotic' mushrooms that were sautéed a bit first; one chopped carrot that was par-cooked in the mushroom sweat; green onions; flakes of dulse.

What I mixed in a handful of vermicelli noodles. The original uses noodles of the rice variety, but non-rice noodles also worked. Seasoning: salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes.

... I baked it at 350°F until it seemed mostly set, which took an hour. I let it sit for ten minutes or so to set a little more. And it worked! It woooorrrrrkedd! HOORAY
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