Braised Potato Leek Soup

I’ve always wanted to have my own recipe for potato soup, since it’s one of my favorite things to eat. And it’s one of those foods you absolutely can’t get from a can–the texture is too slimy, the flavor tinny. I’ve attempted this soup before, but always with tons of cream and butter–so it left me feeling heavy.

Hello, veganism.

What gives this soup a rich flavor is braising the leeks, celery, carrots, onion and garlic before putting in the other ingredients. It has a creamy texture and sweet flavor, but no cream. Or butter. Just veggies and happiness.

Braised Potato Leek Soup (makes about 10 servings):

  • 4 small leeks (or 4 cups of leeks), chopped (the smaller the leek you get, the better the texture and flavor)
  • 1 small red onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup baby carrots (or a cup of diced carrot)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, or 3 average-sized ones (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 3 cups unmilk (I used rice milk)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt, depending on your preference
  • chives or scallions to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Get out a large soup pot. The largest one you have! Heat 1 tsp of oil (or spray with cooking spray) over medium heat. Add the leek, onion halves, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat until the leeks begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the cauliflower, potatoes and 1 cup of broth. Cover and cook until all the veggies are very tender.

Now, this is the tricky part, because the soup is HOT! But you’ll want to put portions of soup in your blender and puree until smooth. If it needs a little help getting smooth, add the rest of the broth as you puree. The finished mixture should be the texture of very loose mashed potatoes. Lower the heat to a simmer and put the soup back in the pot. Add all the unmilk and the salt. Return to a uniform warmness, but not to boiling.

Garnish with chives or scallions, add salt and pepper to taste. If you happened to have some fake bacon bits on hand, this would be a great time to use them!

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No Harm, No Fowl: Vegan Thanksgiving 2011!

Last year I was an omnivore, and the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving table was a giant turkey breast. It was roasted over fennel, and had a bacon lattice over the top. It was decadent for sure, and fattening for certain. Never again! Bring on my all-vegan Thanksgiving, which was even better than last year: just as delicious, no one died, and it isn’t killing us from the inside, either.

Bacon Wrapped Torkey, from the Happy Herbivore. (Just assume when I say “bacon” it’s fake-bacon.)

Root Veggie Mash (potato, turnip and rutabaga), my idea!

Polenta Stuffing from Appetite for Reduction.

Honey Wheat Rolls (more hardcore vegans than me can use brown sugar rather than honey. Also, sub out the butter for applesauce! You’re welcome!) from November’s Vegetarian Times.

Everything together, including Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans with Almonds, Bacon, and Garlic, and Mushroom Gravy all over that mash!

Pumpkin Cheesecake from Happy Herbivore. I even made the pumpkin myself! And I topped it with a cream sauce made from 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of rice milk. My husband took one bite of this and announced it to be “perfect.” It really was the best pumpkin dessert I’ve ever had, and I can’t believe it’s not terrible for you. Because it is just as amazing as any full-fat counterpart. Beautiful!

This year I’m so thankful for my family, friends, and of course, the decision we made to eat a plant-based diet. It’s given us back our health, and brought me happiness in so many different ways. Not only did I lose weight (and my husband, did, too) but we’re doing something great for our long-term health, for animals, and for the environment.

I know that this is just the beginning of the adventure, and I’m so excited for what next year will bring. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Chorizo Stuffing

This is Happy Herbivore’s Chorizo Stuffing (and a little sweet potato in the background. Hi, you!). I made this from UBER SCRATCH. That means I made both the cornbread and the bread. And of course the chorizo, which I make using TVP, not quinoa. My husband won’t eat quinoa, because he likes to make me sad. What kind of vegan doesn’t eat quinoa? Me. *pouty face*

Like all stuffing, this tastes better the second day, too. It would probably also taste better if I had bothered to cook both of my breads all the way through–so this was a little on the dense-and-doughy side. I will still make it again–and I think it would be great filling for something else. A stuff squash of some sort? A stuffed roasted bell pepper? I think you see where I’m going here. Stuff this stuffing into some stuff.

 

 

Buffalo Tofu Salad

Genius, right? How did I not think of this before?

You just take all your ingredients for a great chikin wing dinner–tangy Buffalo drenched tofu, ranch dressing, onions, carrots & celery, and toss them over some romaine lettuce. Seriously! Easy and awesome! And no fear of double dipping!

I borrowed here and there from some recipes to come up with my own ranch that’s easy and light and creamy!

Veggie Ranch Dressing (makes about 1 cup):

  • 1/2 cup Mori-Nu firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup unmilk
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • 2 T fresh dill
  • 2 T dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Just throw that whole mess in your food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. It shouldn’t take very long. Adjust the flavors if you need to (I needed to add more salt than I thought). The next time I make this, I’m going to toss in a little miso and see if something magical doesn’t happen. Also, this would be GREAT with about 2 T of green onion mixed in, too. Dang, now I want to make more!

Happy Fourth of July! Buffalo Tofu Style

So, I’ve made the Buffalo Tempeh in Appetite for Reduction, and it didn’t seem right. I think part of the problem is our tempeh–it’s crumbly and weirdly hard, instead of being soft and sturdy. So the texture was always super weird, and the flavors seemed to be fighting each other all the time. Enter my brilliant idea–awesome dry-fried tofu, marinated in buffalo sauce! Bonus: comes with crunchy bits, just like the buffalo chicken you might be missing.

Buffalo Tofu (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot (you can use other hot sauce, but you shouldn’t!)
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth

Can you believe that’s all the ingredients? Crazy, right? Anyway, slice your tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices. You can fry them up that way, or cut them into whatever fancy shapes you want. Even dinosaurs! Or buffaloes! Now, mix your hot sauce together with the broth. Use 1/2 cup of this mixture to marinade the tofu in for half an hour (reserve the leftover marinade). When that’s done, heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. You don’t want your tofu to stick! Place the tofu in the pan, and fry until it is nice and crispy on both sides (obviously flipping once during cooking). When it’s done to your liking, pour all of the leftover marinade (should be about 3/4 of a cup left, total) into the pan. Cook until the liquid is reduced into a thicker sauce, about 5 minutes.

Today, I served this up with Avocado Potato Salad from Vegan Brunch, and Ranch Dip from the Happy Herbivore. And with carrots and celery sticks, of course!

Epic Polenta Stuffing Fail

Let me start by saying that today has not been the best day. Nothing horrible happened, mind you, it was just one of those cotton-in-my-head days where nothing gets done but naps and cooking. I suppose that sounds awesome, but for me it means a missed opportunity to clean the house, or do something fun (other than cooking, which I do love), or get some well needed vitamin D. Also, this may be my shameful secret, but I absolutely hate to nap. I hate it. When I wake up from any length of nap, I feel groggy and weird and I don’t feel right the entire rest of the day. This may be why I had such a hard time with a newborn, I felt like this for two months solid.

Anywho, I was looking forward to one of my favorite Appetite for Reduction dinners, Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Polenta Stuffing. Last time I made the stuffing, it was perfect–little crispy browned squares, succulent sautéed veggies, the exact right amount of spices. It made me want to cry in its deliciousness. Cut to tonight–mushy, mushy polenta, undercooked veggies, bland as all get out. Boo! I think the problem was that I made my own polenta, and I made too much of it. And I didn’t cook it until it was SUPER FIRM. Next time, I am just buying that stupid $1 tube at the store and having a delicious dinner. So there!

The BBQ tempeh was still good, though I need to remember to cut the squares smaller, so I get less bitter flavor. Or I should just steam them first, but I am lazy. I so look forward to my Sunday dinners, and this was just…sad. Boo.