Posts filed under ‘soup’
This is where I show you my “nerd’s eye view” and tell you how much I love spreadsheets. A lot!
Well, I do…and I have quite a few that are food related. One for restaurants I love and frequent (categorized by distance, price range, ethnicity), one for new restaurants I’d like to try, one for my grocery list, and one for meal planning!
I’ve been cooking a lot more lately, so I decided it would be awesome to have a spreadsheet with a few different categories to help me plan meals. I came up with four basic columns: Protein, Starch, Type of meal, and Ethnicity. I was basing this list off the assumption that I would have a CSA membership and could use whatever produce I had that week, and each week I could use a random number generator to select something from each category for each meal. Each!
My husband, also a huge nerd, was really into my idea, and took it even one step further. He decided to write a computer script for me that would generate 5 meals at a time, without using the same ingredient twice. Unfortunately I have yet to start getting a CSA box, but I have started planning and making meals! Here’s what the script chose for me for last week:
Some of these combinations sound pretty weird, I know, but I mostly use them as inspirational guidelines. For instance, my European baked dish ended up as Lentil Shepherd’s Pie using recipes from Appetite for Reduction, and my American Brunch became Chipotle Chili With Sweet Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts.
Over the next few days I’ll go through all the meals I came up with using my awesome spreadsheet/script, but in the meantime, here’s a soy-ginger-garlic broth based soup I made for my sick husband last week. (Finally started using a real camera again, hooray!)
Asian style soup for the sick – with broccoli, sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and freshly cooked chickpeas! The broth is a mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, veggie broth, and green onions, strained.
Saturday was my birthday. If you know me well, you’d know that I don’t usually ask for gifts, and if someone is insistent on giving me something, I’ll usually ask for it to be food related. This year all I wanted was an amazing dinner from Madeleine Bistro, my favorite fancy vegan restaurant in southern California.
When I saw they had a six course prix fixe meal available, I knew that would be the best gift my b-fri could give me, aside from driving the three hours to and from (you are the bestest!), and taking pictures of every course. It was very dark in there, so it’s amazing the pictures came out the way they did! Thanks to an excellent photographer and a big fancy camera.
There were six people there altogether, and to my surprise every single one of them got the six course meal, and every single course was DELICIOUS. Insanity!
Ok, ok, enough rambling on. Here are pictures and descriptions!
Soup course: Butternut squash bisque with spiced apple and fried sage leaves
(Other soup was french onion with croutons and “farmer’s cheese,” but I’d had that before so I didn’t get it this time)
Salad course: Tea-smoked tofu over mixed greens and sea lettuces – pardon the half-eaten-ness
(Other salads included Mixed greens with pomegranate and quinoa, and green papaya with ginger and peanuts)
Third course: Kaesespaetzle (German Mac ‘n’ Cheese with bacon bits) – this gets a special mention. I’ve never had vegan mac and cheese that tasted so close to the real thing. And no hint of nutritional yeast!! I will pay a million dollars to get the recipe. Soon as I win the lottery, of course.
Other third course: Artichoke and asparagus risotto with black kale
Fourth course: Gnocchi with creme sauce, black kale, sundried tomatoes, and olives
Fifth course: Red beet tartare with tofu cheese crouton – I’m convinced this is the best thing on earth, so even though I already posted a picture of this, I’m doing it again.
(Other fifth course not pictured was some out of this world grilled king oyster mushroom dish.)
Other fifth course: Chicken-fried seitan with mashed potatoes and gravy – best seitan ever.
Dessert course: Holiday pie trio with cinnamon ice cream – There was supposed to be apple pie on this plate, but some lucky customer had picked up a whole apple pie, so there are two pieces of pumpkin and one piece of pecan here.
Other dessert course: Chocolate souffle with raw vanilla ice cream – don’t ask me how he makes the souffle without eggs. It’s a miracle!
Alas, it will be a long time before I have a meal like this again. My food budget thanks me, as I’m sure my b-fri’s wallet does.
On another note, my lovely friend Elisa was there and got me a ravioli maker, some mini spatulas, and a few personal deep dish pizza pans as gifts, so expect an Italian themed post to match!
Since the last time I posted (VeganMofo ’09 fail) I’ve made a few pretty awesome meals, and gotten only one good picture from it all. I’ll tell you about the menus anyway!
Homemade “Asian” marinated seitan, pan-fried and served over brown rice with fresh broccoli and peanut sauce. Mango coconut milk smoothie. I think I had half a can of lite coconut milk during this meal. Hello fat!
Chestnut-lentil pate served with tart, thinly sliced apple, and ciabatta toasts,
Cauliflower and garlic stuffed mushrooms, adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance; basically replaced the seitan with cauliflower at Isa’s suggestion (picture follows, sorry for the blurriness!),
Roasted asparagus (olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper),
Broccoli potato soup with fresh herbs, also from VCon. I used Fresh cilantro and parsley instead of dill and mint, and
Pumpkin cake (from VCon without the struesel topping) with Tofutti cream cheese frosting.
Last night’s dinner was:
Bruschetta (fresh tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper) with grilled french bread,
Roasted asparagus, and
A minestrone type soup. I went crazy with the pasta at the end though, so it was more like a pasta stew. Ingredients included:
1 large onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 small stalk celery
1 large roma tomato (no canned tomatoes in the house, otherwise I would have used them!)
2 or so pinches dried oregano, 1 pinch marjoram
Salt and pepper
6 cups veggie broth (made from my favorite no salt bouillon cubes)
Too much farfalle (bowtie, butterfly) pasta
I also received some amazing homemade granola bars for my birthday from my friend Sarah, who is starting Woodside Bakehouse. Everything she touches turns to edible gold! But, you know, like, in a tasty way.
Ok, so the title is stretching it a little bit, especially since I’m writing this on a Monday, but I couldn’t resist.
I love soup. I really love soup when the weather is cold and makes your body cry out for it, wanting to be warmed from the inside out for every meal. Living in San Diego can make that difficult when it may technically be winter, but you walk outside into a dry 80 degrees instead of what should be at least low 60s. Come on, southern California!
Anyway, I don’t let that phase me. I make soup no matter what. Usually it’s an amazing lentil that I adapted from this Giada DeLaurentis recipe where I exchange chicken broth for veggie, and add red wine and cilantro, but lately I’ve been experimenting more. Straight from Veganomicon I cooked up a HUGE batch of Tomato Rice with Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean, which you can find the recipe for here and a picture of here.
I guess I must really like tomato soup, because I also created this little beauty of a tomato bisque:
Sprinkled on top you’ll see some toasted pumpkin seeds, a sprig of parsley, and hiding in the depths? A large spoonful of olive tapenade to cut the sweetness. This recipe was adapted from here (with soy creamer instead of yogurt), but the next soup was all my own invention. I like to call it Broccolini Bean.
Since this is really more of an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup (and has rapini, not broccolini in it), I can’t remember the exact recipe. It does have your basic mirepoix, vegetable broth, cannelini beans, rapini, and lots of garlic, but how all those things got mixed into the pot…your guess is as good as mine! It was delicious, hearty, and comforting - that’s all I need to remember.