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I haven't posted about cooking in awhile.

I'm attempting vegan black bean soup today. I'm somewhat hampered by the fact that I don't like the southwestern variations on black bean soup much. Bell peppers are not an ingredient I like much, and I've yet to find one that didn't use either that or jalapenos (the bell pepper of the hot pepper family).

On the other hand, the one New England style recipe I found seems a little bland.

So. I've put the black beans on quick soak with my now usual addenda: cumin and kombu. I find that they really do help avoid too much flatulence (as does actually cooking the beans long enough). The base will have onions, carrots, bay leaf, black pepper, and, because I'm me, thyme. They'll be sauteed in avocado oil to bring out their flavor before adding the beans and water to the heavy iron pan they'll be cooked in.

To substitute for the ham hock, I'm using miso and liquid smoke. I'm debating whether to add some kale that I have in the refrigerator toward the end of cooking.

I'd also like to add a grain, but I'm afraid it would throw off the texture of the soup too much.

I'll let you know how it works.
fabrisse: (Default)
On Sunday, I spent the day in New York. Mostly, I just walked around mid-town, but I had a good vegan brunch at Blossom and dinner after the movie at Patsy's Pizza, although I actually ate pasta.

In the meantime, I met several great people as I was waiting in line (*waves at Sharon, Danielle, Joan, and Susan*). I also figured out a New York apartment for Rachel, Finn, Kurt, and Blaine in the neighborhood for a story.

As for the movie, I thought it was funny, touching, and well-written and acted. There will be spoilers under the cut -- and it's not really a review, more a reflection on my family from events in the movie.
Read more... )
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I am vegetarian because I have issues with digesting meat. But I have to say that it's entirely ridiculous that I have to ask whether a restaurant has any vegetarian SALADS. Today's example, courtesy of Au Bon Pain, was not the first, and, bless them, they were able to make me a vegetarian salad. But seriously, if you have salads on your menu or to take away, at least one of them should be meat free. Vegan salads should be possible, right?
fabrisse: (Default)
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As many of you know, I'm a vegetarian because an illness about 18 months ago left me unable to digest meat. I can do dairy -- though not as much cheese as I'd like -- eggs are tough for me. No poultry, but for some reason I can still handle fish occasionally (like once every couple of weeks). This means that I'm basically lacto-vegetarian with a fortnightly hit of fish.

When I was a kid, I loved my mother's zucchini patties. They may have been "Depression Food" (as in the Great Depression not anti-depressant), but they were also comfort food.

As an adult, my standard meal in the evening (because it's cheap and quick) is whole grain pasta with a simple olive oil based sauce. I start with garlic or onion in olive oil, add herbs and/or spices, throw in a third of a package of broccoli slaw (or slice up another vegetable or mushrooms to go in it), add either wine, liquor, or cider to the pan, and by the time the pasta is cooked, I have a nutritious and delicious topping for it. Sometimes I forgo the alcohol and add lemon or lime, sometimes I'll use sesame oil for the cooking, but on weeknights, this is my staple meal.

Any of these can have seitan (which I especially like with mushrooms and red wine) or tofu added to the mix.

Common variations:
onion, tarragon, white wine or sherry
onion, mushrooms, thyme and/or bay leaf, red wine
garlic, thyme, lemon peel and juice, and gin (this one needs a little water added)
garlic, onion, rosemary, canned tomatoes
garlic, gin, fresh dill added after it's all cooked (again a little water -- for hard liquors I use a tablespoon or less)
onion, thyme, sliced apple, hard cider, pink peppercorns
onion, sesame oil, orange peel and juice, ginger, Cointreau

garlic, hot peppers, (anchovies, optional), for cauliflower
olive oil, mustard, and salt, for brussel sprouts

Soup recipe

Feb. 6th, 2010 04:00 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
1 cup Navy Beans
1/2 strip of kombu
2 Tablespoons of cumin, divided
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, divided
1/2 head of Cabbage
2 carrots
1 old apple (optional)
1/2 a large onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of Belgian beer (Chimay)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon grains of paradise
about 10 cubebs
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Here's what I did.

Last night:
I soaked a cup of navy beans with the intention of making a bean and cabbage soup today.

This morning:
I drained and rinsed the beans, then I added three cloves of garlic, half a strip of kombu, and a tablespoon of cumin to them in the pot I intended to make soup in. I covered them with water, brought it to a boil, and then turned it down to a slow simmer. Let it simmer, covered, for 90 minutes. Turned off the burner and let it cool. Removed the strip of kombu.

This afternoon:
Added another 1/2 tablespoon of cumin and a teaspoon of salt to the beans.

I heated a heavy cast iron skillet and added the carrots (peeled and roughly diced), final clove of garlic (chopped), the rest of the cumin, and diced onions. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt. As they sauteed, I ground together the other spices with the rosemary and added it to the mixture. When the carrots were soft, I added the sugar and let it carmelize for a minute before adding the beer. That cooked for about five minutes while I diced the apple and cut up the cabbage.

I put the contents of the skillet on top of the beans, added the apple, vinegar, and cabbage and covered it with water. It cooked for another 90 minutes.

eta: This is my best vegan soup to date. It really had great flavor and texture.
Am I allowed to be proud of myself?

Vegan help

May. 4th, 2009 06:36 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
I wish I could remember the name of the vegan who referred to herself as a "Minion of seitan," but at the moment I can't.

While I'm not vegan, nor even vegetarian, I seem to be heading toward a more vegetable based diet. Some of it's my heart condition; most of it is a change in my palate.

I like tofu. I eat it occasionally, but I want to work with seitan more. I see different types of it at the market and would love to know more recipes and understand the differences among them.

So, does anyone have any seitan tips? Recipes they like?
fabrisse: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] riverfox asked me for lentil recipes. This is my favorite. I don't have the name of the cookbook I found the recipe in. I have no doubt I've made at least a couple of modifications.

The liquid to lentil ratio should be the same as on the package.

Rinse and pick over the lentils. Take an onion (medium to large for two cups of lentils, medium to small for one cup of lentils, or a shallot or part of an onion for less than a cup of lentils) with three cloves in it, one clove of peeled garlic (optional), a bay leaf (two if you either like the flavor or you're using more than two cups of lentils), a half teaspoon of thyme (you can put in whole sprigs if you have fresh), and a few black peppercorns. Add them to your lentils in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Use red wine -- it can be cheap, but shouldn't be sweet -- or a combination of red wine and water as your liquid. Bring it all to a boil. Cover the pan, then turn it down to a low simmer. After twenty minutes add salt. Add more liquid if necessary. Cover again and simmer another twenty minutes or until the desired degree of doneness.

I like my lentils a little firm. If you like them mushier, simmer them longer. If you're allergic to alcohol, you can use water, broth, or stock. Broth or stock probably won't need salt added.

This recipe is vegan and can be served cold or hot. It's really lovely chilled as a summer lunch.


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