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


Nov. 6th, 2010 02:55 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
Many of you may remember that I was pretty damned sick for several days in early April. We're talking ambulance and IV rehydration and days of Gatorade and crackers.

What I don't think I've shared from this is that I am as a result a piscatarian. I eat fish -- a little bit occasionally, mostly as anchovies or sardines in cooking with the occasional plate of bivalves as a treat. I can just about handle a small piece of white fish once a month.

In other words, for much of the time, I'm functionally vegetarian. Cheese is all right. Milk, buttermilk, and yogurt are great, actually. Eggs, well, right now, I'm eating them less often than fish, and I'm not eating much fish. I try a bite of meat occasionally, but my body is NOT happy with me when I do. The smell of most meats cooking turns my stomach. Poultry is a little better: the smell doesn't nauseate me. It's no better for eating though. *sigh*

This can be awkward for a cook. I'm dreading making my first chess pies of the season because I'm not certain I'll be able to eat them.

I'm teaching myself about whole grains. Pasta, as much as I love it, can get old when it's five nights a week, so I'm learning about kasha, quinoa, bulgur, and millet. (Barley, oats and I are old friends, and I always had brown rice in the cupboard even though I don't eat it much. It's a good excuse to keep wild rice -- which I love -- in the cupboard, too.)

I want to continue to do things like cook for friends when I stay at [livejournal.com profile] eanja's, but most of the time, it's going to be new and different cooking.

So there will be more soup recipes this winter, including one under the cut. If you're used to cooking with a hambone, smoked turkey leg, tongue, or sausage, go ahead and add it. The recipes themselves will be vegetarian or vegan.

Read more... )

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?
fabrisse: (Default)
I had some left over fresh vegetables that I needed to use up, so I decided to make soup yesterday. It was a cold day and soup just sounded right.

I began with the standard Belgian pot herbs
1/2 a large onion, sliced
two large carrots, peeled and sliced
celery heart -- really just the pale green leafy bits in the middle. Maybe 1/4 C diced.
1 T thyme
2 bay leaves
1 minced clove of garlic
1 sprig of parsley minced
Fresh grated nutmeg -- a teaspoon
six peppercorns ground with mortar and pestle

I softened them in a mix of (2 T) butter -- it was salted because that's what I had -- and (1 T) olive oil.

To that I added the ten jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) that I had lying around. I cut them into matchsticks and added them to the softening pot herbs.

I then added 2 C of water and 1 C of skim milk. I also peeled and cubed a potato and added it after the water and milk went in.

Once it came to a boil, I turned down the heat and simmered for an hour. I added a tablespoon of sherry at the half hour mark.

It came out well, a delicate vegetable soup. Smoked salt added to the bowl really set it off.
fabrisse: (Default)
I love them. I found out how easy they were by accident.

Seriously. Cut up your root vegetables in chunks (about an inch (two to three centimeters) square). Any root vegetable you like will do. Drizzle enough olive or other oil to coat. Salt or spice if you like. I usually use a little salt, but I've also used cinnamon on turnips.

My current batch is beets and vidalia onion. I've done carrots and garlic before. Shallots with turnip is nice, and celery root and leek is very Belgian. Or you can do a turnip, carrot, beet, celery root mix and leave out the allium family all together.

Bake on a cookie sheet in a 400F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. If the chunks aren't soft, leave them in longer.


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