Tag Archives: vegan

Vegan Sweet Potato Bisque

12 Nov

The  cooler weather is settling in on the eastern seaboard. The leaves are turning vivid colors of yellow, orange and red and the nights are getting crisp. My brain is still fried from our super-hot summer, but I am finally open to the change of seasons. After all, it is mid-fall and it is the perfect season for my silky-smooth vegan Sweet Potato Bisque.

Bisque you say, Culinary Chick? I thought that bisque was traditionally made from seafood!

You are correct!  Traditionally a bisque is made from seafood, utilizing the trimmings  from shellfish.  The French didn’t waste anything, and came up with a technique which extracted every ounce of flavor by  sauteing the trimmings and mirepoix , simmering them in stock, adding various flavorings,  passing them through a fine sieve and finally adding a bit of cream to add a rich and silky finish to the soup. I utilized the same techniques here to achieve the desired texture: I wanted the soup to glide over the tongue and not be encumbered by bits of vegetables. It’s a bit of work, but well worth the effort!

Vegan Sweet Potato Soup

4 tbl. olive oil

2 cups peeled and diced onion or leeks*

1 ½ cups peeled and diced Fuji, Gala, Jazz , Golden delicious or Honey Crisp apples

1 Tbl. fresh grated ginger

2-2½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced ( about 3 or 4 medium to large )

2- 2 ½ cups carrot juice ( available in produce isle; I used Bolthouse Farms)

3 ½ cups vegetable broth ( make your own or use Swanson Vegetarian Vegetable Broth)

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. curry powder

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (optional)

In a heavy-bottomed stockpot over meduim heat,  heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and apples and saute, stirring occasionally until onions are transparent and apples begin to soften, about seven to eight minutes. Do not brown; if starting to brown, turn down heat and add a bit of the broth.  Add ginger and saute until fragrant; about two minutes. Place the peeled and diced sweet potatoes in the pot and add the broth and  carrot juice. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low. Add cinnamon,  nutmeg, curry powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered or until potatoes are soft. Turn heat off and let stand for 20 minutes.

In small batches, process the vegetables and broth in either a blender or food processor until smooth. Place pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer and force through with a ladle or spoon until all the liquid is extracted. Discard the pulp** and repeat until all the soup is strained. Return to pot and add almond milk and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread and salad as a lunch or a light dinner. Serves 6 to 8.

* If using leeks, cut off the green stalks and root end, saving the white part. Split the leek in half lengthwise,  dice and float the leeks in cold water. Allow the leeks to soak for 20 minutes, occasionally agitating to water to loosen the grit . Remove the leeks from the water with a slotted spoon and discard the water. Run the leeks  in cold water in a colander  for a minute and drain. Proceed with the recipe.

**I saved the pulp and gave it to my doggie in her meal. She loved it.

Risotto 101

3 Feb

Hey Kids!

Ye olde Culinary Chick is having guests over this weekend, barring any shenanigans from the weather this weekend.

On the menu are braised lamb shanks with dried cherry and rosemary demi-glace,  saffron risotto and roasted broccoli.   One of my guests, a childhood friend, loves potatoes and I serve them every time she comes over. However, this time I wanted to make something a bit different and dust off some of the skills I acquired over the years. One of them was how to make risotto. And believe it or not, you can too. If you follow my directions, you will have a great side dish to dazzle your friends with.

Risotto is an Italian dish made with arborio rice, a short grain rice prized for its al dente  texture and creaminess when cooked.  The version we will cook is Risotto ala Milanese. C’mon, its easy!

You will need the following equipment:

heavy-bottomed pan ( cast iron or aluminum [plain or anodized])

a wooden spoon

a ladle

1 – 2 qt. saucepan

Risotto Milanese (serves one as a main dish or two as a side dish)

2 tbl.  olive oil

1/2 c. arborio rice

1/3 c. diced onions

2 c. chicken stock or broth

pinch of saffron*

2 tb. parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1-2 tbl. butter

1 tbl. chopped fresh parsley

In a 1 – 2 quart saucepan, bring chicken stock and saffron to a simmer. Keep warm.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in heavy-bottomed pan and add onions and saute until clear and soft ( do not brown)

Add rice and saute, making sure all rice grains are coated and center of rice is visible.

Add one ladle of  hot stock to the pan with the rice and onions and stir with wooden spoon until all of the liquid is absorbed.

After all of the liquid is absorbed from the first ladle of stock, add another ladle of stock and stir again with the wooden spoon until absorbed. Repeat these steps until you have used all of the stock and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

By this time your rice will have doubled in size and you should see a  small amount of thickened stock in bottom of pan.

Add butter and stir until incorporated. Add parmesan cheese and pepper. If needed add a scant amount of salt ( taste first).

Add parsley and serve with a side salad as a main dish or as a side dish with seafood or meat.

A note: Saffron can be found in specialty stores and can be pricey. If you do not have saffron, you can still enjoy this dish without it. The addition of some fresh chopped herbs  or seasonings that will compliment your main dish will suffice such as  lemon zest, chopped chives, tarragon or roasted garlic puree  as an example will add flavor and color to your risotto. And, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can make this using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock and omitting the butter and cheese.

Yum.

Kwik Killer Kale

16 Jan

Killer Kale with bacon, garlic and onions

Today at the office, one of the doctors at the practice received a very large “Edible Arrangement” from one of her clients. This thing was humongous, and we all ate chocolate-covered strawberries, pineapple and melon until we were full. Even then, there was enough fruit left over for an army and nobody wanted it. You know what I did.

Okay, for those folk who really know me will acknowledge that I waste nothing. NOTHING.

I took that bad boy home, took it apart and was surprised (as I pulled off the nearly five pounds of fruit left on this thing) about 1 1/2 lbs of fresh kale used as a base for the fruit-tastic sculpture. So I cooked it for dinner, and here is the recipe. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish.

(For all you veg-heads out there, omit the meat and substitute fire-roasted peppers for a little smoky flavor.  Similarly; if you loves the meat add as much or as little as you care to)

Kwik Killer Kale

2 lbs.  fresh kale

2 tbl. olive oil

4 strips diced bacon ( optional)

1/2 cup diced roasted peppers (optional)

1/2  cup thinly sliced onion

4 cloves chopped garlic ( about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup chopped jalapenos, poblano, or banana peppers

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 cup water or chicken stock

Salt and black pepper to taste

Kale comes washed and bagged in most upscale markets. If you get loose kale, pull off stems and discard. Float kale in a sink full of cold water for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to remove all of the grit.

Heat up olive oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Add bacon and saute until crisp over medium heat. Remove  bacon from pan and set aside. Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute until soft. Add kale, vinegar and stock, and cover pan with a tight-fitting lid.

Cook for five minutes, then remove lid and stir kale.  Replace lid and continue to stir kale until losing its bright green color, and leaves are tender. Season with salt and pepper, then top with bacon. Serves around 2 to 4 people.

For the vegetarian/vegan crowd:  Add olive oil to pan. Over medium heat, saute hot peppers, garlic and onions until tender. Add  kale and roasted peppers to pan and toss with garlic mixture. Add water and cover pan with lid. Toss and cover until kale turns dark and leaves are tender. Season and serve.

Vegan Black Bean Soup

12 May

Vegan Black Bean Soup

Hey Kids!

Here is a great recipe for a Black Bean Soup. This is a soup for a rainy day or it  can be used in making nachos. Add some ground beef or chicken, and you  have a great black bean chili. Use what you want as a garnish. here, I’ve added diced red onion, tomatoes, hummus ( a great non-dairy alternative to sour cream), and fresh basil. You of course, can tart up your black bean soup anyway you choose ( cheese, sour cream, meat, and/ or  Doritos © ).

No animals were used in making this soup, but I did murder a mess of vegetables if that makes the meat lover in you  happy!

Ingredients

2 c. onions, diced

1 c. carrots, diced

1/2  c. celery, diced

1/2  c.  bell peppers, diced

2 T.  chopped fresh garlic ( Less or more if you like)

1/2  c. jalapeno peppers, diced (optional)

1/2  t.  coarse grind black pepper

1/4  c.  olive oil

1 lb. dried black beans*

1 ea. 14-15 oz. can  flavored diced tomatoes ( Rotel brand w/ chilies, or any kind flavored with basil and/or garlic

2 T. tomato paste

3/4  t.  chili powder

3/4  t.  ground cumin

1 t. dried basil

1/2   t.  dried oregano

1/2  t. smoked paprika

2 ea. bay leaves

10 c. vegetable broth

1 cup prepared salsa

salt to taste

Garnish of your choice

Prepare all vegetables,  measure out all spices and liquids; set aside. In a large pot ( 2  1/2 gallon capacity), heat up olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until onions are clear and aromatic, about 6-10 minutes. Add black beans and stir for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, bay leaves and broth. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer. Skim off any foam that accumulates on top with a slotted spoon. Cook beans on simmer, stirring ocasionally for 2-3 hours or until beans are very tender.

Take 4 cups of the bean soup and puree in a food processor or hand blender until smooth and stir back into the  soup. Add salsa to soup, and serve.

* It is not necessary to soak any beans before using them, but do it if it makes you feel better. Reduce the cooking time if you do so.

A note to carnivores- Start this recipe with your meat of choice. Brown meat in the olive oil, then remove from pot and drain off all but 1/4 cup of fat. Then proceed with the recipe.

Hey, $25 gift card contest extended!!!!

6 May
Hey, win a gift card!

Hey, win a gift card!

Due to the ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMING RESPONSE ( zero), I’m extending the contest dates to Midnight, May 24th. You have until then to tell me how you make your meals a gourmet experience in thee hard economic times. There will be two winners, each receiving a $25 Shop-Rite gift card.

Contest Rules:

1) No substitutions will be given in lieu of gift cards.

2) Shop-Rite gift cards can only be used at Shop-Rite stores.

3) Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 24.   The winners  will be announced on May 27, 2009.

4) All posts must be limited to 50 words or less.

5) All entries must have a valid e-mail address

6) Only one entry per valid e-mail address

7) Please refrain from using racist, sexist or pornographic comments. Entries which contain theses elements will be disqualified.

Have Fun!

Win a $25 gift card from Shop-Rite

24 Apr

shopritelogo Culinary Chick and the kind folks from Shop-Rite grocery stores are giving away $25  Shop-Rite gift cards to two lucky readers of this blog. All you have to do is post an answer to this question:

In these lean times, how do you maintain a gourmet touch in the meals you prepare for yourself, or your family?

A gourmet touch could be anything from using a simple garnish like a parsley sprig,  to breaking out that extra virgin olive oil, to splurging on seafood or a special cut of meat. I will choose the  best five entries; and you, the readers will choose the best two.  The two winners will receive the $25 gift card, courtesy of Shop-Rite.

Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 10.  Voting will end on midnight, May 17. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2009.

Contest Rules:

1) No substitutions will be given in lieu of gift cards.

2) Shop-Rite gift cards can only be used at Shop-Rite stores.

3) Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 10.  Voting will end on midnight, May 17. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2009.

4) All posts must be limited to 50 words or less.

5) All entries must have a valid e-mail address

6) Only one entry per valid e-mail address

7) Please refrain from using racist, sexist or pornographic comments. Entries which contain theses elements will be disqualified.

Have Fun!

Adventures in Breadmaking: My first loaf

5 Mar
Ain't it cute, ya'll!!

Ain't it cute, ya'll!!

Well, folks; this is my first attempt at baking bread. This is a loaf of  honey-oatmeal bread. It is supposed to be light and fluffy. Instead, it is dense and cake-like.  I asked the  person who baked this bread why it turned out this way, and she said it did the same thing to her.

The dough was so stiff, that it almost broke the hook on my Kitchen-Aid mixer.  But, boy does it taste good! Too dense for sandwiches, this is perfect for breakfast ( bread is slightly sweet), or erved with soup. I’m going to play with this recipe a few times with the help of a dear friend ( master baker).  As soon as I get the permission from the owner of the recipe, I’ll post it!

CC