Snowball Soup

I woke up to snow this morning in Seattle. Snow is a rare event here and one that always makes me feel like something special is happening. During a long walk this morning, my creative juices got flowing and I created this snowball soup as soon as I returned home.

Both sweet white miso and chickpea miso add a light sweet flavor that will compliment the cauliflower, so feel free to use either one. Remember to go light on the miso for young children, whose bodies are strongly affected by too much salt. For adults, add a little more miso, or a spoonful of sauerkraut, after children have been served. For children, I use 1/2 tsp or less of miso per cup of water. Adults can use up to 1 tsp of miso per cup of water. South River Miso and Miso Master are decent brands that are made in the US and can be found in many natural food stores. I used South River Sweet White Miso for this soup and I also love their Chickpea Miso.

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and it always reminds me of snowballs. When cutting the cauliflower, try to keep the round florets intact as much as possible to mimic a snowball shape. I cut the carrots into little snowman nose triangles. You may think of other snow themed vegetables to add as well. Use your imagination.20170206_12053220170206_121210

 

 

 

 

This soup is fabulous with a little added corn for sweetness and garnished with fried bread cubes or with my easy dumplings. I left the corn out this time because it didn’t quite fit my snow theme.

If you have a child who doesn’t mind eating wakame, remove it from the soup, chop into small pieces and then add it back in. Otherwise, leave it whole so it can be removed easily before serving.

Snowball Soup

6 cups water
3″ piece of wakame
2-3 Tbsp minced onion
1 1/2 cups small, bite-sized cauliflower snowballs
1/3 cup thin, carrot triangles, half of a small carrot cut into rounds and then 8 triangles per round
1 Tbsp sweet white or chickpea miso (unpasteurized is best)
chopped parsley or green onion for garnish (or other fresh garnish your child might like)

  1. In a medium size pot, bring the water, wakame and onion to a simmer.
  2. Add the cauliflower. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add the carrots. Let simmer for a few minutes more.
  4. Spoon a small amount of the liquid into a bowl. Add the miso and stir to dissolve. Add back into the soup and let simmer very lightly for a few minutes to activate the miso.
  5. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with garnish on top. This is also the time to add the dumplings or fried bread cubes if using.

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Maple Balsamic Glazed Garbanzo Beans

One of my strategies when cooking for busy families is to make dishes that can be eaten as is or added to other dishes. My style is kind of mix and match. I often create components rather than cooking full meals. I find this gives families greater flexibility in meeting the needs of a wide range of eaters.

These glazed garbanzo beans are a perfect example of my style.They can be part of a snack, thrown into a school lunch, tossed in a grain bowl, added to sauteed greens or sprinkled on top of a soup or salad.

Another thing I often do is make a big batch of beans and re-purpose it into several different dishes. Garbanzo beans, or pretty much any legume, can become hummus, grain and bean burgers, bean soup or my sauteed garbanzo beans. This recipe can be made with either 2 cups of home cooked beans or one 15 oz can of beans. Keep a few cans of Eden brand beans in your pantry and this can be one of your last minute go-to recipes. If you have never cooked your own garbanzo beans, the flavor and texture are outstanding. They are quite different from the canned version. Here are my instructions for Home Cooked Beans.

I have adapted the original recipe which can be found in Dreena Burton’s cookbook Plant-Powered Families. The link is for her website. I have reduced the sodium and the sweetness a bit. These garbanzo beans are meant to be served soft. I know there are a lot of recipes for crunchy garbanzo beans out there, but I think hard, dry foods are hard on the digestive system and contribute to cravings for sweet foods. So, I try to limit them.

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Maple Balsamic Glazed Garbanzo Beans
(adapted from Roasted Balsamic Chickpeas in Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton)

2 cups of garbanzo beans, drained (or 15 oz can Eden brand)
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (I love Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve)
1 1/2 tsp shoyu or tamari (alcohol-free, unpasteurized if you can find it)
1 tsp maple syrup or to taste

1. Oven to 400°.

2. If the garbanzo beans were made from scratch and refrigerated in their liquid, you will need to re-heat them before draining. The liquid tends to congeal and won’t drain easily while cold.

2. Measure all the ingredients into a medium size bowl and mix well. Place in a single layer on a large, parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. There will be extra marinade in the bottom of the bowl. Just pour that onto the garbanzo beans and they will soak up the sauce while baking.

3. Bake the garbanzo beans just until they soak up the marinade and turn glossy. Stir once or twice during this process to prevent burning. The garbanzo beans should still be fairly soft when they are done. This process takes about 20-25 minutes depending on the oven.

4. Remove and serve immediately or let cool and store for later use.

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Fresh Ginger Apples

On a recent trip to Portland, a friend and I cooked together every day. It was so lovely to have a partner in the kitchen.

One evening we were both craving something sweet, but didn’t want to get totally sugared out. Fresh Ginger Apples is what we made. Super simple and just what we needed to satisfy the cravings.

Heat really brings out the sweetness in fruit. I encourage you to eat these apples while still warm. They would be delicious on top of pancakes or morning porridge.

Sometimes ginger can get spicy. This fresh ginger juice is added at the end, so if you have young children, or members of your household who aren’t that into spicy, you can add as little or as much as you want.

Fresh Ginger Apples

3 cooking apples (I like gala or cameo)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (preferably the thick, unfiltered organic kind)
pinch of sea salt
2″ knob of fresh ginger

1.  Core and slice the apples into about 3/4″ wedges. You can leave the peel on or remove it before slicing.

2.  Place apple slices in a medium pan. Add the apple juice and a small pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer until the apples are fairly soft. Remove lid and cook for longer if you want the liquid to reduce and thicken a bit. Remove from heat.

3.  Grate the knob of ginger on a ginger grater or fine microplane. Gather the grated ginger into a ball and squeeze a little or a lot of the juice onto the apples. Use moderation if you haven’t tried ginger this way. Then taste and add more if you desire. Discard the pulp.

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Orange-y Carrot Jewels

Often, just changing the way you cut a vegetable can add variety and interest to a simple dish. One cutting technique, which I learned as the jewel cut, is actually my favorite way to cut root vegetables. I think it’s kind of fun.IMG_20140929_124631

Lay the root vegetable on its side, horizontal, with the top to your left if you are right-handed. Start at the root end and cut your first vegetable piece at a diagonal with the knife tip angled toward the left. Then turn the root toward you about a quarter turn and cut at a diagonal again. Keep turning and cutting until you have cut all the way to the top.

I am bringing this dish to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck this week.

Orange-y Carrot Jewels

3 cups cut carrot chunks (about 3-4 carrots)
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or unsweetened already juiced)
1 tsp brown rice syrup
pinch of sea salt

1.  Place carrots, water, orange juice, brown rice syrup and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until carrots are barely tender.

2.  With a slotted spoon, remove carrots from liquid and place in a serving dish.

3.  Continue to simmer the liquid, uncovered, until it reduces in volume and becomes a little thicker. Pour over the cooked carrots. Serve.

Root Vegetable Fritters

I have been making simplified versions of Carrot and Coriander Fritters for over a year.

By now, you probably know that I simplify almost every recipe I come across. Personally, I have found that if I use a really good sea salt and organic, fresh vegetables, I don’t need a whole lot of other seasonings. With simplified cooking, I don’t need to look at a recipe and I save a lot of time in the kitchen. And by saving time I can cook more dishes and put a healthy meal on the table almost every time we sit down to eat.IMG_20140911_164720

So, on with the simplified version. A little warning: these can be a bit finicky. Make them a few times and you will get the hang of it. Lately, I have been making these fritters with a mix of carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. You can use whatever combination of root vegetable you feel like. I added a bit of sweet potato to add some sweetness and familiarity for little taste buds, but it’s completely unnecessary. Or really give your taste buds a treat and do 100% sweet potato. Yum!

IMG_20140913_170741I have tried these with a microplane coarse grater, with a regular grater and with a food processor grater attachment.

The microplane makes the vegetables kind of mushy, but it’s much easier to get the patties to form and this size might work better for a toddler who is still working on chewing skills.

Grating the vegetables coarsely makes for a tastier finished product, but it is also harder to get the mixture to form patties. This is where some patience and faith are helpful. I am going to give you my ratios of ingredients, but you may need to add a little more garbanzo bean flour and/or oil to find the right ratio that will cause the grated vegetables to stick together, without adding too much garbanzo bean flour. Now, the great part is that they only need to stick together enough to form a patty and get to the pan. Once they start cooking, the ingredients will bond together and form a delicious fritter. It’s almost magic!

Root Vegetable Fritters
adapted from Carrot and Coriander Fritters over at Frugal Feeding

2 cups grated parsnip
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup grated sweet potato
5 T garbanzo bean flour
2 1/2 T olive oil
2 pinches sea salt
fresh ground pepper
grapeseed or other high-heat oil for frying

IMG_20140904_133126IMG_20140904_1340361.  Mix all ingredients except for the frying oil in a large bowl.

2.  Pick up a small handful of the mixture and try to form a patty. It will have a hard time staying together, but it should be sticky enough to come together a bit and stay together long enough to start cooking. If it won’t stick together at all, add a little more olive oil and/or garbanzo bean flour. Keep mixing it and testing until you get a consistency that seems like it might work. Make as many 2-3″ fritters as will fit in the pan. I usually heat the oil and add fritters as I make them.

3.  Heat a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Start adding fritters as soon as the oil is hot enough that a little piece of vegetable starts to sizzle when added. Add as many fritters as will fit in the pan without overcrowding. Cook until they are light to medium brown on the bottom, then turn them over to brown the other side. It should take about 4 minutes per side. If it seems a lot faster than that, the heat may be too high. You want them to cook for long enough that the vegetables cook, so if they are getting brown too fast, this might not happen. Add more oil if necessary for the next batch. Keep making and cooking the fritters until they are all done.

3.  As each one is done, remove them to a plate with a paper bag on it to soak up excess oil. These are best when they are served hot.

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