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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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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Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

I did not grow up liking sliced hot dogs in my baked beans. I was the kind of child who liked to keep my meals simple.

It was only in my macrobiotic studies that I learned the value of incorporating two protein sources into one dish. If you haven’t tried this, you can raise a simple bean dish to a new level of delicious when you add fried tempeh, deep-fried tofu or bits of seitan.

Be careful with the amount of salt in this recipe because the field roast sausage is very high in salt. You might even be able to get away with leaving the shoyu out.

More information about making beans from scratch.IMG_20140702_124752

Pinto Beans with Vegan Sausage

1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
1/2 cup dried black turtle beans, rinsed and soaked at least 8 hours
postage size piece of kombu or kelp
bay leaf
2-3 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt
1/2 tsp unpasteurized shoyu or tamari
1 field roast sausage, cut into small bite-size pieces (I used the apple sage flavor.)
2 tsp barley malt, or to taste
1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar (optional)

1.  Drain the beans and place in a large pot. Add water to cover about 1 ” above top of beans. Bring to a boil and scrape off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to simmer. Add kombu/kelp and bay leaf. Cover and cook until beans are soft. Add more water as necessary, just enough to keep the beans submersed.The beans will take about 1 to 1¼ hours to cook.

2.  While beans are cooking, saute the onion in the oil. Add the minced garlic, one pinch of sea salt and a few tablespoons of water. Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Check frequently and add a little more water if necessary. Cook until onion is very soft. You can actually cook them for as long as you want and they will keep becoming more flavorful.

3.  Add onions to the beans when beans are soft. Add shoyu and cook for 10 more minutes to help incorporate the onions and shoyu.

4.  Stir in the cut vegan sausage and cook for a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in barley malt and brown rice vinegar. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.

Garbanzo Bean Crepes with Sauteed Vegetables

I didn’t think these would turn into crepes when I first saw the recipe over at Oh She Glows. But, that’s how they turned out for me.

I was looking for a quick simple dinner item and these were a hit. I used the basic garbanzo bean flour to water ratio that Angela uses, but added sautéed vegetables to the batter and spread the batter thin on the pan.IMG_20140609_164921

We made delicious roll-ups. Lena loved them. Continue reading