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Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Recipes - A Cooking Day

It's sub-zero here in Ohio. A great day for staying in and cooking something that will warm us from the inside out.

I've been wanting to find a nice vegan soup recipe, but something different as well, so decided to try Susan Voisin's Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup. Anyone switching to a vegan food program or just interested in getting some good and different plant-based recipes, would definitely benefit to check out Susan's Fat-Free Vegan blog.... She has a way of uniquely blending flavors that is truly inspiring. Here is my version of her soup (go to her site and see a MUCH prettier picture of this soup!).

Here's a link to the recipe to Susan's soup.

I was amazed at the flavor of this soup, (peanut butter? Who would think to add that....genius!), and it was definitely warming. I don't care for spicy and hot food, and this soup seems very hot to me, but even so, I ate it and found it to be delicious. I think next time I will actually measure the water I put in, as I think I may not have used enough; I also plan to cut the curry a bit and think that will suit my tastes a bit better. I used a can of diced tomatoes that had chilis in it rather than adding the pepper separately, so that likely added more heat.

I can easily see this soup as being a stand-in for the traditional chicken noodle; I will likely make it again omitting cauliflower and adding wild rice. It'll definitely be a keeper that I'll have fun playing with---the very best recipes are like that: wonderful in their original form and great in other adaptations.

Since I wasn't sure how the soup would come out, I decided to make some chili and some cornbread to go with. For the chili, I used kidney beans and also these beautiful cranberry-pinto type beans. I've got a bit of a bean fetish going on right now and can't seem to stop buying more and more beans! I joked with a friend recently that I probably have enough beans right now to feed half the population of Ethiopia!

I just made a simple chili recipe, sauteeing some onion and then adding tomato paste, water and seasonings. I added agave instead of brown sugar and also used an idea from another recipe and tossed in some frozen roasted corn that I picked up at Trader Joe's. That was a nice addition.

In the picture are some 'crackers' that I made up. I had a chunk of flour that I was attempting to make into oatmeal bread, but hadn't really risen correctly and I ran out of time, so stuck it in the fridge overnight. I decided to try to make a flatbread or some crackers....rolling it out very thin and then popping in the oven. It actually worked fairly well and I'd like to play with this a bit with more seasonings.

For the cornbread, I used the recipe on the back of the cornmeal container, but just did an easy conversion substituting almond milk for the regular milk and applesauce for the oil. Instead of eggs, I used 2T of ground flaxseed mixed into some water and allowed to sit for a few minutes. This cornbread turned out fantastic...I really had to control myself or I would have seriously indulged.

Also, fun for me was to bake this up in my grandmother's cast iron skillet. I have one of those glass-top ovens that doesn't allow use of this cookware on it (something I didn't realize until AFTER I bought it), so it is rare that I use this skillet. Anyway, I always feel some kind of comfort or connection when I use something of one of my grandmothers. Probably a lot of people feel this way. Knowing that she had her hands on this item for the same use and feeling that deep sense of continuity of purpose. One of my prized-possessions is a wonderful small bound book of my grandmother's recipes, canning techniques and other tips.

I wonder if Grandma ever made cornmeal in this skillet....I'm sure she would have loved this version of it.

Sue, eating well in Ohio

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