Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leek Potato Soup

Leek Potato Soup
 I don't often cook with leeks but they are definitely one of my occasional, vegetable impulse buys at the grocery store.  I had three sitting in my fridge getting a little dried out and thought it would the perfect ingredient for my weekly cooking challenge.  I've always wanted to make potato leek soup and searched my cookbooks for a recipe.  I found an appealing candidate in Lauren Ulm's wonderful Vegan YumYum with relatively few ingredients. 

This simple, warming soup was a big hit with everyone in our house. I liked it's velvety texture and the fact that few ingredients were required. Next time I will reduce the amount of salt and season at the end if required. 
And now lets go and see what Kathryn has made over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen.   Ooooh, it looks like some yummy middle eastern lentils and rice from Veganomicon.   I must give that one a try.   Go Kathryn!  Keep on cooking!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Cookies - Oh Yes!

Da Kine No Bake Chocolate Cookies
 Valentines Day was the official end of my no-sugar challenge.  I never thought in a million years I could go six weeks without indulging in a daily hit of sugar but I actually did it with the support of my good friend Merry.  I must say there was a noticable improvement in my energy levels.  That awful, mid-day, sluggish, slump disappeared and after about 3 weeks the cravings lessened.  Tonight I made my first real treat, a recipe for no bake chocolate cookies from Vegan Fusion World Cuisine.  These were very simple to prepare, just melt the chocolate or carob chips and mix in the remaining ingredients which included raisins, pecans, coconut flakes, almond or peanut butter, a bit of maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.  The mixture cooled and firmed up quickly making it easy to shape the cookies.  We popped them in the fridge and after about 15 minutes, the upper limit of my daughter's waiting tolerance, she tried one.  Total success!  She loved them except for the raisins which were spit out, no surprise there.  Then, it was my turn.  I made a cup of tea, sat down and bit into chocolatey goodness.   Mmmm, they almost taste like very firm fudge with chunks of pecans and raisins.  I was only going to eat one because they are so rich but could not resist attempting a second.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread
 I've had this cookbook - How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman for over a year and barely used it.  It's ginormous and heavy, like a big, fat encyclopedia with no photos.  It sits on the bookshelf in my kitchen and every now and then, I glance guiltily over at it's pretty, green spine and think I must use such an excellent resource but I'm not often inspired to pick it up.  I can't imagine writing something like that, it must have taken forever.

Anyways, on the inside of the back cover there is a list called 20 Essential Vegetarian Dishes and I thought that would be a good place to start in terms of trying recipes.  One of the items on the list is Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread.   Doesn't that sound yummy?  I thought so too!  I made it a few weeks ago and while it was quick and easy to prepare, we found the molasses flavour to be extremely overpowering.  After my daughter and I tasted a few bites of the warm bread my husband was left to eat the entire loaf over the course of the week. It does have an appealing and hearty appearance and I might make it again but next time cutting the molasses in half using 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.  I also subbed soymilk with a tablespoon of vinegar for the buttermilk.  I think this quickbread has a good texture and the potential to be great with a little tweaking.

My buddy Kathryn has made some tasty looking Almond Cookies over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen.  I think she is trying to tempt me off my no-sugar challenge!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cauliflower and Potatoes with Spices

Cauliflower and Potatoes with Spices

I borrowed The Asian Vegan Kitchen from the library and fell in love.  There are about 30 pages of photos in the centre of the book and I want to make every single recipe.  I decided to do an Indian Inspired Sunday brunch today starting with the Cauliflower and Potato with Spices recipe on page 18.  I also made up my own lentils in a tomato/cashew sauce which was delicious but I will post the recipe for that later. 

The potato and cauliflower dish is what they call a dry dish.  I don't always have fabulous results with this type of recipe and I'm definitely a sauce freak.  You basically fry the spices and ginger in a bit of oil and then add the potatoes and cauliflower with a couple of tablespoons of water and let them steam or cook in their own juices.  I was missing two of the spices; mango powder and asafetida so I'm not sure how those missing flavours would have affected the outcome but my husband and I both give this dish a 3 out of 5.  The cauliflower was a little soft and the texture of the potatoes a bit weird for lack of a better word.  I have a feeling I may enjoy this more tomorrow as leftovers. 

My friend Kathryn over at The Hedgehog in the Kitchen has been having fun trying recipes from The Peaceful Palate and this week cooked up Pasta with Peanut Sauce.   Looks yummy Kathryn!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thai Vegetable Soup

Thai Vegetable Soup
 After shovelling mounds of fluffy snow for a couple of hours this afternoon, I came in from the cold pretty darn hungry for something warm and nourishing.  I decided to make a delicious looking Thai Vegetable Soup I had seen on a newly discovered website called Elana's Pantry.  She cooks all gluten free food and some vegan recipes.  Her photos are fantastic and the food all looks and sounds very healthy.  You can find the soup recipe here.

Coconut milk, veggie stock, ginger, lime and cilantro make a delicious soup broth.  She adds broccoli, mushrooms and onions but I think with a few more veggies, some tofu and perhaps a squirt of chili sauce, this soup could be even more substantial.  Two thumbs up for simpicity, fast preparation and flavour with relatively few ingredients.