Barley Soup with Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

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Can you believe that I’d never had mushroom barley soup before last night? It seems like all the canned versions contain milk. Or maybe that’s just an excuse, and I’d been too persnickety to bother up until now. Either way, I have been MISSING. OUT.

This recipe’s from Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano, which I love more and more with each passing meal. (I make the Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic so often that I have the recipe memorized.) It’s easy to throw together, with less than a dozen ingredients and only about 35 minutes of cooking time. And if you let it simmer a little long, don’t worry: it’s very flexible! It’s nearly impossible to overcook.

I had to make a special trip to find quick-cooking barley and roasted red peppers, but it was so worth it. (Usually I roast my own peppers, but I wanted to get the weight just right.) It’s hearty and savory, and much more flavorful than I expected, given that there are only a few spices.

The leftovers are heating up on the stove top as I write this. I may or may not have drooled on my keyboard while typing that last line. THE VISUALS.

Buying in Bulk, White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa, and a Recipe for Savory Red Lentil and Quinoa Bolognese

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca; CC image via twiga_269 on Flickr.
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You guys know how much I love ye ole bulk food stores, right? Back when I started that “frugal vegans” series a few VeganMoFos ago (which sadly turned out to be fairly short-lived, since I exhausted all my ideas in under a month), buying in bulk was one of my top/most popular tips.

Whether you’re prepping for the apocalypse or just trying to save some money, buying in bulk can be a great option. Don’t have an underground bunker in which to store all those tubs of extra goodies? Pair up with a friend or two and split your haul!

So when Alexa from IFS Bulk got in touch, I jumped at the chance to try out some of their products and create a few original recipes.* With everything from black chia seeds to dried currants and mammoth pecan halves (my favorite!) to choose from, it was hard to whittle it down. In the end, I went with red quinoa and hazelnut flour. We’ll discuss the hazelnut flour another day (spoiler alert: there will be vegan Nutella!); today it’s all about the quinoa.

Prior to this, I wasn’t even aware that quinoa came in different colors – red and black in addition to the more popular white. What’s the difference?, you might be asking. Good question! I wanted to know too, so I did a little research, and here’s what I found.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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This is another recipe from Vegan’s Daily Companion, by way of Compassionate Cooks member Melissa Phillips. Considering how much a loved the Creamy Mushroom Pasta from Simple Recipes for Joy, I totally expected to fall head over heels for this dish, too. I wasn’t as crazy about mushrooms in drinkable soup form though. It’s not a bad recipe, just not one of my favorites. On the other hand, Shane is a huge fan.

Cha-cha-cha-changes: I couldn’t find any oyster mushrooms, so I left them out. Also, the soup tasted a little on the bland side to me, so I doubled up on the thyme. I left half of it chunky, too, which was a nice variation, I think.

On another, completely unrelated note, here’s a picture of Mags waving ’em in the air like she just don’t care. Because Mags.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Okay, so I lied!

The lovely spring weather has kept me so busy that my review of Simple Recipes for Joy is slow going. In the meantime, I decided to try another pasta dish: namely, the Creamy Mushroom Pasta, which is amazaballs.

Basically you saute the mushrooms along with some garlic and spices; mix in some mushroom stock (I used veggie), soy milk, water, and gluten-free flour for thickness, and then puree the whole shebang into a creamy mushroom sauce. So good! But I like my pasta with some chunk veggies too, so I upped the ten ounces of mushrooms to an even sixteen, and then held some back prior to adding the liquids. Once the sauce was creamed and the pasta cooking, I mixed the mushrooms back in with the sauce so they’d be nice and warm. Done and done!

From the looks of things, though, I probably could have went with even more ‘shrooms. Filing that lesson away for next time.

For the GF flour, I went with coconut, which made for an interesting texture. Once the sauce cooled, it got a little grainy, but…I kind of liked it! It’s reminiscent of the Fettuccine Alfredo from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe, which uses cashews in addition to mozzarella Daiya. The coconut flour bits are so similar to the little cashew crumbs that one’s easily mistaken for the other. And since Reinfeld’s Fettuccine Alfredo happens to be my favorite Fettuccine Alfredo of all the times…well, good memories, positive associations, and all that jazz.

Candle Cafe’s Homemade Pappardelle with Spinach, Portabello Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

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Confession time: I did not make this pasta from scratch! I am way too lazy for that. However, the roasted red pepper sauce is homemade (do they even sell such a thing in stores?), and furthermore I roasted and peeled the peppers all by my little lonesome. And it took forever, I might add!

Usually I seed and slice them prior to roasting, which is always in olive oil and a glass baking dish. (The olive oil is awesome for reuse in pasta dishes, since it’s infused with pepper juices!) With this method, the peels practically fall off the roasted pepper slices.

This recipe instructed me to spray the whole peppers in Pam, roast them, and then seed, slice, and peel. Instead I compromised by seeding and slicing them, spraying them lightly with Pam, roasting them, and then peeling them once cool. Or at least I tried to: after 40 minutes in the oven, the edges had crisped up so much that the skins were basically melded onto the peppers. It took me 45 minutes and much finagling just to peel half of them! After that I tried a Hail Mary: I roasted them a second time in olive oil, like I would normally. That helped to loosen the skins from the edges a bit, but it was still a struggle to get them all off. Never again! From now on it’s olive oil for this girl and her peppers. (Though I’m sure the other method would have worked well too. Or at least better than the weird Frankenstein process I came up with.)

ANYWAY. The resulting sauce was crazy delicious. I threw some cornstarch in there to thicken things up, but otherwise I followed the recipe to a T. As for the spinach/mushroom mix, I did include spinach but chose not to cook it. (Wilty greens, ew!)

SO GOOD. I need to make red pepper sauce more often, y’all.

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

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The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

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Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Carbs & Rec: Happy Cauliflower Day! (Belated, but still.)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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Technically Cauliflower Day was yesterday, but I would have had to preempt the very first Waffle Wednesday in order to make it work, and that simply would not do! As much as I love cauliflower, sweet breakfast food trumps it every. single. time.

Also a technicality: Cauliflower Day celebrates the first AND LAST time that Leslie and Ben ate cauliflower together. Leslie did not care for it. So really, this dish should feature broccoli, pizza, ice cream, or some other food that isn’t cauliflower.

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But wait! Stay with me here.

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Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

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BEST HOLIDAY EVER!

Mrs. T’s (Vegan!) Pierogies with Fried Mushrooms & Onions

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

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After I had a happy attack on Facebook, Twitter, and the Internets in general over my brand spanking new shipment of Mrs. T’s (Vegan!) Pierogies, I got a few questions about how I serve them.

The usual method seems to be with sour cream or applesauce, but that’s not really my jam. Traditionally I’ve enjoyed them plain (either deep-fried or boiled), but lately I’ve been experimenting with different toppings to liven them up. Since I suck at making my own pierogies, the toppings/sides are my only real means of influencing the flavor. So far my favorite combo is fried onions and mushrooms. Onions on top add an extra dimension of onions to the dish, and mushrooms are just plain awesome.

The recipe’s kind of a no-brainer, but you know. Posterity’s sake.

Assuming you have the veggies pre-sliced (this saves so much time, people! plus you’re more likely to eat fruits and veggies if they’re just sitting there, all undressed and ready to go in the fridge! do it you won’t be sorry!), this meal takes all of ten minutes to make. Twelve, tops. Yay lazy vegans!

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Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

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and lentils and chia seeds and basil and garlic and – well, you get the idea. Angela Liddon packs her tomato sauce with savory goodness.

So, I’ll be honest: this isn’t my all-time favorite pasta sauce. But to be fair, I am super-Italian, and have been enjoying pasta at least once a week my entire life. I have long since perfected my own dream red sauce recipe. (Spoiler alert: it involves roasted red peppers.) But I have to admit, I love the idea of adding red lentils to pasta sauce, and the chia seeds are a nice extra too.

Well done, even by own fussy standards.

And this is the last recipe on my to-do list before I review The Oh She Glows Cookbook! Check back Monday for the review.