Not-Quite-Vichyssoise with Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Monday, December 19th, 2016

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It’s been a while since I shared a shiny new recipe, or even just a photo or two or twenty of my latest donut haul from Ronald’s. (I am currently up to my elbows in fritters and bear claws, let me tell you!) With everything going on in the world/with my family, I just haven’t been feeling it. But I’m coming out of hiatus long enough to tell you all about this awesome, carbalicious soup I came up with.

So I’ve wanted to try a potato soup with roasted potatoes for quite some time now; I think the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from American Vegan Kitchen first gave me the idea, and I blogged about that four years ago!

Roasted potatoes are one of my favorites; I enjoy them with everything from Beast Burgers to tofu scrambles. Plus they’re so darned easy to make, just pop ’em in the oven and rotate, flip, rotate. I’ll never fry them on the stove top again!

Anyway, for this recipe, I used the Fancy Schmancy Vichyssoise from The Cheesy Vegan as a starting point. According to Wikipedia, Vichyssoise “is a thick soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but can be eaten hot.” For his version, Schlimm replaces the cream with tofu and swaps out chicken stock for the vegan version. I call mine “Not-Quite-Vichyssoise” because I skipped the leaks and added some chunky goodness in the form of roasted potatoes.

It’s actually pretty easy to make, especially if you have an immersion blender and can puree the soup right there in the pot. While the soup is cooking, roast the potatoes. The cook times are pretty similar and they should finish up about the same time. When serving, you can either dump the roasted potatoes right into the soup pot and mix, or sprinkle them on top of the soup like croutons or some other garnish. Mixing the potatoes right in with the soup will soften them up, especially with time, while sprinkle them on top will preserve their crispy goodness. I’m all for option b, personally.

As for the leftovers, you can throw any extra roasted potatoes in the pot and make a fresh batch to serve with the leftovers. You can never have too many potatoes, you know?

Pro tip: We had a little leftover Thanksgiving gravy hanging out in the fridge, the first time I made this. Not really even enough to serve with a plate of fries, but enough that I felt bad just tossing it (or eating it by the spoonful). So I had the genius idea to serve it with the soup: I heated it up, spooned the gravy into the bottom of my bowl, poured a heaping serving of soup on top, and then garnished with roasted potatoes. The gravy really took this dish to the next level. Definitely give this a try when you’re in desperate need of comfort food, okay?

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Fusilli with Roasted Lemony Vegetables and Tofu Ricotta

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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This is a little something I threw together using scraps of this and that from the fridge: a few miscellaneous Russet potatoes; a just-cut red pepper; the lone surviving green zucchini from a pack o’ three; the last of a bag of frozen corn. If you don’t want to go quite so heavy on the carbs (this dish requires a post-dinner nap, I tell you what), omit the potatoes and double down on the other veggies. Or you can bulk up on the veggies anyway for a greater veggie-to-pasta ratio.

I used the ricotta recipe from The Cheesy Vegan, but there are plenty of tofu-based versions on the web.

 

Fusilli with Roasted Lemony Vegetables

Ingredients

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed)
1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Russet potatoes, diced into 1/2″ pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1/4″ rounds
1 red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon peel

16 ounces fusilli, or other small, bite-sized pasta
tofu ricotta for serving

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Cookbook Review: The Cheesy Vegan, John Schlimm (2013)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

It’s easy being cheesy!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review at my request.)

Vegan cheese! No two words in the English language are able to arouse the excitement, the vociferous debate, the unbridled passion of vegans quite like “vegan cheese.” (Except – maybe – “free pizza”!) Whether arguing about the merits of Daiya vs. Teese or swapping our favorite cheesy sauce recipes, us vegans love to cut the cheese. (Sorry I’m not sorry.)

John Schlimm’s latest cookbook, The Cheesy Vegan, doesn’t disappoint. Filled with recipes for cheesy sammies and cheesy pizzas and cheesy pasta dishes and cheesy soups and sides (and an entire chapter of mac & cheese! ONE WHOLE CHAPTER!), there are also a ton of recipes for homemade cheeses: Cheddar. Mozzarella. Brie. Swiss. Feta. Ricotta. Blue. Jack. Muenster. Wine. American. Cottage. Cream. Parmesan. Nooch cheese. You name it! If it’s cheesy, it’s in here.

Better yet, the cheeses are all pretty easy to make: just blend and chill. I’ve been on the fence about whether I should give Artisan Vegan Cheese a try, since (from what I’ve seen) some of the recipes border on alchemy. But these are actually recipes that homemade cheese novices like myself can pull off with some ease!

While choosing recipes to test for this review, I tried to select dishes that would allow me to experiment with a variety of the homemade cheeses. Six weeks, seven cheeses, and thirteen (plus!) meals later, and I think I’m finally ready to do this!

For what it’s worth, I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life – so I’m not exactly the best judge of whether vegan cheeses taste or even behave like their non-vegan counterparts. Luckily, my husband was more than happy to help with the taste-testing and opinionating. (We’ve both been vegan since the mid-aughts and consider ourselves connoisseurs of vegan cheese.)

With that disclaimer out of the way – let’s get cheesy!

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John Schlimm’s The Cheesy Vegan drops today! Also: Flying Buffalo Pizza & a giveaway!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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When I first laid eyes on John Schlimm’s The Cheesy Vegan: More Than 125 Plant-Based Recipes for Indulging in the World’s Ultimate Comfort Food via an Amazon recommendation, I nearly fell out of my seat. It’s like they read my mind! An entire cookbook devoted to vegan cheese (pizza, pasta, tacos, macaroni and cheese!); could a more perfect thing exist? (A: No. No, it cannot.)

Luckily, the folks at Da Capo Press were kind enough to send me a copy for review. Yay! And in the interest of not burying the lede, let me just say that they also offered a second copy for me to give away. Yay for you! Head on over to fuck yeah vegan pizza for details and to enter.

Anyway, between Vegan MoFo and Julie Hasson’s Vegan Pizza (which I’m currently also reviewing), I haven’t had much chance to cook from it yet. BUT it does look quite promising. Wait, that’s an understatement. Amazing. It looks amazing.

In addition to cheesy sammies and cheesy pizzas and cheesy pasta dishes and cheesy soups and sides (and an entire chapter of mac & cheese! ONE WHOLE CHAPTER!), there are also a ton of recipes for homemade cheeses: Cheddar. Mozzarella. Brie. Swiss. Feta. Ricotta. Blue. Jack. Muenster. American. You name it! Better yet, they all look pretty easy to make: just blend and chill. I’ve been on the fence about whether I should give Artisan Vegan Cheese a try, since some of the recipes sound like alchemy or witchcraft or rocket science. (Take your pick!) But these actually look like recipes I can pull off! (*knock on wood*)

For those of you who fancy gorgeous, glossy, full-color photos, The Cheesy Vegan will not disappoint. Nearly every page is dripping and oozing with cheesy orange and white goodness. You might find yourself overcome with a sudden and powerful urge to lick the gourmet food photos. This is one handsome book.

Better still, few of the recipes require unusual or hard-to-find ingredients. The weirdest item I spotted was instant flour (Wondra), which Schlimm assures us is readily available in most grocery stores. That said, you will need plenty of agar flakes for the diy cheese recipes – and agar is rather pricey.

Some of the equipment is a bit non-standard, especially for my kitchen; I only own a few odd ramekins (for my wannabe-gourmet food photography!), and I’m not even sure what a jelly roll pan looks like. The Pizza Mountain Pie, in particular, requires a pie iron, which I don’t think even exists in my parents’ attic (and you can find one of nearly every countertop kitchen appliance there!). But, with the exception of the pie iron (and requisite campfire!), many of these items are easily improvised.

I especially appreciate the do-it-yourself cheese recipes, which is a nice way of keeping costs down. It’s also super-convenient for those of us who don’t have easy access to alternative/natural foods stores. Overall, I’d say that most of the recipes are moderately difficult at worst, but of course home cheesemaking complicates things a bit and will require additional planning. The good thing is that you don’t have to make the cheeses from scratch if you don’t want to – Schlimm allows for plenty of flexibility in the recipes.

Just see for yourself! Reprinted below (and with the publisher’s permission) is a recipe for Flying Buffalo Pizza (page 177, for those playing along at home).

Enjoy, and stay cheesy! And vegan!

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