mushroom soup

June 13, 2010

This recipe is from Anthony Bourdain‘s Les Halles Cookbook. Given the name you can probably guess that there isn’t too much that’s vegan about Anthony Bourdain and his slaughterhouse cookbook. But it is a highly entertaining cookbook given his irreverence, and there are a few gems in there that can easily be vegan-ized. This soup is one of them. Olive oil instead of butter; veggie stock instead of chicken stock; you’re good to go.

I’m going to quote his recipe in full with a few vegan translations. But before I do, one question – why take out the sprig of parsley? I’m a big fan of leaving it in there, along with other herbs like thyme (my favourite – in fact I think it almost makes the soup). Leaving them in there and just blending the whole schmozle together gives you better taste and you get the full medicinal benefit of those mini super-powered greens.

“This is ridiculously easy soup to make. It’s tasty and durable, and it gets even better overnight.

6 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
12 ounces mushrooms
4 cups veggie stock
1 sprig of flat parsley
salt and pepper
2 ounces high-quality sherry (don’t use the cheap grocery-store variety; it’s salty and unappetizing and will ruin your soup)

In the medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown colour. Stir in the veggie broth and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender’s lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom puree to erupt all over your kitchen?

When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.

And if you really want to ratchet your soup into pretentious (and delicious), drizzle a few tiny drops of truffle oil over the surface just before serving. Why the hell not? Everybody else is doing it.”

asparagus soup

April 17, 2010


Okay, I might be jumping the gun here a bit but I can’t help it. Spring is in the air even though it’s still only mid-April, and things are popping up in the garden. Rhubarb, chives, leafy greens. Asparagus is soon to follow. This recipe is from a really un-vegan cookbook called Roast Chicken and Other Stories. Great cookbook but getting a little dusty on my shelf these days. I’ve modified the recipe several ways and, alas, it’s still awesome. Oil instead of butter. No cream. The author, Simon Hopkinson, peels his asparagus and purees it into a very refined “elixir” as he calls it. I don’t. I love the “country” version with its more robust texture. And “just to know” (my 8 year-olds expression that makes me smile each time he says it), last year I bought pounds of fresh asparagus to make this soup. I made soup until I was sick of it. But it still wasn’t enough. We piled through it in no time, asparagus season ended, and I went into withdrawal. Moral of the story? Make way more than you think you need!

Oh, and one more thing. This is true for any cooking, but with really exposed recipes like this, the better the ingredients, the better the finished product. Don’t cut corners. Use good olive oil. Buy really nice, organic leeks. Make some home-made vegetable stock. You’ll thank yourself.

1/2 cup really good olive oil

4 small leeks, trimmed and chopped

3 cups veggie stock

1 potato, peeled and chopped

salt and pepper

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled

Heat the oil and stew the leeks until soft. Add the stock and potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes. Quickly chop the asparagus, add to the soup. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Blend thoroughly. Check the seasoning. This soup is equally good hot or cold.

Photo credit: Kristina, Lovely Morning

coconut red lentil soup

March 28, 2010

I guess technically this is a soup but we served it last night in wide bowls over a pile of quinoa and it’s as soupy as some of our stews. Or is it as stewy as some of our soups? Whatever its label it’s really good. Complex flavours. Gorgeous colour. The raisins (I used currants) give you a hit of sweetness. This soup, while heavy and warm, gets “uplifted” by the light, refreshing addition of green onions. It’s from a blog I like, 101 cookbooks. This soup will help brighten any cold night with its colour – “the color I see when I close my eyes and turn my face toward the sun” as Heidi notes – and pungent warming taste. Yum.

1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas

1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)

7 cups / 1.6 liters water

1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins (I used currants)

1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

one small handful cilantro, chopped

cooked brown rice, farro, or quinoa for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don’t want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency.

Sprinkle each bowl generously with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

minestrone

March 20, 2010


This is Alice Waters‘ Minestrone Soup from The Art of Simple Cooking which is, indeed, so simple and yet so good. Definitely make a double or triple batch as it keeps well, just gets better with age, and totally hits the spot throughout the week for a quick lunch or totally comforting dinner (with some toasted baguette and tapenade!)  The trick is to cook the soffrito until it is really golden and then the soup sings.

Before I get into the recipe itself, let me just say that there are some incredible dried beans on the market these days. I have found the most incredible varieties, some even locally grown. They are so beautiful it almost seems a shame to cook them. See if you can find them since a) we need to keep heirloom varieties alive, and b) they make cooking that much more pleasurable. As Anne Michaels said in one of her brilliant books, “make beauty a necessity and make necessity beautiful,” or something close to that. You catch the drift. So here’s to the beauty and necessity of a really good bowl of soup. It can heal the world.

Prepare:

1 cup of dry cannellini or other beans, like the calypso beans above, soaked overnight

This will yield 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat:

1/4 cup olive oil

Add:

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

Cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Add:

4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

5 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt

Cook for 5 minutes longer. Add, and bring to a boil:

3 cups water or vegetable stock

When boiling add:

1 leek, diced

1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

Cook for 5 minutes, then add:

2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Cook for 15 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary. Add the cooked beans, along with:

1 cup bean cooking liquid

2 cups of kale or chard, coarsely chopped

Cook for 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more bean cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve in bowls, each one garnished with:

2 tsps extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp grated parmigiano (which I don’t add but the kids like it!)

photo credit: Rebekah Richardson-Duffy


It’s a good day. Andrew and I saw 3 Eastern Bluebirds which are quite rare in these parts. I have been hankering to see bluebirds up close since we bought our farm in the county 7 years ago. And today, 3!!! Right on our front terrace. What that has to do with this soup I’m not too sure but this has to be my all-time fav. Bekah’s too. I’ve been waiting for a special day to share it with you and, I guess because of the bluebirds, today is that special day. So here it is. One of the best soups ever.

6 tbsps olive oil

5 sweet peppers, seeded and diced (the original recipe calls for roasted peppers, skinned and diced, but I never do that)

3 shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ripe pears, skinned, seeded, and diced

2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped

6 cups veggie stock

sea salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Saute peppers, shallots, garlic and pears over medium-high heat.

2. Add parsnips and stock.

3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until parsnips are tender.

4. Let cool slightly. Puree until smooth.

5. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

6. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

From the Martha Stewart empire.

miso soup

March 2, 2010

vgourmet, ruth richardson, vegan soup, vegetarian soup

This is from my dear friend Emily McInnes who just started Eye Buy Art – a new online art gallery representing young photographers from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Check it out. It’s fabulous!! (Not only do you learn about food here but have a platform to buy awesome art. Make beauty necessary. Make necessity beautiful.) Anyhow, she loves miso soup and, having experienced it myself, it’s great. Here’s what she has to say about making miso soup de jour:

– boil water (add crushed ginger if you feel like it – oftentimes I’m too lazy)

– add cubed tofu, dark fresh greens, Asian greens, carrot, corn niblets, mushrooms (dried or otherwise) – whatever your heart desires

– OPTIONAL: add vermicelli (thin rice noodles) or any kind of noodle if you want (i.e. dried ramen)

– once the above has been steamed slightly – add in a good dollop of miso, a good 2 hearty scoops for a soup that serves 2
(if your soup is lacking in flavour then it could be that you just didn’t add enough, or the miso you bought is a boring variety?)

– fix this by adding a sweep of tamari or soy-like sauce (I like Bragg’s)

– if you’re feeling experimental you can add a little dash of rice wine vinegar

– cook until miso is dissolved (NB: I read that you shouldn’t let your soup, with miso added, come to a boil. Keep it just under a boil.)

And then:

– add fresh chopped onion on top

– fresh cilantro or parsley is nice

– sprouts (the ones in the photo are from Kind Organics who were at the Brickworks Farmers’ Market on Saturday)

– shredded seaweed (yum!)

– shake some gomashio (sesame seeds – I like black ones) on top

– drizzle a tiny TINY amount of sesame oil on top (optional – it’s strong)

VOILA!

Make up your own soup. I think I’ve never made the same one twice!

potato leek soup

January 16, 2010

vgourmet, vegan soup, vegan potato leek soup, Ruth Richardson
I just made this soup on Sunday – a merger between two beautiful potato leek soup recipes. The kids love it and it’s fantastic on a cold winter’s night. Great with a little crostini floating on an ocean of flavour. And the non-vegan boys in the house love it sprinkled with a little crispy crumbled bacon. As with any good soup recipe, you might as well make a huge batch and keep some in the freezer for a rainy day.

10 medium leeks

olive oil

sea salt

8 cups veggie stock

1 stalk celery

a few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 small bunch rosemary

2 cloves garlic

1 pd yellow potatoes

white wine vinegar

sea salt and pepper to taste

a few sprigs parsley

Clean leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add leeks and cook until just tender – they should still be slightly crunchy and bright green. Salt to taste. Add veggie stock along with minced garlic and a bouquet garni made of thyme, celery, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, cut into small cubes.

Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until veggies are tender but not falling apart. Puree in a food processor or blender. Season to taste with about 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and more salt if necessary. Serve hot garnished with a little chopped parsley and a few grinds of the peppermill, and if you wish, with grilled or toasted slices of bread.