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When life takes over, make soup!

[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Corn Chowder"]Vegan Corn Chowder[/caption] Holy smokes!  Things have been CRAZY busy around here!  I've been cooking up a storm and writing down these recipes, but I am stunned that this is the first time in over a month that I've been able to sit down and type!  Wow.  Kind of a bummer.  But I am happy to have the time and I think you'll love this soup. Here is my recipe for garlicky, smoky, silky smooth vegan corn chowder.  You can add small diced potato if you want that extra element of a traditional chowder.  On the night I made this I didn't have the time to peel and cube potato.  I went with it and really put the pressure on the amazing cashew to work for me here.  The result is a super creamy, very satisfying vegan chowder.  Yum! Vegan Corn Chowder 1 tsp olive oil 1 onion, minced 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 4 stalks organic celery, minced 1 lb frozen organic corn kernals 3 Tbsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground pepper Dash of sea salt ½ cup nutritional yeast 8 cups water 1 cup raw cashews fresh parsley and rosemary or herbs of your choice, minced 1/2 organic lemon, juiced Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Saute your garlic, onion and celery for about 5 minutes over medium heat until they just start to soften but are not browning.  Toss in the cumin and stir to coat the veg.  Cook for another minute until the cumin is very fragrant.  Pour in the corn, salt and pepper and cover with the water.  Raise the heat to medium high and let the pot come up to a boil.  We want to simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes.  Now for the magic… Ladle out about 2 cups of the soup into your high powered blender (I use a Vitamix).  Add the nutritional yeast and the raw cashews.  Process on low for a few seconds, then bump into overdrive and whiz until the cashews are completely blended and the liquid is silky.  Once you have this liquid perfection go ahead and pour it slowly into the soup pot.  You’re going to want to scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula to get out all of that creamy goodness.  Trust me.  Stir everything together and let the cashew cream warm into the soup.  Add in the lemon juice and stir after the pot has been removed from the heat.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.  Top your finished soup with the fresh minced herbs to brighten the bowls.  Serve and swoon over each spoonful!

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creativecalligraphy

Smoky Black Bean Soup (gluten free vegan)

From me to you on an icy NH day.  This soup can be made in your crockpot too if you don't want to mind the stove.  Soak your beans overnight or using the quick method (or cheat and use 3-4 big cans(I'm guessing) of black beans, drained and rinsed) and then put everything into the old faithful to simmer away all day.  You will be richly rewarded no matter which way you do it.  Top with diced raw tomato, pepper, avocado, tomatillo, scallions cilantro and salsa.  If you want to indulge, add a spoonful of tofutti sour cream and a sprinkle of daiya shredded cheddar! The smoky flavor comes from the cumin and smoked paprika.  If you want to go all out with the smoky rich flavor you can char your onions on a grill before adding them to the pot.  I find that the spices and the chipotle in adobo do the trick, but you can take it as far as you'd like! A tip or two:
  • To stretch this soup you can also make a pot of rice and serve a ladle of soup with a bowl of rice and the chopped veggies of your choice. 
  • Leftovers can be frozen in small amounts and added to a pot of minestrone or tomato soup to make a savory base.
 
 
[caption id="attachment_303" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Smoky Black Bean Soup"]Smoky Black Bean Soup[/caption]   Smoky Black Bean Soup 3 cups dry black beans (about 1 lb), soaked overnight 1 Tbsp olive oil 6 celery stalks 6 carrots 6 cloves garlic 2 large onions 10 cups water + 6 Tbsp broth powder or use your favorite broth in place of the water/powder 1 piece of dried kombu (optional) 2 Tbsp ground cumin 2 Tbsp smoked paprika 1 chipotle with 1 tsp adobo sauce or 2 tsp chipotle powder (more or less to suit your taste) Salt and Pepper to taste Pick over your dry beans and pull out any debris or pesky pebbles. Place the beans in a big soup pot, cover with a few inches of water and soak them overnight. If you’re short on time, bring your bean pot to a boil for 10 minutes then shut it off and let the beans soak for an hour at least before continuing.  Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. While your beans are in the colander draining let’s work on the base of the soup. Working in batches using your food processor or your big kitchen knife, get the celery, carrots, garlic and onion to a mince.  I do each veg separately because my food processor is on the small side.  Plus, for whatever reason, I like sautéing my onions before the rest of the veg, so it makes sense in my mind to keep the veggies separate at this point. Heat your oil in the soup pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion until it is softened and golden. Stir in the spices along with the chipotle and adobo and let them go for a few minutes with the onions until everything is smelling amazing!  Add in the other minced veg, stir and cook for another minute.  We are looking to build that incredible glaze on the bottom of the pan really; that caramelized layer adds a lot of flavor and we want it to work for us!  The veg will cook along with the beans, so don’t worry about them.  Just stir them so nothing burns. Add the soaked beans, kombu, water and broth powder.  Kombu is a variety of seaweed which improves the digestibility of beans.  You can remove it when the beans are cooked or incorporate it into the soup.  Increase the heat and bring everything to a boil for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat so we’re just at a slow simmer, cover the pot and leave it for about 90 minutes.  We aren’t cooking the beans to a soft oblivion today, we’re aiming for a bit of bite.  Pull out the kombu if you can find it, otherwise it will be blended into the soup yielding a little nutrition and a pinch of salty flavor (1 piece of kombu in this size pot will barely be noticeable if you puree it in). At this point, turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes.  We will be pureeing the mixture to yield a smooth bean soup.  If you’d rather not, then stop here, taste and adjust your seasoning before serving.  In my house, we like this soup mostly smooth with some whole black beans and then toppings of diced raw tomato, scallions, avocado, salsa, etc.  So once the soup has cooled a bit I reserve about 2 cups of cooked black beans in a bowl and then I ladle the rest in batches into the Vitamix blender and puree it.    This requires one big bowl on the side of the blender to hold the puree while I work through the non-pureed soup from the pot.  Then I put the pureed soup back into the pot, toss in the reserved beans and stir.  If the soup is too thick for your tastes go ahead and thin it with water or broth until you get a consistency you like.  If I need to heat it to serving temp, now’s the time.  Otherwise it is ready to be put in the fridge or freezer for a later meal.  The great part about this soup is that unlike dairy based soups this freezes really well and doesn’t break.  The flavor improves on day 2 and 3.  I tend to go mild on the chipotle favoring the addition of salsa or chiles by each soup eater.  It’s easier for me and my husband to make our bowls spicier rather than asking our kids to take the heat!

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Sloppy Joes

[caption id="attachment_283" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Lentil Sloppy Joe with Vegan Cheese and Steamed Broccoli"]Lentil Sloppy Joe[/caption] I have fond memories of the sweet and tangy sloppy joe sauce that my dad made.  It was the stuff of finger licking legend.  Though I don't make my sloppy joes with ground meat, I love the hearty bite that the lentils give and the earthy balance of the portobello mushrooms.  Not to brag, but I think my sloppy joe sauce is good enough to earn a place in my children's culinary memory and in your recipe file.  Only time will tell!  But if clean plates and requests for seconds are any indication, I think I'm on the right track! The real key to incredible flavor for this meal is the smoked paprika... click on it in the ingredients list and you can order it from Penzey's if you don't have it in your cabinet. Enjoy! Lentil Sloppy Joes This multi step process is worth the effort.  You’ll be spending about an hour in the kitchen to get this done, but the batch is HUGE and makes plenty of leftovers that you can package up and bump into the freezer for a meal next week and the week after! Using you food processor or mad knife skills, mince the following: 1 large onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 carrots, minced 4 celery stalks, minced 10 oz Portobello mushrooms, minced Add the minced veggies to a large stockpot in which you’ve warmed a tsp of olive oil.  Stir the veg while they brown and soften, about 10 minutes.  They will become super fragrant. Add: 2 cups lentils * 6-8 cups water *(I usually use brown or green lentils, but you can use red lentils too.  Reduce your liquid by a cup if you use red lentils.  They cook faster, so watch your time too!) Stir the pot and simmer for 40 minutes until the lentils are till tender and the liquid is absorbed.  (If your liquid is not absorbed after 40 minutes try the quinoa/millet add in noted in the next step.)  Stir in: 1 cup uncooked millet or quinoa (optional, adds nutritional value & helps if your lentils are liquidy!) 7 oz jar organic tomato paste 1 cup tomato sauce 1 cup ketchup (or a 2nd cup of tomato sauce) 1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder 1 Tbsp oregano 3 Tbsp smoked paprika (This is the key to fabulous flavor!!!) 1 Tbsp cumin 1 Tbsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp prepared mustard (I used a grainy mustard that has a nice vinegar kick) 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar Sweeten: 4 medool dates, pitted OR 1 Tbsp brown sugar (I prefer my sugars to be from whole foods, but if you don’t have dates then brown sugar will do) If you've added the quinoa or millet your pot will need about 10 -15 minutes more to simmer while those seeds absorb their liquids.  If you're not using the seeds just proceed.  Remove 1 cup and blend it in the food processor with the 4 pitted dates until smooth.  Add back into the pot and stir to combine. Serve your sloppy lentil ragout on a roll of your choice or just on a plate with a side of steamed broccoli and some fresh greens. [caption id="attachment_284" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Lentil Sloppy Joes without the bun are an easy Gluten Free Vegan meal!"]Lentil Sloppy Joes without the bun[/caption] Leftovers are even better.  You can also take half of your leftovers and season them with more chipotle chile and some diced tomato to make a good taco filling.  Top with fresh guac, crisp lettuce and sliced peppers and you’re on your way to another easy meal. ***Check out Lentil Sloppy Joes v2 by clicking here!

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