What a week and two recipes

10 Oct

WOW. The last week did not go the way I had planned. I envisioned a lovely week of cooking a variety of new vegan recipes and enjoying “fall” in LA. But things did not go that way. Instead, I was sick most of the week and, even worse, we got into a huge, nasty fight with one of our roommates, which almost saw us moving into the first vacant apartment we could find. Seriously. As a result, my mood was in Hades, and we cooked about three times total. Yeah, it was bad, and I feel puffy and broke. I kept sitting down to blog, but it just wasn’t going to happen. However, I am not abandoning Vegan MoFo, or this little blog at all – I promise!

Before everything went down, we made two recipes from the cookbook of the week. (Well, actually, I was cooking when the fight happened. Bad times.) Then, when we were feeling a little better, we made a third based on the book, too, which I’ll share soon. See? I did my homework – I just neglected to turn it in on time. Drop me a letter grade.

For the record, I used my shiny new LA Public Library card to pick up Myra Kornfeld’s The Voluptuous Vegan as this week’s selection. In all honesty, it was really hard to choose what I wanted to make from her book for three reasons: 1. all the recipes are higher in fat than I prefer, 2. many include unusual and/or expensive ingredients (kudzu and burdock are just not on my usual grocery lists), and 3. most contain too many steps and ingredients. I like a fancy meal as much as the next gal, but I’m pinching pennies these days, and I’m too starving by the time I get home to spend two hours over my cauldron.

Sidebar: wouldn’t it be bad-ass if I actually cooked over a cauldron?

Anyway, I’ll give a full review another day this week (no, really!) and get straight to the food. Our first meal involved a bastardized version of two recipes:

It was Kornfeld’s Butternut-Lemongrass Soup, made with her Southeast Asian Stock. I made a lot of changes to both recipes, so I’m sharing my versions with you.

Asian-Inspired Soup Stock

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced*
  • 1 leek, cleaned thoroughly and diced*
  • 2 celery stalks, diced*
  • 1 carrot, peeled (or scrubbed, if you’re lazy) and diced*
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced*
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • Zest from one lime, cut in long strips and lightly bruised
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced*
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 cups of water

*Feel free to leave all these veggies pretty chunky. Since you’re making stock, they’ll be fished out at the end anyway, so size and shape aren’t very important.

Toss everything into a large stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Taste to test for flavor development. When done, drain out the chunks and store the stock in a large container with a tight lid. It makes about six cups when done.

Sorry for the lack of pics. It was a seriously bad day.

OK, four cups of that goodness went into our soup:

Butternut-LemongrassKabocha Lime Soup

  • 1 medium or large kabocha (or other) squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
  • About 1/4 cup diced leeks
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 14-oz can low-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups Asian-Inspired Soup Stock
  • Zest from one lime, cut in long strips and lightly bruised
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lime

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Stab the squash with a knife or fork several times all around – I usually do about 6 stabbings. Bake it in the oven until it’s fork tender, about 45 minutes. Let it cool, then cut it in half, discard the seeds, and scoop the flesh into a bowl.

Heat the oil in a medium or large pot over a medium flame. Add the shallots and leeks and sauté for about five minutes, until they become soft. Add the garlic and stir for three additional minutes.

Add the squash, sweet potato, coconut milk, stock, lime zest, and ginger to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking, covered, for about 15 minutes. When the potato is softened, remove the lime zest. Now you have a choice: either do the less-weird thing and blend the soup in a regular blender or with an immersion blender, or, since the blender belongs to the roommate you may or may not have just called a naughty word I won’t write on this blog, use a potato masher to break down the sweet potato and squash directly in the soup pot. Add lime juice and black pepper to taste.

Eat. Enjoy. Makes 4 servings.

It was a tasty soup, which Mr. X liked more than I did, but I suspect blending it would taste a lot better – as would using lemongrass. I swear I saw it in every grocery store one week, and then last week, the shelves were bereft of it. Sad, no? I asked what the deal was, and one store representative told me they hadn’t received any due to the “weather change.” Hmm . . . it was 80° one day and 75° the next. Brrr? Anyway, the stock was quite good, and I plan to use some in our dinner tonight. I probably wouldn’t make the soup again, but I’m glad I experimented.


One Response to “What a week and two recipes”

  1. KT October 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Yay! I love kobocha. Going to try this.

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