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Friday, March 25, 2011

Blog ReVamp - Marcella

The day has finally come: it's time for a blog re-org. I'm gonna move this blog to WordPress, get the tags all sorted out, make it easier to navigate, put some new stuff up...are you as excited as I am? Good, because it'll be awesome.

The only hitch is there may be some downtime if I bungle something up, which is a distinct possibility since I'm still learning how to use WordPress...If so, please accept my apology in advance and know that it'll be worth it.

See y'all at our new home!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup 2 - Marcella

Super easy!
It's amazing how little effort goes into this simple soup...it has such a rich flavor. Almost like dessert in soup form.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash (peeled first)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp mirin ("Asian" section, sweet rice cooking wine)
Add squash, water, and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes

Lift out squash pieces with a slotted spoon and add to a blender along with the soymilk and a couple of cups of the squash cooking liquid. Blend til smooth. Add more cooking liquid if you'd like a thinner consistency.

Add the mirin (rice wine). Return soup to pot to reheat if necessary. If you want to get all fancy, garnish with a bright green sprig of something like parsley.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Minestrone - Marcella

Very quick and easy; eliminates any need to buy the canned variety. I usually make it without any pasta, but in this case I had a mini-box of kamut ditalini, so I used that.

Minestrone Soup
  • cooking spray or 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I used 1 Rapunzel cube dissolved in 4 cups water)
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can cannellini beans,WITH liquid
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • pepper
 In a medium pot, heat oil or cooking spray. Add onions and garlic and saute about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

I use the canning liquid from the cannellini beans in this case because it imparts some nice viscosity to the soup broth. This is also why there's no salt added.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipes - Marcella

Broccoli Cream Soup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs broccoli
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Separate broccoli tops from stems and peel stems. Cut into chunks. Boil the water and salt, add stems and simmer 10 minutes. Add tops and cook an extra 10 minutes. Save the water.

With a slotted spoon, scoop broccoli into a blender and add all remaining ingredients but the lemon juice, plus a half a cup or so of the broccoli water. Blend, adding more water if necessary.

Return to pot (after dumping out the remaining broccoli water, of course) and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Done!

Tartar Sauce for Okara Crab Cakes
  • 3 oz soft silken tofu, such as Mori-Nu brand
  •  1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown rice syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp umeboshi vinegar (in "Asian" section of grocery stores)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced dill pickles
  • 1 Tbsp minced onions
 Add the first 5 ingredients to a blender and blend til smooth. Then, with the blender running, slowly add the olive oil and blend again til thick and creamy. Move to a bowl, add pickles and onions, and enjoy with your crab cakes or faux fish. Not something to eat in abundance, it's still a lot better than buying a jar of vegan mayonnaise, in my opinion.

A note on the crab cakes, I realized after posting that I neglected to mention why I have okara - something many have probably never heard of - lying around: I've been making my own soymilk. Okara is the byproduct. That's really the only reason anyone would happen to have it. I plan on posting on the process but I realize that it's not for everyone, being kind of labor intensive if you don't have an actual soymilk machine (I don't, I have a VitaMix). Investing in either of the two is definitely worth looking into, as the cost of whole soybeans is much less than soymilk, the additives are up to you, there's no packaging to throw away, and you get to use the leftover okara (which has a fair amount of protein and lots of minerals) for other things. So, overall it's less wasteful and expensive and I like maximum efficiency.

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