27 September 2011

Raw Curried Carrot Soup

Our second week of raw food proved to be a bit more pleasant (though incredibly humid) weather-wise, so why not bring in some exotic flavors? Carrot-Avocado soup is pretty much raw food staple- it is full of vitamins, protein, healthy fats, and leaves you feeling quite satisfied. Unfortunately, no matter how well you like carrots and avocados on their own, it's a somewhat bland pairing to me. The avocado is almost too rich to be mixed with the carrot without extra flavor being added in. So that's what I did. 

Craving something a bit different than our usual raw food flavors, I originally thought about an Indian curry spice blend to add in. Indian turned to Thai, and Thai turned into a fresh paste that I found the recipe for here. Before we get to the soup recipe, please note that I made the following raw substitutions with the curry recipe: lime peel for lemongrass; 
nama shoyu for soy sauce; no extra salt; agave for brown sugar; no coconut milk. Two hot peppers were used, with the seeds left in; this made quite a spicy mix. 

And now for the recipe...

4 cups carrot juice (from 15 or so large carrots)
1 large avocado
2 small ears corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 recipe green curry paste

Prepare green curry paste as per directions in above link, and set aside. 

Trim corn from cob and combine in a large bowl with red bell pepper.

 Scoop avocado flesh out from skin and place in blender jar. Juice enough carrots to attain 4 cups of juice and place in blender jar as well. Add in 1/2 of curry recipe to carrot juice and avocado and blend on high 30 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. Pour carrot mix into bowl over chopped veggies and stir to combine. Taste for flavors, and set aside to chill until cold. We ended up using all of the curry recipe in our soup, but you may like less. Starting with half the recipe will allow you to add more curry without getting too crazy. If anything, a bit set aside for garnish is a nice touch. 

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a little extra curry paste on top.

24 September 2011

Recipe Review: Ani Phyo's Raw Chili

It's September and Frank andI have been eating raw food. "WHAT???" you say. 'Are you crazy?' The answer to that is... no. And yes. The raw stints we do for about 6 weeks during the warmer months had to be pushed back to September due to our busy schedule. In the summer, doing this is easy, and frankly, I welcome it. Cleaning out from the heavy cooked foods and moving into lighter, fresh tasting foods is like a resetting of the body. And eating a raw dinner when it's 100 degrees out doesn't hurt either. September has been a big tease so far, and we've pretty much run the temperature gamut. In my last post, I noted that it was quite cold, and all we wanted was warm comfort food. That cool weather cleared up for a bit, allowing the transition into raw quite easy. However, the cold soon rejoined us at the end of last week, which made for a chilly few days. What's a girl to do? Make chili. 

I know. 

It's not hot chili. It's chilly chili.

As much as I like creating my own recipes, I love buying/reading/cooking from other people's books. Cookbooks are wonderful reference and learning tools, and when you're stumped, they usually have the answer. Ani's raw chili recipe can be found in Ani's Raw Food Essentials, which was released last year.  The recipe appealed to me because it uses finely chopped walnuts seasoned with cumin in place of sprouted beans to add texture and heartiness. The chili itself consists of tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, and mushrooms, and spices, some blended, to created a chunky soup. I added in jalapeno, because really, what's chili if it doesn't have a kick to it? And since we were quite cold, the jalapeno acted as a wonderful warming agent in the body. Ani's chili did the trick for us both. It did not have agave in it, so there was no aim to recreate the cloyingly sweet taste that some chilis have. The dish itself was was filling, hearty, and had the right play of textures, much like a cooked veggie chili. The only complaint? The portion sizes, and ratio of nuts to veggies! Do not be fooled by the 'serves 4' listing with this recipe. I doubled the vegetable portion of the recipe because it was the only thing we were eating for dinner; we finished off all of the veggies, and there were still walnuts (which were made as written) left over.

Bottom line: if you're feeling adventurous... make some raw chili!

10 September 2011

Hearty Tomato-Lentil Soup

The past week has brought more rain and cooler temperatures to us here in New York City, and weather wise, it made for a not -so- great few days off from work. When the sun barely brightens the sky and the rain chills you as soon as you step outdoors, you know that autumn is not far off. Hence the creation of this warm and hearty soup, a perfect stick to your ribs meal. The lentils add a wonderful meaty texture while the tomatoes bring in a bright flavor. Add in a few pinches of rich herbs and spices, and you have yourself a treat. I went a bit further out on a limb than I normally would due to having my day free, so take shortcuts (jarred red peppers, pre-roasted garlic) where you need to. 


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb bag Perdilla lentils
  • 6 c. water

First, roast the red peppers: remove one burner grate from stove and place tinfoil to cover stove under the elevated burner (this is to prevent the stove from getting pepper juice burned on). Place washed pepper directly on burner and turn the heat to high. You will let the peppers sit directly on the burner/flame for about 10 minutes each,turning with metal tongs as the peppers become more charred. When the peppers are sufficiently roasted, remove from heat using tongs and place in a colander to cool. 

Next, we make fancy garlic. Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over high heat, and place in smashed garlic (the more smashed, the better). When the garlic sizzles, immediately turn the heat down to the lowest level. The key here is to simply make the garlic a rich, golden color, NOT to turn it black. If you leave the garlic on the heat with an occasional flip and stir, it will turn a nice, caramel color on its sides. At this point, add a splash of water and begin smashing the garlic with the back of a wooden spoon. When the water cooks off, add the wine and continue smashing. You should have a fairly creamy puree. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the garlic is being browned, heat remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in soup pot and add onion. Cook onion until translucent; add in spices and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, add tomatoes, water and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. 

As the soup is heating, run peppers under cold water to peel off skin (try to keep on some blackened bits). Slice peppers in half lengthwise, then into strips, and finally across the strips into small cube shapes. Add peppers to soup base and reduce to a rolling simmer. 

Cook, uncovered, until lentils are tender, or about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Add salt to taste, though with canned tomatoes, I tend to not add extra salt.

06 September 2011

Corn and Summer Squash Chowder with Basil

I really wish I had a picture to post of this recipe, honestly. Unfortunately it is eaten and gone, and I'm still thinking about it a week later. I love corn chowder- I have for years. It is full of some of my favorite things, and whether hot or cold, it is just a comforting, soothing soup. This soup was made to use up extra CSA veggies that we had laying around. We ate it hot, but to be honest, with the combination of herbs used, I liked it better cold for lunch a couple of days later.

So, without further ado:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium summer squash, seeded and cut into quarters, roughly 4 cups (see directions after recipe)
  • 4 small ears corn, cut off the cob (roughly 4 cups total)
  • 1 reserved corn cob
  • 1 pound new potatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups plain almond/soy/hemp milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 c. basil, chopped

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in stock pot. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, then garlic. Cook until onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Stir in squash and cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until squash starts soften. Add in potatoes, corn, and herbes de Provence, stir everything together, and add in liquid. Run back of a knife over corn cob to release juices and stick cob in with soup. Cover and bring to a boil, then prop lid and lower heat to maintain a steady simmer. Continue to cook soup until potatoes are tender, about 30-35 minutes. 

When potatoes are soft, remove soup from heat and carefully take out corn cob (tongs work nicely here). Ladle 3-4 cups of soup into a blender and add in chopped basil. Blend briefly (and carefully) until smooth, then return mixture back to pot. 

Serve warm with garlic bread on the side, or even better, chill entire pot of soup overnite  and serve cold the following day. 

Cooking tip: 
cooked squash  softens quite a bit, and having stringy seeds falling off the side of your spoon is not too attractive when you're trying to impress. To remove them, cut the squash in half lengthwise so that you have 'boats'. Run a spoon through the center seedy area of the squash, as if you were de-seeding a cucumber. Cut each portion in half lengthwise again, and then cut across to get quarter wedges.

Let's start at the beginning

Hello and welcome! If you have come across this blog, maybe it's because you're vegan. Maybe you aren't and you want to venture into exploring vegan food, or perhaps you simply like soup-y food. Not soggy, mushy and bland food,  but tasty, hearty, satisfying bowls of vegetables, beans, grains- what have you- that will leave you satisfied no matter how hungry you are or what the temperature is. 

So why soup, you ask? (And vegan at that?) I'll be honest with you: I used to be a very minor soup fan as a child. Yup. In hindsight I realize that I was a foolish child, because I love making and eating soup, stews, and chilis of all kinds. They are economical, require minimal prep work, and are filling. Serve a hearty soup with a side of veggies or greens, maybe some bread, and you have a great meal for any nite of the week. I want to convert the haters and support the lovers by offering up my best ideas, recipes, and reviews of others' work on a weekly basis. 

I hope you're ready for the journey of exploring and creating with me!