Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Butternut squash soup with coconut milk

Here's a pre-thanksgiving soup that I made for dinner tonight. We leave tomorrow morning at 4am on a drive to Altoona to have Thanksgiving with our family. There has been freezing rain here today and I skid a few times today and hope tomorrow's journey is without incident.
This recipe started out as the curried butternut squash and bean stew - I started off by sauteing onions, garlic in some oil. Added the butternut squash and cauliflower and added some of the spices - cumin powder, salt, red chilli flakes, basil. As it was cooking, I was reminded of a sweet potato soup with coconut milk and collard greens that a friend made - which was awesome. So, this recipe morphed into that! It came out yummy. We ate it with some leftover white rice. It would probably taste even better with brown rice. Or quinoa. Or Harvest Grains from Trader Joe's. I would also consider adding Tofu to this recipe next time - it was too late by the time I made the switch. I am going to freeze the soup - I hope it un-freezes well.

Chunky Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk


Onions - 2 small
Oil - 2 T
Garlic - 2 cloves, mashed
Ginger - 1/2 Tsp
Butternut Squash - 3 cups, cubed (I used Trader Joe's pre-cut)
Cauliflower Florets - 2 cups
Garbanzo Beans - 1 15oz can
Coconut Milk, Light - 1 15 oz can
Salt, To taste
Turmeric - .5 tsp
Red Chilli Flakes - 1T
Cumin Powder - 1 T
Lemon juice - 1t
Cilantro, to garnish
Basil (dried) - .5 T
Agave Nectar - . 5 T

Heat pot; add oil. Saute garlic and onion till browned.
Add salt, chili flakes, turmeric, basil and cumin. Let the flavors mix.
Add Butternut squash, Cauliflower florets and the Beans and mix together with the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, coconut milk, and agave nectar (or sugar). Taste and adjust seasonings.
Close and bring to a boil.
After the soup starts to boil, reduce heat and leave on for 15 minutes.
Add cilantro and splash of lemon juice.
Turn off the heat and serve.

I added dry roasted peanuts on top for crunch too :)
Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eggplant Stew over Pasta

Earlier this year, I made a hummus babaganoush Pasta and I had an eggplant sitting in my fridge. It needed to be used last week and I wanted to try to figure out a recipe with it. We also had some Trader Joe's gnocchi (not vegan) in the pantry and I knew V would enjoy it. So, I figured I could make a mediterranean-inspired dish using the Eggplant. And I LOVED the end result. It was very filling (I had it over some penne pasta - vegan!) and V enjoyed it with gnocchi. A friend ate it with some Greek Yogurt!

I wanted to take care not to make it too Indian - that would have been easy - and to maintain a mediterranean taste to the dish. Here's how I made it -


Eggplant - 1 big, cubed
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato - 2 small-medium, chopped
Chickpeas - 2 cups, cooked
Roasted Red Peppers - 1 cup
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped/minced
Olive oil - 1 T
Cumin powder - 1 T
Chilli powder/flakes - 1 t (or to taste)
Vegetable Broth/Water - 1 cup
Marinara sauce - .5 cup
Salt/Pepper - to taste
Oregano, dried - 1t
Raisins (optional) - 1 T

Heat Olive oil in a pan (it would be best if you used something that could be easily transferred to the oven). Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Add garlic. After a minute or two (when the raw smell is gone), add onions and saute till light brown. Add tomatoes and salt and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Add Eggplant, roasted red peppers and chick peas. Add marinara sauce, cumin, chilli powder/flakes, oregano and cook till the eggplant cooks down a little. Around 10 minutes on medium flame.
Add water/vegetable broth to the thickness that you like. Bring to boil. Add raisins (optional), mix well.
Transfer dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

I loved this dish. It was filling without being too rich and the flavors were perfect.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan chocolate cake

Someone very special to us turned 2 yesterday. Unfortunately, we were not with him to celebrate. He does not know about us yet, but (hopefully) soon, our lives will be completely and intricately connected. It was a difficult day for me - celebrating the birthday of a son we don't yet know, but love and want. Yes, we are adopting a little boy - he lives with his foster family in India and we are waiting ..
To celebrate his birthday, I baked a chocolate cake and V and I ate the cake last evening. As I was searching for recipes for a cake, I came across this collection of Moosewood recipes. About 8-10 years ago, when I started getting into cooking more, V's aunt, cousin and I discovered this treasure trove of books from Moosewood and I used to use the recipe books regularly. I may have said this before - but, it's the one book that I don't substitute much. I follow the recipes pretty closely. Then, the blogs opened up new worlds and I have not used the recipe books as much.

The vegan chocolate cake recipe looked easy enough and not too much of a hassle. I made it in the pan as described in the recipe and cut down the sugar to half a cup (I just felt that one cup may be too much). I added a few chocolate chips in the batter - for a surprise chocolate taste!

For the glaze (which I liked more than the cake), I added a tsp of orange flavoring to add a little orange twist to the cake. To make it more fun (and because V likes it), I added cherries to the top of the glaze before cooling it!

Verdict - The cake was a little crumbly and not too sweet. It tasted great with the glaze and I loved the addition of the orange flavor. I was not a huge fan of the cake without the glaze, but I never complain about chocolate!!