Soup's On

Monday Morning Post

Baby, it's cold outside. What you need is hot, home made soup to warm your insides.

If you think that home made soup is hard to make or too time consuming, these flash in the pan recipes will have you basking in the bisque faster than you can pick up take out - and you'll save a bundle of money, fat and calories!!  And by the way, they all just happen to be vegan.

Let's get into the kitchen!

Mushroom and Healthy Grain Soup
An updated version of mushroom barley soup. Baby Bella mushrooms yield a rich taste.

Makes about 4 (1 cup) servings -Vegan

1/4 cup of your favorite whole, healthy grain (like brown rice, barley, quinoa or a blend)
5 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic (finely minced)
Pinch black pepper
1 small onion (chopped - about 1/2 cup)
8 oz fresh mushrooms (Baby Bella or your favorite kind)
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos (unfermented, lower salt, soy type sauce)
2 tablespoons sherry (any type)
Salt to taste (optional)

Put the grain into a strainer and rinse under tepid, running tap water. Drain and put into a medium sauce pan. Add water. Cover pot. Bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until grains are soft. (About 20 minutes but check the package for specific cooking time.) You should still have water in the pot. Do not drain.

Prepare the onion - mushroom mixture while the grains are cooking. Put the oil into a large skillet. Add garlic, pepper and onions. Cook, uncovered, over low heat (stirring occasionally) until onions are soft and translucent - about 7 minutes. Do not brown.

Meanwhile, twist the stems off the mushrooms and chop. Cut the caps into 1/8 inch slices. Add chopped stems and sliced caps to the cooked onions. Toss to coat. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom slices are limp and liquid starts to come out.

Add the mushroom mixture (including any juice) to the pot of cooked grains and water. Stir in soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos and sherry. Simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning with additional salt, if desired.

Better Than Take Out - Hot and Sour Soup
Not too thick, not too spicy and not too sour is the way we like it at Cheesecake Farms but you can pump it up with more vinegar and pepper if you like your soup really hot and really sour. We add some cooked jasmine rice to make it heartier. Jasmine rice is more rice-y tasting than regular rice and cooks in half the time.

Makes about 4 (3/4 cup) servings - Vegan

1 (1 to 1 1/2 oz) package dried, mixed mushrooms (sometimes called "stir fry" mushrooms)
6 cups water (divided)
3 tablespoons corn starch
4 oz. firm tofu (about 1/3 a 12 oz. package)
1/2 cup Chinese sweet rice wine (Mirin) or cream sherry
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos (unfermented, lower salt, soy type sauce)
Pinch ground black pepper
Pinch dried red pepper flakes or 1/8 teaspoon red, Chinese chili garlic sauce (or to taste)
Garnish - 1or 2 (6 inch) scallions or green onions (sliced into 1/8 inch rings and separated)

Rinse mushrooms under running water. Drain.

Put 2 cups of the water into a small pot and cover. Bring to a boil on high. Remove from heat. Stir in rinsed mushrooms. Let sit 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain but save the liquid. Cut the mushrooms into bite sized pieces.

After mushrooms have soaked and been cut, whisk together the remaining water and cornstarch in a large pot. (Use a larger pot than you think because this soup can boil over like a volcano making a horrible mess on your stove.) Add the mushroom pieces and their liquid. Bring to a boil on high, uncovered. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, carefully, rinse the tofu under cool, gently running water. Drain. Cut into small cubes - each about 3/8 inch square. After soup has simmered the 15 minutes, add the cubed tofu and the remaining ingredients except for the scallions. Stir gently to blend without mashing the tofu. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes more.

Taste and correct the seasoning adding more vinegar, soy sauce and/or hot pepper if desired. Serve sprinkled with scallions.

Curry, pumpkin and peanut butter?  Bizarre but it's a haunting blend to wow your gourmet pals.  Good the day it's made but so much better the next.  Definitely not for the kiddies.

Makes about 4 (1 cup) servings - Vegan

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove (finely minced)
1 small onion (chopped - about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (brown or yellow)
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked & pureed)
1/2 cup orange juice
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the garlic and onion. Cook, uncovered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is limp and translucent. Do not brown. While the onion is cooking, measure the spices, brown sugar, peanut butter and mustard into a bowl. Stir together.

When onion is cooked, stir in the spice mixture, mixing well. (A rubber scraper works well.) Cook one minute, stirring. Whisk in remain ingredients, a little at a time. Heat till steaming. Do not boil. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Take off the heat, cover, and let the soup infuse for 1 hour. Reheat for serving. Or (for even better flavor) make soup, cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat before serving the next day. In either case, taste before reheating and correct seasoning, if desired, with additional salt.



Soup's On Menu

Soup du Jour
(Mushroom and Healthy Grains Soup or Hot and Sour Soup or Bizzaro)
Crusty bread
Salad of local fall greens and shredded carrot
Crisp, Virginia red wine
Warmed, rustic apple pie with cheddar cheese and nutmeg
Orange spice tea


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