Tag Archives: Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

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Wow… 2014! I can barely believe it is the start of another new year. I have quite the list of resolutions this year… one is being more consistent on my blog… I know, I know… I’m off to a bit of a late start there, huh?! But for the last couple days, I have been putting some recipes from my newest cookbooks to the test, so I have lots of new favorites to share already. So here goes!

This is hands down one of the best vegan soups I have ever had! Creamy, filling and absolutely delicious. Oh… and did I mention healthy? This soup mimics traditional broccoli & cheese soup yet holds its own by remaking the classic recipe with a fabulous vegan twist. The recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book ‘Isa Does It’.  We devoured the entire pot (except for one bowl, which I happily took to work for my lunch the next day) – & even my 3-year-old son was a fan! And the best part? It is completely and amazingly 100% healthy. No dairy, no soy, no faux cheeses of any kind… If you would’ve told me I would be eating “cheddary broccoli soup” that contained no cheese at all, I would’ve never believed it could be this good… and neither will you. Thank god Isa was born!

The secret of the creaminess lies within the cashew cream. This cashew cream is amazing stuff. I hope you aren’t allergic to cashews, because the cashew cream train is swiftly chugging along… and I’m hopping aboard! Sorry, I know I can sometimes be a little “cheesy” 😉 I didn’t have any cashews pre-soaked, so I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit for as long as possible, as recommended in the book – worked like a charm.

Oh – two more things – 1) You will need an immersion blender for this recipe, and 2) This AWESOME soup is not only dairy free, but gluten-free as well 🙂 Bring it on!

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Oooooh yeeeeeah. Serve with some homemade bread on the side for complete satisfaction.

Cheddary Broccoli Soup

Ingredients for the Soup:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli – stems and florets
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Ingredients for the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight (*or the quick boil method I mentioned above)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the Soup:

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onion in the oil with a pinch of salt – just until softened, about 3 min. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Add the broccoli, carrots, turmeric, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until the carrots are very tender.

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Can this soup REALLY be this easy?

Prepare the Cashew Cream:

In the meantime, make the cashew cream by draining the cashews and placing them in a blender/food processor with the broth, miso and nutritional yeast. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of your blender down with a rubber spatula every now and then. (Mine was full to the brim! Unless you have a giant food processor, don’t be alarmed if a little liquid leaks out. I just wrapped a towel around the base of my mixer bowl to catch any overflow.). And voila! Cashew Cream!

When the carrots are tender, add the cashew cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree so that only tiny bits of broccoli and carrot are visible. Keep the soup on low heat, partially covered for about 10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Once thickened, add the lemon juice and pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve. It thickens a bit more as it cools, so you’ll probably need to thin out the leftovers, if there are any!

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And there you have it, folks… heaven in a bowl.

On another note, I would like to say, only my latest posts are listed on the sidebar – Don’t forget to try my search bar if you are looking for something in particular! I’ve been writing this blog since 2011 so there’s some delicious history back up in there!

The Dr Seuss Omelet… aka Green Eggs and Ham

Okay, so… obviously, being vegan, this isn’t gonna be your typical green eggs and ham recipe!  Today,  March 2,  is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, so I wanted to make some kind of tribute to this wonderful story-teller who practically lives on a shelf in every home in the entire world.  I thought about trying to make this whole blog rhyme, but I thought that’d be a waste of time, so it’s fine… now lets dine!

I have made both of these recipes before from my Vegan Brunch cookbook and I can vouch that they are truly outstanding examples of vegan breakfast food.  (Hmmm… I’m not quite sure what the rule is on sharing other people’s recipes straight up… but I hope Isa Chandra Moskowitz can forgive me this once, since I’m always giving links to her awesome cookbooks! Thanks, Isa! 🙂 )

I should mention, the eggs here are not scrambled (nor are they like fried eggs in the actual story)… this is actually the closest thing to a vegan omelet I have ever eaten.  And what makes it green is pureeing spinach into the omelet batter (this was my personal addition to the recipe!). Voila! Green “eggs”! You could also make a green tofu scramble by using food coloring, but I’m not a big fan of that stuff. (Another idea to make your omelet “green” is by stuffing the inside of the omelet with greens, like spinach, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus… or anything else green!)

The “ham” in this case is homemade tempeh bacon. (Hey, faux bacon is the same as faux ham in my book.  At least in this kind of recipe.) You can easily buy Fakin’ Bacon or SmartBacon, both of which I enjoy… a lot… but you will find this tempeh bacon to be delicious and there is something very satisfying on making your own tempeh bacon!

(In regards to that, I have decided that I’d like to try to make my own homemade versions of these things more often instead of buying them.  Of coarse, I will still continue to use the store-bought stuff sometimes, just for the ease of doing so, but I’d definitely like to strive to do as much natural cooking as possible!  Some days it just seems there isn’t enough time and dinner sneaks up on me!  Though I must say, all the soy products I use are non-GMO.)

One more thing, if you don’t want a green omelet, just omit the spinach to the puree – you can always fold it into the inside of your omelet instead if you’d like!

Tofu Omelet

 Puree together the following:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 block silken tofu or soft tofu (I recommend Nasoya brand soft tofu for this. The vacuum packed mori-nu kind is not recommended for these)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • > 1 tsp indian black salt (aka – kala namak… it is actually dirty pink in color – this particular salt has a sulfuric taste that is similar to what you find in an egg- I had to order this online, though you may be able to find it in a health food store or indian grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • spinach – as much as it takes to green up your omelet!  (1-2 cups, or two giant handfuls)
  • water if necessary – I added 1/2 cup
  • filling for omelet (whatever veggies & soy cheese that you please)

Chop the garlic and throw it into the food processor with the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds until combined.  Make sure to scrape down the sides occasionally!  Pulse in the spinach until green color is as desired.  You may end up needing to add a bit more water to the batter because of the spinach addition.  (See tip** below.)

Preheat a LARGE non-stick skillet over med-high heat.  Lightly grease it and  pour 1/2 cup increments into the skillet.**  Spread the batter gently into about 6″ circles using the back of a spoon.

Let the batter cook about 3-5 minutes. The top of the omelet will become dry and matte looking when its ready to be flipped. If it starts to fall apart, give it a little more time. When its ready to be flipped, the underside will be speckled with light- dark brown spots.  Flip and cook about a minute on the other side.  Fill omelet with you choice of ingredients then fold it.  (This makes several omelets, so you can keep them warm on a plate covered with tinfoil as you make remaining omelets.)

**The right batter consistency depends on the tofu used. You can do a mini test omelet by pouring 2 Tbsp of batter in a pan.  If the batter spreads a bit on its own and firms up when cooking, you are good to go.  If it sits there like a mound, add up to 1/4 cup water to the batter and try again.

This is the tofu I use

Here we go….

There’s nothing traditional about a green omelet… this mushroom/onion/pepperjack omelet is served here with soysage and a homemade biscuit with jelly.

Tempeh Bacon

In a wide shallow bowl, mix the marinade and add the tempeh slices.  Let marinate at least an hour.  Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Pan fry the tempeh for 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally and adding more marinade when you flip.  These will last several days in the fridge (if you don’t eat them all at once, that is!)

The marinade…

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves

And for cooking …

    • 8-12 oz tempeh, cut width-wise into 1/4″ slices
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Serve with toast and grits… while reading the book Green Eggs & Ham, if desired!

Mamas Sugar Cookies… and more for the vegan sweet tooth

Like I said, this is my mama’s sugar cookie recipe, so I have to give her the credit for this one 🙂  My mom is a great cook and I remember decorating & eating her regular old-fashioned sugar cookies at Christmas when I was a kid for many years (before I was vegan).  This recipe is just as I remember them tasting and has convinced me yet again that there is NOTHING that can’t be made vegan!  This recipe would also make great sugar cookie hearts for Valentines 😉

Yes, my sugar cookies are shaped like Muppets!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Mama’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup earth balance (2 sticks)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • egg substitute: 2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling

Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla extract, almond extract and the flax egg in the mixer.  Mix remaining ingredients except for the granulated sugar.  Add all to mixer and combine well. Divide dough into thirds (I think I’m going to divide it into fourths next time because really cold dough is SO much easier to work with) and shape into discs, wrapping each portion in wax paper (or saran wrap) and refrigerate at least 2 hours*.

 Heat oven to 375.  Grease a cookie sheet lightly (I just lined my with parchment paper). Roll out one portion of dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut into shapes, place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake 7-9 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden and cool on a wire rack. Devour!
 

My awesome Muppet cookie cutters!

I discovered that the secret to using cutters like this is having REALLY cold dough!

Cutting the cookies...

Ready to bake!

(* When the dough is cold, it is MUCH easier to roll out and cut without getting sticky – esp if you are using cookie cutters that are NOT open-backed, like my muppet ones – or else the dough sticks and is more difficult to get out of the cutter. I tried flouring my cutter and sprinkling flour on the dough before realizing that if the dough was just COLDER it seemed to solve the problem. I even combined all my dough scraps and threw them in the freezer for a few minutes before re-rolling & cutting again.)

Mmmmm…

The cupcake recipe I usually use is the basic vanilla or chocolate cupcake from the book’ Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. I always rave about this book for good reason and you can buy it right here.  However, the last cupcakes I made for my kids muppet party, I used the “chocolate vegan death cake” recipe from the cookbook of my favorite Athens restaurant, the Grit, and cooked it into cupcakes instead.  Worked like a charm 😉  By the way, the Grit has their own cookbook for sale, which is vegetarian (with many vegan recipes) and highly recommended.  Get yours here.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

This frosting recipe is from the cupcake cookbook mentioned above.  I use it for everything!  This basic vegan frosting recipe is a must-have.  It can be spread or piped. It makes a lot (about 4 cups) so if you are planning on spreading it, you can definitely halve the recipe. I always say this, but you GOTTA get this book! It’s full of the most magnificent cupcakes ever!

You can also add 1 cup of crushed Newman o cookies to the frosting, which is a tip they recommend for the cookies and creme cupcakes, which are scrumptious!!! 

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (earth balance)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if clumpy (powdered sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or soy creamer (i have used Silk regular soy milk and Silk almond milk – both worked wonderfully)

Beat the shortening & margarine together until well combined and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat about 3 more minutes.  Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. (Personally, I always whip it for at least 7… and don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the mixer occasionally!)

Keep it in the fridge and pull it out a few minutes before you want to use it 🙂

 

Whipping up the frosting...

 
And here they are looking totally yummy on the cupcake tower! 

Please be sure to check out my next  post ALL about our Muppet party!   It includes two appetizer recipes and also lots of cool muppet crafts & stuff.  (I should have it up later today!)