Semi-Organic Vegan Split Pea Soup

You’re probably thinking to yourself what kind of parent forces this type of soup on their children?  Well, before you flame me in the comments section, my parents never fed this soup to me as a child.  As a parent, I never made or force fed my children with this soup.  The origins of this soup are simple.  It’s Sunday.  So what do you want for lunch?  It’s winter.  Soup.

How about some split pea soup?  Rather than mine the internet I went to my cookbook collection.  After a few unsuccessful look ups I settled upon Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.  My recipe is adapted from Madison’s recipe.  After over 40 years of cooking I’ve finally figured out why I can never follow a recipe.  

I can’t follow a recipe because I usually don’t have all of the ingredients.

The reason why this soup is semi-organic is because not all of the ingredients are certified organic.  I’m pretty sure the organic portion is due to the fact those ingredients were on sale.  (I want a healthy soup, not the most expensive split pea soup ever made).  11:00 am.  Soup should be ready by noon.  My recipe gets posted only if it tastes good.

  • 2 cups split green peas, rinsed
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 quarts vegetable stock or broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the split peas in water while preparing the soup ingredients.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onion, celery, and carrots.  Saute for around 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and dried herbs, and fresh black pepper.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Drain and add the split peas.  Add the vegetable stock/broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Stir often so the peas don’t stick.
  7. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for approximately one hour.
  8. It’s yummy tummy time.

For the curious regarding semi-organic: carrots, vegetable stock and most of the herbs were organic.  The rest of the ingredients were high quality but not USDA certified organic.

 

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

1 T olive oil
1 butternut squash (1½ lb.), halved and seeded
1 medium sweet onion, diced (1 cup)
1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp. )
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Enchilada sauce (homemade or canned)
8-12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool, scoop into a bowl and mash.

2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until soft. Add chiles and garlic. Cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in mashed squash, cream cheese, cumin, and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Layer tortillas followed by the squash mixture, then cheddar cheese. Repeat, ending with cheddar cheese as your final layer on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the sides start bubbling and the cheese is melted and gooey.

5. Serve with your usual Tex-Mex sides and condiments. Extra cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, green onions, jalepeno peppers, salsa, chips, beans, rice. Or a side salad works too but not as satisfying.

I sometimes forget this blog is about recipes.  I get off on a tangent like mislabeled seafood or nasty who knows what’s in them chicken nuggets from China.  FOCUS!  It’s about the food, the recipes, and the memories.  A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to make a squash enchilada  casserole when fall rolled around and the hard squashes started appearing in the market.  I was always amazed at how tasty this dish was without any meat in it.  Like all great family recipes this one exhibits the following classic characteristics.

The kids didn’t like it when they were little and I never wrote the recipe down.  I’m sure if I wanted to waste an hour or two I could find the original recipe yellowed and faded, taped to a 3 x 5 card somewhere.  I also know that when I find the original recipe it won’t be how I make it now.  Why bother looking? I do recall the original recipe called for some cooked potato added to the squash mixture.  I also recall the original did not have green chilies in it.  So here you go. This recipe is from memory.  I hope it tastes good.

I can’t believe this is my 100th post.

TIPS

 If you like (or need) an extra kick, sub a heartier pepper for the green chilies.  Need protein?  Add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, to the middle layer of the casserole.  Monterrey Jack would be a nice sub for the cheddar.  Or Smokey Chipotle Cheddar might work too.  (I have a chunk of this in the fridge and it’s looking for a recipe).  But most of all, have some fun with this recipe.

Update 11.17.14

I know, two days after posting and I’m making changes already.  Step 4 –  for the middle layers, tortillas, squash mixture, cheddar cheese, repeat.  No enchilada sauce.  The red sauce goes only on the bottom of the pan and on the top layer of tortillas.  The final layer is tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Yellow corn tortillas are fine but I used white corn tortillas.  I only needed ten tortillas.  You’ll get eight generous servings from this casserole.  I made some quick enchilada sauce with a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and some chicken stock.  You can leave out the chicken stock if you’re a picky vegetarian.  You can leave the cheese off too but I won’t take any responsibility for how your casserole turns out.

White Bean Dip Sorpressa

  • one 16 ounce can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • two small cloves garlic
  • juice from one half a large lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • one teaspoon each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, just a dash
  • chili powder
  1. In a food processor pulse the garlic until finely minced.
  2. Add the beans, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Pulse until the beans are well chopped.  Add EVO in a thin stream  and pulse until you have the consistency of a thick paste.
  4. Taste for seasoning and add your salt and pepper at this point.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and dust lightly with chili powder.
  6. Serve with chips or pita bread wedges.

Every now and then you have to try something different.  Instead of hummus I decided to make a white bean dip instead.  Cannellini beans.

I was headed down the usual path with the garlic, lemon, oregano and thyme.  Most recipes suggest paprika to top the dip.  I went to my spice cupboard to check the expiration date of the paprika.  As I suspected, time to toss and buy some fresh paprika.  One of the local stores has herbs and spices in bulk.  The prices are reasonable, the quality is high, and you have to fill little plastic bags marked with a large sticker to identify the contents with the code for the cashier to use at check out.  Well, I grabbed a small plastic bag from the spice cupboard, got a spoon and dusted the dip with the paprika I just bought.

Sorpressa!!!  It was chili powder.

Tips – When you screw up like this don’t tell your guests.  If they don’t like the dip, remove the dip, toss in the garbage and blame it on some old (fill in the blank).  Hmm, you say.  The paprika must be old.  That’s what is throwing off the flavor.  Go to your fridge, break out some cheese and nobody will really care.

Now if your guests like the dip, of course, take as much credit as you want.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – (NOT) Bon Appétit

via Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – Bon Appétit.

There are a bunch of clipped recipes in the cookbook holder by the stove.  This Bon Appétit recipe has been there since 2009, February 2009 to be exact.  We love this recipe for a quick and healthy meatless meal.  Earlier today I glanced at the recipe to make sure all ingredients were on hand because you always have at least one ingredient missing.  I just don’t want the missing ingredient to be missing after I start cooking.

Wait a minute!  This isn’t how I make this dish!  OK, full stop.  No more writing.  I will make my tacos tonight and then write the recipe down.

6:41 PM CST update

I’ve left the link to the original recipe.  I was right.  I make this dish differently than I did five years ago.  So here we go.  I also made some fresh guacamole and to be perfectly honest, the flavors are intense, the textures varied, and it…is…HEALTHY.

1 15-ounce can organic black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (maybe more)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 whole lime juiced, 1/4 lemon juiced

1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 clove garlic minced

pinch oregano, dash celery salt (trust me on this one)

2 cups organic green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortilla shells, crispy
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Your favorite hot sauce or salsa

  1.  Drain and rinse the black beans, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add the well drained black beans.  Add lemon juice. Heat until warmed through.  Mash the beans with a spoon but leave it chunky.  Season with celery salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and juice of one lime.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add a dash of sugar to cut the acidity if needed.
  5. Add the green onions, cilantro, and cabbage.  Mix well and set aside.

This recipe will make enough for 4-6 tacos.  If you need more servings, double the bean recipe and buy more taco shells. You will not need to double the cabbage slaw portion.  You’ll have plenty.

Construct your tacos.  Place some beans in the taco shell, followed by salsa, feta cheese, and slaw.  If you are using guacamole, put in on your taco last.

TIPS –

We recently discovered La Tiara authentic Mexican taco shells from Gladstone Missouri.  Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as you until I tried these shells.   Use fresh cabbage and not the bagged sliced slaw next to the bagged salads.  In a pinch, go ahead and use the bagged stuff.  But once you use fresh cabbage, you won’t go back to the bag version.  This taco recipe is perfect for a Meatless Monday.  May I suggest oven roasted sweet potatoes and corn for sides?

Scallion Fried Rice (add Rotisserie Chicken for #5 in the Series One Rotisserie Chicken – 50 Meals)

Scallion Fried Rice

4-6 fresh scallions (green onions)
2 eggs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3 T canola cooking oil
3 cups cooked rice (leftover and cold American Basmati)
2 tsp sesame oil

  1. Slice and separate white and green parts of scallions.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a nonstick wok over heat.  Coat pan with the hot oil by twirling.
  3. Add white parts of the scallions and saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add rice and stir-fry while breaking up the clumps until rice is heated through.  Add more canola oil to prevent sticking, if needed.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-high.  Push the rice to the sides of the wok, creating a well in the center.  Crack in the eggs and stir constantly while not allowing the egg to completely set up.  Gradually incorporate the rice until the egg is blended in well with the rice.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add sesame oil. Garnish with the remaining green tops of the scallions.

 

There have to be as many versions of Fried Rice as there are cooks.  Everyone has their favorite recipe and somewhere along the Path I started making this simple fried rice.  This rice makes an excellent side dish and can be made ahead of time and gently reheated.  The original versions I remember from my childhood had bits of dried Chinese sausage or char siu in the dish.  I’ve also encountered versions made with tiny bits of ham or bacon.  Here I present the ovo-lacto veggie version.

Tips – The rice needs to be cold, preferably leftover from the previous day.  Make fried rice with hot or warm rice and you will make a Giant Clump Fried Rice Ball.  Any white rice will do fine; we prefer the taste of American Basmati.  Better yet, use Texmati American Basmati.  I’ve tried other rices and it’s just not the same.  Now if you want to make a meal out of this fried rice, add some diced Rotisserie Chicken and you have Chicken Fried Rice.

That was easy.

Update 08.23.14

Two eggs, not one.  I’ve also changed the Tips to reflect the type of rice I use.