Just as I was starting to wonder whether Alaska Vegan was going to have to be renamed Seattle Vegan, we finally got some snow! Our balmy and snow free days have given way to more typical Anchorage weather and we finally got a few inches of the white stuff. We’re still way behind the curve on snow totals, but being able to cross country ski just minutes from the house instead of hours feels like heaven. Red cheeks, warm woolen mittens and a thermos of hot soup, here I come.
A recent commenter has requested more soup recipes – dear reader, you have read my mind. In weather like this, I can’t get enough soup. Actually in general I can’t get enough soup, but as Gena Hamshaw recently wrote in her delightful Choosing Raw blog, relationships have a way of changing our diets and for us that has meant a tendency towards more calorie dense dinners. Soup alone has typically meant than an hour or so later the man is grazing in the pantry. While he doesn’t seem to mind having to fend for himself, I always feel like I just didn’t make enough dinner and so soups have faded somewhat from the main course….until now.
After reading MANY vegetable soup recipes online I settled on a modification of Alton Brown’s Garden Vegetable Soup recipe for testing at home. It was such a hit that my boyfriend requested it two weeks in a row, bringing it to work every day for lunch and sometimes having it also for dinner. I was shocked. Self professed soup lover that I am, even I can’t eat the same soup for that many days or that many meals in a row! Never have I had to keep remaking batches so that it was on hand!
This soup will put your knife skills to the test, but if you’re a vegan I’m guessing you’re used to the veggie prep. Make a big batch and get those thermoses ready!
Hearty Vegetable Soup
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 medium sized leeks, white parts only, diced and thoroughly rinsed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic
3 cups diced carrots (about 5 medium)
3 cups diced potatoes (about 5 medium)
3 cups diced zucchini (about 4 small)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
Saute leeks, onions and garlic over medium heat until softened, 5-7 minutes, adding small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking. Add carrots, potatoes and zucchini, saute a few minutes more then add stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer until root veggies are soft, 20 minutes or so. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, corn and cracked pepper, heat through for 5-10 minutes and serve!
- Leeks can have a tendency to be somewhat sandy, hence the recommendation for the dicing and then rinsing.
- The color and flavor are somewhat better with the canned tomatoes, but we’ve had it both ways to good success
- The addition of 2-3 medium diced parsnips will make the soup sweeter – a desirable trait for the Y chromosomes in this house
Corn chowder is something that goes way back in my culinary repertoire. As soon as the weather turns cold and the mittens come out, I start scouring the cupboards for the creamed corn, and my thoughts turn to ice skating. When I was a kid I used to take skating lessons on Saturday mornings at Groton Academy. I learned the basics, and then at 16 started to teach introductory skating. I remember thinking that I was pretty special when I was asked to be a skating monitor on Sundays for the free skate. Oh the power of being able to determine when the skating direction should change.
That was about as far as I made it in my illustrious skating career. Monitor at the public skate on Sundays. I remember being told that I was too tall to really pursue skating in a serious fashion, and that the Ice Capades were all I could hope for…emphasis on HOPE. To be honest it was a relief to be told that my (rather modest) height was an issue, as I’d feared a life of training in what had to be the coldest rink on the East Coast. The temperature in the Groton Academy rink could have been rightly measured on the Kelvin scale – hovering a few degrees above absolute zero. Every week there were children crying, tucking their hands and feet into parent’s armpits. When not warming their children, parents would go outside to warm up, welcoming a blast from a Nor’ Easter in comparison to the frigid arena. It’s a wonder that the physics of skating even held up in there. As anyone from Fairbanks can tell you, there is a point where it is so cold that gliding ceases to exist.
I’d emerge from the rink with two frozen bricks for feet, hobbling to the car and dreaming of the hot chowder that was waiting for me at home. Having revived me from near hypothermic states, week after week, this simple recipe of pantry staples has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Most people that know me well have had this recipe, and despite its humble ingredients list, it continues to be a hit for all who have tried it.
2 onions, diced
5-6 medium potatoes, diced small
4 cups non dairy milk
2 tablespoons Chicken Seasoning
2 (15 ounce) cans creamed corn
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions in medium sized soup pot over medium high heat, adding water as needed to prevent sticking. When onions are nicely softened and lightly caramelized, add non diary milk, potatoes and ‘chicken seasoning’. Bring to a simmer and then decrease heat to low, simmering until potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in creamed corn. When corn is heated through, off heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve!
- I used So Delicious Coconut milk for the non dairy milk. It did separate at one point, but once the creamed corn was added all was well again.
Now for an update on my quest for a meatball / meatloaf replacement. I tried the meatball recipe from Market Street Vegan, and am pleased to say that not only were they good, but that their texture was perfect, just as advertised! I baked mine, per Amanda’s instructions rather than using the slow cooker method. After about 30 minutes they had a nice crust and were firm, not the soft and mushy consistency of my previous experiments. Thank you Amanda!
Where did September go? All month, no post. Now we’re well into October and I still just can’t quite fathom that summer and fall are long gone in Anchorage. First there was the vacation to Montana. I had the best intentions to cook up some new delights in my fancy kitchen in the Treasure State, but the sun and the mountains lured me outside, the amazing vegan treats at the Bozeman Co-op lured me inside, and I figured you’d forgive me a week. Next it was a work trip to Colorado and Utah. Armed with 20 pounds of vegan snacks I smugly intended to eat, write and blog about some of the best vegan travel treats from the hotel in my non-working hours. Ha! That plan went well, as you can see.
This recipe was inspired from an offering at a potluck – Deanna’s Mexican Soup. Her version was light and brothy, but since we’re back to cold temps and liquid sunshine here in Anchorage, I wanted a version that was more hearty. For those of you living in states where August is still summer, feel free to thin it out with more stock for a lighter version!
Beet season has officially arrived. Hallelujah! Last weekend was the first crop of local beets at the Spenard Farmer’s market, but thanks to a rather busy week at work I didn’t get around to using them until this weekend. First on the list for the ruby roots is this beet soup that I have been eyeballing on the Two Sister’s Bakery website.
I was first introduced to this recipe by my neighbor, Keith. It’s one of those recipes that is deceptively simple, and to be honest, if I hadn’t tasted it I never would have made it based on the recipe alone. These sorts of recipes make me wonder what else I’m missing in my embarrassingly large cookbook collection. How many recipes have I glossed over, thinking “Nah – too basic”, “Nah – too bland”, or “Chocolate and black beans in a dessert? What is the world coming to??”
The Alaska palette is blues and grays. Add green in summer, add white in winter. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but for a girl who loves red, sometimes it’s enough already with the cold colors. Perhaps that’s why I have become increasingly interested in beets over the years. They just look warm, and make them into a soup on a cold day and they actually are warm. Considering the other benefits that I discussed in my beet tahini post, heck, beets might even make enough heat for two. But I digress.