Sunday, March 29, 2020

Carrot-Lemon Soup

Lovely lemon-y Carrot-Lemon Soup
This recipe for Carrot-Lemon soup was inspired by a Greek soup recipe.  When I was a kid, almost every local upscale eatery-- what we labeled "fancy restaurant" --was operated by Greeks who had emigrated to my town or city from the Old Country.  We all learned what was in a 'Greek salad' and were quite fond of the way seemingly all the Greek dishes were enrobed in melted mozzarella.  I realize now that the restaurateurs probably quickly tumbled to the fact that Canadian prairie people were dazzled by melted cheese, and they accommodated us.  And we-- or at least, I-- really loved the lemon rice soup that generally preceded a hearty meal of mozza-covered whatever.  But try as I did, I could never quite achieve that tangy citrus flavour... until now.

The original vegan recipe I was looking at for a similar soup used tofu.  Well, I like tofu well enough but we are in the midst of our 'take' on the COVID-19 "crisis" and tofu, like t.p. and chicken breasts, has apparently been "discovered" as a coveted hoard item. Short story: the stores are out of tofu.

But no worries, vegans that we are, we have lots of dried beans.  I cooked up a mess of chick peas for our daily Best Hummus allowance.  I spun up the chick peas (garbanzo beans) with the garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon juice and scooped about a cup and and a half up for the soup.

And my second major innovation was to cook up some quinoa as a substitute for the orzo or rice in the more Mediterranean cluster of ingredients.  We did this because: (a) no orzo in the house, plus it is made from wheat and I was looking for a gluten-free ingredient and (b) I just thought that quinoa would be a good fit... soupy, nutritious, neutral flavoured quinoa.


The third thing I did involves the lemon flavouring.  I have recently purchased a bottle of Simply Organic brand of lemon flavour.  The ingredients are listed as "organic sunflower oil and organic lemon oil".  The scent of fresh zested lemons floods the senses when you remove the cap.  I had already had wonderful results in using it to make a small batch of vegan lemon curd (usually made with eggs, but in this recipe made with coconut cream and corn starch).  You will still get a nice lemony result by juicing two lemons, but this just gives that extra lemony high note to the soup.  Totally optional.

Sooo..... here are the ingredients:

  • 3  /450 grams leeks, chopped
  • 1  /490 grams onion, chopped
  • 5+  /490 grams carrots, sliced or diced
  • 3+   cloves garlic, minced (there is additional garlic in the hummus)
  • 3-4 bouillon cubes (I used mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 300 grams of Best Hummus (or other hummus)
  • 3/4 cup Quinoa
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic Lemon Flavour (optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • finely chopped fresh parsley or lemon balm (melissa officianalis)


METHOD:

  1. I made this soup in an Instant Pot-- you can also use a regular large soup pot (dutch oven).  If using the Instant Pot, you will only need to use the saute mode (no lid) for this recipe.  Start by adding a small layer of water to the pot (about 1-3") and add the chopped leeks, garlic and onions.  Cook until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone stirrer.  If using the soup pot, add the leeks, garlic and onions, cover with water, and cook for a few minutes until softened, on medium-high, stirring as above.
  2. To the Instant Pot: add the carrots and cook for about five minutes. Add in some more water and the bouillon cubes, stirring to break them up.  While the veggies cook, you can cook the quinoa in a separate pot on the stove according the directions on the box.  Or you can use pre-cooked quinoa (saves time-- but don't add the quinoa yet!).  Cook until the carrots are tender.
  3. If using the soup pot, blend up the bouillon cubes in a blender, with 4 cups of water.  Stir into the pot, along with the carrots.  Cook stirring, until carrots are tender. You can stir in about a teaspoon of turmeric if you want a lemony color and some extra turmeric goodness.
  4. Stirring the soup in either pot (yeah, this is classic soup-making), stir in the hummus and the lemon juice/flavour and the quinoa, along with the extra water.  When heated through, add salt to taste and remove the soup pot from the heat and turn off/unplug the Instant Pot.  Stirring.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls.  Crack some pepper over the bowls.  Add in sprinkles of parsley.  Serve with extra lemon wedges or slices if desired.
Harvest Recipes for vegan and gluten-free Mini-Carrot Cakes and Curry Carrot Soup
Got carrots galore?  Here are a couple of other wonderful recipes!  One for a lovely curry carrot soup and another recipe for mini-carrot cakes.  Both recipes are vegan.   Go HERE to get the recipes.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Rice Pasta with Cauliflower Sauce


This delectable garlicky cauliflower sauce over organic rice spaghetti was a most delightful supper one evening at the beginning of the COVID-19 dilemma. It has a lovely creamy mouth appeal but because it has no actual cheese or dairy fat of any kind (only fat would be in the almond milk) it settles lightly on the digestion. Perfect for an evening meal.

INGREDIENTS:

Large head of cauliflower, broken into florettes with leaves and stem end removed
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tsp. fine sea salt
black pepper, fresh ground, as desired
4 T. chopped parsley as garnish
full box of rice spaghetti (28 oz) or quinoa, rice, etc.

Steam the cauliflower over a pot of boiling water, covered, for about 5 - 10 minutes, or in Instant Pot.
Set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

Combine the cauliflower, garlic, onion, lemon juice, almond milk and sea salt in the blender and blend until smooth.

Ladle over hot pasta, rice, or quinoa. Top with parsley and pepper (or you can garnish with basil as in the video below).  See the video of some people making up the same recipe (not us):




Cook, Spaghetti, Cooking Pot, Pasta, Carbohydrates



Sunday, March 15, 2020

Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake



Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake with Lemon Curd
I have had enough experiences with baked oatmeal to think that I could put together a really delicious carrot cake version-- and I believe I have nailed that with the following soft, pudding-y, yummy Breakfast oat-carrot cake.  Try it and see if you agree!


Place in large mixing bowl:
• 3 cups organic rolled oats

In blender carafe add:
• 2 apples cored and chopped
• 1 cup shelled walnuts
• 2 medium carrots, chopped
• 6 pitted Medjool dates
• 2-3 tablespoons chia seed gel
• 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

*Blend well until smooth.
*Pour over oats and mix well. Let sit for 2 hours or over night.
*Preheat oven to 350 F.
*Pour batter into baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Cover with aluminum foil. (Remove foil to brown during last 5+ minutes)
*Bake for 25-40 minutes.
*Let cool and serve in squares topped with fruit like pineapples, berries and banana slices

Do you have extra carrots?  Click here and: Try these delicious vegan recipes for a rich carrot soup and a tasty mini carrot cake

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes) and Irish Soda Bread (Spelt)



Colcannon is a lovely Irish traditional mix of boiled cabbage or kale along with a root vegetable, usually mashed potatoes, but sometimes turnip, or carrots. Leaks and/or onions, and garlic, are pretty popular additions. Chopped green onions, chives and/or parsley are often used as a stirred-in garnish.

I am vegan, so this is a vegan colcannon-- no dairy butter or milk involved.

The following are ingredients in the colcannon I made (Missing from the picture are water, garlic, pepper, oil, and fine sea salt):

Lovely Colcannon: potatoes, cabbage, leaks, green onions, and parsley

INGREDIENTS (2-4 servings)

2 T. Olive Oil (or water, or coconut oil)
1/2 Cabbage, shredded
2    Leeks, finely sliced (or shredded)
4 cloves minced Garlic
4 C. peeled, diced Potatoes (I used yellow flesh Yukon Gold)
1/2 C. Water (if using Instant Pot-- enough to cover vegetables if using regular pot on stovetop).
1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
Black Paper
Finely chopped Green Onions and Parsley

METHOD:

(Using Instant Pot)

  1. Using the saute setting, take about 5-10 minutes to stir the cabbage, leaks and garlic in olive oil until tender
  2. Turn off the Saute setting
  3. Add in potatoes and the water.  Put on the lid and set the pot for Steam and 10 minutes.
  4. Release steam.  Remove the lid.  Add salt and mix.  Mash in the cannister with potato masher if you wish, or remove to a large bowl and mash.  You may add non-dairy milk (rice, soy, oat) and a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter if desired.  If the potatoes are perfectly steamed through, and they often are, you may wish just to mash without adding in non-dairy milk and/or vegan butter.
  5. Stir in green onions and parsley.  Sprinkle pepper.
  6. Serve piping hot.
(Using on-stove pot)

  1. Put the potatoes in the pot and add water to cover the potatoes.  Bring the pot to a boil and let it cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. In another large pot, cover the cabbage with water and boil for about 15 minutes.  
  3. Drain the cabbage and set it aside.
  4. In a third pot, cook the leeks in about 1 cup of water (or 1 cup of soy (rice) non-dairy milk) for about 15 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, combine them with the leeks, salt and and non-dairy milk if desired.  Mash well.
  6. Add in the cabbage and stir together.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with parsley and green onions.
You can eat these delicious "Irish mashed potatoes" on St. Paddy's Day or any day of the year!  Enjoy!  If you are having soup today (or tomorrow) you might want to bake up an easy-peasy loaf of vegan soda bread.  I use spelt flour in the recipe (because I like this ancient grain) but you can just use about half white and half whole wheat instead.



Vegan Soda Bread Recipe (made with spelt flour and NO buttermilk)

Here are the ingredients for the soda bread:

(Look up Metric measurements:)

  • 3 cups spelt flour (or 1 3/4 cup plain white flour, 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or currents (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk--oat, rice, soy are all good neutral-tasting choices)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (Look up Metric measurements:)
  2. In medium-large size bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
  3. Stir non-dairy milk and vinegar or lemon juice together and add to the dry ingredients, mixing to combine.  
  4. Make a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper on a pan, or on a pizza peel (paddle) if you plan to use a pizza stone already heated in the oven and waiting for the bread.  
  5. Cut a deep cross -- almost to the base of the ball-- in the dough-- this is what allows the inside of the bread to bake properly.
  6. Bake the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! (and if there are leftovers, enjoy it as toast later!)
The potatoes, cabbage and leeks in colcannon were the staples of Irish immigrants to North America.  Learn more about the potato (along with other recipes) by clicking on the fries below:





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