Tag Archives: onion

Roasted Tomato and Root Vegetable Soup

You'll never look at tomato soup the same way again

You’ll never look at tomato soup the same way again

This is not the Tomato Soup of your childhood. There is no Campbell’s product anywhere (unless you have a painting of the Andy Warhol soup can in your kitchen), and cream is not involved. More importantly, nothing is pureed. What this soup is however, is a roasted tomato bowl of pure bliss. Simple, fresh flavours highlighted by roasting and completely addicting.

This soup was first born in my ongoing growth in the kitchen to try and overcome my childhood aversions – tomato soup in this case. Clearly, I strayed a bit. From the market I got a giant bag of plum tomatoes, as well as the seasonal root vegetables of rutabaga, kohlrabi, and beets. Inspired by a tomato soup recipe in Eric Tucker’s Millennium cookbook and my ciambotta recipe, I set out experimenting. The end result is a soup that is quite possibly the recipe of Fall 2013. The roasted tomatoes add such depth and flavour to the soup it’s surprising. Roasted garlic is never a bad thing, and roasting the onions is an optional but highly recommended step. The beets add a gorgeous deep red hue to the soup, making the bowl look even more ‘tomatoey’. The rutabaga and kohlrabi add some nice contrast in both colour and crunch, and the swiss chard at the end looks like bright green ribbons. The root vegetables used here could be completely interchangeable, depending on your preference. Parsnips, turnips, potatoes … anything. Mushrooms would also be a nice addition to the soup. The roasted vegetables are helped along with some fresh thyme, rosemary, fennel, and oregano. A splash of balsamic at the end for some acid, and you’re ready to slurp. The best part is that the soup almost cooks itself. The roasting does all the hard work – you just have to throw it all together in a pot after and let the flavours marry.

Although I failed to conquer my tomato soup aversion from my childhood, in the process I’ve discovered the tomato soup recipe of the year, and one that I will be making again and again!

 

Roasted Tomato and Root Vegetable Soup

1 medium onion, cut into ⅛ ‘moons’

1 bulb garlic, top cut off and loose skin removed

27 small plum tomatoes, halved (~10¾ cup)

2 medium beets, cut into ¼” cubes

1 rutabaga, cut into ¼” cubes*

2 kohlrabi, cut into ¼” cubes*

½ tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

12 cups water, as necessary

1 tsp. dried thyme OR 1 tbsp. fresh

½ tsp. dried rosemary

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

4 cups swiss chard, chiffonade

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

*Root vegetables should amount to ~3 cups. Seasonal pickings!

Directions:

1) Line a 9”x13” baking pan and two cookie sheets with parchment paper. (*Note* If you don’t have parchment, spray your pan and trays with a lot of oil. The caramelization is what gives the vegetables flavour, but it’ll also guarantee hours scrubbing the pan if you forget either to line or oil the pans!)

2) In baking pan add onion, garlic, beets, and root vegetables.

3) On cookie trays, lay the halved tomatoes skin side down in a single layer.

4) Sprinkle all vegetables with pepper.

5) Roast all vegetables at 425oF for 40-45min, flipping the pans halfway.

6) Once vegetables are roasted, cut onion, garlic, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.

7) In large stockpot, add roasted onion and garlic, apple cider vinegar, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and let simmer ~5min.

8) Add root vegetables, all remaining herbs and spices, and 8 cups of water. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer ~10 min.

9) Add roasted tomatoes. Gently pour 4 cups of water over baking trays, and tip trays into the stockpot – we want the roasted juices! Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer ~15min.

10) Add swiss chard and balsamic vinegar. Stir and cook until chard bright green and wilted, ~5min.

11) Serve!


Midsummer Corn Chowder

Midsummer Corn Chowder

I grew up in a climate where the constant threat of frost or snow from May – August prevented abundant crops. In fact, the only thing that we could successfully grow was rhubarb. Thus, when I first read through Veganomicon (like a novel, as one should do with a new cookbook), I was instantly filled with awe and wonder at the recipe entitled Midsummer Corn Chowder. The description starts with the line “This soup just screams “I just came back from the Farmer’s Market! Look at my bulging canvas sack!””, and the concept of being able to buy corn, tomatoes, basil, and fennel at the farmer’s market in the middle of summer was so completely foreign to me I thought they were making it up. So imagine my joy and excitement when I came back from my weekly CSA share last week (admittedly mid-September) with a bulging backpack of corn, heirloom tomatoes, basil, onions, and other goodies! I had arrived at that mythical land, and so I knew I had to make this chowder.

I will admit I have never had “real” corn chowder before, due to my corn issues, but since I have somewhat overcome them with the Chickpea Pastel de Choclo, I thought I was ready to tackle the chowder. Although calling mid-September “midsummer” is a bit of a stretch, I kept to the spirit of the recipe and adapted it to accommodate my bulging backpack of CSA vegetables. To the soup I added zucchini (last of the season), collard greens, and extra carrots (to make up for lack of celery. To this day growing celery is a bit of a mystery to me). I am not a jet setter, but I am lazy, so I didn’t make the corn stock as suggested. Instead, I simmered the soup with the corn cobs and the top of the fennel fronds, which added a nice depth to the stock. I did have to buy potatoes and fennel to complete the dish, but that’s not too bad! I also modified the cooking instructions slightly: Instead of sautéing in oil, I sautéed the vegetables using water. I have discovered that if you add the onions to the pan with a splash of water and cover, it lets them sweat and caramelize way better than if you use oil. To prevent sticking, add splashes of water periodically. I did this technique for all the vegetables, resulting in caramelized garlic, onions, and fennel which added smoky depth and deliciousness. The soup is simply seasoned with the fresh basil and dried thyme – no additional seasonings required! Let the fresh produce shine through. I did add a healthy splash of Habanero Hot Sauce, because the habaneros also came from the garden and I didn’t want them to be neglected.

The end result is a surprisingly light stew that does scream “farmer’s market bulging sack of goodies”. Fresh and vibrant, it is worth turning the stove on if it’s +30dC, or it will remind you of the fleeting days of summer if it’s mid-September and pumpkin season is just around the corner. Delicious, creamy, and vibrant, I believe this soup has terminated my corn-issues for good! Reminisce of the fleeting days of summer and honour your farmer’s market haul.

(Note: the soup freezes wonderfully, so if you are like me and enthusiastically waiting for pumpkin season and thoroughly sick of summer produce, make this soup fresh today, then save the leftovers for December, when all you want is a garden-fresh zucchini.)

The recipe can be found on page 144 of Veganomicon, or in the Google Book Preview here: Midsummer Corn Chowder with Basil, Tomato, and Fennel

 


Habanero Hot Sauce

Habanero Hot Sauce

A co-worker gifted me with six fresh from the garden habanero peppers, after hearing of my love affair of spicy food. I was immediately faced with indecision – should I freeze them whole and enjoy them in various chilis, stews, and curries, or should I celebrate the habanero and make a fiery sauce? The sauce was speaking to me, and so I went in search of The Recipe that would celebrate the fiery pepper and not mask it. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought!

I finally found a recipe (and there aren’t many) that celebrate this noble pepper. From Rick Bayless, Top Chef Master no less! The ingredients are simple: 12 habaneros (stemmed only – keep those seeds in there!), 1/2 cup diced carrot, 1/2 cup diced onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and salt. The method is even easier: boil everything in a pot until carrots are tender, and then blend. Store in fridge. Done! I was seduced by the simple recipe, and decided that was the one.

The result? Amazing. If only I knew it was that easy to make hot sauce earlier! The carrots add colour – you can’t taste them at all. I added water to the blender slowly for consistency, and ended up with two small Mason jars of fresh hot sauce. Licking the blender, it was definitely a 5-alarm type sauce. It has mellowed out over time though (24h thus far), and although a little goes a long way, you don’t need gloves to handle it! Absolutely fantastic, it’ll add a bit of pizzazz to my chilis, stews, curries, and salads for a long time to come. I cannot wait for a trip to the farmer’s market for more fresh peppers! Treat them right, and the peppers bask in their glory. Yum!

The recipe can be found here: Rick Bayless’ Habanero Hot Sauce


Onion and Apple Soup with Apple Sesame Ginger Chutney

Onion and Apple Soup

There are some things that are sacred in the kitchen. “Thou shalt not mix fruit with savoury dishes” is one such axiom. And yet when I found myself with a glut of apples that were about to go bad all at once, I knew that rules were meant to be broken. I generally don’t like sweet savoury dishes (whoever thought of pineapple on pizza should be given a harsh reprimand) so with this conundrum I went looking for the most overpowering flavour I could think of. Enter the onion. As background: I generally don’t like onions either, much preferring garlic. When a recipe calls for “1 medium onion” I translate that to “half of the smallest one you could possibly buy”. So when this Onion and Apple Soup with Apple Sesame Ginger Chutney recipe flipped past when I was looking through my Millennium cookbook, I knew that this was a personal challenge. Make it or else.

This soup is the reason I love daring myself to try new things in the kitchen. The caramelized onions add a bold flavour that isn’t too ‘onion-y’ and pairs nicely with the apples. The apples themselves lend a subtle flavour to the dish, and when cooked with the onions and red wine it’s more of an apple cider vinegar flavour than an apple-pie flavour. Wild rice was also a new discovery for me, and I am a convert! It is much chewier than normal rice, and doesn’t get lost among the onions and apples. The thyme and tarragon round the bowl off, adding that extra something to the bowl that immediately transports you to the southern regions of France. The chutney is a simple apple salad made with (you guessed it) apples, sesame seeds, ginger, and scallions. A light and refreshing condiment, it added a subtle Asian twist to your otherwise Rivera-inspired bowl. I was almost more surprised that I loved this soup so much than I was that I’d actually entertain making it!

The recipe is another winner by Eric Tucker in his cookbook Millennium, found on page 62. Unfortunately, I cannot find a Google-Book preview of the recipe, but its well worth the library trip!

So challenge those dear kitchen rules. Throw the rule book out the window and make something completely out-of-the ordinary and completely delicious – like this soup!


Tempeh Tikka Masala with Naan

Doesn't look like much, but it's heaven in a bowl!

Doesn’t look like much, but it’s heaven in a bowl!

Spicy tomato curries are a weakness of mine. I have yet to come across one that I have not immediately pledged my undying love to. Whether it be a vegetable curry, a daal, a veggie-daal combo, or something that gets thrown into the pot because your fridge is conspiring against you, they are all amazing. But this Tempeh Tikka Masala is quite possibly the best curry I have ever had the privledge of eating. Ever. Scooped up with delicious, easy, vegan naan bread and this quite possibly may be my definition of heaven.

Tempeh is one of my favourite protein sources. I rarely buy it, and when I do I let it talk to me. What does it want to be? Braised in a Mexican beer marinade and used as wraps? Sauted with soy sauce and used in a Macro Bowl? Well, this block was telling (demanding) me that it needed to be in a curry. Only a spicy tomato curry would make its life complete, and I was happy to oblige. I have never had ‘real’ Tikka Masala, and so this was a new experience for us both. The recipe is compliments of Vegan Richa (Formerly Hobbies and More), an amazing cook that has a life mission it seems to bring to the world the best that Northern India has to offer. The tempeh is first marinated in a mixture of curry spices and a small amount of yogurt. The curry is then built up with a pureed tomato base of fresh tomatoes, ginger, chili, and garlic. Aromatic Indian spices such as garam masala, paprika, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, asafoetida (hing), and turmeric season the dish, turning the puree into something magical. Kale is added for some greens, although spinach would work as well. The tempeh is cooked seperately to sear the edgesand carmelize the marinade, then it’s all simmered together for as long as you can resist. Creamyness is added to the curry with the addition of yogurt and milk. This was my first time in adding yogurt to a curry to make it creamy, and the results did not dissapoint. I used Amande yogurt, but coconut yogurt would also be delectable here. This dish to me is comfort food to the max, with the right mixture of sauce, spice, and chewiness with the tempeh. Scooped with naan, and its bliss in a bowl.

The Tempeh Tikka Masala recipe can be found here: Vegan Richa – Tempeh Tikka Masala

I must admit, I never realized that naan bread had milk or yogurt in it. When dining at Indian restaurants, I tend to prefer roti or pampads, because those are the two items that I consistently set my oven on fire with when I try to make them. Naan is the soft, fluffy cousin of roti, and a new scooping vessel for me. It would make a great pizza base, or hummus vessel. This recipe is also from Vegan Richa, and my results were nothing short of phenominal. Soft, pillowy naan greeted me from the oven, with nary a lick of flame in sight! It requires a bit more pre-planning than roti because it needs to rise, but its definately worth the effort! This recipe will be used in the future for my next attempt at stuffed breads: Paratha. The verison I made here was the yogurt version (again with Amande), but next time I think I will add some garlic  and whole cumin seeds for a truly decadent naan.

This easy, delicious, and sure fire naan recipe can be found here: Vegan Richa – Naan


Fusion Pizza: Chickpea Flatbread with Moroccan Curried Tomatoes

Pizza. A simple concept of a base, a sauce, and toppings. Fiercely debated as to who invented the dish as we know it (the Italians vs. the USA), the definition becomes hazy when authenticity is claimed. I do not claim any of my pizzas to be authentic, and believe that the base can be a tortilla shell, the sauce a spinach-asparagus puree, and toppings from artichokes to that carrot that has been in your crisper for an unknown amount of time. From fancy to clean-out-the-fridge, it’s all pizza to me!

This creation I am calling Moroccan Pizza. It is based off of two recipes in the Millennium Cookbook by Eric Tucker, which is very quickly rising to challenge Veganomicon as the standby cookbook of choice. The crust is the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7), and the topping is the filling for the Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116). The Chickpea Flatbread was extremely easy to prepare and was quite tasty by itself. It would make a great addition to a hummus and baba ghanouj platter, easily rising to the challenge of a dipping vessel! The texture of the flatbread was slightly rubbery however, which although tasty I don’t know if I would eat it alone. The Filo Crescent filling was definitely the star. The Curried Tomato Sauce is nothing short of genius, and the chickpea flatbread soaked up the wonderful flavours to savoury perfection, without becoming mushy! The additional filling is a tagine of eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. Gloriously paired with the curried tomatoes, this pizza was a sure-fire winner. (The Filo dish is the image on the front cover, so you know it must be a star of the book!). The best description I could give is the best curried eggplant-tomato tagine you have ever had, with the pita bread already soaked with the flavours while maintaining its function as a utensil. Delicious down to the last bite, this pizza – and its components – are all now favourites!

Like other Millennium recipes I have reviewed, you can use the Google Book Preview to scroll to the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7) and Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116) recipes. To cook the pizza, I made the flatbread, and allowed it to cool. To help with the flavour saturation, I stabbed the top with a fork a couple of times before topping with the curried tomato sauce and the tagine. I then baked it at 400 dF for 20 min. Enjoy your Moroccan Pizza experience!


Kushari

Kushari is also known as koshary, kosheri, and koshari. However you spell it, it is an inexpensive dish from Egypt that is popular street food. Apparently some consider this to be Egypt’s national dish, so I had to try it! At first glance it looks to be a bizarre combination of ingredients, but when put together in a bowl it is and unbelievably tasty dish that fills you up quickly! The basic elements of kushari are lentils and rice, then a layer of macaroni or ditalini pasta, followed with a chunky tomato sauce, and topped with chickpeas and loads of fried onions. At first I was a huge skeptic – rice and pasta in the same dish? I even contemplated omitting the pasta, but in the end decided to stay true to the spirit of the dish. And am I glad I ever did! The dish is like a mini casserole in a bowl, and the flavour profile is amazing. With red hot chilis in almost every component of the dish, there is some nice heat to the combination. The marinated chickpeas and vinegar in the tomato sauce make the dish nice and tangy. But what really won me over was the fried onion topping. With just oil and onion, the dish is transformed from a 4-star rating to blown out of the park! As an added bonus, all ingredients are most likely already in your pantry!

This recipe isn’t hard, but it will use every burner you have on your stove. If you’re not careful, it is possible to boil dry your lentils and rice like I did, but with some more water added the dish was none the worse for it! Simple enough for a weeknight but fancy enough for a weekend meal or company. Serve with a fresh salad and enjoy the street food of Egypt!

This recipe is a compilation of various blog notes that I could find. Most didn’t have quantities of ingredients, and none had the exact amount of each layer. This is my version of these various hodgepodge recipes – I did my best to maintain the spirit of the dish while amalgamating all of these comments. I was pleased with the result, but by all means build your bowl to your taste!

Kushari

Component #1: Lentils and Rice
1½ cups brown lentils
1½ cups short grain rice
1 tbsp. ground cumin
6-8 cups water
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:
1) In large pot bring water to a boil. Add cumin and lentils.
2) Lower heat to a simmer and cook lentils until half-cooked, ~15-20 min.
3) Add rice; stir. Cover and cook until rice is tender, ~20 min. If too dry, add water as necessary.
4) Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir.

Component #2: Macaroni
8 oz. macaroni or ditalini pasta
water

Directions:
1) In large pot bring water to a boil. Add pasta.
2) Cook pasta until al-dente, ~8 min.
3) Drain and set aside.

Component #3: Garlic Vinegar Tomato Sauce
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
3 tbsp. white vinegar
2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:
1) In saucepan sauté garlic in oil until fragrant, ~1-2 min.
2) Add red pepper flakes. Stir.
3) Add vinegar, tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
4) Simmer ~20 min, while pasta and rice are cooking
5) If too thick, add water as necessary

Component #4: Toppings
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground cumin

4-5 large onions, cut into thick rings or strips
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1) In Tupperware container mix chickpeas, red wine vinegar, coriander, cayenne, and cumin.
2) Place in fridge and let marinate until ready to use, shaking occasionally.

3) In large fry pan, sauté onions in oil until crispy and fried.

 Assembly:
To serve, layer components as follows:
1) ½ cup lentils and rice mixture
2) ½ cup macaroni
3) ¼ – ½ cup garlic vinegar tomato sauce
4) 2 tbsp. marinated chickpeas
5) 2 tbsp. fried onions


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