Tag Archives: potato

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

 


Potato Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo

Potato Kale Soup

This simple weeknight soup is full of Latin flavour and comfort, another winner from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero. Somehow, the combination of potato and quinoa isn’t heavy at all and transcends all seasons. Blizzard outside? A cosy night in with this soup is what the doctor ordered. Blistering hot, humid, and you begin to sweat just thinking about turning on any sort of heating element? This soup is delicious cold, and with additional greens could easily be transformed into a “bowl”. This soup is flavoured primarily with thyme and oregano, with a dash of vinegar for some acid. The soup itself is composed of onions, quinoa, potato, and kale. Chorizo sausage, also from Viva Vegan! is sliced and stirred in at the end, like a Latin version of Pizza Soup. I am amazed at how flavourful this soup is with such simple ingredients!

The chorizo sausage is quite quick to prepare, and very similar to the Italian Sausage found at The PPK. Instead of Italian seasonings however, annatto powder (this is the spice responsible for chorizo’s distinctive red hue), paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and cumin are all used to round out the spice profile. The sausages themselves take less than 1h to make, so to make this a quick weeknight meal you could make the sausages first, then while they are steaming prep all the veggies for the soup. By the time the soup is done simmering, the sausages will be ready to go. The sausages can also be made well in advance, and frozen – I had some leftover chorizo sausage waiting for me in the freezer, and it worked wonderfully. If that seems like too much work/thinking ahead, no worries! This soup would be delicious without, and for that extra protein punch and texture large beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans, fava beans, or even lima beans could be easily substituted. To round out the soup flavour, add some of the same seasonings as the sausage, all to taste.

Another excellent recipe from Viva Vegan, it made me look at the combination of potatoes, quinoa, and kale in a whole new delicious way!

The Potato Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo recipe can be found on pg. 159-160 of Viva Vegan!, or on Google Books here.


Deluxe Aloo Curry

Deluxe Aloo Curry

What started as a simple exercise to use up some gorgeous baby potatoes turned into a giant vat of a tomato-based aloo curry – untraditional and unintended! Most aloo curries I have seen in restaurants are potatoes + one other element (spinach, cauliflower, cilantro, paneer …) not a whole garden full! I always get excited too when I find a tomato based potato curry as I prefer tomatoes to potatoes any day. This flavourful curry can be served with basmati rice and/or your Indian flatbread of choice. I served it with a daal, however if you want a meal-in-a-bowl throw in some chickpeas! The more the merrier when you’re creating in the kitchen!

I do not promise that this is an “authentic” Indian curry; however “authentic” ingredients are used! It tastes absolutely delicious, and smells wonderful! Clearly can be adapted to the contents of your fridge/CSA box! The version below uses eggplant, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, greens, bell pepper, and a handful of cherry tomatoes for fun. A “winter” version could be sweet potato (in addition to red potato), squash, mushrooms, greens, and cauliflower. “Spring” could include asparagus and snap peas. Only limited by the scope of your imagination! Enjoy!

Deluxe Aloo Curry

Vegetables/Curry:
3 medium potatoes, quartered
3 cups eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1” cubes
1 cup green beans
½ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups greens: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens …
1 bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as necessary

Additional vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, squash, peas

Tempering/Tadka:
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
⅛ tsp. asafetida (hing)
salt to taste
1 tsp. mango powder (amchoor)
½ tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Tomato Curry Paste:
6 medium tomatoes OR (1) 32oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
1” fresh ginger, minced
2 green chilis, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all Tomato Curry Paste ingredients. Set aside.
2) In large pot, heat oil and sauté cumin seeds and asafetida until cumin seeds crack
3) Add Tomato Curry Paste. Cover and cook approx. 5min
4) Add potatoes. Smooch a couple while cooking to make the curry creamier
5) Add eggplant. Cook approx. 10min.
6) Add all other vegetables except cherry tomatoes and greens. Cover and cook approx. 10min., or until vegetables are at desired tenderness. Add water as necessary
7) Add mango powder, garam masala, and salt to taste. Stir.
8) Add cherry tomatoes, greens, and cilantro. Stir and simmer until greens are bright green and wilted
9) Turn off heat, cover, and let sit a couple of minutes. Serve with roti, naan, or basmati rice

 

 


Borscht

Just another borscht recipe … but this one has a twist!

One benefit of fall is the glut of beets and potatoes. And in my part of the country this means one thing: Borscht. Borscht is an Eastern European soup made (coincidently) predominately of beets, potatoes, and cabbage. Like cabbage rolls (holubtsi) there great variations of borscht between the Ukrainians, Russians, Poles … kind of like the war of pizza between the US and Italy! I am not claiming that this soup is authentic, but I do know it’s delicious. Upon discussion with my Ukrainian friend, this soup closely resembles the Ukrainian version, which is usually vegetarian, served with a dollop of sour cream.

This version is based on the “Beet, Barley, and Black Soybean Soup” recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Form there I got the ingenious idea of the secret ingredient: tamarind pulp! Traditional borscht tastes very earthy and is minimally seasoned. The tamarind adds a nice tang to the soup that is unexpected, unique, and makes you crave more. To me, it turned blah borscht into two+ bowl borscht. The addition of beans adds some protein to the soup, making it a complete Eastern European meal.

My version of the recipe is below. I have not served it to my Ukrainian friend, for fear that it strays so far from the family recipe that it is pronounced “not borscht”. In which case, think of it as beet, potato, cabbage, and tamarind soup!

 

Borscht

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (~2 cups)
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. dried tarragon
A few dashes of fresh pepper
8 cups water
4 medium beets, peeled, cut in half, sliced 1/4″ thick (~4 cups)
~4 cups potatoes, cut in quarters (roughly same size as beets)
¼ cup tamarind
1 (19oz.) can black eyed peas, rinsed (1½ cups cooked)
~4 cups cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Directions:
1) In a stockpot, sauté onions in oil for ~5min.
2) Add garlic, tarragon, and pepper; sauté until smells very nice (~1min)
3) Add water, beets, potatoes, and tamarind. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer ~30min.
4) Add black eyed peas and cabbage. Simmer ~10-15min.
5) Add vinegar, stir, and serve!


Quinoa Corn Chowder

The best corn chowder you will ever eat!
(Potentially the most unconventional as well)

This hearty, warm soup is like a hug in a bowl. It was the creative inspiration of some potatoes, an ear of corn, one bell pepper, some hot chili peppers, and a glut of tomatoes which I received in my CSA one week. I immediately went online to do some research as to what one could create with such a grab-bag of materials, and decided on corn chowder. This would come to a shock to many, as I loathe creamy soups and have an aversion to hot purees (sorry, potato bisques!). But this is not just any corn chowder – this chunky, scrumptious version loads on the spice and is easy on the crème. Compliments of Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero, this soup is definitely another winner from that tomb of excellence!

The soup base provides a solid backdrop for your fresh produce. The clear broth is simple in its spice composure, and would let any vegetables shine through. I tried to stick as close to the recipe as possible, but I made the following changes with fantastic results:

1) As I had no Aij dried peppers, I added 1T. ancho chili powder, 1t. chipotle chili powder,  and 3 small diced hot chilis
2) Since I only had one ear of corn, I also added bell peppers, zucchini, and extra tomatoes to bulk the soup up
3) I used fava beans instead of lima beans, as they were the closest to a toothsome bean in my pantry

The quinoa adds an extra source of protein and a grain, and soaks up the broth the longer it sits, resulting in a stew when reheated. I used fava beans instead of lima beans as that is what I had on hand, and the fava beans added a nice toothsome quality to the soup. I happily slurped up the whole bowl of delicious late-summer produce, wishing I had enough to make another vat … or three!

The recipe can be found in Viva Vegan! on page 156-157. If you don’t own the cookbook, the recipe can be found on Google Books here: Quinoa Corn Chowder with Lima’s and Aji


Eggplant Provincial

The picture doesn't do it justice!

 

This recipe is from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, one of my cookbooks in permanent recipe rotation. I love the cookbook because it is the first that I have owned (aside from Papa Tofu, another tome of excellence) that does not dedicate space to baked goods and desserts. Space that could be used for separate sections for curries, stews, and one-pot meals, which is what I’m interested in! Let’s face it: curry is a meal. Cookies are not. This cookbook is almost like Veganomicon-lite, with recipes composed of cupboard staples that are quick to throw together, minimal leftovers, and are delicious too-boot! There is even an entire section devoted to the greatness of a bowl. Not everybody appreciates the science behind a well-proportioned and thought out bowl of food, but this cookbook pays homage to that unsung everyday hero!

 

I have been to France more than once, and the best part of French cooking is the baguettes. Munching on a fresh baguette and an apple while wandering Paris while the city is waking up is one of my favourite memories of that gorgeous city. I am not a lover of crèmes, butter, or very rich food, which is what springs to mind when someone says “French cuisine” (or Julia Child!). I tried this recipe full of trepidation, and came away liking something other than baguettes! Spurred by my French-themed dinner and a movie (I’ve Loved You so Long, and a bottle of red wine), I gave this recipe a try because it had my favourite vegetable, eggplant, and a fail-safe legume: lentils. The dish itself is a boozy stew, with fennel, potatoes, and tomatoes. Spiced with marjoram and thyme, it is almost a French chili, which I can definitely get behind! The eggplant and potatoes soak up the delicate spices, making leftovers almost better than the day-of dish. Be prepared for sideways glances from co-workers if brining for lunch – the wine makes its presence known! Serve it with a simple spinach salad dressed with red-wine vinegar and olive oil, and the meal is a nice taste of the Mediterranean – perfect for a cold winter evening!


Cashew Korma

My love for Indian food cannot be overstated. It was a magical day when I went to my first Indian restaurant and learned that there is more to Indian food than the butter chicken cooked in the CrockPot that I grew up with. I love everything about it (except the butter chicken in the CrockPot). I even like that your whole house will smell of curry for 1 week after! I love that with a few tweaks in spice mix you can have a completely different dish. Change up the legume, vegetables, base, and the combinations are virtually endless. Curries are my go-to when I need comfort food, feel like celebrating, or have the desire to clean out the fridge. All that being said, korma was never my favourite. I have boiled/steamed vegetable issues from my childhood, and I don’t like cream sauces (sorry, Alfredo.) And then one day I stumbled upon this Cashew Korma recipe over at the Post Punk Kitchen. And my life was changed.

This recipe is ridiculously easy to put together, and best of all only requires one (huge ass) pot! Pulverized soaked cashews make the sauce nice and creamy. A food processor gets the job done, but a blender or immersion blender would make it even creamier. The vegetables allow for flexibility, and with my addition of green beans  and broccoli, the korma isn’t too monochromatic (my other previous issue with korma). The curry is spiced nicely – no extra dashes of anything (save for Sriracha) required. It is lovely over some basmati rice, but I have been known to eat it straight up! It feeds a small army, which is okay – load up on some Tupperware containers and freeze single portions. It freezes exceptionally well, and when you pull out the korma for those hard to motivate yourself to cook on Monday dinners, it will be heaven in a bowl.

The recipe is here: Cashew Vegetable Korma. If you haven’t checked out The PPK yet or any of Isa’s cookbooks, this is the perfect opportunity to do so! Full of humour, anecdotes that are sort of relevant (and therefore the best kind) and peppered with kitchen tips, Isa is a genius. Try the korma – it will challenge all previous conceptions about korma you have ever had, and you won’t look back!


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