Monday, December 04, 2006


Happy December! After a lapse back into warm, humid weather, it has finally started to feel wintry again here in Georgia. It is supposed to drop down to 26 degrees tonight--by far our coldest temperature yet this season.

I have been making quite a bit of food ever since I got over my headache spell late last week, and much of it has been inspired either by the cold weather or the holidays. Let's see, there was another batch of sloppy lentils--we seriously make this about 2 or 3 times a month, and that is significant since we each get about 3 meals out of it each time we make it. But it's so warm and healthy and tasty that I see it remaining a staple in our kitchen!

The next thing, perhaps not so healthy. I did a veg blog search on vegan nog, and I found this recipe. I only made half the recipe this time, since it was the first go round. It's a really good recipe. I like it because it is thicker than the commercial vegan nog that we have tried (Vitasoy Holly Nog), but not so thick that it feels like drinking raw eggs (yuck!!!). I didn't have the cardamom so I left it out this time. Very tasty--give it a try!

The whole time I was sick, I was dying for a bowl of soup, but was too tired to go grocery shopping (and our on-hand ingredients got very sparse after Thanksgiving...). Even though I felt much better this weekend, I still had soup on my mind--in particular, soup I had seen on Leslie's blog (though I got the impression that it has been adapted and adapted and adapted). Well, I took the recipe and adapted it again, so I'll share my version with you.

Ever-Evolving Gypsy Soup (Laura's Version)

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 butternut squash, diced
1-2 yellow onions, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bouillon cube
Several dashes tamari
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8-1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
Sea salt
Ground black pepper

After the beans have been rinsed, soaked for 8 hours, and drained, put them on to boil in a very large pot. In the meantime, chop the vegetables and sauté in the olive oil. Once they have cooked 10-15 minutes (the onions are getting translucent), add them to the pot with the beans. Add the spices and seasonings and simmer, covered, for about 30 more minutes or until the beans are very tender.

I changed the vegetables based on what I had on hand that needed to be used up. I kept the same spices (changing the proportions here and there) because, as Leslie mentioned, many of the spices really are known for their healthful qualities. Note: This made a ton of soup. I froze about 3 portions, and there are about 5 portions left in the refrigerator (this is after me eating a bowl last night and another today for lunch). Next time I'm sick I'll pull this out of the freezer!

I had a friend over to make lunch with me on Friday afternoon, and we made this nice stir-fry full of broccoli, carrots, garlic, onion, and edamame. The tofu I had frozen, re-thawed, and drained, and I marinated it in tamari and agave nectar while we went shopping for the veggies. I sautéed the tofu in peanut oil, then took it off the heat and sautéed the veggies in peanut oil. When they were tender, I added the tofu back to the pan and tossed it all together. Served on top of whole wheat noodles (should have gotten soba noodles while we were grocery shopping, but I forgot all about it). I tossed just a little bit of soy sauce on mine, and it was really tasty. I loved the way the tofu soaked up the sweetness of the agave nectar. Bob had the leftovers, and he was very impressed with them (which flattered me, since he had just gotten done eating our leftovers from P. F. Chang, the best Chinese food I've had in a long time).

Here, a quick potato stir-fry that Bob and I call hash browns, though it's really better than hash browns because we slice the potatoes thicker so they don't get mushy. This one has a purple potato thrown in, which made for beautiful color; also, mushrooms and onions.

The last thing I have for you is this: Last Monday my father-in-law had a birthday, and I wanted to make him a cake. But we had been sick all weekend and all day Monday, so I didn't get to.

Yesterday, we went over to their house, and I made him a cake then. I wanted to do a rum cake, but recipes are hard to find. I ended up using the Chocolate-Rum Pudding Cake recipe from VWaV (p. 221), and it was very good. Quite decadent and quite rich, I have to admit, but very good. It seemed to be well-received all around. Yay!

Sorry for the bad pictures, but I didn't want to make a scene out of photographing the cake while I was over there. I know it looks like a pile of dirt in the picture above, but it really does taste better than it looks. I love the sauce it makes while it's baking. We had it while it was still warm... with So Delicious vanilla ice cream. Yum.

That's all for now. Have a nice week (I know I will--tomorrow's my last day of classes for the semester)! I will see you soon!


Midwest Vegan said...

I've enjoyed catching up on your blog. Your food looks great, as always. I've seen purple potatoes before but never tried them.

I picked up the Grit cookbook on Amazon and it came in this weekend. I can't wait to begin using it. My first recipe will probably be the yeast gravy.

theONLYtania said...

Hey, that's weird. I was just looking at soy nog recipes the other day too! I think I'm going to make some at home when the semester is over.

That is one of the more interesting potato dishes I've seen! And that cake looks AMAZING.. I might make that soon too. Wow.

Johanna3 said...

i want some of your dirt:) lol you are so funny.
thanks for the recipe too, your soup looks very tasty.

aTxVegn said...

Glad you are feeling better, Laura! And hooray for the last day of classes!

I made Gypsy Soup too, but I pretty much followed Leslie's recipe, using all sweet potatoes. And I love your hash browns with purple potatoes. I think the "dirt" looks like chocolate heaven!

We're freezing in Texas too. I absolutely hate it.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. We too tried the Vita Soy Hollynog and neither of us liked it. :( Did you make the eggnog recipe with the alcohol? Do you think it would still taste as good without it?

Nikki said...

Mmmm...that cake....yum!

bazu said...

Happy last day of classes!
Your food looks amazing as usual, and as usual, I'm zeroing in on the cake. It looks so moist and yummy. I should make it.
Your eggnog recipe looks good too. Over here, we (mostly my non-vegan husband, actually) are addicted to Vitasoy, though, so we'll keep buying that while it's available, and maybe switch to making our own after the holidays. That's right, we might become year-round nog drinkers! ;-)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Oh, that souuuuuup, that souuuuup! Glad to see you're feeling better, or at least up and at em.

bazu said...

I'm back! In answer to your hot cocoa question, we just kind of went by taste, so I don't have any exact measurements. I'd say start with a small dash of chili powder (~1/4 tsp. per cup) and then adjust according to taste. When we were tasting our Mexican hot chocolate, we were surprised that it seemed to get spicier with each sip, so beware! Other than that, we used soymilk, Ghiradelli cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon. It's great on a chilly night, let me know if you try it!

Megan the Vegan said...

I love the idea of a potato stir fry. Very cool

Gaia said...

I'm sorry you were sick, Laura :(
But you are feeling better and cooking such great food !
I love the soup !
And the dirt rhum cake LOL

And everything, basically :)
Take care of yourself !

Urban Vegan said...

Glad you're better. That soup is amazing. And the rum cake looks so decadent.

I love your pink floral plates--so pretty.

funwithyourfood said...

I bet the soup helped "cure" you