Category Archives: Soups and Stews

MUSHROOM SPINACH YAKISOBA

Mushrooms, spinach, red peppers and noodles in soy/mirin sauce with ginger and garlic
Delicious noodles, mushroom, spinach and red pepper bathed in sauce.

This mushroom and spinach yakisoba was inspired by a gift from my two oldest and dearest friends:  Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of The Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  As soon as I saw it I thought of all the bowls of yakisoba that I had scarfed down in San Francisco over the years. For this version I used two of my favorite vegetables, cremini mushrooms and fresh spinach. I added sweet red pepper to give it a little pop of color and flavor. The sauce is shoyu (soy and wheat) and mirin (rice cooking wine) and a little chili sauce. Mixed together with noodles, ginger, garlic and scallions it is a delicious and satisfying dish. I could eat this every day. Once the vegetables are prepped, this goes together pretty quickly.

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HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP

A couple of months ago, while in the deli section of The Good Food Store at lunch time, I saw a pot of mushroom soup. It looked rich and strong and creamy and delicious so I helped myself to a bowl. At the checkout, the clerk smacked her lips and said that it was one of her favorites. She told me that the cooks based the mushroom soup on a recipe from an old Moosewood Cookbook.  I sat down at one of the tables in the store and started spooning up the soup. I’d never tasted anything like it. The flavors of the paprika and dill were strong and surprising and when underlain by the silky and earthy mushrooms and onions the whole experience was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it much less never eaten it before. As soon as I got home I googled the recipe. The Moosewood Cookbook was written by Mollie Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood Collective and self-published in 1974.  Now, some 50 years later, there are upwards of 30 versions of the soup online. So, after making it a few times, here is my take on this celebrated soup.

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WINTER SQUASH SOUP

This thick and creamy soup is delicious. The chili powder gives the soup a scarlet glow and the heat of the chili contrasts with the sweet Pear, Walnut & Thyme Conserve that is added to the soup.  I grew Buttercup squash this past summer and used some of those squash in this recipe. You can also use Butternut or even Acorn squash. This recipe makes four very generous servings.

I adapted this recipe from Eugenia Bone’s wonderful cookbook, Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Food, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York 2009 to make it completely oil-free and plant-based.
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MUSHROOM SOUP

This earthy soup is very satisfying. It is especially satisfying when the weather turns colder and you want something to warm you. Here potatoes and rutabaga, which provide some depth to the flavor of the soup, are cooked in the stock and then pureed. To maximize the flavor of the mushrooms, they and the onions are sauteed with wine before being added to the soup.
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THREE SISTERS CHILI

Beans, squash and corn are the three sisters,  the main agricultural crops of many  Native American people. Combined with four different peppers, cumin, sage and oregano, they create a deeply flavored, satisfying dish. While looking for a great plant-based chili recipe, I was inspired by the essays and recipes in Fernando and Marlene Divina’s wonderful book, Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2004). When I first developed this recipe I was still using canned beans but I have since changed my ways and now I use those delicious Rio Zape beans from Rancho Gordo. I also added roasted sweet red peppers. I like this version better. This recipe uses masa harina, which is cornmeal processed with lime juice and it has a distinctive flavor. If masa harina is unavailable plain fine cornmeal can be substituted. This recipe looks long and complicated but it goes together easily.

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RIBOLLITA

This vegetable soup with kale, Ribollita,  is one of a number of thick soups from Italy served with a slice of bread in the bottom of the bowl. It has  no additional pasta or rice. The name Ribollita means reboiled.  Traditionally the soup was made by heating  leftover vegetable soup in an earthenware pot in the oven. This recipe was inspired by the comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press, 2005. As with most plant-based recipes, the method of cooking the vegetables is crucial to obtaining the deepest, richest flavor for the dish. In this recipe, some of the vegetables are sautéed in wine before they go into the stock. These caramelized vegetables  provide a contrast with the sharper kale and tomatoes in the stock.

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