Monday, October 17, 2011

Manzana Verde Chili

A mild vegan chili with green apples? INSANITY. But bear with me. It definitely strays from the conventional idea of chili so its unique flavor may not be for everybody. Andy chose this as something new for us to try. This was also the first time cooking with tomatillos. Such a strange little fruit.

While I worked on the chili, Andy worked on the cornbread. It was moist and savory. An excellent pairing. The only change we made to the recipe was we subbed regular moo milk in for the soy milk because we do not like soy milk. The recipe is also found in that brilliant vegan cookcook.

Seriously, everybody should buy it.

Manzana Verde Chili

From: The Veganomicon

1 lb baby Yukon golds, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 T vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped into 1" pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 t salt
1/3 c dry white wine
1 lb tomatillos, papery skin removed, washed, chopped into 1/2" to 3/4" pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, quartered, and sliced thinly
2 c vegetable broth
1 c loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 c shopped scallions
1 (15 oz) can small white beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
Avocado slices for garnish

Place the chopped potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let boil, covered, for a little less than 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside. Of course, you should be preparing everything else while it is boiling.

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, jalapenos, and poblanos in oil for about 10 minutes, until everything is softened and the onions are slightly browned.

Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Saute for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and tomatillos, raise the heat a bit to let the wine reduce and the tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes.

Add the apples, vegetable broth, scallions, and 1/2 c of cilantro. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything. If you don't have one, let the mixture cool slightly and pulse in a blender or food processor.

Taste for sweetness/tartness. Tomatillos are sometimes bitter; if that is the case, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and that should level things out. Add the cooked potatoes and the beans, simmer for a few more minutes, until everything is heated through.

Add the remaining cilantro and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the avocado and scallions, and serve.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

Andy specifically requested this dish. I love it too because the squash gives it that taste of autumn. It is cooked with wine so for my friends that do not imbibe, this is probably not for you.

So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash by Ina Garten.

I almost forgot! You're probably scratching your heads about saffron and gagging at the price of it. I know we did the first time. However if you happen to be near an ethnic market or happen to have a well stocked latino foods section in your local grocery store, you can find it cheaper there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cream of Tomato Soup

Look, it is an update! I took a little vacation from cooking for a few weeks because I didn't want to end up hating it. Honestly no matter how efficient I do the dishes or clean-up, it is awful. But I digress. I saw this recipe doing some lazy browsing one morning.

It came out well. Perhaps I need to add some other spices though because basil and cloves just didn't do it for me. Here's some solid tips straight from my experience:

-The tomato paste is a must if you want a rich tomato flavor.
-The Grilled Cheese recommedation? DO IT! So good.

Cream of Tomato Soup
From: The Kitchn
serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons flour
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in puree
Pinch of baking soda
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup milk, plus up to 1/2 cup more as needed
Tomato paste, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for about five minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and wilted. Add the basil and cloves and cook another minute or two until fragrant, then add the flour. Continue cooking for another two minutes, stirring, and then add the tomatoes, followed by the baking soda and the stock.

Lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes or so. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or using a stick blender in the pot, off the heat. Return the soup to the heat and add the milk, stirring to blend. Add more milk or stock if the soup seems too thick. Add a little tomato paste if it needs more tomato flavor. Add some freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste. Serve hot with optional garnishes, listed below.

Absolutely at its best when serves with grilled cheese sandwiches.

• Be sure to use good quality canned tomatoes and try for tomatoes packed in puree, which will add to the tomato flavor. (This may be a good recipe to use passata.) I use Muir Glen's Fire Roasted Tomatoes, which add a nice depth of flavor and are not overly smoky.

• I don't always have a rib of celery on hand, so I have been known to skip it. When I do, I will often add a healthy pinch of celery seed to the onions when cooking or celery salt as a garnish.

• Although it is not traditional, I like to garnish this soup with a little plain yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche. As mentioned, celery salt is a good garnish, as well as chooped celery leaves.

• It's easy to play with the texture of this soup. You can puree it in a blender, which makes a nice, slightly rough texture. If you would like it even smoother, you can also strain it through a sieve. The sieve (or a food mill) can also be used if you don't have a blender, or feel like having an unplugged kind of day.