Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caribbean Pumpkin Soup

Random notes and busy-ness from the past week or so and those to come:

Local Harvest Cafe now features a special vegan dish on the menu Tuesday nights, when Chef Molly is in the kitchen. Last Tuesday we enjoyed the World's Best enchiladas, stuffed with refried beans and vegetables and smothered in the most delicious smoky sauce. I kid you not. Looks like there might be a special event next Tuesday; I'm not sure about a vegan dish that night, but they seem to be tweeting about the Tuesday night menu here.

We are SO ready for the weekend, and will kick it off right by seeing Deano Waco /Meat Purveyors at a house concert Friday. After a long week of immersion in learning a new treatment modality and driving my co-workers batty by spouting geeky psych terms like "therapy-interfering behaviors" about 25 times a day, the weekend isn't here a moment too soon for any of us.

There's more fun next weekend with the Folk School Trivia Night Fundraiser. Do people love trivia night gatherings in your town as much as St. Louis seems to? Anyway, my honey is the musician in the family, and we'll be there to support the Folk School if not get any questions right.

Did y'all see Isa Chandra Moskowitz's series of blog posts on Powell's Books? Sometimes it's so hard to talk about veganism with non-vegans that I bite my tongue and let my actions speak for me. (All my friends are now saying, "you do???") Except for when I blurt out that meat is murder. So I loved the balance Isa struck in her post called There Is No Vegan's Dilemma. You can find additional posts here.

And now for today's vegan recipe. This creamy, rich soup is decadent and tropical, with the added bonus that it is so quick and easy to prepare. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Caribbean Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 cup Not Chik'n broth (or vegetable broth)
4 heaping tablespoons cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 small lime
salt, freshly ground black pepper, hot salt, and/or hot sauce to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and bell pepper for about 6 minutes, until tender. Add garlic, cumin, and ground chipotle. Saute about 30 seconds. Add black beans, pintos, pumpkin, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add cilantro, lime juice, and desired seasonings.

Adapted from Epicurious

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vegetable Rundown

Vegetable Rundown is a Jamaican stew of coconut milk and vegetables, seasoned with thyme and allspice for that Jamaican flavor. The stew is simmered long enough for the broth to become thick and creamy. This turned out slightly sweet with a little subtle heat from the habanero. We chose the theme "Jamaican Me Hungry" for our turn to host Supper Club, and this dish made the menu. I'm still debating whether to make Jamaican Patties, BBQ Black Beans with Dark Rum, or Ital Stew for another main. Rum Punch, of course, will be the cocktail of the evening. Leave me a comment if you have a favorite Jamaican vegan recipe!

And now for something that has nothing to do with vegan food. I recently found a blog, the fbomb, after reading about it in Bust. While the target audience is teenage girls, I've enjoyed reading it for feminist-related news and topics. Today you'll find another installment of Support Women Artists Sunday. Check it out!

Before today's recipe, I leave you with this week's installment of HSMO cuteness, Bunny. She is adorable, sweet, and adoptable at the Macklind location.

Vegetable Rundown
Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 scallions, chopped and divided
3 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 habanero chile, minced
1 14 ounce can coconut milk
14 ounces sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 1/4 cups water, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups frozen corn
5 ounces baby spinach
jasmine rice

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and 2 scallions, thyme, garlic, allspice, and habanero. Saute for about 8 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer gently about 3 minutes (reduce heat if necessary). Add sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, 1 cup water, and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add corn and remaining water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, for about 20 minutes. Add water if necessary. Remove cover and continue to cook down until the broth is thick. Add baby spinach and cook for a couple of minutes until wilted. Check for seasonings. Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with remaining fresh scallions.

Adapted from Epicurious

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spicy Portobellas and Pinenuts with Spaghetti

This savory pasta dish can be filed under "full-flavored comfort food, fast". For minimal effort, you get spicy portobellas with toasted pinenuts, garlic, and fresh basil over whole wheat spaghetti. A delicious finish to a long day when you want to get in and out of the kitchen quickly. My version is pretty spicy; cut down on the pepper flakes if you prefer.

And don't miss Top Chef Masters this week! The chefs must make a vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free meal for Zooey Deschanel. For real.

Spicy Portobellas and Pinenuts with Spaghetti
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large portobellas (about 8 ounces), thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over moderately low heat in a large skillet. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and salt and cook for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms release their juices and begin to brown.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

To the mushrooms, add chopped basil, toasted pinenuts, and black pepper. Combine with the cooked spaghetti. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and add salt to taste.

Adapted from Food and Wine


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