Jan 30, 2013

asian ginger soup

Sweet Tomatoes restaurant has an Asian Ginger Soup that is not just vegan, but so easy to fall in love with. My youngest, who as recently as last month, didn't mind if ginger never existed at all, decided that ginger, at least in this form, was acceptable. This is a simple broth with added condiments -- spinach, mushrooms, tofu, green onions, carrots -- whatever the diner would enjoy. Not only was it acceptable to her, but it became a soup that both girls insisted I try to make at home. 

I began searching the web for a recipe for this soup, and wouldn't you know it, Sweet Tomatoes itself has published the recipe on their blog. Happily I began to cook. A red flag went up when I noticed that the recipe called for cornstarch; the broth at the restaurant was not thick at all. Nevertheless, I made it as written and hoped I was mistaken about the thickness.

Turns out, I was't. The recipe they have printed, in my opinion, is not the one they serve. At least not as written. Also, their recipe calls for vegetable broth base and I wanted a back-to-basics broth.

I began by making my own broth using carrots, onions, ginger, garlic and celery. After letting it simmer for an hour, I strained it and added it to some sauteed ginger and garlic. That did the trick! No need for any vegetable base or broth mix. Simple, down home cooking.

I have since made a few more gallons of the stuff and the kids have asked that it be placed on rotation. Although this is an easy recipe, I can't say it is quick since there is an hour of simmering involved. It is hands-off, however, so give this recipe a try.

Cost Breakdown

tofu, spinach, green onions, mushroom: $4
carrot, ginger, garlic, celery, onion, parsley: $3

Total to make 10 servings:

Jan 23, 2013

broccoli and sun-dried tomato pasta

Most conventional cookbooks will have a recipe for a Chicken and Broccoli Pasta. This recipe, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, takes the place of those drab pasta dishes and replaces the lackluster broccoli and chicken with bright crisp-tender broccoli and flavorful seitan in a sun-dried tomato sauce. 

The broccoli cooks quickly in the same water that will cook the pasta. The broccoli is then spread out on a plate to cool and retain its bright color and texture, thereby avoiding the limp broccoli syndrome. The seitan is my Simple Chicken Seitan. The sauce is made with sun-dried tomatoes and vegan sour cream, which takes the place of the traditional dairy cream.

This dish doesn't take too long to make as long as you have seitan on hand. However, there is nothing wrong with doubling up the broccoli and skipping the seitan all together; the dish suffers none.

This was a great addition to our weekday meal round-up; not terribly difficult and relatively fast.

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $2
pasta: $3
sun-tomatoes, onion, garlic: $2
broccoli: $3
vegan sour cream, broth: $1.50

Total to make 4 servings: