Today's color scheme is "goth" inspired...I went with purple, since I happened to find a bag of organic purple sweet potatoes one day. It was a very exciting find. I've never tried these little guys before...I'm sure I'll love them just as much as their orange and white cousins! Sweet potatoes are a food that I began to love as a vegan moving in a more health conscious direction.
To go with my potatoes, I've added other wonderful purple produce: onion (or red, I guess), cabbage and eggplant. My favorite way to eat eggplant is in curry, so I spiced them with garam masala, chili pepper, and black salt. This soup doesn't take very long. You can have it finished in about an hour if you use pre-made stock or bullion cubes. All you need to do is wait for the potatoes to soften and you're good to go!
For even more gothic charm, use the optional red wine while you saute the onion and cabbage.
Gothic Purple Soup with Eggplant Chips
Quite simply, I thought this meal would look fabulous in black and white, as well as in color. These ingredients jumped to my mind when I saw this prompt so I ran with it.
This is a quick blog post, as it's mainly about the picture!
The recipe follows if you'd like to make some at home. The croquettes are a winner, I must say! If you don't want to fry them, you can try baking them, but I cannot vouch for the results. I would maybe oil them a tad just do they don't burn. The vegetable broth I've included is just to give the noodles a slightly soup-y texture, so it's optional. Enjoy!
Forbidden Ramen and Black Bean Croquettes
This MoFo prompt is my kind of low-key meal!
I love to cook, don't get me wrong. 😉
But, some days and nights are busy. I hate to make a ton of dirty dishes just to feed myself. My favorite quick and easy food used to be instant ramen in my younger days. This bowl of rice noodle soup is similar in taste but much healthier!
I've given you some photos of the most simple way to make rice noodle soup with basic pantry ingredients (well, if you keep these in your pantry...which you should!). Having tamari or soy sauce on hand will really help make your broth flavorful and rich. If you have liquid aminos, that will do just as well! I also dissolved some white miso into mine for extra flavor, salt and health benefits. This is optional, unless you have miso lying around!
The point of this meal is to be easy, right? I say, if you've got it, throw it in! I had some leftover strips of carrot that I had cut up, some baby kale, wakame, and some spices (garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes). You can throw frozen veggies in, tofu, tempeh, or whatever you fancy. 😍
When I add miso to a soup, I always take a spoon and dilute it with a little of the hot water. This helps the miso dissolve into the soup evenly and avoids it clumping up and sinking to the bottom.
Finished product! 😋
For my rainy/snowy/generally dreary day meal, I'm going to make some broth and put stuff in it.
I love soups of all types, all year round. The best time for soup, though is the fall and winter for me. I love coming inside from the cold to a bowl (or sometimes cup!) of piping hot liquid with deliciously seasoned veggies in it.
Soup is always great, too because its flavors become more concentrated as time goes by. I love to eat soups the day after I make them, when the ingredients have had time to marinate and become more rich. There's nothing better to make you feel at home!
I also love to eat sandwiches and soup together. I like sandwiches by themselves, too, but much more if they're next to a bowl of soup. There's something about eating bread and soup together...it's such a classic combination. I'm going to throw together a sandwich from ingredients that I have on hand, so definitely do the same if you're into the idea! I didn't include a recipe for the sandwich because I think it's a fun thing to play with depending on the ingredients you have at your house and what's in season near you. For me, it's early Autumn and I decided to go a little sweet and savory with sliced apple, caramelized onion (reserved from the soup!) and vegan cheese. You need to indulge every now and then, people! ;)
This prompt was interesting because I really had to think about what ingredients I had in my house already. I always keep certain things in my fridge, like miso, onions, etc. I figured miso soup would be a great thing to make since I almost always have the ability to make it! I tried to make my miso soup a tad different than the normal scallion and tofu combo. My grandma taught me to make miso with whatever I had to put in it. If you have daikon, put that in it. Potato? Put that in. Onion? Yup! So, I figured, what's something cool I can do with onion? Uh, caramelize them! And leeks too? Why not?! =D
This soup recipe is meant to feed approximately 4 people. You can make it stretch if you serve everyone a smaller portion. For a small crowd, though, I'd double the recipe. Plus, leftovers!! ^_^
Caramelized Leek & Onion Miso Soup
Yield: About 4 servings
Free of: Gluten, Nuts, Sugar
My sandwich was:
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I took an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah. We only dabbled in Utah for a short while and mostly stayed in Colorado. Most of our trip consisted of driving which is why my photos are landscapes, landscapes and more landscapes! Since it was my first time exploring the inland part of the Western U.S., I was a bit in awe of the drastic differences in climate that I experienced. I remember experiencing some form of snow at least once a day during the week that we were traveling. Some days would drop 20 degrees and then spike back up again. Rain followed us through the mountains and often turned to snow or sleet. The desert was the most interesting, as it was dry, sunny, and hot with a cold breeze. I loved it!
I also ate some pretty interesting food while on the road. We stayed in a different place for each night, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore local food options (or, eat Asian fusion for 3 nights in a row because that was the best vegan option in town). Luckily, we found some awesome markets (and the ever-faithful Whole Foods) on the road that supplied us with breakfast, snacks, etc. I'm glad I can highlight some of the food gems that we found on our trip for you. Hopefully this will entice you to visit the area one day...it's amazingly beautiful. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to go again.
Vegan Adventures in Colorado & Utah
The Beet Box Bakery & Cafe
The Beet Box is such an amazing cafe which quite an unassuming appearance. When I first found their menu online, I freaked out. "This is what I would make for my own cafe!" Boy, was I totally right.
The pastries the Beet Box keeps in their case are different from day to day. They always make everything fresh and in house, including their breads. The first thing I got was a sandwich as I was famished from not eating on the plane ride (yes, this was our first stop after getting off the plane!).
Yes, I was quite pleased with my decision. This is a delicious sandwich that I wish I had created. Gluten-free bread, hummus, onion, radish, apple, cucumber and butter lettuce. My God.
Among the other delicious things we ate there (a total of two trips, I promise!) were cinnamon scones, a strawberry fruit tart, roasted beet sandwich, curry cauliflower croissant, and a cashew cheese mushroom panini. Definitely a spot I would hit up any time of day if you're in Denver looking for vegan eats.
Happy Leaf Kombucha
Up next is a small kombucha bar and cafe in Denver called Happy Leaf Kombucha. Their cafe was amazing in its aesthetic. Their bar and tables were all rustic woods. The art on the walls was the most impressive that I've seen for sale locally in a long time. We stopped in here to get a light snack and some kombucha, since I'm a big kombucha fan. I'm used to drinking GT Dave's , which is delicious, but it isn't on tap!
I must say I was a huge fan of Happy Leaf's product. The kombucha was totally clear and very easy to drink. It didn't sting as much as any other bottled kombucha I've had before. The flavor was subtle as well without too much sweetness.
We ate some homemade hummus while we were there, which was delicious and fresh. They had a soup on special that day as well. It was spicy, smooth, and not too overpowering. A great find.
City O' City
One of the most impressive vegetarian restaurants I've ever been to, hands down, is this wonderful place. City O' City had a great vibe. It was hip, casual yet smart, modern yet comfortable, and inventive yet accessible in their food and beverage offerings.
We went here for dinner the very first night we spent in the city after coming in on the plane that morning. We had received a recommendation for this place and we were so hungry that we went over immediately. After dark, the restaurant dims the lights for a very private sensual feel. This place is kind of magical; I just don't know what else to say.
The first time I ate at City O' City, I got a savory waffle for dinner because why not?! Waffles are things that I seldom make for myself, but I really do love them. I was definitely not disappointed. This waffle was insane. It was a dense, almost cornbread-like batter with thinly peeled spring vegetables on top that had been sauteed lightly. To top the whole thing off, they poured a vegan cheese fondue over everything. The cheese was thin in texture so it didn't overwhelm the dish at all. Genius.
The second time (yes, we went here twice as well) we went to City O' City was the very last day on our trip. We stayed in Denver for the entire day because our flight was overnight, so we took our time with breakfast. Always a treat.
I couldn't help myself. I got a waffle again! This waffle was the WoW (waffle of the week!!!). It was a cinnamon raisin waffle topped with granola, vegan cream cheese, and orange peel. Absolutely to die for. Oh, and we also found Sasquatch. This place has everything you could ever want, so just go and enjoy. <3
During our travels through the mountains and desert, we had to eat on the go a lot. I'm sure you all know how tricky this can be for plant based eaters and those with dietary restrictions. We had a surprisingly easy time finding things! There were an abundance of Asian restaurants in every major town we drove through, which always had at least a few vegetarian options. Some places were better than others. These summer rolls were one of the better things we found. ^_^
We also had to make some stops while driving for snacks. We were so lucky to find small and big businesses that offered vegan options for quick food. Oddly enough, we consumed a lot of freshly pressed juices on our trip. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat many vegetables while on the road. What a worry wort.
I also grabbed a fair amount of kombucha from the store in addition to those that I got on tap. What can I say? I'm addicted to it.
My boyfriend is kind of a barista (like, kind of). ;)
So, while we traveled, we tried different coffee shops in search of delicious espresso and coffee to keep us energized. Just like with the Asian restaurants, some of the coffee shops were better than others. We found some surprisingly good cups of coffee while on the road, though. It was such an exciting moment to find one that really hit the spot. Some of the notable shops we found were Corvus Coffee and Deja Brew among others.
About a year ago, I visited my very fist Voodoo Doughnuts location in Portland. I am certianly a lucky gal to have the pleasure of visiting another location a year later. The Voodoo in Denver seemed to have a slightly larger selection of vegan doughnuts, although it could have just been the time of day that we dropped by. My boyfriend got a fruit loops doughnut (I mean, genius again) and I got a maple cream filled doughnut. I was a bit overwhelmed so I didn't finish the whole thing, but man did I enjoy it!
Overall, I'd say my first experience in Colorado was a success. I got to eat a lot of amazing food, spend time with an amazing guy, and see some amazing natural sights. I climbed stuff, soaked in a hot spring, met some buffalo and horses, met up with some friends, and generally had one of the greatest trips of my life. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Here's until the next time that I travel! I won't keep you out of the loop, I promise! In the meantime, go to Denver. It's a rad place. ;D
I have been continuing to welcome spring with light, cleansing dishes (for the most part! ^_^'). I recently found myself in my local Asian market looking for new things to cook with. I found some lotus root, which I have tried before in a tea/broth form. When I attended Natural Kitchen Cooking School, one of my classmates shared lotus root tea with everyone. She attributed the healing powers of lotus root to almost curing her chronic asthma. The lotus root supports lung health (which is interesting because it also looks like a lung when sliced open) by dissolving built-up mucus.
The tea that I had sampled was made by grating raw lotus root and steeping it in hot water. The resulting broth tasted almost like a bland, nutty potato soup with a less starchy texture. I was craving a simple soup tonight so I decided to boil the sliced lotus root with some other light cleansing vegetables. This soup is definitely something you should make when you either don't feel well or want to give your digestive system a break. If you would like, you may add some noodles or rice to it for a more substantial meal. I wouldn't, however, add anything too processed to this soup. Easter is coming up. Save yourself for the chocolate and jelly beans. ;D
Lotus Root Miso Soup
It's been a while!
October proved to be much busier than I anticipated. With the changing seasons brought a bit of a change of internal temperature for me. I always try to ward off viruses any way I can. Usually, I'm successful.
For whatever reason, my immune system felt a little overwhelmed this year. Needless to say, I was in bed for a good 48 hours shivering and sniffling. Over those few days when I was recovering, I downed soup and tea like mad! Soup is a food group that I overlook during the warmer months, with the exception of the occasional gazpacho. I really love soups during the fall and winter. There's something magical about eating and drinking something all at once. I love to drink all my leftover broth. It warms my heart! ^_^
One of my favorite soups is French onion. I used to eat this in my pre-veg days, like most people, I suppose. It's a pretty common menu item. I really wanted it the one day when I wasn't feeling well. There's something really comforting about sweet caramelized onions in a rich salty broth. However, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma: I only had half an onion...
Yeah, you can't really do much with half an onion!! That's basically one serving! Luckily, I had some other vegetables in my fridge that needed to be used. This version of baked onion soup is a hodge podge of ingredients that I had on hand. However, I think after making "onion" soup this way, I'll never settle for just onions again! It was definitely delicious and also a hit with my "non-veg" family. ;)
I prepared the soup in the "French" fashion (or wherever it came from!) with a crunchy crouton in the bottom of a crock and melted "cheese" on top. I used some gluten free bread that I had on hand, but you can use any toasted bread that you prefer (or, omit if you choose). The "cheese" is also optional, but it's so fun! I also like the presentation because it reminds me that vegan dishes can imitate conventional ones pretty well when they feel like it!
Adapted from Baked Onion Soup in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas
Yield: 6 servings
Oven 375 F.
Ramen was such a household staple of ours back in the day. Only, our ramen looked a lot like this:
I'm not trying to discredit prepackaged ramen (okay, maybe a little), but it had it's place in my life and now I've moved on...
Actually, I ate this type of ramen far into my college years. This is quite a common dorm staple, as many people know. There was something amazing about instant salty soup with tons of noodles in it after a long night of...studying...
When I became vegan, I realized that prepackaged goods like ramen are probably best as a "last resort" food (like, if the zombies show up). When I tried cooking gluten-free, I was ready to give up ramen forever. That is, until I found this amazing product:
Yes, there is finally an organic, gluten-free and vegan ramen noodle on the market! Lotus Foods has a few different varieties of gluten-free ramen. They sell family packs like this one and also single-serve packs! I really loved the quality of these noodles. The shape of the noodle patty is very similar to what I was used to seeing.
This variety is a bit more "wavy" than "curly", but it looks good all the same! The noodles cook up in about the same amount of time as regular ramen, about 4 minutes or so. I prepared my soup before cooking the noodles to avoid over-cooking. Gluten-free noodles and pasta must be cooked al dente or under or they become mush. =(
The texture of the Lotus ramen was very similar to regular ramen. I thought there was a lack of oily quality, but that's a good thing in my book! I compensated for the lack of oil in the noodles by adding a little olive oil into my broth. This is totally optional, but I think it made the dish taste more rich and authentic.
The soup that I made for my ramen dish is very robust and velvety. If there is too much salt in it for your taste, you can dial back the tamari and miso, but be aware that it will lose some flavor. Cooking the soup with more mushrooms might help this!
I hope you enjoy this ramen as much as I did. It's been a very long time since I've had a homemade noodle soup like this and it's so comforting! Eating a bowl of noodles like this is best done on a chilly fall evening with a good book. ^_^
For garnish, I used thinly sliced red beets, gomashio (sesame salt), and marinated kamaboko-style tofu (fish cake). Kamaboko is a processed fish product that is often used for garnishing dishes in Japan. It has a spongy texture and a slightly sweet umami taste. I marinated some extra-firm tofu in dulse seaweed, ume vinegar, and mirin to achieve a similar flavor. I also added some sliced beet to the marinade for a slight pink color. Many kamaboko have white and pink colors to them. (I'm not really sure why...)
You may leave the garnishes off of your soup, but they really are a fun way to liven up your dish! The sweet earthy flavor of the beets cut through the salty miso, the tofu provides a little sweetness and texture (as well as protein!), and the gomashio adds texture and color.
Play around and add other types of garnishes to your ramen! Raw scallion, nutritional yeast, umeboshi, shredded carrot, bean sprouts...the possibilities are endless!
Gluten-Free Miso Ramen
Yield: about 1-2 servings
Broth recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh
Kamaboko-style Marinated Tofu
Slurp your way to happiness! ^_^
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.