Archive for January, 2010

Improvised Beet Soup

Yesterday I improvised another soup, using some golden beets that needed to be used up.

6 cups of water
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
10 dried oyster mushrooms, ground up in a coffee grinder*
3 golden beets, diced
A little bit of onion, diced and fried in olive oil
1 Field Roast Co. vegan Italian sausage, sliced into quartered rounds and fried in olive oil
1 15-oz. can of cannellini beans
2 big kale leaves

It turned out to be quite wonderful – absolutely delicious and with a lovely golden color derived from the beets. (It’s too bad I didn’t get a better picture of it.) And it’s a very diverse soup, too: one kind of root vegetable, one kind of leafy green, one kind of bean, one kind of mushroom, and one kind of high-protein meat substitute.

*I have never actually used the coffee grinder to grind coffee!


Multigrain Rolls and Improvised Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I made multigrain rolls. As with the semolina bread, I followed a recipe from the Bread book. The rolls turned out really well but were a mess to make because the recipe calls for cooked multigrain cereal in addition to uncooked. It wasn’t as messy as the gnocchi, though. Sister, who doesn’t even like multigrain bread, liked them!

And then I made some vegetable soup, because I had some root veggies that needed to be used up. I didn’t follow a recipe, but here’s what I used:

Olive oil
Onion, diced
Garlic, chopped
2 turnips
2 small potatoes
1 large carrot
1 small yellow squash
3 crimini mushrooms
4 beet green leaves
1/4 cup barley
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 imitation beef bouillon cube
6 cups of water

It was quite delish. Mother, who does like vegetable soup, liked it.

Semolina Bread

Today I made semolina bread for the first time, following a recipe from the book Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. I haven’t made any bread in a long time. A year or two ago I got into breadmaking for a while (I made a loaf of multigrain bread, and a loaf of chili bread, and a couple batches of pitas) but then I drifted away from the breadmaking. This bread was a lot of work (making a starter, 10 minutes of kneading, 5 minutes of chafing, etc.) but it turned out really well. Mother and sister offered up a chorus of approval and are now insisting that I make bread more often. I just might do that.

Improvised Asian Soup

This is what I made for dinner last night. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just improvised. It turned out pretty good.

4 cups of water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of tamari
4 dried oyster mushrooms, ground up in a coffee grinder
2 big pinches of dried wakame seaweed
1 green onion, chopped
2 ounces of tofu, cubed

I just brought the water to a boil and added all of the ingredients in the order listed above. It made enough for two big helpings of soup, one for dinner last night and one for lunch today.

I think I’ll try making some variations on this soup, such as substituting different kinds of mushrooms for the oyster mushrooms, or using less vegetable bouillon, or adding a little bit of chili paste. The possibilities are endless.

Homemade Gnocchi with Swiss Chard and Fava Beans

This morning I made gnocchi from scratch for the first time. It wasn’t difficult but it took a bit of time and was very messy. I followed a recipe from the cookbook my mother and sister gave me for Christmas – Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Basically you just bake the potatoes, mash or puree them, mix in some flour, knead the dough for a couple minutes, roll it out into thin tubes, cut the tubes into small pieces, and then roll the pieces into the traditional ovoid shape. The messiness come from the stickiness of the pureed potatoes – at one point both of my hands were completely covered with a gooey potato paste.

The Swiss chard and fava beans part of this dish I adapted from a pleasingly simple recipe that I found on the Internet a while back. I basically just added a can of fava beans to that recipe. If you make that recipe and are planning on having some left over make sure to drain all of the remaining cooking liquid off of the chard and beans. If you don’t then the gnocchi will become frightfully mushy as they sit in the refrigerator.

I am pleased to say that the gnocchi turned out really well. They were at least as good as any store-bought gnocchi I have had. In fact, I think this is the best batch of gnocchi, Swiss chard, and fava beans that I have ever made. Fine food abounds!

Oh, and the garlic I used was homegrown. I planted it in the fall of 2008 and harvested it the following July. It is of the Chilean silverneck variety.

Peanut Butter Bars

These are sooo delicious. I just made a double batch of them for a retirement party for a beloved co-worker. (Good luck, Sharon!) They are adapted from this recipe.

1 cup of peanut butter
3/4 cup of agave nectar
2/3 cup of rolled oats
2/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of raisins

Heat the peanut butter and agave nectar in a pot over low heat until they run together. Stir in the oats, then the pumpkin seeds, then the sunflower seeds, and then the raisins. Remove from heat and transfer to a flat pan – the one I use is, I think, 9 inches by 13 inches. Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly over the pan. Put the pan in the refrigerator and let the mixture set for at least an hour. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and cut the peanut butter mixture into bars. Store the bars in the refrigerator until they are all eaten.

Voila! Yummy peanut buttery goodness.


Welcome to Julie’s Foodtopia. This is a place for me to share my experiences with growing and cooking food. I hope that it won’t be too boring.

%d bloggers like this: