Rainy Day Mushroom Soup and Vegan Welsh Rarebit

It’s the first week in April and it’s snowing outside, not a lot, just enough to let you know you shouldn’t put your heavy coat away.  So, I’m going to make some warm, silky, autumn tasting cream of mushroom soup.  Mushroom anything is delicious, and a big pot of soup is just the beginning.  After today, I’ll make some of the leftover soup into a sauce for pasta, and the day after that I’ll smother a baked potato with it, and if anything is left just throw it in the freezer for your next casserole.  I guarantee that once you make this at home, you’ll never buy that disgusting canned stuff again.

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Creamy Mushroom Soup

  • 3 cups fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered
  • 1 cup reconstituted shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium large onion (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of stock, vegetable (mushroom is best)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom powder*
  • Add salt and pepper later to taste
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, or Braggs aminos (Worchestershire works too)
  • 3/4 cup cashew or coconut cream (use any milk or cream you prefer).
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream

You’ll need:

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Directions:

In a soup pot, gently sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms until they are soft.  Add the parsley, thyme and paprika. *I also add a blend of dried mushroom powder that I make.  It just adds some extra depth and yumminess but it’s not necessary.

Now add the stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

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Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in the cream or milk and stir until thoroughly combined.  Heat through.  Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

Quick Vegan Coconut Cheese

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I’ve tried a fair number of vegan cheeses with varying success.  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the process.  This isn’t exactly cheese as I think of it and I wouldn’t recommend it for a sandwich, but it’s delicious and definitely meltable.  It’s the perfect topping for vegan Welsh rarebit to accompany my big bowl of Creamy Mushroom Soup.

  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • juice of ½ lime or 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 can coconut cream (I think Savoy is best, no added ingredients)
  • 1 ½ tsp agar agar powder
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch mixed in ¼ cup water to form slurry

Pour coconut cream into a saucepan and stir in agar agar.  Add salt, turmeric, paprika and cayenne.  Stir to combine.  Add lime juice or vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened.  Stir in the tapioca starch slurry and stir vigorously until silky smooth and thickened.  Pour into molds (I’ve found plastic works really well).  Chill in refrigerator for 8 hours until firm.

*Fermented Coconut Cheese:  Follow the directions above.  Let cook slightly and stir in the contents of 1-2 probiotic capsules.  Pour into molds and let ferment on the counter top for about 6 hours.  Chill in refrigerator for 8 hours until firm.

Vegan Welsh Rarebit

I’ve eaten this for breakfast, lunch, and late night snacks.  It’s a great accompaniment for soup or salad.

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Take one slice of Ezekiel bread (or some other hearty grain bread).  Spread some coconut oil on one side.  Put in a cast iron fry pan with the oil side down.  Put two 1/2 inch thick slices of vegan coconut cheese on the top and put under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese turns a nice dark brown on top.

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This made my gloomy day all better.  Try it and enjoy.

Easy Cheesy Souffle

Cheese soufflé is one of my very favorite comfort foods, warm, fluffy, creamy and cheesy.   But, I’ve always been a little intimidated by the prospect of making a soufflé.  It’s French I thought, and probably complicated, and I’m afraid it will turn out like scorched scrambled eggs.  So I was surprised to find out that the secret to French cooking is that it’s really pretty simple.  So I researched cheese soufflé and this is the easiest, fastest, yummiest version I could come up with.  I’ve never had it fail, but having said that DON’T OPEN THE OVEN!

Easy Cheesy Soufflé

Easy Cheesy Souffle 1

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs (room temperature), separated
  • 2 ounces (half a stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind – for this recipe I used 1 cup grated cheddar, 3/4 cup grated pepper jack and about 1/4 cup brie)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

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Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

Generously butter 4 ramekins and coat with bread crumbs.  Set aside.

Separate the eggs and set the yolks aside.  In a room temperature bowl beat the egg whites until a meringue forms with soft peaks.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, stir in flour and mix to form a roux.  Cook about 2 minutes.  Add half the milk and whisk until smooth.  Add the remainder of the milk and again whisk until smooth.

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Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese and mustard, again, stirring until smooth.  Stir in the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper.
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If the egg and cheese mixture is still very warm, temper the meringue by adding a spoonful of the egg and cheese mixture.  Then fold half the meringue into the mixture.  Add the remaining meringue.
  1.                                                                                                    Spoon or pour the mixture into the ramekins.
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Place the ramekins on the preheated baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes.  (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN) When the soufflés have risen and become golden brown, remove and serve immediately.
These creamy little clouds are just right served with a green salad for lunch or a light supper, or as a first course at dinner.   So, if you’ve never made soufflé, give it a try.  ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scones and Roses

Photo by E Broughton

Photo by E Broughton

Second breakfast is known and practiced in our house, especially around 10 ‘clock on a lazy weekend morning with the sun shining and the birds singing and the temperature edging toward 60.  Now I’m not talking about healthy, good for you, oatmeal with fruit kind of stuff.  Second breakfast on a morning like this calls for tea or coffee served in your best tea cup, some homemade rose petal jelly, and fresh baked buttermilk scones on the pretty china plate that doesn’t match any of the other dishes.  It all starts with the scones.  The recipe I used is based on a recipe by Marion Cunningham that I saw on Julia Child’s TV show, but of course I had to make a couple of adjustments because I’m like that and I was out of buttermilk.  I think I like my version better but judge for yourself.

Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients:

  •  3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (1 1/2 sticks of butter)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (I substituted 3/4 cup plain whole fat yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk – allow to sit for 5 minutes before using)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Photo by E Broughton

Photo by E Broughton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add in the butter cubes and using a fork or our fingers, work the butter into the dry mixture until it looks like lumpy sand.  Don’t over work.

 

Photo by E Broughton

Photo by E Broughton

Then add the buttermilk or yogurt/milk mixture.  Stir until thoroughly mixed and turn the dough onto a clean, floured surface.

Photo by E Broughton

Photo by E Broughton

Pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle and cut into triangles.  You could also roll out the dough and use a biscuit cutter to make round scones.

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Photo by E Broughton

 

 

  Place the scones on an ungreased baking sheet and brush generously with melted butter.

  Sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the scones are lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.  Before you remove them from the pan, drizzle a glaze (mix powdered sugar and water) over the top and let cool until the glaze firms.

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Photo by E Broughton

 

Serve on a pretty plate with tea or coffee and homemade rose petal jelly.

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Enjoy!

Broth for Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast Americans love their bacon and eggs, and most of all we love our sugar.  But, there are better choices for breakfast than pop tarts or cereal that’s so sweet you can smell the sugar (yes, you actually can).  As a matter of fact most of the rest of the world, if they get breakfast, start the day with soup which seems to be catching on here in the U.S.  One of the hot new trends is switching from a big, overpriced cup of gourmet coffee to a big, overpriced mug of bone broth.   I guess it’s a move toward better nutrition, but it’s still overpriced, and it’s made from bones, so I’m opting for a plant based version instead.  To each his own.  For me, there’s something comforting about a big mug of warm soup, and once you get over the idea that soup for breakfast is just too weird, you discover a whole panorama of tasty possibilities.  Here are some ideas I’ve  come up with that are broadening breakfast horizons at my house.  Give it a try.

 Spicy Breakfast Broth 2 Ways

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup V8 Juice (spicy or original, your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion including some green tops
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces plain avocado or guacamole
  • ¾ teaspoon Siracha (optional)

Directions

In a saucepan, heat the scallions in a small amount of vegetable stock.

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Add V8 juice, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper.  Season with a few drops of siracha.

  1. Serve with avocado toast on whole wheat bread.
  2. Whisk avocado or guacamole into the broth and serve a hard-boiled egg on the side.

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This recipe makes 2 generous 1-cup servings.  Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.  Pop in the microwave to warm or serve it chilled.

Broth with Bean Sprouts and Vegetables

Scallions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup bean sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh mushrooms thinly sliced, or 1 tablespoon mushroom powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat the scallions, garlic and ginger in 2 tablespoons of broth until softened.
  2. Add the rest of the broth, vegetables and mushrooms or mushroom powder. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the bean sprouts and heat through before serving.
  4. For extra protein float a boiled egg or serve on the side with toast sticks.

Thai Style Coconut Soup

Of course, if you prefer your breakfast creamy and a little sweeter, here’s a slightly more exotic way to start your day.

Thai Style Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 smallish red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used almond oil but olive oil works also)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes (fresh is best but canned will work)
  • 1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened or vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped mint, basil or cilantro leaves for garnish

Directions

Sautee the onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil in a large pot until onions are soft, about 3-5 minutes.

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Add the remaining ingredients, except for the basil and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook over low heat for one hour.

Coconut Soup 2

 

Coconut Soup 3Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot. Add basil or cilantro and enjoy your coconut soup!

*You can add ¾ cup chickpeas to increase the protein content, but it’s optional and I usually leave them out.