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.

Chickpea Tofu – The Quick Version

In an effort to limit my soy intake without sacrificing protein content I’ve been looking for a reasonable alternative to tofu.  I was very excited to discover an almost perfect replacement that was easy and inexpensive to make, and I actually like it a lot more than tofu (thank you marystestkitchen.com).  It’s Burmese chickpea tofu (shan tofu) made from four simple ingredients: chickpea or garbanzo flour, a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch or two of salt and water.  No specialized processes or tools, if you can boil water and wield a whisk you’re set.  Chickpea tofu is really versatile whether it’s fried, baked, made into little steaklets, added to salads, stir fry or almost any way you could use tofu, even desserts.  But let’s start with snacks.  Cubed and fried it’s even better than popcorn for binging on Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones because it’s crunchy, tasty and full of protein.  No guilt.  Spice it up any way you want, dunk it in your favorite exotic sauce or drown it’s crispy goodness in ranch dressing.  Try it.

Basic Chickpea Tofu

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups chickpea flour (if all you can find is chickpea and fava bean, that’s okay).
  • 6 cups of water or vegetable broth (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Line a baking pan or casserole dish with parchment paper, or a clean cotton kitchen towel.

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The turmeric will stain it so don’t use the nice ones you got for your birthday.

In a large pot bring 4 cups of water or vegetable stock to a FULL ROLLING BOIL.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, combine the chickpea flour, turmeric, salt and 2 cups of cold water.  Whisk it until it’s smooth.

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When the water or stock comes to a FULL ROLLING BOIL, carefully stir in the chickpea mixture.  If the water isn’t boiling it won’t be hot enough for the tofu to set properly.

Turn off the heat and stir constantly and vigorously for five minutes.  Don’t skimp on the time.

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The mixture should become glossy and get very thick within a couple of minutes.  If it doesn’t just put it back on the heat for a minute or two over a medium low heat and keep stirring.

Once the mixture has thickened, quickly pour it into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spoon or spatula.

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Let it cool to room temperature, and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour or even overnight.

 

 

 

Once it is thoroughly chilled, turn it onto a plate and remove the parchment paper.  At this point you can slice it or cube it any way you want for storage.

Chickpea tofu freezes beautifully, just pop the cubes in a zip lock and tuck them in the freezer.

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You can make little cutlet patties, or cubes, or even slice it thin like noodles.  This really is one of the most versatile dishes I’ve ever seen.  Try it and enjoy!