Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cookbook Challenge Week 10 - Viva Vegan - Creamy Potato Soup with Avocado and Brazilian Braised Kale

Another week, another book! This time it is Viva Vegan!

I've been so sick all week I have not had any energy to cook anything. I did however force myself to make this soup the other night and even though I should have been in bed resting it was totally worth making the trip to the grocery store and actually doing something other than heating a frozen Tofutti Pizza(which are friggen amazing by the way). From start to finish this meal took me much longer than it should have but I was pretty slow moving thanks to the exhaustion this cold has graced me with. On a normal night this would be a pretty quick and easy meal, the longest part actually being cooking the potatoes in the broth but it's only 30 minutes and it's inactive time so you can prep other things or relax on the couch.

This soup consists of garlic, onion, cumin, veggie broth, potatoes, vegan sour cream and a few other things I am probably forgetting(I am too lazy to go get the book) and is topped with a fresh little mix of onion and cilantro tossed with lime juice. I used lime and lemon because I was feeling frisky! Actually, I think I was mid-fever so I grabbed a lemon and started juicing it before I realized it wasn't a lime but, who cares. That little topping is then topped with diced avocado. The crunch and tang of the onion/citrus mix really goes so well with the mild creamy texture of the avocados. When those two are mixed with the soup, watch out because it's a friggen party in your mouth. No joke. I will be honest though, I couldn't find ripe enough avocados so I had to microwave mine to soften it(gasp!).

I have a HUGE love/hate relationship with cooked greens. It's mostly hate. I always try to give them a shot and most of the time I just don't like them. Fresh raw greens, I will eat the shit out of them, but as soon as they are cooked they get all wilty and I just can't stomach the texture. The one green I have had the most success with cooked though is kale. I don't cook it very often but I do enjoy it almost all of the times I have had it. It is extremely good for you and much heartier than something like cooked spinach(blech!). I went with the Brazilian Braised Kale recipe which uses liquid smoke. I like the dish but honestly think I would almost be able to say I loved it had I left out the liquid smoke. It was still pretty good and all I really cared about was getting something healthy in me.
I am still sick but am going to try my best to summon the energy to cook at least one more meal from this book before weeks end. There are so many excellent recipes that I am looking forward to trying.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cookbook Challenge - Week 9 - Yellow Rose Recipes

Oh, hey guys. How's it going? I haven't been around much lately and I've been missing you. The past few weeks I have been so exhausted at night and have had zero motivation to drag my ass into the kitchen to cook anything worth writing about. Until now. Remember that Cookbook Challenge I was doing? I haven't posted anything about that in weeks because I didn't have some of the books(and the other reasons above) but I am pretty excited to jump back in for the last few weeks of it.

The book for the past week was Yellow Rose Recipes written by the lovely Joanna Vaught. YRR has tons of easy and awesome recipes complete with adorable illustrations and some drool-worthy photos. I was so excited when Joanna busted out about a dozen copies of this book from her personal stash to sell to some of us PPKers who didn't have it yet.

I made the Penne Alfredo and the Very Berry Muffins. Both were extremely easy and were omni-approved by my best friend Diane.

The Penne Alfredo is a really versatile dish. It didn't remind me of the Alfredos of my pregan past but I really can't say that's a bad thing. In the time it took to boil the pasta the sauce was cooked up and ready! The "sauce" for this alfredo was thick, creamy and stuck to the penne but wasn't very saucy if that makes any sense. The Alfredos I am used to are fat laden cream and cheese based sauces while this one consisted of mostly soymilk, raw cashews, garlic. Much easier on your waistline but still very satisfying. After the sauce had cooked I gave it a whirl in the Vita-mix to make it extra smooth, tossed it with some fresh parsley and rosemary and that was that!

Next up were the Very Berry Muffins. I've had a box of Ener-G Egg Replacer sitting in the cabinet forever but I had never used it until this recipe. These muffins came out pretty good but I can't say that I love them, at least not yet. I used a mix of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I have a huge love/hate relationship with blueberries but I think if I had used just them and not mixed berries I would have loved the muffins a lot more. I sliced one in half, smeared it with Earth Balance and toasted it up in a skillet and had a nice little treat for myself Saturday morning though!

It felt great to be back in the kitchen cooking again so stay tuned this week for the latest book of the Cookbook Challenge, Viva Vegan