30 January 2017

Alphabentil Soup (veggie soup with pasta & lentils)

I'm not sure it's ever been two months in between blog posts. That's so sad for me (and for you, if you've been looking for new recipes).

A lot has happened since my last blog post. The end of last semester has come and gone, the holidays have passed, a new year has dawned, a new semester started, a new president has been inaugurated - after which protests against his actions have occurred, :"alternative facts" became a thing (?), and I've presented research with one of my undergrads at a conference. Oh, and I submitted my tenure portfolio. (EEEK!!) On top of all of that, it's still January, so the weather is chilly.

Given all of that craziness, I've been seeking out comfort. Comfort from my wife, from friends and family, from rogue twitter accounts and Swear Trek (so good! but includes copious amounts of swearing). I've also been seeking out comfort in the food I've been making and eating, like this soup.

At it's heart, this is nothing more than an unremarkable vegetable soup. But that's part of what makes it so comforting. With the addition of green lentils, with their warm savoriness and toothsome chew, and whimsical alphabet-shaped pasta, this simple soup becomes both comforting and craving-worthy.

You can just see a little pasta "V" below the broccoli in the center. 

13 November 2016

Vegan Viands #19: Maggie's Vegan Ranch Chex Mix

Every late fall/early winter growing up, my mom would make chex mix. It was a frequent snack and even more frequent gift - going to teachers, neighbors, and friends. The smell and taste of that chex mix is unmistakable. It is one of those recipes that is so easy and delicious, taking just a bit of patience for a long, slow bake and seemingly longer cool. Although her recipe wasn't vegan, it was easily veganizable, meaning that I make my own every year.

Because of the ubiquity of my mom's chex mix, I thought that was the only way to take the on-their-own unremarkable cereals and make them into something magical.

As it turns out, I thought wrong.

Growing up, Shana often had a ranch-flavored chex mix. While similar in idea, the chex mix in Shana's recollection involved a ranch seasoning packet and oil, no bake time, and thus, no cooling time. This fall, when I expressed an interest in making my version, Shana requested that I attempt to make hers. After some googling, including to assess the ingredients of a ranch packet (so not vegan), I made an attempt. It was...not right. Fine, but not right. After some discussion, I made another version and brought it with us on a trip to see all our best friends. That version was delicious - not to mention gone in no time once we arrived.

So, if you're a vegan adult with memories of a ranch-style chex mix, look no further. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and will last a bit longer than that if you make sure to hide some from the masses.


05 October 2016

Vegan Peruvian Lomo Saltado

More than three years ago, I mentioned that there were some Peruvian recipes in Bryanna Clark Grogan's World Vegan Feast that I wanted to try. Let's just say that life got a little bit hectic between then and now.

In any event, we have some Peruvian friends who work with me at Earlham and we have a night of dinner and games with them. Last month, I told them that I wanted to try cooking a vegan version of a popular dish in Peru called lomo saltado. According to Robertson, this dish is an example of a fusion between Chinese and Peruvian cuisine and has become an incredibly popular dish all over the country. Our friends agreed.

When we first decided to make lomo saltado, I was a bit perplexed by the variety of flavors that I saw in the dish. Traditional to Peruvian cuisine, potatoes play a role, as does steak (for which strips of seitan substitute wonderfully), vinegar, lime juice, oregano, and cumin. Traditional to Chinese cuisine, we have the stir-fry technique, along with soy sauce and rice. I was skeptical until I took my first bite, wherein I discovered what a wonderful and flavorful fusion these two traditions created! Our Peruvian friends thought it was delicious, too! Shana and I decided to have it again this week, which is why I'm sharing it with you.



24 September 2016

Maggie's Stir Fry Sauce

The first day of fall has come and gone, but it sure doesn't feel like it's fall in Indiana. We've had temperatures in the mid to upper 80s all this past week. So while I've been staring longingly at all of the soups and stews I cook in the fall, it's just not happening for a while. Instead, we have been cooking like it's summer, using all sorts of fresh veggies and flavors.

Since I've been so ready for fall, I couldn't keep making the same summer dishes. Instead, building on Shana's love of Asian flavors, we had an excellent stir fry tonight! With a ton of veggies and light and flavorful sauce, we enjoyed it immensely tonight. This is something we'll be sure to eat again, plus the recipe is a great base for all sorts of experimentation.



21 August 2016

Thomas Family "Special Syrup"

Every once in a while, you want a special treat for breakfast, like cinnamon rolls or candy coated clouds. But sometimes, with a busy week behind you, a full day ahead, and the semester looming, you just want something to make a more typical weekend breakfast a bit special. You want "special" without the effort "special" often requires. I have just the thing for you.

When I was growing up, we would have waffles or pancakes for weekend breakfasts with regularity. Nearly all of the time, those treats would be covered with maple syrup. But every so often, my dad would say that he was going to make "special syrup" for us to pour over our waffles. This pronouncement was met with glee! I assumed that special syrup was an occasional treat because it was labor intensive - I couldn't have been more wrong! This syrup recipe is all of the "special" with next to no effort. Instead, with three simple ingredients and about six minutes of your time, you'll be able to drench waffles in a delicious syrup with at least a three generation family history* (granted, I made mine vegan).

Served this morning with hash browns and Amy's brand vegan breakfast sausages (because Shana is obsessed with them).

This was just what I needed the weekend before my semester starts in earnest.