30 April 2013

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Spring has finally sprung over much of the continent (looking at you, Minnesotans!), which means it's asparagus season! Have you read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? It's a story about a family who lives on a local (and homegrown) diet as much as possible for a year. In one section of the book, Kingsolver discusses asparagus at length; it's quite interesting. One of the things she mentions about asparagus is the relatively short time during which asparagus is in season. That time is now, folks. Grab your asparagus and get cooking (seriously, we're having it three times this week).

Generally, I opt to oven roast or grill asparagus, but I was paging through my cookbooks and found a recipe I wanted to try. Shana seemed to be on board for trying new recipes this week (three!), as well. Tonight, accompanied by my very favorite wild rice, we tried this soup. It was quite good, with a velvety mouth feel and great balance of flavors, while still tasting of asparagus.

EDIT: As of May 2019, I've updated this recipe! It's still velvety, spring-inspired, and asparagus-tasting, but I've updated it to make it even better for you by adding more protein! For those who loved the original version, I've kept it in the Helpful Hints below. 

In addition, I would just like to say thank you to those of you who are reading my blog. As of this morning, my blog has gotten over 5000 hits in less than one year. I'm amazed and feel quite honored. 

21 April 2013

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Two posts in as many days! It's amazing what I can accomplish when I'm home on the weekend and avoiding my grading.

In reality, making these muffins was preceded by the local food co-op ordering me a case of vanilla soy yogurt. I use vanilla in some of the varieties of Overnight Refrigerator Oats, but I can't get it around town. Luckily, we have great people at the food co-op who will order things for you if you need them. Awesome. However, since yogurt has a shelf-life, I needed to use some up rather quickly. This muffin recipe is a delicious way to do so!

Originally a non-vegan Alton Brown recipe for blueberry muffins, I've made slight modifications to make lemon poppy seed muffins. However, you can easily use the base recipe to make fruity muffins of your choice (see the Helpful Hints). Regardless of what kind of muffin you make, they are bound to be tasty, fresh or from the freezer.

20 April 2013

Falafel with Tahini Sauce

For the past week or so we've had some decent spring weather here in Indiana. We've even had a few wonderful midwestern thunder storms! Even though the past couple of days have been cold, the general warming makes me long for bright, clean flavors on my palate. The easiest way to do that in the spring is with fresh herbs.

This falafel recipe is the second I've tried to make at home. The first one tasted alright, but it didn't hold together at all. This one, modified slightly from the the recipe of the amazing Dreena Burton, is freaking fabulous! It comes together in a jiffy thanks to a food processor, uses only ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store, and can be gluten-free (as long as you make sure the oats, yes oats, are gluten-free and don't use pita when you eat it). Plus, since you use almost no oil when cooking it, it's significantly lower in fat than most falafel recipes, which tend to call for deep-frying or frying in a lot of oil. Finally, if you opt for it, you can make the flavorful tahini sauce I use as well (also modified slightly from Dreena's version).

10 April 2013

Maggie's Vegan Overnight Refrigerator Oats

The recorded high here yesterday was 82 degrees. As it is April, I'm happy for there to be warmer weather, but 82 on April 9th is just silly; that's June 9th weather. However, since the past few days have been warm, I've been switching my brain over to warm weather food. Assuming that the weather stays like this, I'll be using the "summer" tag more often.

One of the hardest meals for me in the summer used to be breakfast. I didn't want to eat something hot, but just grabbing a banana wasn't enough and I rarely made time for cereal. Thus, when I stumbled on a mention of "refrigerator oats" late last summer, I was intrigued. Although the recipe I found wasn't vegan, it didn't seem like it would be too hard to adjust. After trying it one time, I was hooked! Plus, it's infinitely variable to personal tastes.

Although it might sound odd, refrigerator oats (especially when made in a jar/container for easy on-the-fly morning fueling) are a perfect summer breakfast. Below, I'll give you the general recipe and then some of my favorites. But really, experiment!

Maple-blueberry = one of my favorites

01 April 2013

Vegan Viands #8: Cinnamon Cake

My mom is visiting!! She came in this weekend for a concert that I was in last night (we performed Tippett's A Child of Our Time, which is an amazing work that you should see if you ever have the opportunity). Because this weekend was also Easter weekend, we decided to have a very small Easter dinner. Had Shana been in town, maybe we'd have had an Easter/Seder mash-up, but I digress. At our dinner was just me and mom and two good friends. Since one of these good friends went to culinary school, when he offers to make something, I jump on it (he even makes amazing salads). He made our main course (pork for the omnivores and delicious marinated tempeh for me) and salad, so I made vegan au gratin potatoes, asparagus, and dessert. Delicious, delicious dessert that I knew everyone loved.

This recipe is actually one I would never have looked at had I not been hunting for a dessert with a lot of cinnamon in it for a friend a few summers ago. The reason I'd never have looked at it is because it is originally a Paula Deen recipe. I don't think anything she makes is vegan. Before Ellen DeGeneres went veg*n, Paula Deen was on her show and made something like dark chocolate fudge dipped in cheese wrapped in bacon fried in butter and dusted with powdered sugar. Oh dear. Regardless, in my search for a cinnamon-heavy dessert, I saw this recipe and decided I had to try to make it vegan. It turned out so well that I made it again and again and again. The lightly crunchy topping, dense and moist cake, and gooey layer in the middle combine to something decadent. Make it, you won't be disappointed.