Kickstart my Vegan Heart

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Being huge fans of the website Kickstarter, we find ourselves constantly looking for independent businesses, projects, and ideas to support in hopes of expanding the ever-growing world of vegan commerce.  When you add in our passion for cookbooks, new and old, it’s no surprise that we jumped at the opportunity to fund an all-vegan cookbook inspired by the author’s world travels and culinary adventures.  This project was met its funding goal last October, and we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished product.  The authors have done a great job of keeping us posted on the progress, sharing additional recipes and thoughts along the way, and building the excitement up to the release date.

We recently received our copy of The Lotus and Artichoke and couldn’t wait to crack it open and start cookin’!  Along with the author’s story and pictures of adventures, the book features amazing recipes from all over the globe representing multiple cuisines and ethnic fare.  We’ve already “tested” a couple recipes, and have several more on our growing list to try out over the course of the next month or so.  They will definitely make an appearance on the blog, and we are looking forward to sharing these with all you in.  In the meantime, check out the official website for the Lotus and the Artichoke, and head on over to their Facebook page and give them some love.  If you feel inspired enough, pick up a copy or three for yourself and two of your best friends and get cookin’ yourself!

If you need some extra inspiration or a soundtrack for your cooking, we leave you with this gem.

Souper Sunday – East meets West Edition

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California - no doubt about it.

California – no doubt about it.

If you can have great friends visit during the first few weeks of the year (like my lovely life-pal Evonne), we highly recommend it. Let’s face it, if Evonne wasn’t visiting our year would have began in one of two ways:

  1. Keeping ourselves locked into a strict routine and forgetting to have fun adventures
  2. Stressed out over not adequately meeting our new years resolutions, causing a tearful binge on macadamia nuts

Instead – we are laughing, traveling, having reckless adventures, eating healthy NEW food (which means actually using our cookbooks that we buy), and overall just setting the tone for really living life in 2013. I’m not going to tell the whole story, but I am proud to say that Evonne was in town for less then 24 hours before we had to make back to back calls to the police then to my mom. It’s going to be a great year.

As a way to pay homage to the years that Evonne spent living in Japan, we decided to kick off the trip with an Asian meal – but with the time lost with the whole secret ‘cop calling’ issue, it needed to be quick. We love Asian soups of all kinds, but this one is one of my favs and totally worth making a large batch and keeping for leftovers as the tastes only get more dynamic over time. Enjoy!

Edamame Sea Vegetable Soup*

Made from: The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East

We added sea palm for extra salty deliciousness

We added sea palm for extra salty deliciousness

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 cup dried wakame or arame 
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large shiitake mushrooms, slices (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (we were in a hurry and used lima beans)
  • 4 cups water or dashi (we added 2 tsp mushroom bouillon for flava)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp barley or other miso paste, optional but recommended
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Place the wakame in a small bowl with 2 cups of warm water. 
  2. Place the sesame oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the red bell pepper and carrots, stir well. Lower to medium heat, add the edamame and water, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the wakame along with the soaking water to the pot with the remaining ingredients. Stir well before serving.
We didn't have one of those pretty, staged pictures of the soup - so almost just posted this abstract pic. It's kind of like when I blur the picture when I'm trying to hide double chins.

We didn’t have one of those pretty, staged pictures of the soup – so almost just posted this abstract pic. It’s kind of like when I blur the picture when I’m trying to hide double chins.

Our Storm Kit

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We’ve been watching our fair share of the super storm coverage out east, and can’t help but think about what we would do if we knew a massive storm was barreling our way.  We were used to the occasional snow day back in Iowa, where we typically spent the day at home cooking, baking, and watching movie trilogies.  We would watch the weather the night before, track the storm path, and secretly hope we would get dumped on.

Apparently Southern Oregon doesn’t have to deal with any kind of weather phenomenon like that.  It still got us thinking:  What if we knew we would be “stormed” in and needed to stock up on necessary provisions to wait out the weather.  Here is our top 5 list of shitty weather must-haves.

1)  Some sort of non-dairy milk.  Assuming we have power, baking WILL happen and all our favorite recipes call for some sort of rice, almond, or hemp milk.

2)  Daiya cheese.  We consider ourselves chili connoisseurs and tend to fire up the slow cooker when the weather turns sour.  Daiya tends to be the go-to toppin’ for chili.

3)  Beans, beans, all types of beans.  Whether it be hummus, soup, chili, salads, or burgers, having a selection of beans makes all of these possible.

4)  Bananas.  We are big smoothie fans, and also like freezing bananas and blending them in the Vitamix to create a sorbet/ice cream concoction.

5)  Beer or wine.  No good reason other than Southern Oregon produces some of the best craft beer and wine in the country.  Nothing says snow/storm-day like doing some cooking, drinking, and movie watching.

After going back and reading this list, it’s fair to say that we might actually miss our Midwest snow days.

After going back and reading that last sentence, it’s fair to say that’s effin’ crazy!

Souper Sunday


 

 

Since this is the finally installment of our Vegan MOFO:  Souper Sunday edition, I figured instead of posting this evening’s chili recipe and pics, I would take the opportunity to post a few links to some of our favorite soups, stews, and curries.  Have no fear, we will definitely be posting tonight’s chili as it goes down as one of our favorites of all time.  In the meantime, check out these recipes and get them on your cookin’ calendar soon!

This roasted corn and sweet pepper soup was the starter for last year’s New Year’s Eve dinner, which included paella!

Around these parts, we love our southwestern corn chowder.

This tortilla soup has been made so many times when we haven’t been able to decided what to cook for dinner.

Our first stew of list includes TVP!  Awwww yeah!!

Simple.  Easy.  Flavas!!!!

No soup list is complete without French onion soup.  This soup with some bread and a BIG red wine.  Yes please.  As I type this, I can’t believe the last time I made this was last year.

We are HUGE curry fans and this recipe is one of our favorites.  In fact, we have made so many variations of this recipe, I had almost forgotten what the original called for.

We have enjoyed making Souper Sundays part of our Vegan MOFO routine, and plan on continuing this “tradition” long after October ends.  Stay tuned for the recap and pics of our epic chili recipe later this week!