Tag Archives: vegetarian

Happy Squash Soup

On a recent self-righteous trip to the grocery store, I decided to be healthy and came home with a giant butternut squash. Once home, I realized I have no idea what one does with such a thing.

SOUP! Eureka. Soups are a great way to try new ingredients. The slow cooking gives you loads of time to correct seasonings and mellow out weird textures, and you can always throw in something familiar to offset a funky flavor. Soups are so easy peasy that I decided to be extra adventurous and add a parsnip. Parsnips are ugly white veggies with a mild oniony flavor. They look a bit like the grizzled grandpa of the carrot, but are very very tasty in soups or other slow-cooked dishes. The sweetness of the squash and the bite of the parsnip balance out nicely, and make a super healthy winter time meal.

Don’t fret, the recipe is a lot shorter than my soup-lovin’ ramble. This stuff is BURSTING with vitamins, takes very little effort, and is an unbelievable neon orange color. Happy days.

easy squash soup recipe

You Need:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

1 yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

::Note:: You will be pureeing the soup in a blender. The dice on these vegetables does not need to be perfect at all, just keep the pieces in a somewhat uniform size to ensure an even cooking time.

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

broth/stock/water (You need enough to cover the veggies in a large pot. I used 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water because I like thin, sippable soups. If you like it thicker, use just enough to cover. If you use vegetable broth or water this is a completely vegan recipe.)

juice of half an orange

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

red pepper and salt, to taste

Bring the broth, squash, and parsnip to a boil in a large pot. Lower heat to a simmer and set timer for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, add the onion pieces. After 30 minutes, check for doneness. Squash should pierce easily with a fork and the onions should be transparent. Turn off heat.

Throw the peeled, whole garlic in the blender. Scoop all of the vegetables from the pot and add to the blender with a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid. If you’re brave and have a big blender, feel free to pour the whole mixture in. It doesn’t matter if the broth goes into the blender or not, just do what you gotta do to get a smooth mixture.

Pour the mix back in the pot. Add the curry powder, orange juice, and salt and red pepper to taste. Return to a simmer, stir, and serve.

YUM!

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Nutella Pots de Créme

FINALLY! Nutella Pots de Créme are here, and just in time for Valentine’s Day. Pot de créme is just a fancy word for cup-full-of-love (technically, cup of cream. whatever.). It’s a decadent dessert with a texture somewhere between a créme brulée and a chocolate mousse. Make these for your sweetie and he or she will fall into a deep sugar coma of amorous bliss.

2/3 cup milknutella pot de creme recipe

1 egg

dash of salt

1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup Nutella

whipped cream

finely chopped, roasted hazelnuts for garnish (see note below)

Put egg, salt, chocolate, liqueur, and Nutella in a blender. Pulse to combine. Meanwhile, bring milk just to a boil in a small saucepan. Add hot milk to blender and mix until completely smooth. The hot milk should be enough to melt the chocolate and cook the egg. Done!

Pour mixture evenly into 4 glasses or soufflé cups. I think wine glasses give a romantic touch. Servings will be small, but this stuff is decadent. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes so that the larger bubbles pop. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

When ready to serve, top each serving with whipped cream and sprinkle with hazelnuts. These go well with a bubble bath.

nutella recipe

Note: Two things here. One, roasting nuts is easy peasy. Throw your nuts in a dry (NO oil or butter) skillet over medium heat. Swirl them around until they start to turn brown/smell delicious. Remove from heat. This takes no time at all but will make a HUGE difference in flavor. Two, always buy expensive items in bulk! This tip will SAVE YOU as a college student. Special ingredients like nuts or exotic spices or basmati rice can cost a lot when pre-packaged. Luckily, most regular grocery stores nowadays have bulk aisles just like the health food store. If you get your fancy dry ingredients  here, you’ll pay pennies. Trust me.

Curry for Dummies

I love curry. When I was told this country didn’t have much in the way of tasty vegetarian food (which is, by the way, a lie), I reminded myself that in the U.K. there will always be curry. Whether you’re into spicy or mild, veggie or lamb, take-away or sit down dining, curry is EVERYWHERE!

So I was inspired. Here is my easy peasy recipe.

You Need:

1 cup uncooked basmati rice

roughly 3 cups of mixed vegetables – I used a store bought mix of broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, plus 1 potato and 2 giant button mushrooms

1 onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2-3 generous teaspoons curry powder or bottled curry seasoning in oil

1 sachet creamed coconut (this stuff is fantastic. I’d assume you can get it in the States at any health foodie store.)

Optional: milk or light cream or chicken/vegetable broth

a handful of fresh mint, chopped or torn

oil or butter for sautéing

Begin by cooking rice according to package directions. When rice is finished cooking, add the mint and toss lightly.

While rice is cooking, chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces. You want uniform size for uniform cooking. Don’t worry about having big chunks of onion, sautéing will mellow out the flavor. Set the onions and mushrooms aside.

This next step sounds like a pain but will help you immensely. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch all veggies except for the onion and mushrooms. To blanch, simply boil the vegetables for 2 or 3 minutes then rinse in cool water. If you like soft potatoes and crisper broccoli, do this in batches. Pre-cooking the potatoes will cut down on stir-frying time.

Next, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook  until it begins to turn translucent. Add in the garlic and the drained, blanched vegetables and stir. After a minute, add the mushrooms. You may need to add a quarter cup or so of water or stock to keep things from sticking. Add the creamed coconut and curry powder. Stir well, adding a bit more water, milk, cream, or chicken broth. Lower heat, and check for seasoning.

When vegetables are uniformly cooked and sauce is creamy, remove from heat. Spoon curry over the mint rice and enjoy.

If you’d like a meaty curry, simply add some diced chicken/lamb/flank steak/whatever when you begin cooking the onions. Omit the butter, and use olive oil only.