Speridakis Soup

While visiting friends in Boston last week, I had the exciting opportunity to practice using one of my secret superpowers: Making Food Out Of Anything. Using only ingredients found in my friend’s kitchen, I made this tasty soup for us to eat on my last night before I had to go home.

Obviously, like with any recipe I share, I strongly encourage you to substitute whatever ingredients you like and/or have on hand, which is really the fundamental principle behind Making Food Out of Anything.

I have named this recipe Speridakis Soup, a salute to the name of the street where my friend lives.

1 package rice pilaf (~2 cups cooked; use equivalent amounts of any grain)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can black beans
2 cups veg broth
1-2 cups broccoli
1 can coconut milk
3 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
lime juice
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the rice pilaf according to package directions (or prepare whatever grain you’re using accordingly).

Heat the olive oil over medium in your soup pot. Add beans and let them cook for a couple minutes. Pour in the veg broth and turn the heat up just a bit. If you’re using frozen broccoli, add it now, and let it thaw in the broth. Add the coconut milk and peanut butter, stirring thoroughly to make sure the peanut butter is fully mixed in. Stir in the spices and let everything cook together for a few more minutes till the rice is ready, then add the rice to the soup. Add lime juice and balsamic vinegar till you’ve got the flavor you want, and add some salt and pepper if it needs them.

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The Garlickest Soup!

This is one of my favorite soups for when I just need a LOT of garlic. And, really, when is that not the case?

3-4 heads garlic (yes, HEADS!)
olive oil + a pinch of salt and pepper for roasting the garlic
2 Tbsp soy butter
1 onion
1/2 cup ginger root
3 Tbsp thyme powder
1 tsp hot smoked paprika (optional)
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups veg broth
1 can full fat coconut milk
greens of choice — I like to use a head of red chard or dandelion greens, and a bunch of parsley
1/4 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 – 1/2 cup lemon juice

Separate the heads of garlic into individual cloves. Peel half of them and set them aside. With the other half, cut off just the ends but leave them in their wrappers and toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap those in aluminum foil, put them on a baking sheet, and roast them at 400F for about 25-30 minutes. Let them cool before proceeding!

Melt soy butter in your soup pot. Add the onion and ginger. You don’t need to chop them too finely, because everything’s going in the blender soon! Add thyme, paprika, and black pepper. Let this cook for a few minutes. While that’s happening, squeeze the roasted garlic out of their little wrappers. Add all the garlic — roasted and unroasted — to the pot. Pour in the veg broth and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a little before proceding.

Now you want to put the contents of the pot into a blender. If your blender is small, you may need to do this in batches. When everything is smooth and creamy, return it to the pot. Add coconut milk and greens, and let simmer till the greens reach your desired level of tenderness. Add nutritional yeast and lemon juice.

I like to serve this with brown basmati rice, but you can experiment with different grains or just eat it as is!

[image: a pot of creamed garlic soup with red chard]


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Maple-Sage Harvest Noodles

This dish comes together quite quickly and is deliciously sweet and savory. It’s perfect for an autumn meal. You could easily add other vegetables to this. Next time I might try adding some toasted pecans too.

1 cup soy curls or TVP (pre-hydration) or 1 block tofu (cubed) or 1 can beans
2 Tbsp soy butter (veg oil is an okay substitute)
12-15 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, diced
1 medium potato, sliced in thin crescents
3 Tbsp sage powder or 6 Tbsp fresh sage
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup veg broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
spaghetti (or grain of choice) to serve

Hydrate soy curls or TVP if using.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two, making sure not to let it burn. Add soy curls/TVP/tofu and stir-fry till golden brown (if using beans, just add them and proceed). Stir in the apple and potato. Add sage and chipotle, stirring till they cover everything. Add veg broth and maple syrup. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding more veg broth as necessary to keep things from sticking. Stir in nutritional yeast till the sauce is the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I’m enjoying this with whole-wheat spaghetti; I imagine it would go well with wild rice, couscous, or quinoa too.

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Internalized Oppression Skill-Share

I initiated a conversation on Facebook for folks to share strategies and resources for countering and preventing internalized oppression. It’s a public conversation, so please feel free to jump in! I’m posting about it here on the blog because a desire was expressed in the thread for there to be a saveable link to that conversation, and so I think that by creating this post here, I can make that happen. Let’s see if it works!

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What I Bought at the Asian Market

Today I went to Gong’s Market in Malvern, PA.

This place is amazing! They have several little rooms of food. One of the rooms is basically just an entire room full of noodles. I was going to take a picture of it, but my phone battery died before I got a chance.

Of course, the temptation to impulse-buy at a store like this is very high. So many delicious-looking things! Such unbelievably low prices! Wow!

This is what I had planned to buy.
[image: Flying Horse seasoning sauce and package of flat rice noodles sitting on my marble countertop]
 photo ACC9F18A-E8E2-4E9F-A74B-C29A53021CD4-171-0000000D6770BA4F_zpsddxhv0xf.jpg

This is what I actually bought.
[image: seasoning sauce and rice noodles now surrounded by soybean paste, green bean cakes, some sort of crunchy fermented soybean thing, a package that looks like seitan labeled “tofu chips”, a package of spicy soymeat-on-a-stick thingies, red miso, a package of soy chicken, a can of mock duck, and a can of mock abalone]
 photo 51FDA1A0-9E99-491A-8003-8C3AD0C70C15-171-0000000D78F70894_zpssgidigfz.jpg

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Miso-Tamarind Lentils

Continuing my adventures in cooking without cumin (a temporary situation until my shipment arrives!! NEVER would I voluntarily give up cumin! <3), today’s lunch was a simple, tasty, sweet’n’sour lentil dish. I like to come up with new things to do with tamarind paste, since usually I only use it for Pad Thai, which means that it sits sadly in my fridge wishing it had some higher purpose in life. (Not that there is any higher purpose than my totally badass Pad Thai, but, you know, sometimes it’s nice to have other uses for such a unique ingredient!)

This dish came together quickly and easily. You can always double or triple it to serve more people or if you want to get a few more meals out of it.

1 Tbsp olive oil (or vegetable or coconut oil, any oil you like)
1 onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping Tbsp ginger
1 Tbsp red miso (or try some other kind of miso if that’s what you’ve got!)
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 cup brown lentils (green might work too!)
2.5 cups water
1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast
drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional – use whatever oil is on hand if you don’t have any)
2-3 scallions, finely chopped
a few handfuls of spinach leaves
splash of lime juice (optional)
sriracha (optional)
cooked rice for serving (I always use brown basmati)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to cook the lentils. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, till translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, give it a stir, then add the miso and tamarind. Stir it up pretty well, but don’t worry if the pastes are still kinda lumpy, because you’re about to add water which will facilitate their even distribution throughout the dish. Pour in the water (see, I told you!) and lentils. Turn the heat up to high. When it reaches a boil (it should do so pretty quickly), turn the heat all the way back down to low, put a lid on the pot, and let it simmer for about 40 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pot (give it a stir and add a little more water if it is!).

If you’re ready to eat it now, proceed immediately to the next step. If not, it’s fine to let it sit in the pot and cool for a bit, and then do the next steps when it’s eatin’ time.

Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the toasted sesame oil (or whatever oil you’re using in its place). Let it heat up for a few seconds, then stir in the scallions and spinach. Add the nutritional yeast and the lime juice and/or sriracha (if using), stirring continuously for a minute or two.

Taste for seasoning; adjust as necessary. Serve with rice.

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Smoky Ginger-Garlic Greens’n’Beans

I ran out of cumin a few days ago! I placed a bulk order from The Spice House, but it will be a few more days at least until I have cumin. Ordinarily what I’d do in this situation is just go to the store and get some cheap cumin to last me the few days till the good stuff arrives, but I’m trying to exercise patience (and resist the temptation to go to the grocery store when I don’t actually need to), so I am using this as an opportunity to play around with some recipe ideas for those rare but inevitable occasions when I do not have any cumin on hand.

The great thing about cumin, and the reason why it’s such a staple of my seasonings palate, is that it gives everything such a rich, deep, earthy flavor that it makes a simple meal feel very substantial. So, in thinking about what combinations I might try to accomplish the same thing, I’m thinking about what other flavors I can amp up in my cooking in order to bring out those qualities in the food.

It’s summer and I’ve been very busy with work and volunteer commitments, so I haven’t been spending as much time cooking as I would if I were less busy. I’m also trying to reduce my food spending by making smaller quantities of food at a time (instead of making way more food than I can or want to eat) and using up all the veggies in my fridge before I go out and buy more (even if I’m all out of something I really want!)

Greens’n’Beans is a staple of my diet. I have a couple different ways I typically prepare it. Any combination of green leafy vegetables and any type of beans can make a delicious dish, and the addition of different spice combinations and/or sauces can create any number of exciting combinations. But it wouldn’t ordinarily occur to me to make this without cumin, because usually that’s what strikes the balance between the simplicity of preparation and the satisfaction of having eaten a full meal. So this is what I came up with, in my cumin-absent kitchen the other day.

1 Tbsp oil (I used vegetable oil; olive or coconut would be just fine too)
10-15 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp ginger (minced or powder)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I like hot smoked, sweet smoked will work just fine, or if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it. It will still be delicious, it just won’t be smoky.)
black pepper (I used a full teaspoon because I really really like black pepper)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
a couple handfuls chopped kale (or whatever greens you have on hand)
soy sauce
lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast
pinch of adobo seasoning (optional)
cooked rice for serving (I always use brown basmati)

Heat the oil in a pot (you could also use a wok or frying pan, but I like cooking in pots because I’d rather have too much room than not enough!) over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir, then add the ginger, paprika, and black pepper. Stir in the beans and kale. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and lemon juice so there’s some liquid in there, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and adobo (if using). Taste for seasoning. Serve with brown rice.

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