Refrigerator Soup (and a biscuit or two)

I do love a good batch of Refrigerator Soup.  Make it a million times and it’s never the same twice.  What the hell is Refrigerator Soup, you say?  You know it well already.  It’s the soup you make, perhaps in your slow cooker, of all the bits and bobs left in the refrigerator (and perhaps, pantry).  The great thing about making it in the slow cooker is that slow cookers have the magical ability to transform even the weirdest things (okay, most things), meld them all together and make them great.

Vegan Minestrone Soup

Today’s Refrigerator Soup is riffing off of a minestrone vibe: chunky cut veggies in a tomato base.  We’ve got celery, carrots, cabbage, some leftover marinated artichoke hearts, cauliflower, chickpeas, and winter hardy garden kale, with broth, tomato paste, canned fire roasted tomatoes and tomato juice.  I also have several jars of balsamic caramelized onions that I keep in the freezer, and a spoonful of that goes a long way in creating a great flavour base.  So I added some of that, some garlic, some dried herbs (basil, oregano, parsley) and set it to simmer all afternoon.

While that was cooking, I whipped up a batch of Isa Moskowitz’s Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from her book, Appetite for Reduction.  Except, I had no sweet potato and I had an open can of pureed pumpkin from pumpkin waffles this morning—so I made some tweaks and we have been noshing on pumpkin biscuits all afternoon.

Vegan Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Drop Biscuits

Makes 10 biscuits

1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg.

Fold the flour into the pumpkin mixture with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened; be careful not to overmix. Knead with your spoon about 4 or 5 times. Don’t knead too much or it will toughen the biscuits.

Drop the dough in golf ball-size pieces onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and firm to the touch.

 

What is your favourite Refrigerator Soup mix?

Curried Butternut Kale Stew

This is one of my favourite types of meals this time of year.  I love kale, as do many foodies, because it’s really delicious and kind of amazing for you.  I feel like a responsible adult when I’m chowing down on kale, you know?

It’s warming, creamy, a bit smoky from the fire roasted tomatoes, and excellent with a dash of hot sauce on top (I say that about everything, though) and served over some brown rice.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can light coconut milk
couple huge handfuls washed and torn kale, or a small bunch
salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and sautée the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and sautée for 1 minute longer.  Add the diced butternut squash, stirring to coat in the oil, and cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened.  Add all the spices and a pinch of salt, plus the broth, tomatoes and chickpeas, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the butternut squash is soft.  Lower heat and add the coconut milk and the kale.  Cover again and let the kale wilt for about 10 minutes, or until it has reduced in size and is bright green but not mushy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Chana Masala and Tamarind Quinoa

Sometimes the only thing that will do is a plate of chana masala (Indian chickpeas with tomato).  Today was a relatively cool and rainy day, which is a nice break from how insanely hot it’s been in our neck of the woods.  We jumped on the opportunity to use the kitchen to its fullest capacity, which is a total chore on hot days.  I worked on the tamarind quinoa while Trevor made the chana masala.  We had onions, ginger, garlic, spices, cans of coconut milk and tomatoes everywhere!  It was worth it, though; this flavourful curry over creamy coconut milk laced quinoa was so nice this evening.  Not pictured, but I gave myself a good dose of Indian lime pickle, which is eaten along side and gives a wonderful zippy bite that I just can’t do without.

I always use this recipe for chana masala, and the tamarind quinoa (featuring peas and raisins, who are quite the dynamic duo) is from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction.
– Crystal

African Peanut Stew

Piping hot with a good dose of extra Sriracha hot sauce on top.

Okay, so this isn’t authentically African, but I like to call it that because when I think of luscious, spicy, peanutty stew I think of what little I know of Pan-African cuisine.

This recipe came to me from a PPK member.  I can’t remember who and I’m pretty sure it’s long gone anyway.  So, if it’s yours, good work!  And let me know so I can give you credit, since this is your piece and your instructions.  This one is too good not to share.

Infact, it’s more of a method than a recipe.  It’s pretty hard to screw up, though, so even if you’re a novice cook, give it a go.  You’ll have yummy, filling leftovers for days!  We’ve made this so many times with great success each time.

Peanut Stew

Olive oil (~2 tbsp)
1 small onion
Any or all of the following: carrot, potato, sweet potato
A few cloves of garlic (3-5 work well)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 28oz can stewed tomatoes (any kind – even with basil works!)
A few large handfuls of chopped greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens – whatever you’ve got!)
Red pepper flakes or hot sauce
A splash of soy sauce
A splash of vinegar (apple cider, sherry, or red wine work the best)
A big spoonful of something sweet (some sugar, stevia, maple syrup – I’ve even used apricot jam)
A big heaping 1/4 cup or so of peanut butter

Start by sautéeing the onion and garlic in some oil at the bottom of a large pot.  Once they onion has softened and the garlic has become nice and aromatic, add in the chopped root vegetables.  Sautée them for a few minutes until they get a nice little bit of crispiness.  Then add in both the vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes.  Let simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft (I think it ends up being about 10-20 minutes, depending on how small the chop of the veggies is.)  Once the vegetables are soft, and the soup has thickened a little, throw in your big bunches of greens and stir.  Then add your splashes of soy sauce and vinegar, your hot element, your sweet element and your peanut butter.  Taste and adjust flavorings until it’s completely delicious to you!

It ends up being nice and thick, almost like a curry.  It’s great, filling and nutritious on it’s own, but could also be served over rice, or with bread.  It’s great with some more seasonings, too – cumin, coriander, chili powder, cayenne.  And you can literally add almost any veggies to this – I’ve thrown in frozen peas (at the end), green beans, cauliflower.  This is just such an easy, and intuitive recipe – and it lasts forever, and is a complete meal in a bowl!

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And look!  A new patch on my apron!  Chicks do dig vegans.

– Crystal

Fattoush Salad

At the popular Middle Eastern place a few blocks from my place, they make a really good Fattoush salad.  Fattoush consists of day-old pitas which are no longer good fresh turned into pita chips, plus chopped romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, za’atar spice mixture, parsley, and a lemony dressing.  It makes for a nice bowl of differing textures and tangy flavour from the za’atar and lemon.  Plus, it’s easy.

Fattoush
Makes 2 large salads
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1-2″ pieces
1/2 cup chopped and destemmed parsley
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup cucumber chunks
2 pitas, cut or torn into bite size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
Za’atar spice mixture for sprinkling on salads
Salt to taste
Bring your pan with olive oil up to medium-high heat.  Dump the cut pita pieces in and fry, turning frequently, until golden brown on both sides.  When sufficiently browned and crispy, put on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until completely blended.
Toss the lettuce, parsley, tomato and cucumber together in a large bowl.  Add pita chips and toss some more.  Add a few pinches of za’atar and salt.  Add dressing, and with tongs, ensure everything gets evenly coated.
And done.  Eat!
Oh, and this local vegan bakery, Organic Works, finally opened a storefront.  We went there and got cinnamon buns this week:

Yum!  I still prefer mine, which are more gooey and cinnamony; this was more of a drier bun with about 2 tsp of drizzle.  Still really good, though!  Just not as decadent as mine, more of a breakfast thing.  
– Crystal

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I’ve been trying to cook from my pantry these last couple weeks, so there has definitely been some pasta dishes.

This was a simple dish with roasted vegetables (portabello mushrooms, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes) with creamy white beans, tossed with some nice olive oil, white wine vinegar, a bit of an Italian seasoning blend, “nooch” and sea salt and fresh pepper, all with pasta shells.  Simple, sort of Tuscan inspired.  Nice in the summer to roast some veggies on a pan in the oven and walk away from the kitchen for a while since it’s so hot!

Bonus:  summertime means outdoor festivals galore in this fair city, and I scored this big plate of food at one last weekend.
Rice and beans, cabbage curry, potato and pea curry, and an unfortunately not vegan slaw that I left for the squirrels to eat up.
And also, my superpuffyheart favourite, the Tempeh Wingz from Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk.  Oh my god, so good.  Served with some sautéed kale and I whipped up a really simple dill dip for the wingz – 1 part vegan sour cream, 1 part vegan mayo, and dried dill and chives to taste.

– Crystal