"But food is not just a conversational common denominator like the weather is in Britain. The subject, sometimes passionately debated, represents a personal philosophy of life." --Kinta Beevor

Monday, October 25, 2010

Split Pea Soup

    I used to think that it was the leftovers from the baked ham that gave split pea soup all its wonderful flavor.  Now I know otherwise. My split pea vegan soup has all the flavor I remember and none of the fat and salt.  No one who tries this soup misses the ham or the salt because it's the ground cloves and the split peas themselves that give this classic its distinctive flavor.
  I achieve a great texture to the soup by cooking some of the split peas in the pot of water along with the chopped onion, celery, and spices. When these peas are just getting soft, I add the rest of the peas to the pot and cook until these are tender.  This way, some peas are creamy and mushy, while others keep their pea shape and have a slight soft bite to them.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mushroom Pasta

This recipe has all my favorite attributes for a home cooked meal--quick, easy, tasty, and nutritious. 
  • pasta
  • sauteed baby portobello mushrooms
  • roasted red peppers
  • tofu
  • no-salt seasoning
  • nutritional yeast

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lentil Soup

     One of the strategies I use to stay on the low fat, low sodium, low glycemic index, vegan eating plan is to always have proper foods on hand.  I make a big pot and freeze portions to serve on the days when I don't cook.  Freezing works very well for soups, cooked beans, and cooked pasta. Simply run warm water over the pasta and it defrosts and is ready to use in seconds.  I've been on a soup-making kick lately. Here's a hearty lentil soup.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Farro Soup

     It's funny how the most humble of ingredients can sometimes transform a simple meal into a cherished memory. In my case farro is this type of ingredient. Farro is a nutritious whole grain that has a firm chewy texture when it's cooked. It's an ingredient commonly found in Italian kitchens, and when I was living in Florence my friend Alice made farro soup for me.
     In Italy, food connects people to family, friends, and community. Relationships are forged on the walk to the daily outdoor markets where you buy food from folks you know who proudly raise and grow what they sell.
     Apartments in Florence are small and the kitchens are tiny.  Actually, "intimate" not "tiny" more appropriately describes these wonderful spaces.  I've had the most satisfying and memorable meals sometimes with one dear friend, other times with a crowd  fitting so comfortably that it defied the square footage.
    One blustery autumn day, Alice and I walked down the narrow side streets to a small shop that sold dried beans, rice, and grains like farro out of large open barrels.  It was akin to a mom-and-pop old general store--choc full of essential household and kitchen items. Things like clothes drying racks, tea kettles, rubber replacement washers for on-the-stovetop espresso coffee pots, emergency candles, matches, pots, aprons, and so on. The space was so crammed with stuff that only the proprietor himself knew where to fetch most things. This agile older gentleman would climb this precarious stair, that I swear was as ancient as the city itself, up to a small loft-like area where, with ease and efficiency, he'd collect the item and bring it down to you.
    The next day, while Alice put the finishing touches on the soup, I set a portion of the long narrow farm table with a hand embroidered linen table cloth, wine glasses, and china dishes. Yes, this simple farro soup is a part of a vivid and treasured memory.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Blogger recently changed the way it uploads pictures to a blog post and I am unable to get my photos to upload. I've been trying to get this problem resolved.