Tag Archives: vegetarian soup

MY NEW HASSLE OF LIVING WITH A VEGETARIAN DAUGHTER and A Sort of Shrimp Chowder (serves 4)

My teenage daughter made the announcement the other day that she was going to begin the transition to vegetarianism. I knew this day would come and really I should have been happy. I mean, she did not tell me she wanted a tattoo of a butterfly on her ankle or to divorce me as a mother because I failed to understand her. All she wanted to do was not eat meat! I was once standing in her alternative leather shoes so I could really see her point of view, but for now all I could think was: great, just what I needed –  one more thing to add to the never-ending list of things I have to think about on a daily basis! This was going to be a bigger adjustment for me than for her.

My version of Shrimp Chowder

My version of Shrimp Chowder

And, it’s not like we are a household of carnivorous beasts either, we tend to choose poultry and fish over beef and pork. My problem is a threefold hassle; (1) I am already eating a specific diet (Read about my Blood Type A diet on the link in the header) and now I am going to have to consider not just my needs but also satisfy my daughter with a vegetarian option while not overlooking my son’s crazy craving for all kinds of sausages! (2) I know there is a solid argument against this, but I told her she would have to allow fish in her diet and to not go down that particular ethical road until after she left the house. But my options for her to have her protein fix for at least our main meal were greatly diminished. Now gone are the days when I can satisfy the entire house by throwing a chicken in the oven surrounded by a scattering of vegetables!

cubed tofu

cubed tofu

The other part of this is that this is the girl who never warmed to tofu (which I love and cook regularly) and is also not a big fan of beans! Will I be reduced to fish dishes and toasted cheese sandwiches?? I am a very capable cook and I pride myself in the fact that my kids grew up immersed in my little foodie-world, but this certainly will cramp my cooking style, which generally consists of rooting in the fridge and coming up with something on the spot. Also, my quick fix for lunch is a tin of sardines with a smear of mustard (which I eat right from the pretty little tin!) but she cannot stand these smelly little fish!

diced red potatoes

diced red potatoes (for my Chowder recipe below)

In a way it is funny that the most unlikely candidate for a vegetarian diet is the one who does not naturally gravitate towards vegetarian food. As I begin right now to lay this all out it makes me wonder if I should even allow this? I will be the one cooking and shopping and planning, so should it be my decision as to whether she is a vegetarian or not? She is a 13-year old who can fend for herself of course but my kids cook when it is necessary or when they want to. She is far too busy doing all the things young people do for me to make it obligatory that she cook on top of that. I am between a rock and a hard place as I respect her decision, but I also don’t need to complicate my life any more than it already is.

the ingredients..

Fresh Trout (check out some of my trout recipes by writing trout in the search box to the right of my blog)

I had better move on to my third concern as I could talk about number 2 all day long! (3) Fish is more expensive by far per pound than most cuts of meat. Take a chicken for example that could feed my family of four. I can buy an organic chicken on sale for between $7 to $10. The same amount of fish is twice the price. When I buy fish I choose fish that is sustainable (check out a great list you can put in your purse from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch ) which is why it is sometimes a treat to have a dinner which is centered around this delectable protein. For example the price per pound of rainbow trout is about $8, and it’s the same for a fish like cod or haddock. And, that’s only if you are lucky to find it for that price and for it to be fresh and ethically caught. My daughter is going to have to learn to love tofu or this foray of hers is going to cost me a fortune.

time for dinner

Fish lasagna – amazing

I wish I could say that money doesn’t matter and cook all kinds of oceanic delights every evening but the cold hard fact is that most people, including me live on a budget. I don’t think this is a bad or shameful thing and in more ways than one am grateful that I am compelled to thinking about certain things in monetary terms. I simply hate where I hear a kid ask his or her parents for things in a way which disregards how much that thing cost or has no clue or concept whatsoever about where their money comes from. Oops, looks like number 3 is also in danger of getting away from me….so yes, fish is more expensive, which is a hassle.

The biggest tuna fish I have ever seen 9The English Market, Cork)

The biggest tuna fish I have ever seen (The English Market, Cork)

Here is what I have decided: I am going to do what I can for now to satisfy my family but I if I start pulling my hair out or resort to looking for pennies under couch cushions, I will call a family meeting to implement change. Or perhaps my daughter will tire of her life choice before I have to look like the bad guy…one can only hope.

beautiful, but pricey greens

beautiful, but pricey greens from Eataly NYC

This is what I made for my daughter the other night, and thankfully it was a dish that everyone could enjoy (save for me because of the shrimp!). I called it a “chowder” because that is what it most resembled. A New England Clam Chowder has clams, cream, corn and potatoes and that had commonality enough for me to merit the title. I don’t really like the over-abundance of cream so I cut the cream by using a higher ratio of vegetable stock. It was truly scrumptious.

Asian-Style Fish Sliders

Asian-Style Fish Sliders (recipe HERE)

Now I’m just praying that my son doesn’t decide fruitarianism is his dietary destiny!

🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠🐠

You will need:

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped

2 medium potatoes – skin on and small dice (any potato will do)

1 cup sweet corn kernels (I used frozen corn – handy & quick, but of course fresh is great too!)

1/2 lb shrimp – peeled and de-veined (buy the 31-40 count size if you can)

2 cups chopped spinach

3 cups veggie broth Or bullion cube and water (I use the Rapunzel Brand with herbs and sea salt – really good)

1 cup heavy cream

freshly ground black pepper

salt (use a good quality salt if you can)

2 cups cooked warm basmati rice 

Method:

1 – Pot medium soup on low/medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.

saute onions and garlic

saute onions and garlic

 2 – Add the chicken stock to the pot, along with the potatoes and sweet corn. Turn heat up and when it comes to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes, after which time the potatoes will have just about cooked through.

Add liquid, potatoes and corm

Add liquid, potatoes and corm

   3  – Add the cream, several good grinds of black pepper and about a 1/2 tsp salt. Bring back to a simmer. When it begins to simmer, add the shrimp and the chopped spinach. Cook until shrimp have cooked (about 8 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add cream and shrimp

Add cream and shrimp

  Scoop a nice mound of the rice into the bottom of shallow plates or soup bowls and top with chowder.

Serve with basmati rice in warmed bowls

Serve with basmati rice in warmed bowls

 

Medicinal Kale And Tofu Soup – Too Healthy for Words!

I wanted to start the week with something so healthy, it would give me the energy I needed to get me through the week that lay ahead. This soup was the perfect meal to do the job!

Restoration in a bowl

Restoration in a bowl

We all know the stuff that is good for us, so I decided to put that knowledge to use. This soup packed with dark green kale, tofu and other veggies swimming in garlicky broth was like getting a magic injection that would hopefully stave off the ever-pressing Wintry blues.

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*This is a power house recipe for Blood Type A Dieters – full of highly beneficial ingredients like tofu, kale, onions, carrots and garlic*

You will need:

2 tbs olive oil

1 block of form tofu (pressed) and cut into cubes

2 celery ribs, including leaves, cut into slices

1 large sweet onion, large dice or into thin 1/2 round slices

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

6 cups chopped kale or baby kale leaves

1 tsp sea-salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

1 tsp good quality curry powder

1 good quality bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel Brand)

7 to 8 cups water

More salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Prep all veggies before you begin.

cubed tofu

Cubed tofu

1 – Put large soup pot on medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions, garlic and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes.

Saute onions, celery & garlic

Saute onions, celery & garlic

2 – Add the carrots and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

Add carrots

Add carrots

3 – Add the kale and cook for a couple of minutes before gently stirring in the cubed tofu.

Add Kale, then tofu

Add Kale, then tofu

4 – Add the seasonings and bouillon cube and stir into veggies.

add spices

Add spices

5 – Add the water and turn heat up to high. When it comes to a boil turn heat to low and cover pot with lid. Simmer (there should be a very gently bubble visible on the surface) for 15 to 20 minutes.

add liquid

Add liquid

Turn heat off and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Warming Kale And Tofu Soup

Warming Kale And Tofu Soup

Serve alone or with some fresh bread.

Hearty Tofu & Cauliflower Soup (serves 6)

I think that soup is the one place even a die-hard meat-eater will succumb to the power of a steaming bowl of broth-y vegetables. If it is overflowing with tons of tasty ingredients, there is a chance the protein-packed tofu will go unnoticed!

Everyone loves soup!

Everyone loves soup!

I made this because my son was sick but was still hungry for something savory. I wanted it to be full of goodness but not a heavy meal that would weigh him down. I am very lucky in that he loves tofu and lots of other foods that you don’t usually associate with the palate of a teenage boy: things like squid tentacles, miso, seaweed and sashimi. He told me his dream is to “live and die” in Japan and judging from the food he likes, I’d say it is his destiny. 

my catalysts

My catalysts (Japanese curry powder, dried celery stalks & Dulse Seaweed salt)

I was in a great shop called Kalustyan’s in New York City the other day and picked up a few things that I though would work great in a soup using tofu and cauliflower (a nice light veggie) as the main ingredients. I gave it a Japanese “feel” by seasoning the broth with a little Japanese curry powder and a lovely seaweed-infused salt from the gulf of Maine called Dulse Seaweed Salt. Dulse is a red seaweed (sometimes called Sea Lettuce) and it gives the salt an intensified ocean taste.

My son ate two bowls, which says it all really.

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*This is a Blood Type A Diet friendly recipe with beneficial ingredients such as tofu, garlic, escarole and onions (cauliflower is neutral so is fine to use)*

You will need:

I cake of tofu, pressed and cubed (tofu usually comes in 12 oz blocks)

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 celery ribs, including leaves, chopped

1 head escarole, washed and roughly chopped

1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets (if it is a large head, use half)

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)

1 tsp of fresh thyme or rosemary leaves

1 tsp sea-salt (use 1/2 tsp if the salt you are using is intensely salty)

1 vegetable bouillon cube (I used the Rapunzel brand)

10 cups water

3 cups cooked basmati rice

Method:

*If you have leftover rice in your fridge (I always do!) take it out and reheat at lowest setting on your stove top in pot with lid. If not, cook some fresh right now!*

1 – Press tofu immediately!

tofu stacked with dinner plates!

Tofu stacked with dinner plates!

2 – Chop all veggies while tofu is being pressed.

This is the way I've been slicing onions lately

This is the way I’ve been slicing onions lately

3 – Put big soup pot (4 to 6 qt) on medium heat and add the oil. When it warms, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes before adding the celery. Cook, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes.

Add onions & garlic, then celery

Add onions & garlic, then celery

4 – Add the curry powder, thyme (or rosemary),, cumin seeds and salt to the pot and stir. Add the cauliflower and mix gently. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the tofu and stir gently and cook for another minute.

add spices, then cauliflower

Add spices, then cauliflower

6 – Add the bouillon cube (I usually roughly chop it first), followed by the water. Turn heat up and when it comes to a boil add the chopped escarole and turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.

add escarole

Add escarole

Serve soup alone, with a scoop of rice or crusty bread and some hot sauce if you are in the mood.

eat with whatever you like

Eat with whatever you like: rice, bread, alone and maybe a dash of sriracha!

Lively Vegetarian soup (serves 2)

This soup was so good, I had it for breakfast the next morning!

Local broccoli & bitter greens

I got a lovely bunch of bitter greens and broccoli in my share box this past week (see top right of blog for more information) and I knew they would go perfectly with my boring tofu (I admit it is boring, but I like the texture, and, when it is paired with strong flavors, it ain’t half bad!).

So Good

This soup had one ingredient not recommended for a Blood Type A diet (Pepper flakes), but, if I am going to give this experiment a real try, I cannot deprive myself of everything I love. I would prefer to eat a few hot pepper flakes than forego the diet altogether!

The soup was everything a soup should be; comforting, filling, and good to the last drop!

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You will need: 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium onion, diced, 1 cups baby carrots, (sliced, if necessary), 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 celery rib, diced, 1 cup broccoli florets, 2 cups bitter greens, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 6 oz firm silken tofu, cubed, 1 tsp green or red curry powder, 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed, 1 small bay leaf, 1 tsp sea-salt, cracked black pepper to taste, 1 good quality vegetarian bouillon cube (I use Rapunzel brand), 4 cups water.

1 – Prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. Put small soup pot on medium heat and add the oil. When it warms, add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, (you may have to adjust your heat as you go).

saute base flavors

2 – Add the salt, pepper, bouillon cube and spices to the veggies, and stir. Cook for 1 minute before adding the water, tofu, broccoli and bitter green. Bring to a simmer and cover and cook for 10 minutes.

add liquids, tofu, & other greens

3 – Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or heat to your preference.

Lively Vegetarian Soup

Ladle into shallow bowls and serve with sprouted wheat bread if you like.