Veganuary Day 3 and 4

We had a beautiful weekend here in San Antonio. It was my first weekend since graduation that my husband and I were home together without work or school to deal with. It was so relaxing. I got to go to two of my favorite places the local Thai market and Guadalupe Brewing Company. Asian food is my muse I can’t get enough Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Japan ethnic dishes. I love the balance of flavors and how clean and healthy they taste. I am tuning my Veganuary vegan meal choices this week toward lighter more asian flavors.

Day 3 – Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

I am trying hard to lose some weight for my health and the health of my knees so I want to make sure I am cooking vegan recipes that don’t rely on just carbs to fill me up. My family loves cream of broccoli soup so I was curious if this vegan version of the soup could fool them. The recipe was very simple and having made broccoli soup many times in the past so I knew this was going to lack flavor from the beginning. I decided I would throw in some changes that I learned a few years ago from an article in Cook’s Illustrated. They found that overcooking the broccoli you produce better broccoli flavor and adding fresh baby spinach when you process it to add a brighter green color.

I wanted to increase the depth of flavor so I sauted a handful of the chopped broccoli florets at the beginning with the onions. I wanted to develop a little caramelization of both the onions and the broccoli.  I used the wonderful vegetable stock that I had made earlier. After processing the soup without the spinach it was very similar in color to a split pea soup. I decided for this trial of the soup I would not add the spinach because I knew it was also alter the flavor as well as the color. I served the soup with a toasted sour dough bread. My family commented that they missed the flavor and texture that adding a little heavy cream at the end adds. I agreed this recipe needs a little more development.

Day 4 – Chickpea, Potato, and Spinach Curry

Nothing makes my family happier than a good curry. They love all kinds of curries from all over the world. India based curries seem to be their favorite because it is one of the few foods they will actually eat leftovers of. I decided I would try this recipe for Chickpea, Potato, and Spinach Jalfrezi which is a dry style of curry that increases the flavor development by cooking the aromatics down reducing moisture and heightening flavor.

I decided I would follow this recipe word for word because this style is new to me and I wanted to see what the author intended. While cooking down the aromatics this dish was already bringing everyone to the kitchen. The smell was almost seductive as more and more people showed up in my kitchen. I made the chutney that accompanies this recipe but we all agreed that it was not needed because the base recipe was so good.

Looking Ahead

The grumbling has already started about the lack of meat in our meals from the family. I am going to have to work harder to make sure my dishes are impressive without meat this week. I am starting with a recipe that asks for fresh noodles. I have been avoiding a first attempt at fresh noodles at home even though I made them at school on numerous occasions. Look for that recipe in tomorrows post!

Enjoy your culinary life!


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