Even in the summer, I can’t help but crave piping hot soup. I love soup. In fact, it’s my favorite food. Yes, it really is. I think it’s because it’s really the one dish that can be made so many different ways out of so many different ingredients — isn’t that the idea behind “stone soup”? But seriously, soup is comforting every time. And when you’re lucky enough to be sitting in an air conditioned home, then it really doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees outside. When I was younger I used to have these “episodes” (I guess one could call them that) where I needed to have soup, like, on our way up to the White Mountains to go hiking, I’d suddenly need soup — mid-drive. My mom is the same way, it’s very much like, “Pull the car over at the next restaurant! I need soup!” It got to the point once when we would bring thermoses of soup if we were going on long weekend or day trips. My mom calls these episodes “soup attacks.” They seem to be less frequent these days, I don’t know why, but neither of us is ever far from the urge to make or eat soup, regardless.
That being said, it’d been a while, but this little concoction came about when I was having a soup attack. I didn’t even know it until after I was done eating, of course, when I’d successfully licked the bowl clean. This soup is thick and smooth in flavor, thanks to the addition of cashew cream. The use of whole tomatoes makes it just a bit chunky and hearty, the way I like tomato soup to be. The beauty of this soup is that you can make it as chunky or smooth as you’d like, it’s just a matter of blending less or more. I used only half a cup of basil, but you can use more if you want a stronger basil flavor.
The beautiful grilled cheese is the usual salty, cheesy goodness that compliments any tomato soup well. Is there anything Daiya can’t do? I doubt it. Continue reading
I started looking through my fridge for little things to use up before they spoiled. This is what I found: half a tomato, leftover raw tofu, and Vegenaise. I only had just enough to make something small so, I decided to make some cute open faced sandwiches. I didn’t measure out the amounts — this is just too simple a recipe for that. Besides, you can make as few as 2 or as many as you want depending on your need. I used a biscuit cutter to cut the bread into rounds, but if you want, you can create fun shapes with a cookie cutter or a knife or even by pressing hard with a cup. If your tomato is bigger than the bread, you can also use the biscuit cutter to cut the tomato to just the right size or dice it into small pieces and place it on top for a different look. These little guys resemble fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil antipasto and are pretty “fresh” tasting and light — perfect for an appetizer to that summer dinner party on the patio or just as a light snack in the middle of your day. Continue reading
When I was younger, I used to tell myself (and everyone who asked) that if I was on death’s door and could have one last meal, it would be, without question, my mom’s meat lasagna. Growing up, there was nothing she produced out of her kitchen that I loved more, and trust me, there were many things to chose from. When I first had a traditional Italian lasagna, I was baffled. What’s this ricotta cheese? My mom doesn’t use that. Where’s the meat?! And more importantly, why isn’t this being served with a side of white rice?
That’s how my mom’s was different. It had meat, no ricotta, and a lot of Dominican flavor (heavy on the oregano, know what I’m sayin’?). And…we ate everything with rice. When I went vegan, about a year ago, I thought it was all over. I thought for sure I’d be having oatmeal before dying. And not too soon after, I forgot all about mom’s lasagna. While I was in Portland, OR this summer, I made the mistake of having lasagna at a restaurant. It was good. But it wasn’t what I was used to, and flavor-wise, it just didn’t bring me back home, or anywhere for that matter. That’s when I knew that I had to tackle mom’s lasagna when I got home and make it vegan.
So this is it, my basic lasagna recipe – mom’s lasagna, veganized. I decided I like the traditional “ricotta” cheese idea a lot, and my mom’s version had a lot of mozzarella cheese so, this is my way of making up for that in a much kinder, healthier way. The ricotta recipe is from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. All credit goes to the lovely Susan V. for creating it! My version has less spinach since there is a layer of fresh spinach in the lasagna already. Don’t tell anyone the ricotta is made of tofu and they won’t even know.
This recipe is very easy to make and very filling. But if you’re feeling ambitious, serve it with a side of white rice.