Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cajun 15-Bean Soup

This is from FatFreeVeganKitchen... a site that I found and have been checking out for a while... and finally decided to make something from. And honestly, it's been almost 2 months since I made it and I can't remember how much we liked it... but I know we did.

20 ounces dried mixed beans (you can find these prepackaged in most grocery stores), rinsed
12 cups water
1 large onion — chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic — minced
juice of one lemon
15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoons salt — or to taste
1. I saved some time by putting the beans into the pressure cooker with 8 cups water, cooking at high pressure for 15 minutes, and then releasing the pressure and cooking until the beans were completely cooked. If you use a pressure cooker, I advise letting the pressure come down naturally rather than quick-releasing. And if you have a quick-release setting on your PC, do not use it! I had beans stuck in my valve when I tried that.

2.If you don’t want to pressure cook them, then place the washed beans in a pot with 12 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered,for 60-75 minutes until beans are tender.

3.When the beans are almost finished cooking, brown the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in a non-stick skillet.

4.Add onion mixture, stewed tomatoes, and lemon juice to beans along with the spices and simmer 30-45 minutes. (If you started the beans in the pressure cooker, add 2 cups water at this time if they seem dry or thick.) Add liquid smoke and salt at the end. Serve with bread or over rice, or just by itself, as I did.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8

Monday, November 21, 2011

8-Vegetable Soup with Mixed Herb Pesto.

I just had to try this soup because it was originally vegan by Rachael Ray. I was worried about the flavor, and hoping it'd have some. And wow, it sure did. LOTS of flavor and so healthy. A hit.

1 small butternut squash
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling, plus 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
2 red bell peppers
1 small bulb fennel, chopped, reserve a handful of fronds
2 carrots, chopped
2 to 3 celery stalks from the heart, chopped, reserve the leafy tops
2 medium red onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced or chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
A small handful of thyme
2 large bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine (i use white grape juice)
1 28- to 32-ounce can plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar (agave nectar)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

A small handful of flat-leaf parsley
A handful of basil or tarragon
3 tablespoons pistachios or pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel and chop squash, and dress pieces with a little EVOO, salt and pepper. Roast until just-tender, do not brown cubes, 25-30 minutes.

Char peppers over open flame on stovetop or under hot broiler after roasting squash. Place in dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let cool, peel, seed and chop.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add fennel, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chili, salt and pepper. Bundle the rosemary and thyme and tie together with kitchen twine. Add the herbs and bay leaves to the pot, cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Deglaze pan with wine, add in roasted red peppers, tomatoes and sugar. Break up tomatoes with a spoon, stir in stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer at low rolling boil for 30 minutes.

Remove herb bundle and bay, puree soup along with squash in a food processor or industrial blender. Pass through coarse sieve for a smooth soup.

Wipe out processor and return to base. Add celery tops, fennel fronds, parsley, basil or tarragon, nuts, salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in enough EVOO to form a thick pesto. (Add a handful of Parmigiano-Reggiano if ya like.)

Top shallow bowls of soup with a swirl of pesto. Serve with crusty bread, gougeres or grilled cheese sammies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chipotle in Adobo Trick.

A great tip from Rachael Ray... When you buy one of those 6 or 12 oz. cans you're never going to use all of it in one meal... unless you've got taste buds of steal.

So, here's the trick - take all of the ribs and seeds out of the peppers and then puree the peppers along with the remaining sauce. Scoop it into saran wrap and form a log. Then put the "log" in a zip lock, label it, and stick it in the freezer. It keeps for forever and is a great way to use all the can. I tossed a many of leftovers... or used all my chipotle recipes in one week to use it up. Which got real old. 

When you have a recipe that calls for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce all you do is just take a knife and cut off the amount you need. Which is why you do a log so it's easier to cut and measure out then a big ball of it. So sweet! I love the tip and have been doing it for years.