Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tortilla Soup

This is our family's favorite new soup. A few months ago, I was asked to present some vegan recipes for a Supper Club in our neighborhood. (I posted the "chicken" enchilada recipe from that presentation previously on the blog.) We absolutely love the tortilla soup at California Pizza Kitchen, and since the supper club theme was American Southwestern, I decided to try to recreate that delicious soup. There are lots of copy-cat recipes online, but this is one of the closest I've been able to find. I've modified a recipe from www.copycat-recipes.net.

As the soup bubbled on the stove, my daughter moaned and groaned, "You're killing me, Mom!" I was alarmed. "Why?" I asked. "That soup smells soooo good! And I'm hungry." Whew...if that was all... :-)

3 Tb. light olive oil
6 corn tortillas, cut into squares
3 Tb. minced garlic
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups frozen yellow and white corn, divided
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup tomato paste
2 Tb. ground cumin
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegan chicken seasoning (McKays)
1 tsp. chili powder
6 cups water
2 cans diced mild green chiles
blue tortilla chips (opt. garnish)
fresh cilantro (opt. garnish)
fresh avocado, diced (opt. garnish)

In a large pot, sauté corn tortillas in olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and continue to sauté, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook for perhaps a minute. Add 1 cup of corn and all other ingredients (except garnishes, of course) and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. With a stick blender, blend soup until it's the consistency of a thick puree. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can process in a regular blender, but be careful to just pulse it a few times to break up the corn tortillas.

Return soup to heat and add the rest of the corn, plus the two cans of green chiles. Bring to a brief boil, then serve immediately with garnishes of choice.

This is a large amount of soup, but I promise you, it won't be around for long! :-)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

{Not quite} Nutrigrain bars...

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but as a busy family always on the run, breakfast sometimes needs to be portable. Enter Nutrigrain bars: one of the quintessential grab-and-go breakfast foods. I've been wanting to make my own breakfast bar, modeled after the soft, chewy, fruity Kelloggs brand. As I searched online, I couldn't find very many recipes that were not crumb top. While those are delicious, they don't travel well! 

I can just imagine driving in the car, crumb topped breakfast bar in one hand, steering wheel in the other. As I begin to unwrap my breakfast bar, crumbs fall off onto my shirt and lap, jam oozes onto my hands. I reach behind me into the diaper bag to retrieve a wet wipe, still holding onto the bar and steering the car with my knees...More crumbs in my lap and jam on my pants. 

These are a much safer option. :-) And! They don't contain high-fructose corn syrup, which I'm very pleased about. 

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 Tb. Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (you can also use soured soy milk - see directions below)
1/4 cup chia gel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Reduced Sugar Strawberry Preserves (or desired fruit jam: fig, blackberry, raspberry, cherry)

*Soured soy milk: 1 Tb. lemon juice mixed with 1 cup of soy milk. Stir and allow to thicken slightly. Use as needed. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large cookie sheet with Pam and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (first seven listed). Add margarine and cut in until smallish pebbles form. In another small bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, then pour into dry ingredient mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms and all flour is incorporated. It should feel like biscuit dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, adding a bit more flour to dough to make it kneadable. 

With a rolling pin, form dough into a rectangle shape that is approximately 8 x 10"  and 1/4-1/2" thick.  Divide this into smaller squares--about 4 x 4. Spoon about a tablespoon of fruit preserves into the center of the square. Fold other side of dough over the jam and slightly press the seams to close. 

Transfer bars onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. 

Yield: 10 bars