Saturday, February 24, 2007

Three Soups, A big batch of Granola, and Eggplant Chips. What a day in the kitchen!

Three Soups Tonight!

New batch of Granola.

Eggplant Chips.

I got busy and made three different soups tonight to go with the big batch of rice I made yesterday. I also wanted to be sure that Sweetie would have 'leftovers' for the rest of the weekend and to take to work on Monday.

If we had a bigger refridgerator, I'd do the weekend making up meals ahead, but there is no way with the two of us we could get it all eaten. And I'm not real sure it's a good idea to be freezing the Thai food. While I'm sure it is entirely freezable, we are enjoying the taste of it cooked fresh with fresh ingredients. How does tofu freeze up after it's been cooked anyway? I suppose it does, but I'm not ready to find out yet.

And that is not all I made tonight. I made up another big batch of granola - the 5 cups of rolled oats recipe so we have our granola now for another week. For the granola, I combine two recipes, mixing and matching the ingredients as the mood strikes me and based on the ingredients we have on hand. Right now, we have a lot of ingredients for granola, so we are getting the 'deluxe' model.

Oh, remember the story of the Eggplant? Well, Sweetie can't say anything to me about another eggplant going to waste cause I cooked it up tonight - using a recipe called Eggplant Chips. They were quite tasty, not really chips, too soft but very tasty.

I talked to both my daughters this weekend. Daughter 1 - the Vegan Daughter has been doing some creative work with her blog, Veganville, and figured out how to have a 3 column blog, using Blogger. I want one too. She gave me the link for the tutorial and I made an 'experimental' blog to play around with and sure enough got it into 3 columns.

Daughter 2 - and she told me she has weekly cooking classes with some other women who are teaching each other how to cook 'ethnic' cuisines. Daughter 2 is learning how to cook Japanese and Phillipine foods. I was excited to learn that and asked her if she would blog her newly learned recipes. She said she would, so I am looking forward to seeing what she does with her newly learned skills. I figure with both daughters trying new foods and recipes and giving them ratings, then I can just borrow from their experience. And when they want to borrow from my experience, well, they can find recipes at this blog. Why do I keep saying that this is not a recipe/cooking blog when so far that is the majority of what I have put on this blog? Well, because right now I'm in the fever pitch of our project of converting to vegetarian, so that is where a lot of my attention is going right now.

Last night I made Suki Yaki (Japanese). I really enjoy suki yaki - it's one of my favorite Japanese meals. The recipe I used last night though left something to be desired. Either it was me, the chef, or the recipe, but that was not one of the better suki yaki meals I've had, either that I've prepared or on those rare occasions when we eat out. I'm not going to include the recipe here as I won't likely use it again. Maybe there wasn't enough sake in the liquid mixture - maybe too much daikon radish. I know I like to add extra ingredients like bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, mushrooms, bean sprouts, even if the recipe doesn't call for them.

Okay, so Sweetie tried all three soups tonight. How clever he is and you can see that in the photo. He found one of our old compartmentalized lunch containers, and it worked so handily for him to try one of each of the three soups. It looked so pretty, I made him wait while I took a photo. I sampled each of the soups and rather knew what I thought, so it was interesting to hear his ratings of the three soups.

Tofu/Pineapple Soup

2-1/4 cups soup base (1395 mg sodium)
1/2 cup (125 g) canned crushe'd pineapple, unsweetened
7/8 cups (212 g) canned diced tomatoes (385 mg sodium)
1 lb (454 g) tofu, bite sized pieces fried
1-1/8 cups (267 g) water
1-3/4 cups (210 g) diced Vietnamese celery (regular celery also works)
1-1/2 tablespoon (24 g) soy sauce (1140 mg sodium)


1. Fry the tofu.
2. Place the: soup base, pineapple, tomatoes, tofu and water in a pot. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Add the celery and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer. Turn off burner.
We usually eat this soup with rice. Serves: 6 Preparation time: 45 minutes

(We both really like this soup. It has a sweet but tangy taste to it. These are not ingredients I would have likely thought to mix. But now that I think of it, tomatoes and pineapple do go on pizza, so maybe they are compatible. I used a vegetable broth soup base. A thank you shout out to Kyo for providing the recipe at

Sweet Potato Curry with Sticky Rice

1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 small or 1 big sweet potato cubed
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
any other root vegetables, chopped
soy or vegan fish sauce (to taste)
cooking oil
2 cups uncooked sticky rice (also called sweet or glutinous rice)


This is a super easy and super yummy recipe.

Warm up some cooking oil in a pot, cook onion until softened. Add garlic and curry and stir for 2 minutes. Throw in the rest of the vegetables and stir until coated. Add the coconut milk and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. I like my vegetables really soft so I cook them for a long time. Season with soy/vegan fish sauce.

Serve with rice.

Sticky Rice:
The rice should be rinsed and soaked for at least an hour before cooking. Boil a pot/wok with some water, just enough that it won't touch the bamboo steamer. Place the rice in a cheesecloth, or on top of some lettuce leaves so they don't fall through the steamer. Place the steamer in the wok/on the pot and steam for about 10 minutes. If you don't own a bamboo steamer, get one. Just for the rice, it's worth it!

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 30 minutes

(We gave this one a thumbs up. It's got that very Thai taste to it with using the red curry paste. Using the curry paste together with the sweet taste of the coconut milk was something new for us. And using in combination with sweet potato. I would make this recipe again. Although, I really prefer the taste of sweet potatoes cooked in more Western style, so while I would make this recipe again, I would more likely make another of the Thai with noodles recipes before I would this one. Only because I would use sweet potatoes in a different way. Sweetie liked the soup - gave it a thumbs up )

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 to 8 ounces Swiss chard or spinach
juice of 1 lemon or lime
salt to taste


Both nourishing and sublimely satisfying, this thick soup incorporates fall's first sweet potatoes with seasonal greens. Red lentils, which cook to a warm golden color, are available in natural food stores and ethnic groceries. Serve with Chapatis or a store-bought flatbread.

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the water, followed by the lentils, sweet potatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are mushy and the potatoes are done, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the greens, remove stems and midribs, then slice into narrow shreds. Stir into the soup along with the lemon juice. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with a small amount of water.

Continue to simmer gently until the greens are just done, about 5 minutes for spinach and 10 to 15 minutes for chard. Season with salt. Serve at once, or if time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two. Heat through before serving.

(We didn't care much for this one. It was not a Thai recipe. It was from a vegetarian recipe and while it was hardy enough, flavorful enough, it has the 'vegetarian' food quality to it. I'm just not ready to adjust my palette yet to what I consider to be somewhat bland tasting vegetarian recipes. It was a nice touch using sweet potato, and the lemon spiced up the flavor, but I'm not that fond of lentils, so it's hard to get around the fact that the soup has the taste of lentils. I would not likely use the recipe again, but I might in those early winter months. Sweetie didn't care much for the taste either).

Very Easy and Addictive Eggplant "Chips"

1 good eggplant, preferably organic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (**less works fine too)
tamari to taste (about 1-2 tablespoons)
granulated garlic, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)


This recipe is ridiculously easy, but I practically make a meal out of it every week. Everyone else seems to love it, too.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the olive oil on the cookie sheet, along with the tamari and garlic. Swoosh the cookie sheet around to mix.
Slice eggplant into about 1/4" thick rounds. Place eggplant slices on cookie sheet. Turn each slice over to coat both sides. Bake for about 10 minutes on each side. (Turn over when browned on the bottom). They are done when they look caramelized on each side.

I pretty much eat this all to myself, along with a salad and maybe some bread or something. I am not sure why I love them so much, but I hope you will too!!

**For a lower fat version, you can just use a teaspoon or so of oil, and make up the rest of the liquid with a veggie broth. This works fine too. OR, you can use an oil spray and coat each side that way. (I have a reusable Misto sprayer that I refill with olive oil). Serves: 1 (if you are me) Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus bake time

( Have to give a thanks shout out to quintess for sharing this recipe. It wa good, very tasty and I will gladly make it again. Nifty use for eggplant and it baked up quickly. I don't know if I followed the recipe correctly in baking it, because what I got was not crunchy chips, but they were cooked and tasty. So woo hoo for this recipe, great snack and one I can eat all by myself whenever I want. Since I just love the shape and color of eggplant, I can pick one up at the grocery store any time now and know exactly what I want to do with it!)

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