Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tomato Pistou Soup

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It's soup weather here in the northern climes. Yes, that's real Michigan snow. And yes, we use top loaders and dump trucks to clear away the snow. Here where I live, they pile it up on the Lake Michigan beach and it creates a wild effect with the wind and sand. Blows all over the place. West Michigan is pretty dang windy. 

Image result for dump truck michigan snow
(careful out there, fellow drivers)

Being all hunkered down makes it easy to create menus - lots and lots of hearty soups.... and stuff from the freezer, cuz who in their right mind wants to drive with those people on the roads? 

Here's a creation of mine that I think you'll like. I call it 'Tomato' Pistou because traditionally, pistou sauce is more of a fresh basil, and since we are plum out of fresh basil at this time of year, I used tomatoes instead. I kept adding veg and created the lovely tomato mixture, and viola! 

Tomato Pistou Soup
10 C water
5-6 medium size red potatoes, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 leeks, diced (be sure to wash them - they always get sandy)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 C fresh green beans, cut in 3/4 inch 
1 can drained and rinsed dark kidney beans
1/2 C bread crumbs
1 t salt or to taste
pinch of saffron

Simmer the above until everything is nice and soft. 

In a food processor, make the tomato pistou and add it to the soup. 
3/4 C parmesan
1/2 can tomato paste (about 3 T)
1/3 C raw almonds
1 1/2 T dried basil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 C olive oil
black pepper to taste (be liberal)

Friday, February 1, 2019

Eggplant Walnut Meatballs

Looking to cut out some meat from your diet? Why not try something that will be sure to please your whole family? Meatballs!

I've never been a big fan of greasy meatballs, and I never succeeded in frying them or baking them evenly - mine always turned out looking like flying saucers. And you have to admit it's a bit barbaric to touch all that meat with your hand and form the little balls. What about the giant meatballs? Are you a fan?

Basically what I did with this recipe is add 1 C ground walnuts to my already delicious eggplant balls. The nuts added body, texture, flavor, and protein.

Tracy's Eggplant Walnut Meatballs

1 ½ pound of firm, small, peeled eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T olive oil
½  t salt
½ C fresh parsley
1/3 C fresh basil
1 C panko bread crumbs
2/3 C vegan parmesan cheese(recipe below)
2 eggs (I used 2 flax eggs)
1 C walnuts

Roast the eggplant cubes and garlic cloves in the oil and salt.  (Foil covered baking sheet, 350 degrees, 30 minutes.) When cool, transfer to a food processor and process till chunky. Remove to a large mixing bowl. Next, grind the walnuts, parsley, and basil in the food processor until chunky. Add to the eggplant bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Form small balls with wet hands and bake on a parchment lined sheet at 375 for about 25-35 minutes. 

These freeze very well, so make plenty! They reheat well by lightly frying them just before serving. I do not recommend mixing them in the sauce - they retain their delicate shape and taste better if you simply serve them atop your pasta and sauce. 

Best Vegan Parmesan
¼ C nutritional yeast      
1 C raw cashews              
1 t salt

Here’s what you do:
Process in a high speed blender until a powder is produced. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.