Sunday, October 17, 2010
Stir-fried brussels sprouts, cream of tomato soup.
If I ever have readers, y'all will look back on the four month gap in posting and shake your heads. I deserve rebuke!
Regardless, the above was my lunch today. It was delicious. Gaze on it with envy. Recipes follow.
Stir fried brussels sprouts: (15-20 minutes)
Buy a stalk of brussels sprouts at the farmer's market because they are just unreasonably pretty. Cut... fifteenish sprouts off of the stem, remove tough outer leaves, and rinse. Slice lengthwise into fourths. Dice 1/4 red onion. Smash and skin 4 garlic cloves. Heat 1 tbs vegetable oil on medium high heat. (Yes, if this were a real stir-fry, it would be very high heat. You wouldn't have read this far for fried brussels sprouts, and if I'd said sauteed, half of you would have adjusted the temperature downward. I regret nothing.) Fry the onion until the edges are brown. Add the brussels sprouts and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. (A few red pepper flakes wouldn't be bad here, but I'm feeding a Chilean.) Fry, stirring frequently, until brussels sprouts are tender enough to eat. (7 minutes? You may need to add more oil.) They usually get a little burned when I make them, but I like that. I also like them crunchier than my Midwestern parents- if you don't want your vegetables fighting back, you might want to splash a little water in the pan and cover them for the last minute. Eat
Vegan Cream of Tomato Soup.
There are two tricks to this soup. One is the mirepoixesque base of sauteed red bell pepper, yellow onion, and cilantro. (My Puerto Rican roommate taught me this. Her stews were excellent, though a bit heavy on the chorizo and bullion cubes.) The other is the addition of good quality bread partway through the cooking process. (A cookbook taught me this. Such is life.)
Take two pounds really good tomatoes. Boil water, immerse tomatoes for fifteen seconds, and then remove skins and stem scar. Do not squeeze out seeds and juice. When it's not the best time of the year (tomato season!) you can use good quality canned tomatoes (I think they're 22 ounce cans). Cook them longer to remove the canned taste, and use as little of the canning liquid as seems reasonable.
Chop one yellow onion, one red bell pepper, (Or orange. That would be awesome. In fact, I used a couple of red jalapeños, the product of another impulse buy at the farmer's market. Congratulations, you've found the driving force in my culinary experimentation.), a bay leaf, and a handful of cilantro. Saute in 1 tbs vegetable oil in a large heavy pan until onion is soft and translucent. Sprinkle with salt. Coursely slice in peeled tomatoes, 4 smashed and peeled cloves of garlic, and 2 slices good quality white bread, torn into 1 inch pieces. Bring to a simmer, and let bubble away for ten minutes. Cool slightly, and then pulse in a food processor or blender (in two or three batches) until slightly chunky or very smooth, depending on your preference. Return to heat, warm slightly, and then thin as needed with broth, white wine, beer, or water.
If you wanted to have the analog of a grilled cheese sandwich with this, I'd steer away from vegan cheese which has a distressing texture when warmed. Try mashed avocado on toast- perhaps with some toasted sesame seeds.