07 December 2006

African-Inspired Quinoa Peanut Soup

I thought I'd share this recipe today since I made it for the second time last night and really enjoyed it once again. This is African-Inspired (but not) Quinoa Peanut Soup from Nava Atlas' soup book. I seriously love this book, I have the newer all-vegan version. I tend to modify from it, but come on, what cookbook don't I do that from (maybe Dreena's?!). Anyway, this soup is more like a stew or a hearty protein-filled all-in-one bowl of goodness.

I created the soup the first time with a few modifications, specifically the following: I added paprika to the recipe, about a teaspoon. I also added a bunch of red pepper flakes to oomph up the spice. I didn't have zucchini and I didn't care, so I subbed one green thing for another, using a small bell pepper. I also had a yam instead of sweet potato, but at this point I am so confused as to what's what, I don't care what it is called... they are good, both yams and sweet potatoes. Finally, the last and what I think is the most important modification, is that I used a lot (like, a real lot, for me) of salt and pepper. I probably used at least a teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper (maybe more?) and at least 1-1.5 teaspoons of salt. The boullion I use is low-sodium, so that could be the reason I added more salt. Anyway, I swear, it's the salt that perks it up, which is weird because I usually don't say that about salt and spices. So, those were my modifications and it came out really earthy and good.

I like how this soup is creamy from the peanut butter and not runny because of the quinoa and at the same time it has a nice kick of spice. I like peanut butter with spicy foods, sort of reminding me of a Thai dipping sauce, but not. It is more like a regular veggie soup, just with a hint of pb kicked in. Vicki posted about this soup one time and said she didn't really care for it. I wonder if it was the spices (or just not a soup for her). She posted about this around the time when I first made this. I was hesitant during the cooking because it was a different recipe by a longshot than what I am used to... stirring peanut butter into a stew that seems to be "done" already? But that was the best part, seriously, this soup rocks! I made this soup again last night and used pretty much the same modifications:
I didn't have as chunky peanut butter. I grinded my own at the co-op yesterday and it was pretty smooth. I enjoyed it better the first time (peanut-wise) with more chunks. Yesterday I didn't add a green bell pepper, instead I added red and yellow and a few local green chilis. Yum! I also think I had a yam again, but I am still confused. All of these photos you see are from round one. I took photos last night but they pretty much look the same... just with more red and yellow. I highly suggest trying this soup. The flavors are unique and interesting and very tasty.

01 December 2006

5-A-Day My Ass

These are crepes again along with maple butter cream that I can't seem to get enough of. The crepes and creme are from Dreena's upcoming book, and wow, they are good. They are made of whole wheat spelt and have 5 types of fruits to go in and on them. I want to mention that simply pureeing foods, such as fruits and veggies, offers a person to cram so much more good stuff into the diet without eating more bulk or at least it mentally seems so. For example, what you see here is more than 1c of each type of fruit, simply pureed down for faster and easier consumption. Plus, that type of presentation goes well with crepes. And don't forget hiding greens in other meals, simply chop them super fine so they are mixed in.

Thinking about people counting and cramming in fiber and good stuff, made me think of that one ridiculous commercial where the woman wakes up in the middle of the night and chomps into a raw bunch of broccoli and then goes back to bed. Come on, after all, she needs at least 25 grams of fiber in her diet daily. Then she wakes early before the alarm, and continues to eat raw veggies while getting dressed and driving to work. She is desperately trying to squeeze in some raw carrots while at her desk at work. Then this crazy lady is even eating raw veggies while walking on the treadmill later in the day. Doesn't she eat meals? Or is it assumed that she is not eating any good foods (drive-thru burger and fries on her way home from the gym?!) and that she needs to spend free moments (and not-so-free) gorging away at raw produce?!
Wait... the point of the whole commercial... there's a pill for all that. Just take a few pills a day because after all, it is "so hard to get fiber in the diet" and continue to eat a bunch of crap instead of eating whole colorful, and fiber-containing, among other things-foods.

I decided not to rant about this (politics, obesity, socioeconomic issues, NSLP, etc), so here I am providing you with my "more than 5-a-day" from a vegan with a nutrition degree. And all in one meal, all on one plate (smoothies take care of this too!). All organic, some of it local: I present to you, Dreena's wonderful spelt crepes with maple butter creme (coming up in her 3rd book), and I served it with local gala apples, peaches that were frozen, frozen strawberries, a fresh banana and always-frozen-blueberries. All more than 1c of fruit each, pureed and gobbled up (divided by two servings). It is so simple and quick and easy to get so much fruit/veggies/good stuff if you simply puree it (starting from whole form not adding anything. Agave nectar is ok, but not necessary).