Category Archives: soups

Giant White Corn

Since my post about the Price Rite which opened near me, I’ve returned countless times. I have especially enjoyed exploring new ingredients in the Hispanic foods aisle.

One of my discoveries was Giant White Corn. The dried kernels were definitely giant – about the size of a penny. Inspired by the recipe on the Goya package, I prepared a stew with pork, making a few modifications based on the ingredients I had on hand. The result was delicious and I’ll definitely make it again.

Giant White Corn Stew
Pork Stew with Giant White Corn

A similar recipe can be found on the Goya site here. The modifications I made were:

  1. I used the whole package of corn (1 lb) and a bit more pork.
  2. I didn’t have the spices and the sofrito on hand, so I improvised, replacing some pork broth with water and seasoning with chipotle and cilantro flavor cubes made by Knorr.
  3. Last, I ate the stew with some hot sauce and liberal amounts of fresh cilantro.

My (Almost) Vegan Week

Maybe it was an overly indulgent week of Valentine’s treats, cheese and duck-fat fried poutine, or maybe it was the RAVE diet vegan infomercial we saw in the hotel, but something made me want to give animal products a break this week.

I wasn’t planning on being awfully strict – after all, someone brought a bag of Reese’s to work yesterday and there’s the matter of a gallon of vanilla ice cream already in the freezer. Instead, my goal was to eliminate animal products from my cooking.

The verdict? Although I don’t see myself becoming vegan or even vegetarian, I would like to cook this way more of the time. Aside from being healthy for myself and the world, much of the food I made was inexpensive and lasted longer than meaty leftovers.

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal
Pumpkin oatmeal made with steel cut oats and soymilk

Here are some of my favorites from this week:

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins – I have to admit, my heart usually sinks a little when I’m offered vegan baked goods. But these excellent muffins don’t suffer at all from lack of eggs or butter.  I substituted maple syrup for the molasses and used whole wheat flour.

Pumpkin oatmeal – I cooked steel cut oats in a mixture of unsweetened soy milk and water, adding some nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup and raisins. Then, in the last few minutes of cooking, I stirred in the leftover pumpkin from the muffins, about a half cup. It was delicious – luckily I made enough to last for a few mornings.

Chipotle split pea soup – Split pea soup usually gets its smoky flavor from ham; here, the smokiness is accomplished with chipotles (an ingredient I find myself using more and more). Not only is this vegan, but it’s also very thrifty – the whole batch, around 10 servings, cost me less than $2 to make.

Tofu scramble – onion and bell pepper sauteed with firm tofu, topped with scallions, parsley and avocado. Looked and tasted great, kept me full for hours.

Armenian Apricot Soup

I’d seen this recipe at 101 Cookbooks before, but didn’t bite – I’m not overly fond of fruit-flavored soups. Maybe this time the title caught my eye because I was planning to stop by an Armenian Festival later in the day.

Armenian Apricot Soup

It turned out to be a fortunate ‘impulse cook’. Armed with a bag of red lentils and amazing Turkish apricots (both from Whole Foods’ bulk aisle) I whipped up a batch. The flavor is complex and like nothing I’ve tasted before.

Some things I might do differently next time: halve the recipe (it made approximately 12 cups, a bit hefty for my apartment-sized fridge), use a tad less cumin, spice it up with a bit of hot sauce, maybe add more water for a thinner soup (though simply adding water while reheating does save fridge space). Oh, and maybe have people over for soup?

If you didn’t catch my link above, you can get the recipe here.

Butternut Squash Chili

Lately I’ve been occupying my scarce leisure time with an important assignment – clipping the most interesting recipes from my stack of cooking magazines. Luckily, one of the few I’ve tried was a keeper – I’ve already made it twice in two weeks. It’s extremely quick, healthy and perfect for fall.

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

It isn’t pictured in the magazine, and now I know why – it’s not terribly photogenic.

The recipe is “Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard” from the March 2006 issue of Bon Appetit. It took me a very easy half-hour to make because I cut the butternut squash ahead of time. I added more than the recommended amount of chili powder, extra hot sauce, and substituted vegetable with beef broth for a heartier flavor. Great to bring to work for lunch.