Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blog-o-sphere Think Tank - #1 - Feb. Edition - What is your favorite winter meal/recipe?

(since I don't have a photo - you can listen to this song! haha!)

My dear friend Andes has started a new blogging group "Blog-o-sphere think tank" - for a fun blogging monthly topic - non-jewelry related!

This month's topic is:
What is your favorite winter meal/recipe?

I wish I had a photograph, but well, I'm not used to photographing my food. And.. well... I don't actually use recipes much either. But, I can kind of make one up!

Being vegan, I've learned to adapt all kinds of "normal" food to being delicious in a vegan way. This winter a favorite of mine was 'chicken' and rice soup.

so for my made up recipe:
olive oil
maybe mushrooms if you have them
brown rice
tvp - Textured Vegetable Protein (you could also use tofu or some sort of fake chicken substitute... or er.. real chicken if you're a meat eater)
seasoning (HA! how vague) I'll give more details in a bit...

As far as measurements - it depends on how much you want to make - and I season everything to taste, and never really know how much I add...

so, to start out - you need to cook the brown rice. this recipe is great if you already have left over rice in the fridge, but of course, you can make some fresh too.

Next - prepare the tvp - if you don't know what tvp is, you can read a bit here:
There are different kinds - we get one that has no real flavor, so it means it needs to be flavored on it's own, as well as reconstituted since it's dry.

For this recipe I like using a fake chicken flavored bullion cube, mixing boiling water w/ it, as well as poultry season which is usually something like parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme (you know, like the song) - sage is my favorite, so I usually add a bit extra and some garlic. The bullion generally is prettttty salty, so if you use that you probably won't need extra salt, but if you are mixing up your own broth or just using boiling water w/ the seasoning, you will definitely need salt.
So mix all that up and let the tvp sit and soak up all the flavor and water - you may need to add a bit more water after a bit if it has soaked it all up.

So while the rice is cooking and the tvp soaking - time to start the veg!

Chop up the carrot, celery and onion (and mushroom if you like) - saute in the olive oil until they're cooked down. I go ahead and add some seasoning to the veg -
poultry seasoning
extra sage

Sometimes de-glazing w/ white wine is fun if you have some, or you can use just a little broth maybe, I don't know, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup or so? Not too much.

Then I add the rice - maybe about 1/2 cup of cooked rice if you're making a big batch for 2 people.

From here, I kind of treat it like risotto for a few minutes - let it start to simmer, soak up the liquid and stir it, letting the rice start to break down. I like making risotto, so this is fun for me, but you can totally skip this step and just toss the rice in.

Add broth - you can either make up more w/ bullion, or whatever veggie broth you use. Probably in the 2 - 3 cup range? again, it would depend on how much you're wanting to make. It's good to have extra as the rice will expand even more.

Tasting the tvp before you add it is good, just to make sure that it has some flavor - it will also soak in flavor from the broth and veggies, but better not to put it in too bland to begin with.

*if you want to use tofu, but don't cook tofu often - you can treat it similarly to the tvp - marinating it in the seasons and you can even saute the tofu separately to give it a better texture that will stand up in the soup.

Once everything is added - I taste it again and add more seasoning if needed. It usually does b/c I tend to be one of those people that adds a little bit several times.

Then you just let it cook for awhile. The longer the better - the rice will break down more and add a wonderful thickness to the soup, making something a bit more like porridge - yummy stick to your ribs goodness.

So that's it! My vegan chicken and rice soup - so yummy.

Make sure to check out other fabulous posts for this month's Blog-o-sphere Think Tank:

Andes Cruz

Stephanie Nocito Clark

Kirsten Skiles

Natsuko Hanks

Shaun Young

Brad Severtson

Wendy Kelly

Kathleen Krucoff

Kathryn Cole


Anonymous said...

oooooh fabulous Beth! I am going to try your recipe, I think! (being vegan also!) yours sounds like a lot more work thou, than mine ;) but sounds super tasty :)

Jewelry by Natsuko said...

thank you so much for detailed recipe, Beth! I'm not vegan but I don't eat a lot of meat. I'd definitely have to try tvp! I do eat a lot of tofu though. tofu is my soul food!

Beth Cyr said...

i did get a bit detailed - it could have been easier...

*saute veggies, add seasoning, add everything else and simmer for a couple hours :)


barbaradonovan said...

I love the detail you used to explain it as I can probably use the help! I'm not a real vegetarian (so hard to give up shellfish in south louisiana!) but eat that way mostly and need to add more vegan to the daily repertoire. Great song - hadn't heard in forever. Reminds me of my sister-n-law planting parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme in that order in our garden as an anniversary gift way way back. A sweet memory :) thanks.