Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Brunswick Stew

When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to this place called "Bones and Buddies II". (I have no idea if there was a B&B I or where it was....) It was a weird little hole in the wall that served lots of greasy southern food at tables with paper napkins in a red plastic basket and hot sauce at every table. The only reasons to go there in my childhood opinion were square dogs, root beer and Brunswick stew.

Square Dogs are easy enough to veganize and require no special instructions, they were hot dogs that were sliced up and served on toast with lettuce and mayo. Slice up a veggie dog, toast bread, spread a little vegan mayo and you are good to go. By the way, kids love square dogs and it saves you from the too few hot dogs vs. too many buns issue. Also it is way easier to locate vegan wheat bread than vegan wheat hot dog buns!

Brunswick stew however... that's a much different story. The original version was a vegetable stew that was heavy on young green Lima beans (I really have a thing for Lima beans...) and other good southern veggies with chicken and smokey ham. I have always loved vegetables and this dish was full of them. So many of my childhood food memories are wrapped up in this odd stew. It was not elegant, was not pretty and even contained okra (oh the horrors!!) and yet I loved it! So here is my new veganized version, renamed : New Brunswick Stew. My husband, who does not care for Lima beans, even conceded that it was good. It evokes the correct flavors without harming either Mr. Chicken or Miss Piggy. That gives me even more reason to love it.

New Brunswick Stew
(with low fat option)


2 TBS earth balance, or other vegan margarine (leave out for low fat version)
1 medium onion
1/2 large red pepper
1 stalk celery
2 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth or bouillon
2 cups water
1 lb young green lima beans
1 large potato
1 vegan not chicken bouillon cube
1 cup okra
1 cup corn, cut from cob
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 TBS hot sauce (or to taste)
1 TBS liquid smoke


  • Chop all vegetables and set aside
  • In a large, heavy bottomed pot heat the earth balance or (for low fat version) a small amount of vegetable broth and saute the onion, red pepper celery, and carrot.
  • As soon as the onion begins to soften, season heavily with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, like the song....). Add garlic and stir carefully so it doesn't burn.
  • Once garlic is lightly colored add vegetable broth and water. Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add Lima beans, potato and bouillon cube. Return to a boil.
  • Boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Check to be sure that the bouillon cube is dissolved and then turn down to a low simmer.
  • Add okra, corn, tomatoes, hot sauce and liquid smoke. Simmer on low until the vegetables are done to your liking. (I did about another 30 minutes on the lowest possible flame)
  • Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Note: To have the best stew, use the freshest vegetables possible!! I personally do not like to boil them to mush but others may feel differently.

So the next time you have some Lima beans: fix this stew, sit out the hot sauce, pour yourself some sweet tea or root beer and see if you don't fall in love too!! (Try to skip the paper napkins though... they aren't so good for the environment)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Veggie Stroganoff

Tonight I was craving something creamy and had a big bag of mushrooms so I decided to try to make some vegan stroganoff. I happen to own a TON of cookbooks both old and new so I flipped through a few to look for the flavor profile that was unique to stroganoff. What I found was this.... they are all different! The only things that are unique to stroganoff besides mushrooms were non-vegan flavors: sour cream, beef, egg noodles. Beyond that trinity it seemed to be an "anything-goes" sort of dish. Some used basil-oregano-garlic, some used a thyme-rosemary combo. One version even called for ketchup!

Since there seems to be a laissez faire attitude towards a "proper" stroganoff, it should be the perfect dish to veganize! I created my own flavor profile. In the version in the picture I used firm tofu. This was the only misstep I feel I made. It didn't absorb the flavors well and was too heavy in the dish. I ended up eating around it and picking it out of the leftovers. The recipe below omits it.

Veggie Stroganoff


1 cup silken tofu
2 TBS rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
2 TBS earth balance or other vegan "butter"
1 TBS olive oil
3 sun dried tomatoes, drained of any oil and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS dried thyme
1 bay leaf, crushed
red pepper and salt, to taste
3 TBS flour
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 "not beef" vegan bouillon cube
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tsp browning sauce *

pasta or rice, to serve


  • First make a simple vegan sour cream by combining silken tofu and vinegar in a food processor or blender and blending well. Put aside until later.
  • In a 3 quart sauce pan heat oil and earth balance. Once EB is melted, saute sun dried tomatoes, onions and carrots
  • When onions are soft, add the mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf.
  • Cook until mushrooms have given off most of their water, then add garlic. Stir carefully and watch the garlic so it does not burn.
  • After a few seconds add the salt, pepper and flour. Stir constantly and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and water and bring to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, add bouillon cube and browning sauce*. Stir until bouillon dissolves and liquid is reduced and thick.
  • Stir in the frozen peas.
  • Once the peas are heated, turn down the flame and add the vegan sour cream. The mixture does not need to boil again.
  • Serve over rice or "buttered" pasta.
* Browning Sauce is usually near the gravies and gravy making ingredients at the grocery store. Read the ingredients carefully as they are not all vegan but I was able to find one that was made of only root vegetables. If you cannot find one, leave it out. The meal will still taste good!

By the way.... if you live in the Baltimore area: check out Baltimore Vegan Drinks. Their last event was last night at Dionysus in Mount Vernon and had a great turn out. Even though I was exhausted from work I went and had a blast. It was very nice to meet lots of other area vegans and get together for a few drinks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fat-free southern vegetable saute.... and sinful peanut butter cookies

This week traffic has been HORRIBLE!! I have been getting home around 7 PM or later due to accidents and rubberneckers. So tonight I chose an easy, fat free, one pot dish: a southern vegetable saute. It was a combination of potatoes, beans, carrots and a local staple....kale! It was tasty, simple and fairly balanced nutritionally.

Southern Vegetable Saute


3/4 cup wine (I used white)
1 cup double strength vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 small red-skinned potatoes, cut into slices
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 lb kale, washed and chopped
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
salt& pepper
red pepper flakes
generous pinch each of: rosemary, sage, thyme


In order to keep this dish fat-free, pick a non-stick of a surface as possible (such as a green pan or well seasoned cast iron pan). Using a tiny amount of the wine to prevent sticking, saute the garlic. (Throughout this process add wine (up to 3/4 cup) and then broth (up to 1 cup) as necessary to continue to prevent sticking.) When the garlic begins to brown add potatoes, carrots, red pepper flakes and spices. Stir carefully and continue to add more liquid if necessary. Cook for a few minutes until the potatoes gain some color and begin to soften before adding the kale. Wilt the kale before adding salt and pepper to taste. Once kale is throughout wilted stir in black eyed peas and heat through. Adjust seasonings as necessary and serve with hot sauce on the side.

The other night we were dying for something sweet, so after perusing lots of cookbooks I came up with these peanut butter cookies. It was wonderful because I didn't have to make a special run to the store for anything...They are NOT low fat but they ARE delicious. We enjoyed them with big glasses of almond milk.

Sinfully Good Peanut Butter Cookies


1 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 1/4 cup other sugars (granulated / brown)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan shortening
1/2 cup silken tofu
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt


  • Using a hand mixer, cream together peanut butter, sugars and agave nectar.
  • After they are well combined, mix in shortening.
  • Add silken tofu and mix well. There should be no visible lumps of tofu.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
  • Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture. Mixture will be stiff.
  • Using a tablespoon, drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, leaving criss-crossed lines.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 9 minutes. Allow to rest on the tray for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A vegan goes on a road trip....

Earlier this week, I found out that I was going to have to make an unplanned trip to Virginia to visit my folks. While it is always a pleasure to travel, travelling as a vegan comes with its own set of obstacles. For example, I don't believe Amtrak has any vegan offereings in their cafe car and I now know that the coffee shop in the Baltimore station doesn't offer soy milk.... regardless of the pleas of this vegan prior to her 6:10 AM departure... (why won't Dunkin Donuts get with it???)

Anyway, I shouldn't whine too much. I had planned ahead and packed my own food and a small mug of coffee. Its just that at 6- anything in the morning a person needs more than one mug! Luckily I arrived safely and without injuring myself or anyone else despite my coffee shortage.

Now...imagine my pleasure when I learned that my parents had scoped out a nearby vegan friendly restaraunt from the awesome website!! Score! Are my folks the best or what? Plus the restaurant was totally awesome.

The restaurant Nawab (pronounced Nah-Vahb), was a delightful Indian restaurant with a vegetarian menu with clearly marked vegan items. When I indicated I was a vegan, the hostess/ server quickly pointed out that they could also veganize most of the vegetarian options as well and told me not to hesitate to ask. When I ordered she even reccomended a vegan bread option (the roti). Everything about this restaurant was accomodating and perfect. My mother (who doesn't really eat "ethnic" food) asked a million questions and each one was patiently answered. My father and brother both seemed to love their meals as well. I had the Vegetable Jhalfrazie and plain roti. The dishwas good and had tons of flavor. I am a real fanatic about rice and was especially pleased to have some delicious aged basmati with my dish. This may seem silly to write about rice but still after a long train ride... it was great to have something comforting and familiar like this. The other vegan possibilities included Chana Masala, a vegetable curry and Eggplant Bartha.

The restaurant itself was clean and subdued with tables that were well spaced out and comfortable. My mother especially like the lighting on the walls and the tiles. All in all it was a great meal and I suspect that my parents will actually continue to eat here without me.

That was the high point in the day, foodwise. Dinner was at a place called Szechuan Inn. If you are a Vegan or Vegetarian..


The trouble started when we walked in the door:

Me: I am a vegan, do you have any vegetarian food on your buffet?

Hostess: No, but you can order from the menu. We have a vegetarian section.

Me: I am a very strict vegetarian. Are there any chicken stocks or fish stocks in the sauces?

Hostess: (with a slightly odd look) No, but if you tell your server she can make sure everything is all vegetables.

So the "Vegetarian Section" turns out to be an 8 item section marked simply "vegetable". It includes Ma Poo Tau Fu which is "cooked with a small amount of fresh pork". Hmm... this should have been a clue. But I see they offer Buddha's Delight which has always been 1) vegetarian 2) a combination of tofu and vegetables

You know what they say about assumptions.....

My parents order the buffet and I order steamed vegetable dumplings and Buddha's Delight. The waitress seems very perturbed that I am not eating from the buffet, so I explain that I am a vegan and what that entails. She nods, confirms my order and leaves the table. After about 3 minutes she returns to inform me that all sauces are made with chicken stock. So now my order is changed to the dumplings, rice , steamed veggies and (I assume) tofu. She still seems quite annoyed but I am still unsure why. In an attempt to make the best of this, I mentally tell myself how HEALTHY this low-sodium, low-fat meal is going to be.

Ten additional minutes later she returns to tell me that although the vegetable dumplings are on the menu, they do not actually serve them. Now I am having rice, steamed veggies and (hopefully) some tofu. The server still seems annoyed. Well, I didn't really need the dumplings anyway so thats fine by me...

The food finally arrives. I am served... white rice and steamed veggies... no tofu. Ever hopeful, I ask for some Sriracha hot sauce and I am informed that there isn't any. Instead I am told they have hot oil. The still annoyed server brings me some other (very hot) hot sauce. It turns out that this hot sauce was the highlight of my dinner.

Finally I dig in. The food is plentiful. Thanks to my lack of sauces it is healthy. Oddly it is tofu free.... Remember my thing about rice? Well I guess I am spoiled because in most Chinese restaurants I am served jasmine sticky rice, brown rice or some other high quality rice. This appeared to be Uncle Bens. Now if you are not a rice person, this wouldn't matter but.... for me it was just one more thing.

The final blow though was that as we were leaving I see a huge industrial size bottle of Sriracha hot sauce sitting on the bar!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Southern Vegetable Goodness!!

Tonight's dinner started as I was thinking about those hoecakes.... I was sitting in traffic pondering their crunchy goodness and realized how much they made me think of fritters. There are so many varieties of vegetable fritters out there, so I decided to try to create some based loosely on the hoecake recipe. The resulting fritters are crunchy fried vegan morsels which are not at all healthy! They are pretty tasty though. I decided to "do penance" for the little greaseballs by having a very healthy assortment of vegetables (still in a very southern style) to fill the plate. In the end tonight's menu was:

  • Southern-Style vegetable Fritters
  • cucumber salad
  • roasted tomatoes
  • pickled beets with onions
  • simple garlicky greens

The Cucumber Salad was the first "recipe" that I remember successfully following as a child. I told my father I would make part of dinner. This is what I made: thinly sliced cucumbers (my favorite little ones are still in season!!) and onions in a weak vinegar brine with salt, pepper, sweetener and dill. Although simple, its still light and refreshing....Yum!

Since my husband doesn't care for dill we had Pickled Beets just for him. He likes them with some sliced onions, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and a mixture of two vinegars (balsamic and red wine) and olive oil.

The Roasted Tomatoes were out of this world. I combined sliced tomatoes with balsamic vingar. olive oil, basil, LOTS of garlic and salt and pepper. Then I roasted everything for about two hours at 300 degrees. Besides some very occasional stirring, the hardest part was chopping the tomatoes. Over the course of two hours the garlic mellowed, the vinegar reduced and sweetened and the basil intensified, leaving a side dish that is more tempting than candy!

The Garlicky Greens were a sauteed combination of baby napa cabbage and spinach sauteed with garlic, salt and pepper. It was really simple, healthy and tasty.

Finally the intended piece du resistance...

Southern Vegetable Fritters


1/4 cup silken tofu

1 cup unsweetend soy milk

splash vinegar (white, rice or white wine)

1-2 TBS Texas Pete hot sauce

1 TBS nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup orange pepper, finally chopped

1/4 cup corn kernals

small handfull chives, finely chopped

1/8 cup sun dried tomatoes (roasted in oil), chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup cornmeal

peanut oil, for frying


  • Add vinegar to soy milk and let sit aside for a few minutes.
  • Using a handmixer, fork or potato masher mash tofu. Combine tofu and surdled soy milk, mixing well to remove all lumps.
  • Stir in hot sauce, Nutritional yeast and garlic powder.
  • Stir in all vegetables. Add salt and pepper.
  • Sift baking powder (or mix with a fork) into cornmeal and then fold this mixture into soy/ vegetable mixture. The resulting combo will be fairly stiff.
  • Drop by tablespoon into hot peanut oil to fry.

Notes: You could probably use any comination of vegetables that you prefer. I personally would have liked these spicier in the future and will go heavier on the hot sauce.

In the end the only thing that was missing was some form of okra and we would have had a true southern vegetable review....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the best black beans!

Since it my first week back to school, I am leaving work at least an hour later than I should. There is so much for teachers to do when setting up their classrooms for the year and even though I teach music, I am no exception. So I have come to rely on my new favorite appliance: my crock pot! I simply throw it all in, turn it on and have dinner when I get home. The food isn't necessarily gourmet, but it is nutritious, delicious and best of all easy!!

Tonight's beans came out especially well. I've read through dozens of different cookbooks and considered lots of different spice combinations and thought this was the best combo we have had yet. They had a great flavor, slightly smoky and spicy, with lots of good peppers. We ate them with hoe cakes, which are essentially crispy fried cornmush pancakes. I read somewhere that they were called hoecakes, because they were originally made so large that they had to be flipped with garden hoes.... ours fit on a normal spatula though.

My husband ate a ton of the hoe cakes and I ate a huge bowl of beans, so there was something for everyone this meal. Plus the recipe makes a huge pot of beans, so I can take some with me to my parents when I see them this weekend. Everyone likes a vegan who brings food!

(The hoecake is the golden yellow fried bit sinking into the beans. )

Tasty Black Beans
(Low fat option)


4 cans black beans (buy a good brand that is not already cooked to mush!!)
1 cup white wine
2 TBS olive oil (optional)
3 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 whole onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers (from a can in adobo sauce) left whole
2 bay leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 TBS oregano
3-4 good cranks of freshly ground black pepper
a pinch salt


Throw everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8+ hours. Before serving, mash some of the beans with a hand masher to thicken everything.

Hopefully in a week or so, I will be back to making fancier food. It just always takes a while to get back into my routines and finish setting up. It is good to have these sorts of recipes to eat during times like this.

Monday, August 17, 2009

so my husband loves me soooo much.....

that he spent four hours recreating the winning dish from Top Chef's vegan challenge with Zooey Deschanel! Admittedly he says he spent one hour searching for a cutting board (I recently re-organized) but the recipe was extremely involved to say the least. You can find it at the official Bravo TV site.

It was really excellent and he did a great job making it!! I married the best! It was super garlicky and comforting. I usually don't care for zucchini but in this, it was perfect!! Look how beautifully it came out:

Plus when he was done... the kitchen wasn't even a mess!!!

Its a shame that the winning dish had to come from the chef that complained the most about cooking for a vegan though. To balance him out check out this excellent blog entry about vegetarianism by judge Jay Oseland. I only wish Mr. Oseland had been given a chance to voice his opinions on air.

P.S. Here is the other delicious looking recipe from Chef Rick Bayless for Vegan Tamales

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The last supper

Tomorrow is my first day back to work after the summer break, so I chose one of the most comforting foods I could think of: miso soup. Now, this may seem like an odd choice but I love miso soup. I mean I REALLY LOVE miso soup. When I'm sick it is what I crave and when we are out eating in a Japanese restaurant, I always manage to eat my husband's as well as mine (luckily... he doesn't mind too much). This particular soup, I amped up with tons of vegetables and some rice noodles, which is sacrilege I am sure but delicious nonetheless.

We followed it with my first homemade sushi attempt (which totally felt like cheating because it was so easy), inari sushi. Everything (except the rice) that I needed for the sushi came in this little kit, which I bought at the Asian grocery store:

There were no English directions, so I used the pictures as a clue and in about the time it took to cook the sticky rice we had delicious little pockets of tofu stuffed with seasoned rice and a packet of garnishes cutely labeled "flake". I usually only get this in sushi restaurants but the home version was equally good. Here is the finished product:

After a final survey we concluded that I loved the inari and DH thought that they were "ok". He seemed to prefer eating a big bowl of the sticky rice with some cucumber. The next time I make sushi at home, my goal is to do it like these guys:

Now since the sushi was essentially rice and tofu, we ate tons of miso soup tonight. My husband even said that it was better than the stuff you get in restaurants!

Deluxe Miso Soup


a 2-inch piece of kombu, rinsed (a type of seaweed)
4 pieces of dried shitake mushroom
small bunch chives
splash rice wine
splash soy sauce

a handful of dried rice noodles
2 cups of mixed chopped vegetables of your choice and tofu
(* I used carrots, chives, napa, laver, red peppers, peas and tofu)
2 TBS miso (fermented soybean paste)


Begin by making your Dashi. Fill a two quart stock pot with water. Add the kombu, chives and dried mushrooms and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, then add the wine and soy sauce. After 15 more minutes, strain out the solids, reserving the mushrooms. Taste the Dashi and add more soy if necessary.

Take a moment to chop the rehydrated shitakes.

Bring the broth back to a boil. Reduce heat and add the noodles. Once noodles are soft add the other vegetables, tofu and the shitakes. Heat through and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the miso but do not allow the liquid to boil again. Serve immediately.

Miso is excellent for your health. It is high in many trace minerals, including zinc, manganese and copper. Some studies also suggest that it may help prevent breast cancer among women. Plus it is super tasty. I am no doctor though, so do not take my advice in place of a medical professional!! This information is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure anything... Got it? Be smart and do your own research!

Friday, August 14, 2009

in food as in marriage....compromise is good!!

The other day my husband and I went shopping at a local Asian Market, Han Ah Reum. He rarely goes grocery shopping with me, but when he does it definitely alters the contents of our cart. The case in point on this last trip was a Nakiri (a Japanese Vegetable Knife). I felt we didn't need it, but my DH insisted I would love it... I compromised and wouldn't you know he was right! I love the new knife and used today's vegetable soup as an excuse to chop and chop and chop.

Eventually, my DH saw just how much fun I was having in the kitchen and came to join me in the soup-making. Before I knew it, he had the knife and was adding stuff to the soup....stuff I wouldn't have added. Stuff like the basil, oregano and marjoram. It wasn't the spices themselves that I objected to but the quantities. Nor did I object to the rice in principal, but I was thinking pasta... Since I wouldn't even have my lovely new knife if it weren't for following his earlier suggestion, I decided to try to compromise on the soup ingredients as well.

Well... Surprise Suprise this was a delicious soup!! And easy too!! In honor of our joint efforts I am naming it : Marriage Is About Compromise Soup or MIAC Soup for short. I suggest you try it at home and see if you don't love it too!!

1 rib celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 head baby napa cabbage, finely chopped
1/2 cup green beans, chopped into small pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 cup minced fresh oregano
1/4 cup minced fresh marjoram
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 tofurky italian sausage, chopped into small pieces
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 cup wine (I used rice wine, white would work just as well)
4 cups hot water
2 Vegan Not Beef Bouillon cubes
red pepper flakes, to taste

1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
1 additional cup water (if necessary)
Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Put everything except cooked rice and water in crock pot and cook on low 7-8 hours.
2. One hour before serving, stir in rice and additional water, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.

We were able to throw this together and simply leave it, while we went to a recital for one of my husband's students and then socialized with some friends. When we returned home the soup was ready to eat. How easy is that?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

All-U-Care-to-Eat $2.99 buffet!!!

Earlier today my husband and I were walking around Baltimore (lamenting the fact that we both go back to work soon....) and shopping a little. In one of my favorite local used bookstores, Read Street Books, I stumbled upon the strangest little cookbook entitled: Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and other irritating states: A Dinner Party Approach to public Relations

The book features recipes from Korea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, India, Pakistan, Cuba, Burma, China and the good ole US of A. Without beginning any political discussion (this isn't a political blog...I'm thinking about the recipes), I want to tell you that this book is great. It has many recipes that are vegan and then many more that can easily be veganized. Since I love Asiatic Cuisines, I obviously bought it. And then.... I spent the entire walk home planning dinner. We set everything up like our own little All-U-Care-to-eat Chinese buffet.

Here was the menu:
  • Vietnamese Style Spring Rolls 越南春卷
  • Sticky Rice 大米
  • Stir-Fried lotus Root 炒莲藕
  • General Tso's Tofu 左宗棠豆腐
  • Tropical Fruit Smoothie 水果时髦饮

The Vietnamese Spring Rolls were filled with soaked rice noodles, cucumber, red pepper, carrot, parsley, lettuce, chives and a homemade orange-ginger vinaigrette.

The Stir-Fried Lotus Root was seasoned with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and a little sesame oil. Fresh lotus Root can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores. Before using, it needs to be peeled. To prevent browning it can be soaked briefly in water with a splash of vinegar.

The General Tso's Tofu was a veganization of a recipe from the new cookbook. The recipe is posted below.

And finally to cool down all of that heat, we drank delicious tropical fruit smoothies! They were made from a combo of frozen lychees, cherries, banana and pineapple combined with lime juice, coconut milk, agave nectar and fresh minced ginger.

It was all great. After dinner we relaxed with Polynesian cocktails and watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It was a great date night and we didn't even have to leave our house.

General Tso's Tofu


1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into small chunks
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup peanut oil + 2 TBS additional oil
4-8 small dried hot chilli peppers (I used 4 and it was wimpy... my DH had to add extra hot pepper)
1 packet liquid vegetable broth concentrate
white pepper

for sauce:
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 TBS hoisin sauce
3 tsp agave nectar
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS sake or mirin
2 cloves minced garlic
2 TBS minced ginger

optional garnishes: minced scallions, sesame seeds or parsley


1. Marinate tofu in the vegetable broth concentrate and pepper (do not add water!) stir to coat all pieces. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to one hour. Use this time to combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Right before cooking, set oven to low heat and line an oven safe pan with a few paper towels.

3. Heat the cup of oil in a wok or frying pan with steep sides. Working in small batches, lightly coat tofu in the cornstarch and fry until crispy. Place cooked tofu in prepared pan and keep warm in the oven. (Note: If you just dump the tofu into the cornstarch it will become a gluey mess... I found putting the cornstarch on a plate and turning the indivual tofu chunks with tongs to be the best method.)

4. When all of the tofu is done, pour off the oil into a jar to cool and wipe out the pan. Return to the stove and add the two tablespoons of additional oil to the pan.

5. Carefully cook your peppers (Watch out for your eyes and nose!) until the oil is slightly colored and the peppers are soft. Add your broccoli and sautee briefly.

6. Return the tofu to the pan.

7. Pour the bowl of sauce ingredients over the tofu and stir continually until sauce becomes slightly thick.

Garnish, if desired and serve over rice.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guiness Pie

Sometimes I want something and it doesn't make sense. This week has been hot, humid and generally nasty and yet I craved a heavy, hearty meal. So for dinner we had Guiness Pie, a drunken sort of pot pie. This may not be a odd as it seems. A dear friend of mine maintains that the best pot pies are made in the summer because that is when you can get the youngest, freshest vegetables to include. Perhaps she was right because this was delicious! We served it with a side of summer vegetables in a tarragon butter. Heavy food or not, it was heavenly!

Guiness Pie
1 recipe basic pie crust (see below)
non-hydrogenated vegan margarine and vegetable oil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
2 cloves garlic
3 large mushrooms (button or baby portobello)
pinch red pepper flakes
can Guinness
2 bay leaves
1 TBS coarse ground prepared mustard (Dijon works too)
2 Vegan beef flavored bouillon cubes
1 cup dry TVP
1 cup water
1 can stewed tomatoes
2TBS corn starch and a small amount of water


1. Chop all vegetables and saute in a mixture of margarine and oil, until barely soft. Season with red pepper flakes.
2. Pour the can of Guinness over vegetables. Add bay leaves, mustard and bouillon.
3. Once beer is boiling and bouillon dissolved, allow to boil for another 2 minutes and then add the TVP. Turn heat to low and pour in additional cup water. Continue cooking until TVP is reconstituted.
4. Pour tomatoes into pot and break up the tomatoes with the spoon. Bring to an boil again. Mixture should be watery.
5. In a small jar or cup mix cornstarch with a small amount of water and stir well, until there are no lumps. Add to pot, stiring continually until mixture begins to thicken. Turn off heat.
6. Put filling into a casserole dish and top with rolled out pastry crust. Bake a 400 for 35-45 minutes until crust is done.

Basic Pie Crust:

2 cups flour
pinch salt
2/3 cups solid fat (vegetable shortening, margarine, coconut oil)

small cup ice water

1. Combine flour and salt (you can add additional dry seasonings here if you wish)
2. Cut in fat with a pastry cutter, two knives or your hands.
3. Stir in ice water one spoonful at a time until dough forms.
4. Refrigerate for later or roll out on a floured board for immediate use.

Summer Vegetables in Tarragon Butter
(not really a recipe... just a simple way to jazz up the few veggies I had left in the bin!!)

1/2 lb snow peas, chopped
1/2 lb carrots, chopped
fresh corn from 4 ears
non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
white wine
generous hand-full tarragon
1 TBS whole grain mustard
Salt and Pepper


Blanch all vegetables and rinse in cold water.
Melt margarine in heavy bottomed pan, stir in tarragon and mustard.
Reheat vegetables in margarine and toss thoroughly.
Add a splash white wine, toss through and saute briskly to cook off wine.
Season with Salt and pepper.

Note: I didn't give measurements of the fats and wine because I just eyeballed them. I typically use the wine so I can reduce the amount of fat necessary without compromising on flavor.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're having a heat-waaaaave!

Wow is it hot in Baltimore lately! After our especially mild summer, I feel like my husband and I are even less able to handle the heat. Heat typically never bothers me but for some reason, today all I want to do is meld with my couch while my AC blasts away. Since the temperatures are pushing 100 degrees.... I guess that is acceptable. Anyway due to the heat, we have reverted to the "three R's of dinner" : Relax, Reuse and Reheat. So no new recipes today....

Instead I want to talk about my favorite breakfast (especially on hot days!!) the GREEN SMOOTHIE. I could drink a green smoothie every day. It is my favorite breakfast: fast, easy, healthy and light. It is also a way to sneak additional servings of veggies into my day. I originally read about green smoothies online when I stumbled upon the Green Smoothie Challenge. The people who run this side promote raw green smoothies all over the web. Below is a cute video from You Tube they posted about green smoothies:

This is how I make my green smoothies. First I assemble all of my ingredients. Look at all of the good things that are about to go into my blender! I have fruit, vegetable and even a little flax seed for additional fiber and omega 3's.

First I cut all of the fruit into chunks and put in the blender with some water.

After that I blend the combo until it is frothy and smooth.

Next I add the lettuce (spinach and kale are good too) and flax seeds; after it is smooth again I can throw in some ice and then I am ready for my icy green smoothie!

This is especially delicious on a hot day! Plus I know I am getting lots of good things. I usually drink a blender-full which is a few little glasses like these. If I were going to eat toast or anything I wouldn't have room for that much though. These little smoothies can fill you up!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lunch at Liquid Earth

Today I had a hair appointment in Canton. Because I am a little bit crazy I decided to walk (its about 3 miles one way and about 98 % today). It was a good walk and it afforded me a chance to take my fabulous new hair out to lunch at Liquid Earth in the neighboring Fells Point. If I had been in a car, I probably would have been to frustrated to bother after about one sweep for parking. (Just to clarify for non-Baltimorons: parking is always at a premium throughout the downtown areas, traffic is terrible and thanks to our mayor the roads are always under construction. As a result it is often better to walk.)

Now onto lunch...
Liquid Earth is a hip place with a laid back vibe. The all-vegetarian menu boasts a decent vegan section and my waitress assured me that they could veganize almost any of the other offerings. There was a huge juice and smoothie selection with the fresh herbs and wheat grass growing right on the counter for everyone to see. They also had quite a selection of vegan desserts.

After perusing the menu I opted for a scoop of the tofu salad over a green salad and sat back to wait.... and wait. About 30 minutes later my salad came. The salad had no cooked components, so I was little confused about what took so long. I suspect that it had been forgotten somewhere because the little cup of dressing had separated into individual layers of oil and vinegar. The restaurant wasn't terribly busy... but I wasn't in a large hurry either so who's to complain.

The green part of the salad was wonderful with a really nice selection of vegetables to complement the lettuces. The scoop of tofu "mixed with Nayonaisse and spices" really tasted like tofu with lots of Nasoya mayonnaise. I saw spices in there, but I never did taste them. I want to point out though that I tend (as you may have noticed) to eat my food much more heavily spiced than most.... The texture of the tofu was excellent though. Somehow through freezing, baking or pressing they had managed to create the meatiest texture I had ever had in a tofu based dish.

When I finished I thought I might have one of those exciting juices or desserts. I love vegan cupcakes too... Except after my plate was cleared and you guessed it... I waited and waited...

Finally I just asked for my check and left. It was a little disappointing to be honest. I really wanted to like this place, not just like, LOVE this place. However the service was weak at best and since everyone around me was getting the same service, I imagine it wasn't my server, but the general atmosphere. I might try this place again, but I would be sure to eat a small snack first and perhaps bring a book to fill my time.

The Great Vegan Cook-In

This morning, my husband's good friend (and our neighbor) showed up with assorted meats for the grill (remember folks... I'm married to an omni, it happens sometimes), so we had an impromptu party. While they did their thing I was left to fix a vegan cook-in for myself and another neighbor who decided to eat veggie that night ( yay!!). I'm calling it a cook-in because although much of the food was grilled or is traditional cook-out/picnic food, we live in Baltimore and have no real yard to speak of. In fact the grilling was done on our teeny-tiny balcony on a tailgate-style grill. We ate all of the food indoors in the air-conditioning around a table.

The menu du jour:
  • Vegan Boca burgers on kaiser rolls
  • Compassionate Collards
  • Potatoes and Peas in a dijon vinaigrette
  • Corn on the cob
  • Mint Iced Tea

The potatoes and peas were a twist on potato salad made with a vinaigrette instead of a mayonaise based dressing. I wanted to try something different since I have been eating so much potato salad lately. It was ok, but a bit to mild for my palate. My husband said he definitely prefers my usual potato salad, but it was worth a try. Since it wasn't too noteworthy I am foregoing sharing a recipe for it.

The Collards were a total success though and so perfectly seasoned that no one requested any hot sauce, vinegar, or even salt & pepper! They were perfectly done, smoky, spicy and not a bit watery. Plus they were the ultimate no-fuss side dish. I threw them in the crockpot and walked away. Besides stirring them every hour or so, I didn't think about them again until dinner time. I named them compassionate collards because unlike the southern tradition of seasoning greens with meat, these were wonderfully meat free. Here is the recipe:

Compassionate Collards

For each bunch of collards you will need:
1 sweet onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers ( from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
1 packet imitation ham flavoring (I used the goya variety...if you read the ingredients it is meat free) or some liquid smoke


Clean your collards really well but do not spin dry, you want a little water clinging to them.

Prep the collards by removing the center stem and chopping into bite-size pieces. (this is really easy to do if you stack several leaves and roll them tightly before chopping)

Place in a large crockpot, put all other ingredients on top of the collards. Do not add additional water!!! As the vegetables cook down they will give off some of their own water which will season the collards without causing them to be watery.

Turn Crockpot on high and let cook until done to your desired tenderness (for me that was about 4-5 hours...)

See... Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!!

Note: I left the chipotles whole so that people could see them and not bite down on one if they didn't want too. They could be chopped or even pureed if you wish.

By the way, when I went to pick up the Boca Burgers I noticed that Morningstar farms now offers a grill-style chick patty, that is TOTALLY VEGAN!! I usually don't even think twice about their stuff because it has eggs or milk... but this was exciting. So even though my friend requested the boca burgers, I bought a box of the Morningstar Grillers Chick'n for later.

I would say the cook-in was a success as everyone cleaned their plates of all their veggies, one of my friends asked of he could have some collards to go and people lingered late into the night. Now if I could just find a way to fit us all of that small balcony so we could have a proper cook out!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

A healthier greener goddess...

The Baltimore Urbanite this month ran an entire article on salad bars and specifically "Green Goddess" Salad dressing. Although the original dressing is decidedly unvegan with its mayonnaise, sour cream and anchovies, I was inspired to try to create my own Veganized version of this green monster. Both my husband and I found the dressing below to be delicious but bear in mind neither of us has any idea what the real "Green Goddess" is all about. To go with the dressing, I created a salad based on my own salad bar favorites from when I was a kid. I would eat so much salad that my dinner had to go home in a little Styrofoam container. This salad was so tasty that I ate two bowlfuls.. I almost had to pack up the rest of my lunch again! (My husband also had two bowls... there really is something magical about this salad!)

Magical 70's Salad with Greener Goddess Dressing
(By eschewing animal products, this dressing is both healthier and more eco-friendly than the original)

Greener Goddess Dressing

Mix the following in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy:

1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 clove of raw garlic
1 small handful of chives
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
2 TBS dijon mustard
1 caper berry, stem removed
1 TBS caper brine
2 TBS dried tarragon
1 large sheet roasted laver
1/3 cup vegan Mayonaise
6 ounces silken tofu (1/2 vacuum- sealed block)

Magical 70's Salad:

Put all of the following in a large bowl, chopped (if necessary) into equal small pieces:

Leaf Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Red Pepper
Extra Firm Tofu (water pressed out)
Black Olives
Tiny green peas (from freezer, defrosted)
Sunflower seeds

Mix chopped veggies in a bowl with a small amount of dressing until every bite is covered. Sprinkle with freshly grated black or red pepper.

(NOTE: As an afterthought I realized that croutons and fake bacon bits would probably be awsome in this salad)

To go with the salad, I fixed a quick and simple tomato bisque that truly cooked itself. This is so simple that I am almost embarrased to call it a "recipe".

Lazy-Girl's Tomato Bisque (LOW-FAT)

3-4 cloves garlic, whole
2 cans tomatos (stewed if you like it sweeter, plain if not)
fresh or dried basil to taste
almond milk, unsweetened
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Place garlic, tomatoes (including liquid) and basil in an oven safe pan. Roast at 450 for about 1 hour or until garlic cloves are soft and fragrant.

Remove from oven and puree using blender or imersion blender.

Once tomatoes are smooth, add almond milk to thin the tomato puree. Season with pepper and salt (if necessary).

Yep... that's it. Embarrasingly simple. Its even tastier if you start with fresh tomatoes, but using canned saves ALOT of time. (If you start from fresh, you will need to add more S&P)

And finally for dinner I had vegan lasagna. I tried a trick from Jessica Seinfeld and hid carrots, spinach and mushrooms into the sauce before pureeing everything. The lasagna was pretty good, but if I did it again, I'd probably skip the spinach.

The basic outlines of the lasagna components were:

Sauce: Cook 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot, lots of red pepper and braggs liquid aminos (or just salt...) in a little red wine. When veggies are soft add two cans italian tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley. Bring to a boil and cook to combine. (this was where I added the spinach but leave it out... just trust me on this one.) Puree everything until smooth and add small can tomato paste. Taste sauce and adjust flavors if necessary. (If you didn't listen and added the spinach anyway you will need to add agave syrup.) Heat through and set aside until you are ready to assemble your lasagna.

Tofu Riccota: In a food proccesor combine equal parts silken tofu and extra firm tofu, some basil, a few cloves raw garlic, some chives, a few squirts lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Bragg's (or salt) and pepper. (It is also good if you add a tiny amount of EVOO or some vegan parmesan). Set this aside until you are ready to assemble as well.

I am going to assume you know how to assemble your lasagna. I followed the box directions for the oven temperature and noodle preparation.

Vegan lasagna is one of my favorite dinners. I seem to make it differently every time, but I always love it. There is just something about all of those noodles and the garlicky tofu-ricotta that I just love. Although my DH has tried this in the past and announced it "ok", it is not his favorite. I don't take it personally, he didn't even like it when I got a restaurant version that was out of this world. Vegan lasagna is a hard sell to non-vegans. As an Italian and non-vegan he is never going to accept a lasagna that is not dripping with cheese and meat. He ate something else tonight. That's fine....more for me. could happen to you!!

This is just a cautionary warning about buying dried beans and rice. I have always bought bulk rice, grains and dried beans to store for later. Typically I keep them in either glass jars, Tupperware style bins or double bagged in large Ziplocs.

A week before we went out of town, I purchased a 1 lb bag of dried chana dal from a local Indian market. The bag was vacuum sealed so I put the entire bag inside a large Tupperware bin and figured I'd repackage it once I broke the seal. Right before we left, we saw a few weird looking bugs but it's summer in Baltimore and we had a mild winter so we didn't worry. Instead we sealed off the spaces around the air conditioners and replaced any damaged screens. My husband also sprayed all of his houseplants with an organic pest spray. We assumed this would solve the problem.

Fast forward three weeks and two trips later..... the bugs seem to have multiplied. As we are cleaning out the kitchen looking for the source (expecting to find them coming from the walls or baseboards...) we realize that they came home from the market in my chana dal, chewed threw the plastic bag and somehow escaped the bin! After some internet searching we discovered that these things are called Rice Weevils and they are huge pains in the butt!! We were up until 2 AM last night cleaning the kitchen and the rest of the house trying to eradicate them. I am unsure if they are all gone or not. I had to do ALL of the laundry again because they had gotten into some of our clothes in a hamper (ick!!!! it just gives me the creeps remembering it), throw out any food not canned, frozen, refrigerated or sealed in airtight jars, and vacuum everything again and again. Websites that are not in the business of selling pesticides claim these steps will be enough to get rid of them.... I hope so!

Moral of the story: Always put everything in airtight glass containers that you buy in bulk. Your kitchen may be clean (mine was) but you can still bring home pests!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Need to clean out your leftovers? Tofu scramble to the rescue!

Tonight I had three main goals for dinner:

1) quick
3)use up odds and ends

The solution? Tofu Scramble and Fruit Salad! I suspect that nearly every vegan makes their own version of a tofu scramble. Mine is different every time depending on what I happen to have on hand. I always include tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic (powder, cloves it doesn't matter to me...) and low-sodium soy sauce. Beyond that it is all up to the refrigerator gods.. Tonight's scramble had a southwestern flair due to some leftover tex-mex marinade/sauce that I used to season it. The veggies I included were: mushrooms, peppers, onions, okra and beans. Tonight's scramble was especially creamy due to a stir in of tofutti better than cream cheese.

The accompanying fruit salad was made of dragon fruit, lychees, cherries, blueberries, bannanas and oranges tossed in some lime juice. I served it with a side of wholegrain toast with pumpkin butter. Altogether it made a simple, quick and nutritious dinner.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things....

We spent the day dragging furniture around and cleaning, so we had takeout for dinner. Asian takeout...surprise surprise... but still not bloggable. So I thought I would review a few of my favorite vegan products. These are the ones that I go out of my way to find and use. So here's the lineup:

Road's End Organics Mac and Chreese is my personal favorite version of vegan junk food. I realize that it is merely pasta with a nutritional yeast sauce, but sometimes when all I want is childlike junk food goodness, this is what I turn to. It is slightly salty and garlicky and the whole wheat noodles convince me that it isn't too bad for me. Plus I can always stir in some steamed broccoli or peas.

If I am feeling like going all out on the childhood junk food binge I pair the Mac and Chreese with these: Trader Joe's Soy Nuggets. They are easy to heat using a microwave with a crispy crust and chewy inside. Although they probably taste nothing like chicken, I really don't care as I sit happily munching away. With each ketchupy dip I promise myself I'll eat a salad tomorrow.

Speaking of that salad, although I usually put homemade vinaigrette's on my salad's I do have two favorite store bought dressings: Annie's Naturals Goddess Dressing and Caribbean Banana Ranch Dressing. Both of them are little high in calories and fat compared to my typical homemade vinaigrette BUT they are both so creamy and delicious. I eat them on salads, pizza crusts, homemade french fries and even once on some toasted pita. They are a delicious splurge!

When I am making soups and do not have homemade vegetable broth or long for something with a little more flavor I like to use Edward and Son's Not chick'n bouillon cubes. Their flavor is excellent and they dissolve nicely. Unlike other cubes I have tried they are not overwhelmingly salty or yeasty.

If its sweets I am craving, and I don't feel like baking I have two options. I can grab an Alternative Baking Company cookie, which will always hit the spot. These cookies are LARGE, nearly the size of four homemade cookies, and delicious. Somehow they are always moist and they have wonderful flavor combinations such as oatmeal raisin, cranberry orange, and pumpkin spice. The other option I have is to walk to one of the local cafes that sells baked goods from our own: Brunie's Bakery. Their stuff is so good, that last year we had vegan birthday cake from them and no one even knew. They sell brownies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes you name it and it is all uniformly good! My personal favorite... are the doughnuts!

So that is just a few of my favorite things... and it should have been much more entertaining to read about than my take out (Monk's Temple Delight Vegetarian Mock Mu Shu Chicken).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Most of the time Sunday dinners are big at our house. Since we have been traveling, we have been eating alot of takeout, fast food and other less than tasty stuff, so I wanted to be sure that we had a good dinner today.

Today's menu was: Veganomicon's Chick Pea Cutlets (for me... DH had a different protein), mashed turnips bought fresh from the farmer's market, Asian style greens (seasoned with mirin, crushed pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, kecap manis and sesame oil) and a carrot puree.

The picture didn't come out too well but everything tasted great. I always love the chick pea cutlets because they are chewy and have a great crust to to them. The other veggies were all well seasoned and tasty as well. Although turnips seem like a fall or winter vegetable, the ones that I get at the farmer's market this time of year always seem to taste sweeter and have an excellent texture. Also since they are my husband's favorite vegetable, any time I can get them we eat them.

I always love my greens sauteed and seasoned with soy, ginger, garlic, pepper and sesame. This time the greens in question were labeled "Chinese Brocoli" and were a lovely green with tiny yellow flowers. The carrots were a new attempt for me, which I adapted from a soup recipe. They were delicious, both sweet, spicy and rich without being heavy or fatty. The basic recipe is at the bottom of the page.

For dessert we had Blackstrap ginger bread with lemon sauce from Vegan Lunch box. It wasn't very sweet, but with the lemon sauce it hit the spot.

The carrot puree was an adaptation of a soup recipe from the cookbook A Vegetarian's Ecstasy.

Indonesian Carrot Puree (LOW FAT)
(adapted from A vegetarian's Ecstasy)

8-10 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 of a medium banana, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 spoonful minced ginger
1 TBS soy sauce
pinch each of : crushed fennel seed, crushed red pepper, clove powder, wasabi powder, curry powder and turmeric

sweet white wine and soy milk (I used vanilla)


Put carrots, banana, garlic, ginger soy sauce andspices in a two quart sauce pot. Pour in enough wine to cover the carrots and boil until carrots are soft enough to mash and the wine reduces. Remove from heat and puree using immersion blender or food processor. When carrots are fully pureed, stir in 1/2- 1 cup of soy milk. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lima Bean Laziness

This morning, while I ate my new Amish Pumpkin Butter on regular toast (its too hot to bake today...), I was reading through my copy of the cookbook Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann. One of the things that she stresses continually is how sensitive her son is to spices, onions, and other savory foods. Similarly, my mother doesn't care for overly spicy food. Although I love zesty curries, spicy hot peppers, and lip puckering vinegars.... not everyone does.

So enter today's easy crowd pleaser: Lima Bean Soup! I love soup and in the summer what better than putting stuff in a crock pot instead of heating up your house to make dinner? It's mild but flavorful, nutritious, and doesn't require a trip to the grocery store (which is great since I have tons of laundry to do). It's not terribly spicy and more importantly... its not Asian-fusion. There is a limit to how many ginger-chili-soy combos I can serve before someone complains.

Plus to quote the B52's "Some people are fat, some people are lean. But I want you to show me the person who doesn't like butterbeans!".

Lima Bean Soup

2 8 oz. cans of lima beans
1 small diced onion
2 small scallions, diced
1 stalk of diced celery
2 diced carrot
1-2 garlic cloves
a pinch each dried rosemary and thyme
1 TBSP olive oil (if cooking on a stovetop)
2 cups veggie broth or vegan imitation chicken broth
OR part broth part white wine

salt & pepper

Method #1 (lazy summer version ALSO LOW FAT)
Put all vegetables & herbs in crock pot. Omit oil. Add enough broth/wine to barely cover the vegetables. Turn crock pot to high for one hour then turn heat back to low until you are ready to eat (give it a few more hours). Season with salt & pepper prior to serving

Method #2 (stovetop)
Heat oil in large pot
Saute onions, celery and carrots until onions are nearly translucent.
Add garlic and herbs, stirring constantly to avoid burning until garlic is slightly colored.
If using wine, add now and bring to a boil. Boil wine for a few minutes before adding broth to cook out the alcohol. Add the rest of the liquid and bring to a boil.
Turn heat down to simmer and add lima beans. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to combine flavors and then season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: for a thicker consistency, blend about 1/3 of the soup and stir back into pot.

No matter how it is cooked, this soup is excellent served over rice or with cornbread. In our house we especially like this recipe. Due to the heat, today we ate it with sandwiches.