Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comfort Food

We recently went through a cold and rainy spell in Los Angeles (yes, I realize that 55 degrees isn't cold to many of you, but I'm an L.A. native and anything below 80 degrees is cold to me!). Although I had no desire to do anything other than hunker down on the couch under an afghan that my mom knit, I spent that Sunday evening in the kitchen. It seemed like the perfect time to use up 2 potatoes and a bag of Brussels sprouts that were languishing in my fridge, so I set to work to find the right recipes.

I perused multiple cookbooks (no surprise there) and Susan V's FatFree Vegan Kitchen. What I found were the Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Seasonal Herbs and the Golden Potato and Tempeh Casserole.

Am I the last to discover how intoxicating the smell of a garlic bulb roasting in the toaster oven is? Truth be told, I'm not a fan of tomato soup unless it's a chunky one like this that could probably double as a marinara sauce. Pureed tomato soup (like that you find in a can or a box) makes me gag. This FFVK soup, however, is flavorful and warming; perfect on a cold night. As a bonus, I had everything I needed in my pantry and, while I now need to re-stock my supply of Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, those are something I always keep on hand. The only substitution I made was to omit the onion in favor of an extra stalk of celery.

The casserole is basically scalloped potatoes stuffed with goodness to make it a meal instead of a side (well, that's at least how I see it!). I haven't had scalloped potatoes since I was a kid and my mom served the boxed version as a side dish, but from what I remember, the creamy, cheesy sauce in this FFVK dish is spot-on. I did make multiple substitutions (and an addition) based on what I had on hand: I used 8 oz. of Trader Joe's baked tofu in a 1/4 inch dice instead of tempeh (I didn't have any), added shredded Brussels sprouts to the middle layer along with the tofu, used plain hemp milk instead of soy (I keep hemp milk on hand for times when I need a full-fat version of non-dairy milk because I otherwise use fat-free soy milk, which is too thin to use in recipes like this), Dijon mustard instead of stone ground, and dried tarragon instead of fresh. I will absolutely make this recipe again; it's outstanding!

Thank you, Susan, for helping me warm up on a cold night!


Lex said...

I completely agree, anything under 80 is cold to me, too! So much so that I keep thinking I should be living in Miami!!! LA has been FREEZING this year!

The scalloped potatoes look fantastic! I'm making those asap.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you - watery tomato soup isn't my thing at all!

I love Susan V's recipes! I need to check out that scalloped potato recipe - ├ža a l'air trop, trop bon!

Jeni Treehugger said...

Mmmmm those scalloped Potatoes look the biz!Will have to try that recipe.
Living in Spain I have to agree with you on anything under 80 is cold. Spanish houses are built to keep cool NOT the other way round, and when it's cold here it's BLOODY cold!
Roll on March is all I can say.
I LOVE your Soup bowl, it looks how I feel.

Ricki said...

I guess "cold" is relative (I probably couldn't stand the high temps that you get out there)! But that casserole sounds divine--whatever the weather. :)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Aw, the bowl's so cute!

edible forest said...

hi! this casserole looks great!
specially with cold time! brbrbr

Brittany said...

Hey, it was nice to meet you at Vegan Drinks last night! Hope to see you again soon!

Vegan_Noodle said...

I looooove comfort food like that!
And I totally know what you mean... 55 is damn cold!

DJ Karma (VegSpinz) said...

Looks delicious... and so healthy!

JennShaggy said...

That yellow bowl is so cute :)
I'm so glad that you work up the street from me! That makes doing the matzo brie tasting so much easier. Plus, you can wait out the traffic.

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I love your soup bowl! And the food, too.

River said...

Both dishes look delicious and extremely comforting! Score! I am in love with your little bowl!!

Thank you for your sweet birthday wishes! All the Allison's Gourmet goodies were SO good - definitely try them if you get a chance. The cranberry orange cookies were so yummy, and all the chocolate things needless to say were beyond delicious! The gingerbread cookies were really really good, and the pumpkin ones too. Heck it was all wonderful!