Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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!