When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Day 16 and 17 Vegan September 20, 2014

Filed under: Soup,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 10:57 pm
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100_4056Day 16

I really need to stay away from all of those muffins that I baked. So I put them in the freezer.  I was hoping since they were out of sight it would help me not eat all of them in one day because they are REALLY good.

So far, so good 🙂

I ended up making myself the Pad Thai Salad from Appetite for Reduction. I did make some modification because I didn’t have any bean sprouts.  I ended up adding cucumbers and tomatoes to the salad and it was just the thing I needed to make me feel better about eating a few too many muffins yesterday.

For dinner I made the Potato and Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo from Viva Vegan.  I ended up changing a few things in the recipe so that I could bring out more flavor in the ingredients.  The original recipe said to add the onions, potatoes, garlic, herbs, and liquid and bring to a boil. Which I am assuming is traditional for this type of soup.  Well, I discarded tradition for a bit.  I sautéed the onion in 1 tablespoon of annatto oil until they were tender then added the garlic and cooked for a minute until fragrant.  Then I added in the herbs, potatoes, and vegetable stock. Brought it to a boil, let simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes were done, mashed the potatoes a bit.  Added in a 1 pound bag of frozen kale from Trader Joe’s (more than the recipe called for, but it also uses fresh).  At the ended you adjust the seasonings and add some white wine vinegar to taste.  Cook up your vegan chorizo, I used Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, and sprinkled it on top of the soup.  I didn’t add any additional olive oil or annatto oil to the recipe.

I would like to take a bit to express my love for Trader Joe’s. 1) I really do love everything that I have tried there, and 2) the cashier praised the crap out of the Soy Chorizo and she was right.  It is FANTASTIC!!! Speaking as an omnivore, that might be my go to Chorizo because I don’t need the grease and the yucky feeling I get after eating the “real” stuff.

Back to the soup, I really loved it and I have been living off of it while my husband is at his conference.  I am definitely making that again.  Now I just need to go get more potatoes and make a trip to TJ’s for some Soy Chorizo 🙂

Day 17

Very uneventful, just eating leftovers, going to work, and doing my 5k training.


Daring Cooks: Gumbo May 14, 2011

Filed under: Soup,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

The only mandatory item of this challenge was to make a gumbo recipe.  I used one of the recipes provided and the changed somethings to make it less time consuming 🙂 (more…)


French Fridays With Dorie: Hachis Parmentier and Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup October 22, 2010

Filed under: Casseroles,French Fridays With Dorie,Soup — pastrybrush @ 2:21 pm

This weeks French Fridays With Dorie is Hachis Parmentier.  The simple way to explain it would be a French version of Shepard’s Pie.  I actually made this this morning and we had it for lunch 🙂 I added a little too much liquid to it.  I also added the chopped up vegetables back to it so that I wouldn’t waste anything.  The flavor was great.  Mike said it smelled like Pizza.  I think that is because of the Italian sausage in the filling.

I would definitely make this again.

Last weeks French Fridays With Dorie was Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup.  I kinda dragged my butt on this one and made it a couple of days late, and then I forgot to post 🙂  I figured with this post that I could hit two birds with one stone.

This soup was actually extremely easy to make and both Mike and I enjoyed it.  I added a few squirts of hot red chili paste to mine, along with peanuts and extra cilantro 🙂

Be sure to pick up Dorie’s new book so that you can make this delicious recipes, Around My French Table.


Daring Cooks Challenge: Brunswick Stew April 15, 2010

Filed under: Main Courses,Soup,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 8:19 pm
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The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

I have to say I was really looking forward to this challenge this month.  For one thing, my mom use to tell me stories about growing up and how they would go to the local firehouse and get Brunswick stew.  Since we lived in Texas, we didn’t have easy access to homemade or even canned Brunswick stew.  Which at any opportune moment, mostly when we would visit my Nanny in Virginia, mom would grab a couple of cans of Brunswick stew and some spoon bread mix at the local grocery store. (more…)


Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Vietnamese Beef Pho October 14, 2009

Filed under: Soup,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

This months Daring Cooks’ Challenge is hosted by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. She chose Vietnamese Chicken Pho and Chocolate Wontons from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.  For the challenge we were given the option to change the meat base in the Pho (chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetarian/vegan) and the filling in the wontons.   I chose to make  Beef Pho because anytime we use to go out for Pho Mike always gets beef.  I personally prefer chicken, but decided to go with beef since he was alway partaking in this meal.

Because the original recipe we were given was the quick version of the Chicken Pho, I went onto Jaden’s webpage to check the Beef Pho recipe so that I could get the right spices.  I loved the way this turned out.  It was fantastic, and Mike loved it too 🙂  The Chocolate-Strawberry Wontons turned out great too.  They reminded me of a chocolate covered strawberry.

Challenge #1: Vietnamese Beef Pho

Servings: Makes 4 servings


100_2407For the Beef Pho Broth:

1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds

1 tbsp whole fennel seeds

6 whole cloves

5 whole star anise

1 cardamom pod

2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade beef stock

1/2 lb flank steak, sliced as thin as possible

1 onion

1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife

1 to 2 tbsps. sugar

1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce

1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off

Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)

½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions

½ lime, cut into 4 wedges

Sriracha chili sauce

Hoisin sauce

Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice


1. To make the Beef Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, and cardamom pod and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.

2. In a large pot, add all the ingredients  (including the toasted spices) except the beef and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

5. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.

6. Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. the hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately.

7. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

100_2408Challenge #2: Chocolate-Strawberry Wontons

Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Servings: Makes 6-12 wontons.


1 large egg

1 tbsp. water

12 wonton wrappers, defrosted (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)

12 pieces or nuggets of chocolate (use any type of chocolate you like)

6 strawberries, hulled and sliced

High-heat oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)

Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.

2. On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down with a point toward you, like a diamond.

3. Place 1 slice of strawberry near the top end of the wrapper and place a piece of chocolate on top of it.

4. Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper.

5. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up to create a triangle and gently press to remove all air from the middle.  If the strawberries are large, you might have to top with another wrapper. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.

6. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, strawberries,  and chocolate pieces.

7. Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying.

8. In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil.

9. Heat the oil to 350º F (180º C) and gently slide a few of the chocolate wontons into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the chocolate wontons.

10. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp.


Chicken Tortilla Soup November 12, 2008

Filed under: Soup — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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100_1597One of my favorite soups in the world is Chicken Tortilla and not the stuff from a can.  The homemade variety that I use to get all the time when I was home back in Texas.  I would go to a local Mexican Restaurant and order it and it always came with a side of Mexican rice, pico de gallo, sliced avocado, cilantro, and fresh tortillas.