Friday, January 29, 2010

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup

My best friend Lina will probably agree that there are few flavors that go together as well as spinach and Indian spices. Her favorite thing to order at an Indian restaurant is always Saag, regardless of how many times she's had it.

I had a huge bag of spinach left in the fridge and wanted to use it up. And since the weather is 25 degrees here today, I thought a nice warm soup would just hit the spot.

And let me tell you what - not only is this soup tasty, but it's extremely easy. From start to finish, I probably only spent about 20 minutes in the kitchen. It's also pretty healthy, using just a 1/2 cup of half & half at the end to give it some creaminess. The vegans in the house can easily substitute soy creamer to make this soup completely vegan.

Don't let the picture fool you - this soup is actually rather tasty! (Soups, especially green ones, are notoriously hard to photograph!)

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup

Indian Cream of Spinach Soup
Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
8 cups packed pinach leaves, washed
32 oz vegetable stock
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c half and half

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions for 5 minutes, until tender. Add spinach and stir well. Add stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Stir in garam masala and salt. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Stir in half and half. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So I know as a vegetarian that Superbowl parties usually aren't vegetarian friendly. Which is okay with me, because I'm not really a huge football fan anyway. But a girl needs to eat, right?

I'm reposting one of my favorite recipes from last year. It's the Hearty Vegetarian Sub, and I think it would be a perfect substantial little meal to serve to your non-meat eating friends. It's also a snap to make, so it's easy to make ahead of time and have on hand for those craving something hearty and filling.

I'm also reposting two of my very favorite vegan finger foods that are wonderful for having as appetizers, Tempeh Wingz and BBQ Ribz. Even non-meat eaters I know love these recipes! And check back for more snack-type recipes that will be perfect for your upcoming party!

Hearty Vegetarian Sub

Hearty Vegetarian Sub
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 c onion, chopped in slivers
2 c baby bella mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 c zucchini, cut into 1" long slivers
1 green bell pepper, cut into slivers
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and zucchini and saute an additional 5 minutes. Add spices and stir for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, stir well to combine, lower heat and cook, covered for an additional 10 minutes until veggies are tender. (I wanted some texture to remain, so I didn't completely cook them until done). Serve on hoagie rolls with cheese.

Buffalo Tempeh "Wings"

Buffalo Tempeh "Wings"
1 (8 oz) pkg tempeh
1/3 c soy milk
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup Italian seasoninged panko crumbs

Wing Sauce
1/2 c Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp ketchup

Bring 4 cups of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, remove tempeh from package. Slice into 8 strips. (If you are a first time tempheh eater and have texture issues, I recommend slicing into 10-12 strips) Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium high, add tempeh, and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Set out 3 bowls. In one, pour in soy milk. In the second, combine flour and seasonings. In third bowl, add panko crumbs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place each strip in milk. Coat in flour mixture, then briefly re-dip into milk. Toss with panko crumbs, coating well. Set on slightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tempeh strips. Once all are coated and on baking sheet, lightly spray all "wings" with cooking spray. Place into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip "wings" over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
While they are baking, place wing sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and heat in microwave on medium high setting for a minute and a half. Remove from heat and whisk ingredients together.
When wings are finished baking, toss with sauce. Serve immediately.

BBQ Seitan Ribz

Susan V's BBQ Ribz
An ever-so-slight variation

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini or other nut butter
1 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetarian Beef Base (optional)
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, from gluten to garlic powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together tahini, bouillon, Liquid Smoke, and soy sauce. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Press and pat into lightly-oiled 8x8 baking dish. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 6-8 pieces. Place into oven and bake for 25 minutes. Start heating grill or lightly-oiled grill pan. Brush top of baked seitan with a generous amount of BBQ sauce. Place, sauce-side down, on grill rack. Brush bottom side with BBQ sauce. When there are nice grill marks on bottom, flip and rebrush with sauce. (Mine took about 2-3 minutes each side) Remove from grill and cut into riblets. Serve with additional sauce if desired.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Okay, so thanks to, we have 2 winners of this gorgeous cookbook, "Chocolates and Confections."

First, is Jenny from Peanut Butter and Jenny, which is a a great blog name, by the way! Her comment was "only one thing makes me happier that I'm awake than seeing little chocolate covered pretzels on my screen... and that would be eating them."

And the second winner is Tennesue, with the comment was "I really want this book. I dream of confections that aren't really viable, such as chocolate covered cherries with a pretzel crust (can you imagine how they'd break apart when you bit in)." That sounds delicious, and if you perfect it, I want the recipe! =)

And those who didn't win, please stay tuned because I have another great cookbook to give away in the next few days!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ooh, more free stuff!

Okay, so everyone likes free things, right? And those who love to cook know that you can never have enough cookbooks!

I recently received an AMAZING cookbook from Wiley Publishing that is absolutely incredible. The title is Chocolates and Confections, and it's authored by resident experts at the Culinary Institute of America, so it goes well beyond your normal cookbook.


Chocolates and Confections is a gorgeous book, and is positively loaded with great information, tips, and helpful hints. Matter of fact, the first 3 chapters are all about the basics, before getting into some seriously yummy recipes.

Want some recipe titles to wet your whistle? How about:
Green Tea Truffles
Cherry Cordials
Chocolate Covered Confit
Toasted Hazelnut Squares
Peanut Butter Bombs
Lattes Molded Chocolates

If you have any interest in making any sort of candy or confection, this is the book for you! And the best part about this giveaway? I have 2 copies to give away!

There are two easy ways to enter:

The first is simple. Just leave me a comment below with a valid email address to enter the random drawing.

The second is to tweet about this giveaway. Just copy and paste the following into your Twitter for another chance to win. Make sure to leave me a comment when you're done!

"Win the CIA's "Chocolate and Confections" cookbook from @28Cooks! RT to enter"

Enter by Midnight EST on January 24. I'll announce the winner on Monday, January 25! Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lentil Sloppy Joes

You ever have those days where you get home from work and REALLY don't want to make dinner? Days where a bowl of popcorn sounds like a perfectly nutrition meal? Today was that day for me. I even had all of the ingredients and a plan to make these, but just couldn't bear the thought of cooking.

Well, of course, I ended up making this recipe. And boy, am I glad I did! Not only did it literally take me about 20 minutes from start to finish, but it's really quite tasty!

See, my mom used to make sloppy joes all the time for us when I was growing up. It's been years since she made it (probably due to the fact that neither of us eat meat anymore), so I wanted to come up with a vegetarian version.

What I love about this dish is that it's quick, it's easy, it's nutritious, and all of these ingredients can be in your pantry when you need a speedy meal. Although the picture doesn't really say much, I can guarantee you the flavor will knock your socks off! If you're not a lentil fan, substitute any tvp or soy meat substitute. And although these are served traditional-style on a bun, I think they'd be awesome over rice as well.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes
Serves 6-8

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp Louisiana-style hot sauce

In a small saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until tender but still a bit of bite left to them. In the meantime, heat olive oil in medium pan. Add onion and bell pepper, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until slightly tender. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are done. Add lentils to pot, allow to simmer just a few minutes more, and serve.

This is also part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays hosted over at Blessed With Grace. Be sure to check it out for more tasty recipes!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

For years, I've avoided tomato soup. I think it's because I had the canned version once as a child and instantly knew that wasn't going to happen again. Even as I got older and my culinary tastes started to change, I never willingly sought out or tried tomato soup again. However, about 2 years ago, I was at a little soup and sandwich place and for some reason, their tomato bisque sounded tasty to me. So I tried it, and guess what? I loved it. It was absolutely delicious, and since then, I've had it multiple times at a few different places.

I usually have a counter overflowing with produce in my kitchen. Unless I'm using it right away, it'll typically languish there until I realize it's close to being past prime. This morning, I noticed some gorgeous red tomatoes that were just perfectly soft. There was no way I was going to eat 2 1/2 pounds in a day, so I decided to make some soup.

Roasting the tomatoes adds such a lovely base to this soup, and quite frankly, couldn't be easier! The rest of the ingredients are so simple that this soup is a snap to make. It can be served hot or cold, depending on your mood or menu. This is also a great healthy recipe, as there is absolutely almost no fat, other than the few tbsp of olive oil.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 4

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut in half
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c chopped red onion
1/2 tsp crushed fennel seed
2 c vegetable broth
1/4 c chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450. In a 9x13 pan, place tomatoes, cut side up. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
In large stockpot, heat remaining 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 8 minutes. Add fennel and saute for another minute or two, until onion is soft. Add tomatoes and broth to soup and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add basil. Puree soup with an immersion blender until creamy.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year and a Fresh New Salsa!

Happy New Year, everyone! It's amazing how quickly this year has rushed by and I felt like the holidays came and went before I even realized they were here. That being said, I was lucky enough to spend quite a few days with close family and it was absolutely heavenly just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

Those long-term readers of 28Cooks will know that I love me a good detox. Although I did the Martha's Vineyard thing a few years back, I find that just spending a few weeks eating nothing but raw food really gives my body a break. Even though I consider myself to be a fairly healthy eater, there are times that I eat my fair share of junk food.

The internet is abuzz with the Raw revolution and there are plenty of excellent websites devoted to only eating raw and natural things. My goal this time around is to just eat as raw as possible for as long as possible, but keeping it as low stress as possible.

This recipe comes from Living on Live Food, which is an encyclopedia of excellent recipes and testimonials about how eating live food has changed lives. What I love about this salsa is the full flavor. The substantial addition of flat parsley and cilantro make this salsa a huge flavor salsa, and it's wonderful on raw crackers or tortilla chips. It's also a lovely little salad dressing. However, my favorite application is tossing a few tablespoons of this with a smashed avocado for a quick and perfectly-flavored guacamole.

Go ahead and let this salsa kick the winter doldrums right out of your tastebuds!

And be sure to check back tomorrow for a pretty cool giveaway and a chance to add a cool new appliance to your kitchen!

A Fresh New Salsa

Alissa's Salsa
an ever-so-slight variation from Living on Live Food

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh flat italian parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
6 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 scallions, chopped into pieces

In a food processor, combine garlic, parsley, cilantro, vinegar, oil, lime juice, cumin, and salt and process until well minced. Add tomatoes and scallions and pulse until chunky and well mixed. Serve and enjoy!