Kabocha Udon Winter Stew

I’ve had Veganomicon for years, but have never made any of the soup recipes in the coobook. However, recently I’ve had luck with the soup recipes in my new Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook Isa Does It. So I thought I’d go back to Veganomicon and pick out some soup recipes to try. I started with this recipe for a Japanese-style broth with squash, udon noodles, and tofu because the picture in the book makes it look so appealing.

I used butternut squash instead of kabocha, since I had trouble finding kabocha. Isa says to cook the squash for an extra 15 minutes. But I think this was too long. The squash ended up a little overly soft. I think I would recommend reducing this to an extra 5 minutes.

The broth in the soup was pretty good. My main problem with the recipe was textural. Everything in it was mushy. The only thing chewy was the mushrooms, and there were only a few. The recipe says to cook the noodle as instructed on the package, but this was a mistake because they ended up overdone in the soup. If I made this again I’d undercook the noodles by 3ish minutes to maintain some texture. I’d also double the mushrooms. But I doubt I’d make this again. It just wasn’t good enough.

https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=481294

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Ciambotta

Like many of the cookbooks in my house, I acquired Nonna’s Italian Kitchen from the discard shelf of one of my family members. I brought it home to try out the vegan cheese recipes, but hadn’t gotten it together to make them. I was looking for a novel recipe to use up some late summer veggies, and found this recipe for southern Italian vegetable stew. I liked that it sounded kind of like ratatouille but with potatoes. The result was good not great. The flavors of the mixed veggies was very very good. I was really surprised by how flavorful it was considering it was basically just basil, tomatoes, and salt. But the recipe did need some tinkering. I think the potato chunks were too big. The size prevented them from really absorbing the flavor of the stew. Next time I’d cut them smaller and cook them for less time. The zucchini was undercooked. I think next time I’d add them 12 minutes in instead of 15. The peppers were perfectly crunchy though, so I’d still add those at minute 15. Finally, I thought the recipe would really benefit from some kalamata olives. I tried adding a few and indeed I really liked the result. I’m on the fence about whether I’ll make this again. It was super easy to make. But I finished it in a couple days. Not up to my standards of week-long meals. If I make it again I need to 1.5 the recipe.

Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

I love peanuts. I love kale. And I love a rich, hardy one pot meal with enough flavor and textural interest to keep me eating happily all week. West African Peanut yam stew with kale tics all those boxes. I use sweet potatoes instead of yams, since they’re easier to get (my sister says yams and sweets potatoes are the same thing in the U.S. but I’m not sure). Which is why it’s a go to for me in the winter. The trick is to add the kale after the soup is turned off so it keeps its texture and color.

https://food52.com/recipes/19854-yam-and-peanut-stew-with-kale