Cook's Hideout: November 2010

November 30, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 30: Last Day

Vegan Mofo Day 30:

It's the end of Vegan Mofo today and I don't have a dish to post about. I think I was fairly successful: we were expected to post every weekday of the month, or about 20 posts in the month. I had 21 posts this month vs 1 post for October, I think I did extremely well.
Got to know some talented Vegan bloggers and will be visiting them often now.
I am going to miss Vegan Mofo, as it kept me going with the cooking, taking pictures and posting. I hope to keep the momentum going and will keep posting (some non-vegan dishes pretty soon).

November 29, 2010

Green Beans curry

Vegan Mofo Day 29:

I usually buy frozen green beans and avoid the fresh ones since in fresh ones need time and patience for prep, which I don’t usually have. But when I saw this huge bag of fresh green beans for less than $1.50, I couldn’t help but buy a bag. But my husband ended up prepping them for me. He stringed and chopped them into tiny dice while watching football game (now that is called multi tasking, I wish he could do that more often).

Green Beans – 3-4 cups, chopped
Onion – 1 medium, chopped finely
Garlic – 2 cloves, coarsely chopped
Curry leaves – 6
Red chili powder – ½ tsp (or more to taste)
Ground peanuts – 2tbsp
Salt – to taste
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Dry red chili – 2

  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a sauté pan, add cumin seeds and red chili, cook until the seeds start to sputter around.
  • Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Next add curry leaves and onions; cook until onions turn translucent.
  • Next add green beans and some salt. Cover and cook until the green beans are tender and cooked through; about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • When the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness (my husband loves them well cooked, so I cook a little longer), add red chili powder, ground peanuts and more salt (if needed). Cook for another couple of minutes and serve hot with steamed rice or roti.

November 28, 2010

Tofu Balls with Spaghetti

Vegan Mofo Day 28:

It is quite depressing that the long weekend is almost over and as usual it felt too short. For today's lunch I made these yummy tofu balls and served them over whole wheat spaghetti. Recipe is from The Ultimate book of Vegan Cooking by Tony & Yvonne Bishop-Weston.

Tofu balls are quite delicate and need to be cooked and turned very gently. Nudge the balls gently from the bottom when turning. They tend to stick to the pan, so it is very important they are lifted gently. (I know I said it too many times in 2 sentences, but they are very delicate and need to be treated ge......). The uncooked tofu mixture itself was so yummy that I tasted it far too many times than needed.

Firm Tofu - 1 package, drained
Onion - 1 medium, grated
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Ground Cumin - 1tbsp
Ground Almonds - ½ cup (I used Almond meal)
Dijon mustard - 1tsp
Soy sauce - 2tbsp
Parsley - ¼ cup, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper - to taste

Spaghetti - 8 oz. (I made whole-wheat spaghetti)
Pasta sauce - home made or store bought - 1 cup

  • Take drained tofu, grated onion, garlic, cumin, almond meal, soy sauce, parsley, mustard, salt & pepper in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork or your fingers until everything is well mixed.
  • Make walnut sized balls and set aside.
  • Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan. Slowly add the tofu balls and cook until they turn golden brown on all sides.*
  • Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the mean time cook spaghetti according to package directions and heat the pasta sauce and keep ready.
  • To serve: Add spaghetti and pasta sauce in the serving bowl and arrange 4-5 tofu balls on the top. Garnish with basil and serve hot.
* It's advisable to cook the tofu balls in batches instead of cramming everything in one shot.


November 27, 2010

No Knead Swedish Cardamom Bread

Vegan Mofo Day 27:

This is the recipe for the Holiday Braid Bread I had mentioned in my Thanksgiving post. Recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine and has won 1st place in "Holiday flavors around the world contest" and I can say that this recipe deserves to win the 1st place, hands down. The winner, Celia Ozereko, modified an old Swedish family recipe by getting rid of all the eggs and butter and making it a no-knead bread. It tastes amazing, we polished off half the loaf in one sitting. It is slightly sweet with a nice spicy kick from the cardamom, I bet no one can eat just one piece. Do try this out this holiday season. I'm sure I'll making it many many times.

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves):
All purpose Flour - 5¼ cups
Flaxseed Meal - 2tbsp
Active Dry Yeast - 1tbsp
Salt - 1½tsp
Whole cardamom seeds - 1½tsp, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
Almond Milk - 2 cups, plus more for brushing the loaf (I used soy milk and it worked fine)
Agave nectar (or Maple syrup)- 1/3 cup
Canola oil - 1/3 cup
Demerera sugar (Sugar in the raw) - 2tbsp, for sprinkling

  • Stir together almond smilk (soy milk), flax seeds meal, agave nectar, oil, yeast, salt and cardamom in a large bowl. Add flour, and mix thoroughly with the wooden spoon.
  • Cover with lid or plastic wrap (I draped the bowl with kitchen towel for extra sealing), let stand for 2½ hours at room temperature.
  • Transfer the bowl to the fridge and let rest overnight.
  • Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator (reserve the other half for later; dough keeps good for up to 5 days in the fridge).
  • Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, roll each piece into 18" long rope on a floured surface.
  • Place dough ropes side by side 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Pinch ends together and tuck under. Loosely braid dough ropes, then pinch ends together.
  • Cover braided loaf with kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Brush top of the loaf with soy milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

November 26, 2010

Café Con Leche Flan

Vegan Mofo Day 26:

Did any of you (in the US) go out for shopping today? I woke up my husband 7:00AM and asked him if he wanted to go, he said he's too busy sleeping, so I dozed off too for another hour of sleep. Well we did end up in Walmart around noon to buy toothpaste for our little one and it looked like a carnival in the Electronics section. Every cart we saw had a flat screen TV, my husband was tempted to buy one, but knowing our three year old, who talks to TV and hi-fi's it as if it's his friend, we thought of waiting for another year.
Coming to the recipe for Coffee flan or Café con Leche flan. I don't remember ever eating a flan before though I remember seeing it in many parties. My husband loves coffee, so I decided to make this. Recipe is from Viva Vegan by Terry Romero.
I bought Agar powder from our local Asian market, each sachet was $1.99 and the last time I checked Whole foods, they had Agar flakes for about $10.00. So check your Asian markets before heading to Whole foods or other health food stores.

Caramel Coating:
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 3tbsp
Lemon/ Lime juice - 1 tsp

Water - ½cup
Agar powder - 1¼tsp (if using Agar flakes - 2½tsp)
Vanilla soy or Almond milk - 2cups (I used Original Soy milk and it tasted awesome)
Arrowroot powder or Cornstarch - 2tbsp
Coconut milk (lite or regular) - 1 cup
Granulated sugar - ½ cup
Brown Sugar - 2tbsp
Instant espresso powder or Instant coffee - 2tbsp
Vanilla extract - 2tsp (I forgot to add this, but it was still yummy :-))

  • Caramel: Have 4 - 6 individual clean, dry glass or ceramic ramekins or 2 larger 2-cups serving bowls.
  • Terry has a recipe for microwave caramel that I followed and it was done lickety split with no worries: Pour sugar in a microwaveable 2-cup or 4-cup measuring cup. Add water and lime/lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes; DO NOT stir again.
  • At about 3½ - 4 minutes mark, sugar will be melted and rapidly bubbling. Soon after that it will turn pale golden, then increasingly amber. Once the browning starts, it will continue to do so very rapidly, so keep a very close eye. My caramel reached the required dark amber color around the 5 minute mark. Stop the microwave and using oven mitts carefully remove from the oven. Alternatively caramel can be made on the stove using David Lebovitz's method.
  • Once the caramel is very hot and ready, pour it quickly into a thin layer onto the bottoms of the ramekins. Gently tilt the ramekin and let the caramel reach about ½ inch up the sides. Set the molds aside and let cool. Prepare the flan.
  • Flan: In a large sauce, combine the water and agar powder and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of soy milk and cornstarch and set aside.
  • After most of the agar has dissolved, add the rest of the milk, coconut milk, granulated sugar, brown sugar and instant coffee. Mix well.
  • Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat again.
  • Whisk the soy milk-corn starch mixture and stir rapidly into the simmering coconut milk mixture. Cook and stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly and the cornstarch is completely cooked (the mixture should taste smooth, not chalky), about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.
  • Pour into the caramel lined molds, leaving a minimum of ½ inch from the top of the molds.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, then allow to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • To serve the chilled flan: Gently run a knife along the sides of the flan. Invert the ramekin onto a serving plate and the flan should slide right onto the plate.

Serve the flan within 2-3 days of preparing. It tastes amazing with the slight bitter coffee taste complemented by the sweet caramel. I'm sure coffee lovers would love this one, my husband did.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and some upcoming Recipes

Vegan Mofo Day 25:

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. As for me, our little family celebrated with some yummy vegan treats. I wanted to make everything vegan today keeping with the theme of the month. I made Thiyya gummadikaya pulusu (red pumpkin stew) and Vankaya ulli karam kura (Eggplant with caramelized onion gravy) for lunch. For dinner I made some Cilantro-Lime rice and Venezuelan Shredded Seitan, both recipes from my latest cookbook, Viva Vegan. Didn't take pictures of any of these dishes, but I do have pictures of the treats I was telling about: Coffee flan and Holiday Braid Bread. Recipes are coming soon. Have a good night and enjoy your long weekend.


November 24, 2010

Karachi Dosa (Savory Indian Crepes)

Vegan Mofo Day 24:

Hope all of you (in this part of the world) are gearing up for Thanksgiving. It's going to be just the three of us this year and I'm planning to make a All-Vegan feast tomorrow. I'm still working on the menu (or rather checking the pantry to see what I can make). Will keep you guys posted in tomorrow post.
I made these dosas (crepes??) for dinner tonight. Recipe is from a Telugu newspaper, Eenadu and they called them Karachi dosas, I'm not sure why and how Karachi got involved with this dosa, but it doesn't matter, the resulting dosas were quite yummy.

Sooji (Semolina) - 1 cup
Maida (All purpose Flour) - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1 cup
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Green chilies - 3, finely chopped
Ginger - 1tsp, grated
Mustard seeds - 1½ tsp
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Fresh Coriander - 2tsp, finely chopped
Yogurt - 2tbsp (I used soy yogurt)
Salt - to taste

  • Whisk semolina, AP flour & rice flour in a medium bowl. Add water and whisk into a smooth batter with no lumps. I ended up adding about 3 cups of water.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a small sauce pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the oil to the batter.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and rest for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat a non-stick or cast-iron griddle on medium-high flame and once ready, pour the batter one ladle at a time to make a round dosa/ crepe. Here's a pictorial on how to make rawa dosas. Thanks Sailu.
  • Once done, serve hot with your favorite chutney. I served with Sreelu's no-cook, no chop Chutney & green pepper Sambar.

November 23, 2010

Pasta with Broccoli

Vegan Mofo Day 23:

This is a very simple pasta dish that comes together in no time if you have cooked pasta on hand. I had some leftover Brown rice penne pasta in the fridge along with a bunch of broccoli that needed to be used up. Having stuck in traffic and coming home late from work, I was in no mood to cook anything elaborate, so this simple and quick pasta came about.

Penne Pasta - 8 oz., cooked according to package directions (I used Brown Rice Pasta from Trader Joe's)
Broccoli florets - 2-3 cups, chopped
Onion - 1 medium, thinly sliced
Garlic - 3 cloves, coarsely chopped
Red chili flakes - 1/2tsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high flame. Add the red chili flakes and once they sizzle, add onions and garlic and sauté until onions turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Next add the broccoli and little salt; cook on medium high flame until broccoli starts to brown around the edges.
  • Lower the heat, cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until broccoli is tender, but still bright green.
  • Season with salt & pepper; add cooked pasta and mix well. Serve hot.

November 21, 2010

Palak-Bok Choy Stir Fry (Indian Style)

Vegan Mofo Day 21:

Weekend whizzed by very fast as usual, nothing much was accomplished, though there are too many tasks on the list. Didn't touch the stove until Sunday evening due to laziness, little bit of shopping and party at friends place. So finally when I started to cook, I had half a bag of baby spinach, half a bunch of bok-choy and a 3 huge bunches of scallions. So all of them went into this easy, tasty stir fry. I fried some home made vadiyalu/ wada (fritters, for lack of good English translation). My mom makes sure that I'm well stocked with these at all times.

Baby Spinach - 3-4 cups, chopped (half a 16 oz. bag)
Bok Choy - 2 cups, chopped
Green onions - 2-3 bunches, chopped
Carrot - 1 small, cubed
Green chilies - 3, slit
Curry leaves - 6
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
Shahjeera seeds - 1tsp
Kitchen King Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

  • Heat 2tsp oil in a sauté pan; add shahjeera seeds aonce they start to sputter, add garlic, onions, green chilies and carrots. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are slightly wilted.
  • Next add the chopped greens mix well; cover and cook till they are cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add salt and masala; cook for another couple of minutes uncovered.
Serve with rice or roti.

November 19, 2010

Veggie Pakoda (Balls/ Fritters)

Vegan Mofo Day 19:

I sometimes worry about raising a vegetarian kid in this not-so-vegetarian world. As of now, he eats whatever I give him in day-care/ school and even his teachers in school know about his dietary preference and don't give him anything that has meat. But when I think of him going to a real school, I'm not sure how he's going to fare. How do I tell him that it's not OK to eat meat, but at the same time I want him to respect his friend's eating choices, I don't want him to say something that will hurt other kids. How do you guys teach your kids to say "no" to meat? Any comments and advise will be highly appreciated..

Coming to the recipe on hand. I made these veggie balls when my son's daycare had an International dish day. I was told that the kids really enjoyed them. I made them very mild and instead of deep frying used my Appam pan. So they are quite healthy and yummy too.

Cabbage - 1cup, very finely chopped
Carrot - 1 small, grated
Green onion - 2, finely chopped
Green pepper - 1/2 cup, very finely chopped (may be half of a medium sized pepper)
Chickpea flour (Besan) - 1/4 cup (or more)
Rice flour - 2tbsp
Ginger + garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4tsp
Salt - to taste
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp

  • Microwave all the veggies except the scallions with little water until completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
  • When cool enough to handle, add the chickpea flour, rice flour, salt, chili powder, garam masala, ginger+garlic paste and mix into a thick batter. Add more chickpea flour if the mixture is too wet. Add little water if the mixture is too dry (the veggies should be wet enough and no additional water is usually necessary).
  • Heat an appam pan, add about 1/2 tsp oil in each hole. When the oil starts to sizzle, add about 1tbsp of batter in each hole and cook on medium-low flame until golden brown on all sides. These cook pretty fast, so constant attention is required. Adjust the heat so that all the balls cook evenly.

Serve hot with ketchup. They make excellent appetizers, just stick a fancy toothpick in each of them and serve with a dip.

November 18, 2010

Caribbean Coconut Rice

Vegan Mofo Day 18:

This recipe from Vegetarian Times has been on my list "to-make" for a very long time and last night I made it. It is very simple to make, but is packed with flavor. I wanted to add some Caribbean flavored tofu I had on hand to the rice, but the flavors were too bold and I didn't think my 3 year old would like it much. So I made just the rice (which by the way, the kiddo loved) and tofu separately (I sautéed tofu with some green onions & spinach and seasoned it with coconut milk powder, salt & pepper). Yummy dinner I should say and perfect for a weeknight meal.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times.
Rice - 2cups, preferably Jasmine rice (I used Blue Ribbon brand long grain rice)
Light Coconut milk - 1½ cups
Ginger - 1" piece, grated
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely minced
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Lemon zest - 2tsp, grated
Salt - to taste
White Pepper - ½tsp (or more to taste)
Sugar - 1tsp
Toasted Unsweetened Coconut - 2tbsp (optional)

  • Rinse and drain the rice. Keep aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan, heat 2tsp butter (I used Earth Balance butter). Add ginger, garlic & cinnamon stick. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until it starts smell fragrant.
  • Add rice and sauté for 2 minutes or until rice turns opaque.
  • Add coconut milk, 2½ cups of water, sugar, pepper and salt. Bring to a simmer on medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for 15 minutes (no peeking please). Let the rice rest for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork garnish with toasted unsweetened coconut (if using) and serve with any Asian or Caribbean side dish.

This is the first time ever in my life, the rice turned out perfect when cooked in a pot. I'm so used to cooking in the pressure cooker that whenever I try to cook separately in the pot, it either turns out to be mushy or undercooked. Do try this rice and the addition of lemon zest brings a new dimension to the taste. Enjoy!!

November 16, 2010

Multi Grain Bread

Vegan Mofo Day 16:
OK Guys... Finally after a lot of deliberations & discussions, we've added a Kitchenaid Stand mixer to our ever growing kitchen appliances list. I had to take the storage space available, usage and the price into consideration. I do bake almost every week and I thought I can re-organize my counters to accommodate the new arrival, but the price was still an issue.

So when I saw Kohl’s had it on sale for $199.99 ($259.99 Retail), got another 30% off for using Kohl’s credit card; so I ended up paying $150 (that’s including tax), with another $20 mail-in rebate. So I’m a happy to get a Kitchenaid that is 2nd in Consumer Reports rating for less than $150.

For my first attempt, I made “Multi-Grain Bread” using Peter Reinhart’s recipe from “The bread baker’s Apprentice”. The recipe called for kneading for 10 minutes in the stand mixer, but I took it out after 5 minutes and kneaded it by hand for another 7 minutes.

For the Soaker:
Coarse cornmeal (polenta) or quinoa or millet or amaranth – 3tbsp
Rolled oats or wheat or buckwheat or triticale flakes – 3tbsp
Wheat bran – 2tbsp
Water – ¼ cup

For the Bread:
Bread flour – 3cups
Brown sugar – 3tbsp
Yeast – 2tbsp
Salt – 1½tsp
Cooked Brown Rice - 3tbsp
Milk or Buttermilk – ½ cup (I used Soymilk. You can also use water instead)
Water – ¾ cup, at room temperature
Honey – 1½ tbsp (omit if vegan)

  • Prepare the soaker the night before you plan to make the bread: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Water is going to just cover the grains and helps in hydrating. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.
  • Next day make the bread: In a mixing bowl or in the stand mixer bowl, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Stir together using the paddle attachment.
  • Next add water, milk and honey. Stir until ingredients form into a ball. Change to the dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes. Alternately knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 12 minutes.
  • The dough is quite sticky to begin with; after kneading it is tacky but not sticky and becomes smooth with a shiny surface.
  • Transfer into a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled. One tip from the Kitchenaid manual that helped me with proofing the dough in this cold temperature is to turn on the oven at 400°F for 1 minute and turning it off. Then put the bowl (covered with a kitchen towel) in the center of the oven.
  • After the first rise, take the dough out and roll it into a ¾ inch thick rectangle of 6” wide and 8 – 10” long. Then roll it from the short edge to form into a loaf, pinch the edges to seal and transfer into a lightly greased 9” x 5” bread pan.
  • Spritz lightly with cooking spray; cover loosely with plastic wrap (and a kitchen towel) and let rise for another 90 minutes. At this point, you can also make individual rolls instead of making into a log.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Individual rolls should be done baking by then. If baking the log, turn the pan 180° and bake for another 15 minutes.
Bread should have a golden brown crust and should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove bread from the pan immediately and let cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing or serving.

The bread has a slightly crunchy crust and the interior has a nice texture from the added grains.
It is perfect for breakfast with some peanut butter and jelly or with any sandwich accouterments or just to to dunk in soup . Well worth the effort I must say.

November 15, 2010

ICC-October Pistachio Praline

This is one of the quickest Indian Cooking Challenge ever. I was a little skeptical trying it since I have never ever tried making caramel before. Actually I shy away from any dish that needs testing the “consistency of sugar syrup”. I bought a candy thermometer, but still haven’t used it.
Well anyway I waited till the last minute and made the praline on Saturday and all it took really was 15-20 minutes and the end result was this crunchy, delicious dry fruit candy bar. My husband loved it so much that he said next time make a LOT MORE than you made now. And so I think I’ll maybe plan to expand my caramel related recipe repertoire. May be a Crème Brule or Flan are in the making.. Just wait and see.

Coming back to the recipe: Valli gave 2 excellent tried and tested recipes from Alka @ Simply Sindi Recipes & from Madhvi @ Madhvi’s Foolproof recipes. Varo is a Sindi specialty made especially during Diwali time. But after trying this once, I’m sure I’m going to be making it for any occasion that needs a quick sweet ending.
The only problem I had was the rolling and cutting, but I cooled the praline without cutting with a knife and broke off the praline for a more “free-form” look. This caramel making post by David Lebovitz was extremely helpful for me.

Sugar – ½ cup
Pistachios – ½ cup, coarsely chopped
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
White Poppy Seeds – 2tbsp
Vegetable Oil – 2tbsp (I didn’t see the use for oil, I’m going to omit it next time)

  • Heat sugar in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. The sugar will slowly start to liquefy along the edges first and will start to change color. Keep a constant eye on the sugar and keep stirring.
  • My caramel was a little grainy in the beginning, but I followed Mr. Lebovitz’s advise and lowered the heat and slowly stirred it until all the sugar was melted and had a beautiful caramel color.
  • Once the sugar reaches the exact caramel consistency, turn off the heat and add the chopped nuts, poppy seeds and cardamom powder.
  • Stir well until all the ingredients are incorporated and pour onto a lightly greased plate.
Cut into squares/ diamonds while hot or cool completely and crush or break into free-form bars; they are yummy either way. Enjoy!!

November 14, 2010

Cuban Style Black Bean Soup

Veganmofo Day 14:

I bought “Viva Vegan” by Terry Hope Romero recently and have started to make recipes from it. The first recipe I made from the book is this yummy green pepper-onion relish called “Sofrito”. This recipe is super simple to put together and once you have stocked it in your fridge/ freezer, you can use it as a base for a ton of dishes.

Here’s how I made Sofrito:
Green peppers – 5 medium, seeded and chopped finely
Onions – 2 large, diced
Garlic Cloves - 4, peeled and chopped coarsely
Paprika – 1tsp
Ground Cumin – 1tsp
Ground Coriander - 1tsp
Olive oil – ¼ cup
Salt & Pepper – to taste

  • In a large heavy skillet, add oil, garlic, green peppers, onions, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Lower the heat to low and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies cook down and become mushy.
  • Cool completely and store in a glass container for up to 2 weeks or freeze in 1-2 cup ziplock bags.
I thawed one of the ziplock bag and made this comforting Cuban style black bean soup.

Prepared Sofrito – 1½ - 2 cups
Tomatoes – 2 ripe, chopped
Tomato paste – 2tbsp
Black beans – 2 16oz. cans (or equivalent cooked), rinsed and drained
Vegetable broth – 2 cups
Red wine vinegar or fresh Lime juice – 2tbsp
Dried Oregano - 1½ tsp
Paprika – 1tsp
Salt & Pepper – to taste

  • Heat a soup pot, add sofrito (thawed if frozen), tomato paste and tomatoes; cook until tomatoes turn mushy.
  • Add black beans, broth and the ground spices along with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Next add red wine vinegar; mix well and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve hot with steamed rice or as is with some cheese and sour cream. It tastes pretty good without any added garnishes. Perfect for this chilly weather. Have a wonderful weekend.


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