Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food continued ...

It took me longer than expected to acquire some of the ingredients I needed, but I got them today at a little Asian market in Nashua, NH. It's called Lanna Asian Market, and they have just about everything you might need for Asian cooking. I needed miso paste, preferably organic, hon-dashi, and soy sauce. The sales girl was very helpful and even offered me recipes.  I would highly recommend them.

So, here's what I made today. I had almost 2 lbs. of fresh mushrooms to use before they spoiled. Since I'd rather not throw money away, I decided to look for a recipe for mushroom soup that did not use cream. I'm trying to maintain as close to a vegan diet as I can. I do feel much better since eliminating animal products, especially beef and dairy. Now I just have to work on the sugar intake, but that's another entry for another day.

I found a recipe on for mushroom soup that I modified just a little bit. Here's what I did:
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce (I used the low sodium kind)
  • 1/2 package extra firm tofu sliced into cubes
  • about 4 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 1 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 cans vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot, I sauteed the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion until tender. Then I added the vegetable broth, soy sauce, and spices and let it simmer to allow the tofu to absorb the flavor. After about 15 minutes, I transferred about 2/3 of the vegetables and tofu into the blender and blended until fairly smooth. Then I put it back into the soup. This is what makes it thicker and heartier than a clear broth soup. After everything is back in the pot, add the barley, simmer and season to taste. That's it! Of course, I had to try some, so I had a bowl for supper. Yummmmmmmmmm ...

I also made a pot of Japanese Miso Soup. Again, I got the recipe from, and it was extremely easy and quick to make. Here is the recipe:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. hon-dashi granules
  • 3 tbs. miso paste (I used red miso)
  • 4 oz. extra firm tofu, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cps. mushrooms, sliced
In a saucepan, bring the water and the hon-dashi granules to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the miso paste. I used red miso because it has a heartier flavor than the white. Add the tofu, the mushrooms, and the green onions. Let it simmer for a few minutes before serving so that the tofu can absorb the flavors. That's all there is to it. And it is delicious! I didn't feel the need to add any salt or pepper, but I imagine some people do.

So that pretty much was my day today. Now, since it's after 11:00 p.m. I'm going to think about going to bed. I think the next dish I want to try making is an edamame salad that can be either eaten as is or added to al-dente pasta for a nice pasta salad.

Another culinary quote ...

"…the key dietary messages are stunningly simple:
Eat less, move more, eat more fruits and vegetables,
and don't eat too much junk food.
It's no more complicated than that."

~Marion Nestle~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on food ...

Again, it's been a while since I wrote. I've finally gotten a clean bill of health in terms of the pneumonia. My last x-ray was clear. Yay!

Now, I'm playing with my diet to try and improve my overall health, lose weight, and hopefully, decrease the pain I'm in every day. I've gone back to being a vegetarian, but I'm taking it a step further ... going vegan. I've eliminated meat, dairy, and eggs. But, it's not enough. I need to eliminate sugar too. At least most of it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to give up my Coffee Mate.

Part of doing this is going to be learning to cook for myself again, to make and have ready foods and snacks that are healthful. Tomorrow when I go food shopping I'm going to Trader Joe's to look for a few things ... raw nuts, organic fruits and veggies, red miso paste, extra-firm tofu. There's a recipe from for Easy Miso Soup that I want to try.

There are a couple of websites that I've been frequenting in this culinary quest of mine. One is One of my favorites is Mushroom Barley Soup. It's easy, quick, and very yummy. There's another reason, though, that I like this website. Not only do they have recipes, they have good information as well. Going vegan is not only good for animals (obviously), it's good for us, and it's good for the earth. It takes much less energy to produce an acre of veggies or grain than it does to grow and slaughter an animal. They have information to help make the switch from carnivore to vegetarian/vegan, and you can even request a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

I also have an Excalibur Food Dehydrator and I love it! It can be noisy, so I recommend putting it in a room where you can close the door, or if you have a basement, that would work too. I'm completely addicted to making my own raisins. They are so much plumper and juicier than the store-bought ones. I've also done watermelon, canteloupe, kiwi, and bananas. Nature's candy! When mushrooms are on sale, I stock up and dry them for use in soups and stews.

So, tomorrow I'll be back with the results of my cooking experiments.

I leave you with "food" for thought:

Nothing will benefit human health
and increase chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.  
~Albert Einstein~