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Thursday, June 19, 2008


Best Blog Tips For those of you who are waiting eagerly for the vegan whipped topping recipe that Julie Hasson and I have been working on, I'm afraid you will have to be patient! What we are working with is a product called Versawhip 600K, a soy product. It's not cheap, but, as I mentioned last month on my vegsource forum, you can get a pretty good price at L'Epicerie in New York. I had to wait until I actually went there (I was going anyway!) to get it, and will have to have it shipped to an American friend to send to me in future because they don't ship to Canada.

We are working separately (we live in different countries!) and tossing ideas around by phone and email. My first batch was pretty good, and certainly looked good, but was lacking in several departments. I haven't had as much time as I would like to to work on this, and other ideas I have for using this product, so my progress has been slow. Today (rather guiltily) I spent most of the day on it (this included research on food science) and had to throw out two experiments. That is the nature of recipe development, and this product is particularly tricky-- there is a steep learning curve! Recipe development begins in your head, and ends in the kitchen, but in between, you crack open the books, you do online research-- it takes time. This is particularly true in alot of vegan cooking because you need to know what you are aiming for, and then how to achieve that with products that act differently from the ones you used as an omni! If you are a perfectionist, it may take even longer!

Anyway-- on to the soup!

Caldo Verde-- smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton) is a tasty garnish!

We've had company this week, and some unseasonably chilly weather, so soups have been on my table quite frequently. The following is one of our favorites (I made the Portuguese version this time)!

Printable Recipe
Serves 6-8

Kale and potatoes are made for eachother, as you’ll see when you try this wonderful soup. In Spain (and also Portugal, where it’s called Caldo Verde), this soup contains a spicy (but very fatty) sausage called chorizo, which is seasoned with garlic, dry red wine, chile, paprika, and cumin. I add these seasonings to the soup itself instead. Cubes of turnip are another characteristic Spanish touch.

NOTE: Don’t worry about the amount of garlic in this soup— it mellows out considerably during cooking.

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 T. dark sesame oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced (or about 10 cloves from a jar, minced, or about 2-4 T. minced from a jar)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper (you may not need this if you use spicy Field Roast Chipotle vegan sausage-- see below)
6 c. vegan broth (see this post)
10-12 oz. kale, washed, trimmed and chopped (you could also use turnip greens or collards)
2 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed (unpeeled) and thinly sliced
1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed in 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 c. (or a 15 oz. can) cooked white kidney (cannellini) beans, drained
1/4 c. dry red wine OR 1 T. balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
OPTIONAL: sliced spicy vegan sausages (Field Roast Chipotle would be my choice, or a mixture of Chipotle and Italian)

In a heavy soup pot, heat the oils over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for several minutes, or until the onion softens. Add a little water as needed to keep from sticking.

NOTE: You can also cook the onion and garlic with the oils in a microwave oven (place in a microwave-safe covered casserole, or Pyrex pie dish with another one on top for a lid) for about 10 minutes. This works well if you are doing a bunch of things at once, because you don't need to stir!

Add the bay leaf, paprika, cumin and chile flakes and stir for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes,or until everything is tender. Taste for salt and pepper.


Omit the turnip and use 4 potatoes instead. Use the sausage option and omit the beans. Use only 1/2 lb. kale.



rzaugg said...

Ohhh noooooo, here I was all excited about it and now it looks like we Canadians can forget about this!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

rzaugg-- don't give up yet! If this works out as I hope it will, and you don't have a friend or relative in the States, maybe, if there is enough interest, we can persuade L'Epicerie to change their mailing policy, or a Canadian company to carry it. To buy it in bulk requires a big initial expense, evidently, so the company would have to be willing to take that on.

Gaia said...

I am convinced I would love your soup. I wish I could find kale here :(
When I'm lucky, I can find it in Quebec City...

Interesting that Versawhip!
I'm sure it will keep you occupied :)

harlemgrrl said...

the soup looks fab. u. lous.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Gaia, you could substitute chard, collard greens, turnip greens, gai lan, etc. for the kale. It is good!

Gaia said...

Thanks Bryanna!
I can find chard more easily when it's in season :)
Can't wait to try the soup in any case.

Can we blanch/freeze kale?
Because if it was possible, I would buy a lots when I find it in Quebec...

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Yes, you certainly can, Gaia! Do you have any garden space? I ask because it is easy to grow-- even we grow it and we are not gardeners! And it is cold-hardy, too. Your provincial ag department, or a university ag department should have some info on the season there.

girlsnqueers said...

Can...not...wait for that final recipe. Thanks for working on it.

Gaia said...

Yes, I have a garden! I should look that up... even though I have a lot of trouble with growing greens. I can't understand why, I have tried several differents ways/techniques and they won't grow. Spinach in particular. Very disappointing.

Thank you, Bryanna!