Monday, July 18, 2011


Best Blog Tips
 Not a great picture, but a great soup!

Okay, I just posted a blog post on Facebook from 3 years ago tomorrow-- a yummy, crunchy vegan Asian-style salad.  I think I will make it for dinner tonight, even though it's cloudy and rainy and a little chilly and has been for most of July!  To be truthful, it IS a little warmer than 3 days ago, when I made the soup featured here today.  But it was so chilly then that I craved a hearty soup!  What a contrast, though!

I was inspired to develop this particular soup by my recent purchase of 454 g (roughly a lb.) of  The Wild Mushroom Co. brand dried wild mushrooms from our new local Costco store.  My sister had gifted me with a similar jar a couple of years ago from her Burnaby, BC Costco, but we could never get them in the Nanaimo, BC store.  But now we have a store in Courtenay, BC (our nearest shopping town) and it carries them!  It is such a bargain at under $15!  Its a combination of 25% each of porcini, shiitake, yellow boletus, and oyster mushrooms in nice big chunks. (The mushrooms are from Chile, China, Serbia and Montenegro,  and packed in France by

I decided to make a vaguely Polish-style soup with potatoes in it for heartiness, and added an option of a vegan chicken sub (Soy Curls in this case) for a filling whole-meal soup (well, we did have a salad on the side!).  Caraway seeds are often used in this type of soup, but I didn't have any (they are hard to find around here!) so I used cumin seeds-- tasted good to me!  We were very pleased with the result and ate it for 2 nights running-- it was even better the second night!  It is versatile in that it can be tailored to low-fat or no-fat diets, soy-free diets and gluten-free diets.

 Soy Curls soaking, and a jar of dried wild mushrooms

 Fresh mushroom slices and soaked dried wild mushrooms.

5 servings   
This is even better the next day! Low-fat and can be soy-free and/or gluten-free.

1 1/2 oz    dried wild mushroom mix
2 cups    water  
1 medium    onion, in chunks
2 stalks    celery, in large dice 
1 medium    carrot, scrubbed, in chunks
OPTIONAL: 2 Tbs    Earth Balance
1/2 lb    white or crimini (small brown) mushrooms, thinly sliced  
1/2 Tbs    cumin seeds  
2 cups    vegetarian "chicken-style" broth  
1 lb    russet potatoes,  peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice  
2 cups    nondairy milk  
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste  
1/2 cup    vegan sour cream  (commercial or homemade tofu sour cream, or cashew version)
2 Tbs   unbleached white flour  (or use 4 tsp. potato starch instead of flour for GF)
1 tsp    sweet smoked paprika  
OPTIONAL: 2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls® (2 oz. dry) (see here for info), or commercial vegan “chicken strips”, or "chicken"-style seitan
Place dried mushrooms and water in a 1 qt. saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then simmer, covered, while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a food processor (or by hand, if you prefer), finely mince the onion, celery and carrots.

Melt the Earth Balance (if using) in a soup pot over medium-high heat, and add the minced vegetables and a bit of salt. Sauté 5 minutes.   Or, just use a spray of oil from a pump-sprayer and “steam-fry”, keeping the vegetables moving and adding a squirt of water every so often—just enough to keep the veggies from sticking, not enough to “stew” them.  (**Another option, and one I often use, is to spray a microwave-safe casserole with a little oil, add the veggies and a bit of salt, cover, and microwave on High for about 7 minutes, or until tender.  Then transfer them to the soup pot.)

Meanwhile, strain the simmered dried mushrooms, reserving the cooking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside.

Reduce the heat under the soup pot to medium and add the fresh and dried mushrooms and cumin seeds.  Continue cooking until the vegetables are very tender, 15-20 minutes.

Add the strained, reserved mushroom liquid into a pot with the veggie broth and potato cubes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher—a few lumps are okay.

Add the nondairy milk to the pot and heat it through, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir the vegan sour cream, flour and paprika together in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into the soup pot (along with the optional Soy Curls, if using)  until thoroughly mixed. Heat the soup for a few more minutes over low heat, then serve hot with more vegan sour cream and smoked paprika on the side.
 1.) Nutrition Facts WITHOUT the optional Earth Balance and SoyCurls:
Nutrition (per serving): 196.3 calories; 7% calories from fat; 1.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 312.6mg sodium; 1041.2mg potassium; 39.5g carbohydrates; 4.1g fiber; 6.2g sugar; 35.4g net carbs; 9.5g protein; 3.3 points.

2.) Nutrition Facts WITH the 2 Tbs Earth Balance but NOT the optional Soy Curls:
Nutrition (per serving): 236.3 calories; 23% calories from fat; 6.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 360.6mg sodium; 1041.2mg potassium; 39.5g carbohydrates; 4.1g fiber; 6.2g sugar; 35.4g net carbs; 9.5g protein; 4.5 points.

3.) Nutrition Facts WITH the 2 Tbs Earth Balance AND the optional Soy Curls:
Nutrition (per serving): 276.3 calories; 25% calories from fat; 8.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 362.6mg sodium; 1041.2mg potassium; 41.5g carbohydrates; 5.3g fiber; 6.6g sugar; 36.2g net carbs; 13.5g protein; 5.4 points.

4.) Nutrition Facts WITH the optional Soy Curls but WITHOUT the optional 2 tablespoons Earth Balance:
Nutrition (per serving): 236.3 calories; 13% calories from fat; 3.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 314.6mg sodium; 1041.2mg potassium; 41.5g carbohydrates; 5.3g fiber; 6.6g sugar; 36.2g net carbs; 13.5g protein; 4.2 points.
Enjoy! (Save the recipe for this coming Fall or Winter if you are actually having summer weather right now!)


Anonymous said...

It sounds yummy, but what do we have to train the mushrooms to do? LOL

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

What would I do without my sharp-eyed (and humorous) readers?!! Further embarrass myself, no doubt! Fixed it!

Anonymous said...

This sounds good but I will wait until the heat wave breaks to try it. I am more interested in cold salads right now.

Only two weeks until the new book is out! I have been eyeing the teaser photos and am eager to buy it.