Make Spring Come Now

ocean chowder 008

Pretend like you don’t care that it’s snowing in April. Pretend like all you want to do is have a delicious warming soup to eat. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Make this one! When I read that the owner of the Wynn Resorts became a vegan, I figured he’d hire him some pretty big name chefs. Tal Ronnen is a culinary superstar and and his ‘clam’ chowder is really inspirational. But I needed to adapt it for home cooks. If I told my students, we’d be using a stovetop smoker, they’d think I was smoking something! So I replaced Tal’s smoked mushrooms with re-hydrated dry shitake mushrooms that are then massaged with a little liquid smoke. Suddenly it’s do-able. This is one of those recipes, so warm and creamy and comforting, that friends will say “I’d eat vegan, too, if I could eat like this.”

In fact, I promised to post this for the Meijer Garden Book Club. Here you go, Ladies!

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, try grinding up the cashews to the consistency of a powder in your food processor (like fine bread crumbs…don’t go all the way to peanut butter),then soak in one cup of non-dairy milk, then proceed with the recipe. Alternately, you can proceed as below and, if you want the soup perfectly smooth, you may have to pour the cream through a filter.

Ocean Chowder
One cup raw cashews, soaked (see below)
1-2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
½ tsp. white pepper
One cup dried shiitake mushrooms
½ tsp. hickory seasoning (optional)
2 2X3 inch pieces of kombu seaweed and one sheet toasted nori
1 large onion, ¼ inch dice
2 medium stalks celery, ¼ inch dice
2 medium carrots, ¼ inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ waxy yellow potatoes diced in ½ inch cubes
¾ tsp. coarse salt, divided
Salt and pepper to taste Tempeh bacon (optional)

To make the cashew cream:
Place cashews in a bowl of filtered water. Cover by at least two inches and let soak 3 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain cashews and place in a blender (preferably high speed) with 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk and the white pepper and the rest of the salt. I use Westsoy plain unsweetened. Locally, look for it at Harvest Health. Blend for a minute or so on high speed until mixture is completely smooth.

To make the ocean stock:
Bring 4 cups filtered water and seaweed to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Strain out all seaweed. You will have a clear fishy smelling broth.

Rehydrate mushrooms:
Place mushrooms in a bowl with water to cover and bring to a boil in the microwave. Let steep for at least ten minutes. When cool, drain mushrooms (you can reserve the soaking liquid for use in rich soups or gravies) and chop roughly. Sprinkle hickory smoke over mushrooms and massage it in with your hands.

Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pan over medium heat for a minute or two. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. coarse salt on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the onions and celery on top. Let cook for a minute or two undisturbed. When the vegetables begin to give up their juices, stir and cook for another minute or two until they soften. Add the garlic and carrot and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes. Add the potatoes and the ocean stock and simmer for ten minutes or so until the potatoes are tender (you really don’t want to overcook the potatoes). Add the mushrooms and the cream. Depending on how thick you want your chowder, add small amounts of milk until you have reached the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle soup into wide bowls. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper and a tablespoon of tempeh
bacon.

Tempeh Bacon
1 block tempeh 2 tbsp tamari or shoyu (soy sauce)
2 T coffee or black tea 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp. sesame oil
1 T tomato paste 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp maple syrup

Cut one block of tempeh into thin slices and lay singly in a shallow platter. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over tempeh slices. Allow to marinate for half hour or so.

Preheat oven to 275. Lay slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. ‘Paint’ any remaining marinade over each slice. Bake for about an hour, flipping the slices halfway through. When they reach the dry crispy consistency you want, remove from the oven and cool. Crumble into a bowl and store in a covered container until ready to serve.

Looks like I added some chopped kale to this batch as well as garnished it with a little ancho chili powder and freshly ground black pepper.

ocean chowder 010

My friend, Kathy Roth, who is an excellent healthy vegan cook, shared this chowder recipe with us. It’s similar but different from mine. Try them both. Thank you, Kathy!

Ocean Chowder

Half cup raw cashews, soaked (see below)
1-2 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
½ tsp. white pepper and 1/2 tsp sea salt
Four containers of oyster mushrooms, remove all stems
½ tsp. hickory seasoning (optional)
about 5X5 inch pieces of kombu sea vegetable
1 small onion, ¼ inch dice (optional)
2 medium stalks celery
¼ inch dice 2 medium carrots, ¼ inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 7 small Yukon Gold potatoes diced in ½ inch cubes
¾ tsp. coarse salt, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the cashew cream: Place cashews in a bowl of filtered water. Cover by at least two inches and let soak 3 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain cashews and place in a blender (preferably high speed) with 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk. I use Almond milk plain unsweetened. Blend for a minute or so on high speed until mixture is completely smooth.

To make the ocean stock: Bring 4 cups filtered water and seaweed to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.Turn off heat and cover. Leave on stove overnight. Strain out all seaweed and cut into little pieces to add to the soup. You will have a clear fishy smelling broth.

Chop oyster mushrooms and saute in a little olive oil with onions and the garlic until a little brown. Add celery and carrots. Add Kombu broth and potatoes and cook until potatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes. May have to add a little more water to cover potatoes. Add hickory seasoning, salt and pieces of Kombu. Add cashew cream and cook on low until warmed. You can add more almond milk if it is too thick.
To serve, ladle soup into wide bowls. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper. ENJOY

Makes 5 one cup servings
about 160 calories per cup.

One thought on “Make Spring Come Now

  1. Pingback: Yes! Tomatoes | stirthepotgr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s