Geoff Fields’ Mushroom Poblano Gumbo

Well, I was tempted to call it ‘Yumbo,’ but that’s so corny and Geoff is so serious!

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Seriously. This was delicious! Thank you, Geoff. Here is a man who takes his recipes very seriously. Recently, he wrote to us–

Disclaimer: I have always known enthusiasm is my strong suit, maybe to the point of excess. You have been warned…

So permit me to say that I have been working on a recipe for the PBSC next month that is, appropriately, fitting for St. Patrick’s Day. I made the second test batch tonight, and I can say beyond a moral certainty that I would eat this stuff every week. It’s the best vegan recipe in my playbook – at least judged by originality and taste – and I cannot wait to have you guys try it.

How cool is it that friends come up with this idea like “Plant Based Supper Club” so that people like me, and others, can spend a cold winter night imagining a recipe for the next get-together? My compliments to you both.

Peace, GF

So here’s the recipe in all its earthy glory…Geoffs Gumbo Recipe

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup

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Another lick-the-bottom-of-the-bowl winner from last month’s supper club was David Landrum’s Coconut Red Lentil Soup, which he got from Bon Appétit Magazine. We couldn’t find a good link, so here are the instructions below. Thank you, David! P.S. This isn’t a photo of the soup, but one like it. Discerning readers will see that David’s recipe has no peas. Add them if you want.

Red Lentil Coconut Soup (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:
2 cups red split lentils
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup tomato paste
7 cups water
1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions:
Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking. Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.

Make Spring Come Now

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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.

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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.

Our Last Wintry Supper Club

Well, it wouldn’t be Michigan if we didn’t have people stuck in the snow at a potluck at least once a year. But the weather didn’t keep us from making new friends and celebrating delicious food! In fact, we decided we need more space for our gatherings. Our merry band of plant-based eaters has encouraged us to do something we thought heretofore impossible, which I will detail at the end of this post. Many of your requested recipes are included in this post as well.

A lovely quiet descends over the rooms just before everyone arrives.

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We had many new guests bearing food. And some really amazing dishes appeared, including a summery tabbouleh, stuffed peppers, curry stew and spring pea shoot risotto. The dessert table was groaning. The peanut butter chocolate brownies and the lime curd tarts were gone in a flash.

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Michele Sellers arrived with eggplant involtini. I didn’t get a bite!

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You can see why we need more space. We stopped counting after forty people. For next month, we’re working on a way to make it easier to access the food.

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Still everyone was in good spirits about it, filling plates and finding somewhere to sit, even when we ran out of chairs.

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Good food really does bring people together. We love it when you bring your friends and relatives. Here, Diane Flaherty-Cisler has brought her son, Nick, and daughter-in-law, Sophia, who is a medical student.

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Jan and Beth and Shane and Sandy also found time to catch up.

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Here are some of the recipes your requested. I wish I had photos for them all! But I think you’ll agree, the recipes are far more priceless.

Geoff Fields’ Wayland Wedding Gumbo was a huge hit! Yes, it looks like a Louisiana bayou in this photo, but trust me, people couldn’t get enough of it. Here’s his recipe, down-sized from 100…

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Wayland Wedding Gumbo

1/4 cup corn flour (Masa Harina)
1/4 cup olive oil

6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dried mushrooms (porcini, morel, etc.)
1 dried ancho chile

3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced green pepper
3/4 cup diced celery

1 T garlic salt
1 t black pepper
1 t white pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 cups arugula, chopped

1 T curry powder
1 t garlic salt
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme

1 T olive oil
6 green onions, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 pound mushrooms, diced
2 T vegan margarine
1 cup frozen sweet corn

1 head garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch parsley, diced
1 cup white wine

6 cups cooked rice

Make Roux

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix corn flour and oil in cast iron pan. Bake flour/oil mix in oven for about 1 hour, stirring well every 10-15 minutes. [Note: corn flour is less stable than wheat flour, and olive oil burns at a lower temperature, so baking the roux poses a less risk of burning the roux. Aim for a tan color, as the mushrooms and ancho will give the gumbo the classic darker color. If burnt specs appear in the roux, start over.]

While roux is baking, heat stock to a simmer, turn off heat, and add mushrooms and ancho to steep in the stock. When the stock has cooled, blend the mushrooms and ancho in 1 quart of the cooled stock, and return the blended mixture to the stock pot. Return stock to simmer.

When roux reaches desired color, remove from oven, stir in onions/peppers/celery and salt and peppers. Cook on burner over low temperature for five minutes, then turn off heat. Add roux mixture by spoonful’s to the stock, stirring well after each addition. Once roux mixture is completely incorporated into the stock, turn off the burner, and add the arugula.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in pan and sauté green onions and poblano until just softened. Add spice mix and stir to incorporate. Add mushrooms and sauté by shaking the pan back and forth. When mushrooms start to release water, add vegan margarine, 1 T at a time, until melted and incorporated all the while shaking the pan back and forth, until margarine is melted and incorporated.

Add mushroom mixture and corn to the gumbo. Simmer on low heat for 60 minutes, adding wine towards the end (as well water as enough water or more stock to reach a consistency you like). Just before serving, salt and pepper to taste, as desired; stir in garlic and parsley; and simmer for 10 more minutes.

To serve, mound rice in center of bowl and ladle gumbo around rice.

Serves 8 to 12.

Everyone wanted to know more about Medha’s dish. Here she is chatting with chef Shawn Kohlhaas about it.

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Medha says: That was Kachhi Dabeli, a fast food snack from the Kutch region of Gujarat, India. These are Indian burgers with a spicy mashed potato filling along with fresh garlic chutney, tangy dates and tamarind chutney, roasted peanuts, pomegranate seeds, chopped onions, and cilantro. Instead of pomegranate you can use black or green grapes cut into small pieces. Find a nice recipe online here

Vegan Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies
brought by Kathy Harwood and inspired by Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
2/3 cup sweet potato puree
2 TBSP ground flax seed
1/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350*F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sweet potato puree, ground flax seed and almond milk. Add in the remaining wet ingredients and mix well (oil, syrup, and vanilla). Sift in spelt flour, ww pastry flour, spices, soda, and salt and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in the oats, pecans and dried cranberries.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop cookie dough and drop on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave 2″ of space between each cookie. Press down the scoops to form a flat patty. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden brown.
Makes ~20 cookies
Note: You can substitute pumpkin puree for the sweet potato. Be sure to add more sweetener to make up for the substitution.

Finally, my personal fave was Kevin Schalkofski’s Italian “Beef” Sandwiches. He found the recipe at this link and he has this to say about making the recipe: I basically prepared the whole recipe the day before. 1. I did not use tofu in the seitan loaf. 2. I did not have beer, so I just used extra veggie broth in the au jus. Since I was making ahead, on day 2 I put the au jus in the crock pot on low at lunch time and put the sliced seitan back in foil and followed the “steaming process” noted in the original recipe — keeping it from mixing with the broth. I would be curious to have time to do this all in the same day.

So that’s what we have so far. If there’s anything else you’d like, tell me so I can badger the cooks.

Finally, we are hoping (fingers crossed) to clear out a space for more diners. We have a lower level. It used to be called the ‘Post Office,’ because it contains an entire post office wall, complete with counter. Now it’s called…well, nothing. It’s kind of a junk repository. But it has a beautiful fireplace! So we’re hoping to clear it out for March. Everyone has to have goals. Thanks for kicking us into gear!

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The Absolute Best! Vegan Roasted Corn Chowder


When lawyer-by-day-foodie-by-night Geoff Fields showed up at our supper club with his now-famous roasted corn chowder, I didn’t even have time to take a picture. With ripe juicy corn upon us, this is the perfect time to try his recipe. If you can’t imagine doing it in this heat, roast the corn on your grill, freeze it, and have an amazing meal in November! Thanks again, Geoff!

Absolute Best! Roasted Corn Chowder
6 ears corn
4 tomatillos (cored)
4 cups vegetable stock*
1 dried ancho chili
1 bunch cilantro sprigs
4 ears corn
1 white onion (sliced ¼ inch thick)
1 poblano chile (stemmed, seeded, and chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and white pepper
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour used for tortillas)

½ cup cilantro (finely chopped)
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast corn and tomatillos separately in oven just until corn starts to brown and tomatillos become tender (about 15 minutes). Remove pan from oven and allow to cool.

Cut kernels from corn; reserve kernels in a bowl and cobs in a pan. Simmer vegetable stock with chili, cilantro sprigs, and corn cobs until stock is reduced to 2 cups. Strain stock, discarding chili, cilantro sprigs, and cobs.

Saute onion and poblano in pan with olive oil, adding a pinch of salt after the first minute, until soft but not yet browned. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

Put ½ of the corn and all the tomatillos and sautéd vegetables in a blender and process mixture until smooth. Press mixture through strainer into stockpot. Stir in broth and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Whisk masa harina in coconut milk until dissolved and add this mixture through strainer into soup, together with remaining corn kernels. Gently simmer soup for 15 additional minutes.

Just before serving, add salt and white pepper to taste along with cilantro. Serve soup with lime wedges.

*If you want this to taste just like Geoff’s, you have to use his stock recipe.
Here’s our guest chef, celebrating his newfound celebrity (second from right)

Plant-based 101: Soup stock

To make a really rich and delicious soup, you need a flavorful base. Vegan soup stocks can be just as rich and nuanced as stocks made with meat–and they have the added benefit of a powerful infusion of antioxidants. Here, master cook, Geoff Fields shares his soup stock recipe with us. Vary it with the produce and spices you have on hand and you’ll have created your own recipe. Thank you, Geoff!

Vegetable Stock

1 pound leeks (split, washed, and chopped)
1 pound carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (chopped)
1 fennel bulb (trimmed and chopped)
1 garlic head (sliced cross-ways)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (chopped)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves (crumbled)
4 thyme sprigs
1 bunch Italian parsley sprigs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast vegetables with olive oil in pan for 20 minutes. Transfer vegetables to stockpot. Deglaze roasting pan with 1 cup white wine and add contents to stockpot along with bay leaves, thyme, and parsley, and enough water to cover. Gently simmer, skimming often, for 1 hour. Prepare ice bath. Strain stock through sieve or cheesecloth into container; rest container in ice bath. Refrigerate stock for up to 2 days, or freeze in container(s) for longer storage.

If you have no time to make soup stock and want the best alternative, Here are the recent winners of the Vegeterian Times soup stock taste awards: Wolfgang Puck Organic Vegetable Broth, Swanson Organic Vegetable Broth, Manischewitz Vegetable Broth, Saffron Road Classic Culinary Vegetable Broth.

If you want to use a bouillon cube, just check the sodium content and make sure there is no added MSG. Better than Bouillon, which I used to use all the time, is loaded with hidden MSG under the name ‘autolyzed yeast extract.’ I now use CelefibR cubes that I purchase from Harvest Health.

Thanks again, Geoff!

Comfort Soup

Sue’s Very Veggie, Cold-Annihilating Comfort Soup
(a.k.a. chicken-free, gluten-free, chicken noodle soup to cure what ails you)

You can do so many things with this soup. Basically, you want a broth that is seasoned with traditional chicken soup seasonings to give you that wonderful aroma that you remember from childhood. You can make your own from one of my very favorite cookbook authors, Bryanna Clark Grogan here, OR you can buy a packaged seasoning like this one that I got a Country Life Naturals in Pullman, Michigan.

Most importantly, you should be able to understand every ingredient on a seasoning package. MSG lurks in disguise in phrases like ‘autolyzed yeast extract.’ You don’t want or need to put that stuff in your body and it’s in most soup seasonings and bouillon cubes. Take care. All the products I’ve mentioned here have been scrutinized by me with my reading glasses on.

Comfort Soup
10 cups water, divided
¼ cup La Chikky Seasoning (or vegan, chicken seasoning of your choice)* (save 1T for seasoning soy curls, if using)
2 vegan chicken bouillon cubes**
1 ½ cups Butler soy curls or other chicken substitute, optional (more on this below).
8 cups mixed veggies, divided into two piles 1) veggies to sauté like onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, mushroom; and 2) veggies to simmer, such as celery root, carrot, turnip, cauliflower
2 big handfuls ban pho-style rice noodles***
1 tsp. to 1 T chili powder, optional
¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions
Heat ½ cup water in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Toss in all the sauté veggies and steam sauté until they begin to soften 5-8 minutes.

Add 7 ½ cups of water, the chicken seasoning and bouillon cubes and simmer veggies. Bring to a low boil and simmer 15 minutes.

In the meantime, rehydrate Butler Soy Curls, if using (directions below)

Toss in the ban-pho rice noodles and simmer another 6-8 minutes.

Taste your seasonings. You may want to add salt, black pepper or more chili powder. That really helps clear sinuses. Take advantage of aromatherapy.

Turn off the heat and add the soy curls, give a good stir and sprinkle with parsley.

By this time, everyone is in the kitchen wanting some soup!

Rehydrating Soy Curls
Heat water just two boiling and stir in a tablespoon of seasoning powder. Press the curls under the water and let stand ten minutes. When water is cool enough for you to handle, squeeze soy curls dry and put remaining water into your soup. Whirl the soy curls in your food processor until they achieve a shredded chicken-like consistency. I purchase my soy curls at Country Life Naturals. Butler Soy Curls are a really fun addition to a vegan cook’s repertoire. I’ll write about them separately later. They are not highly processed and they use the entire soybean. So basically, they are cooked, dehydrated non-GMO soybeans. If you’re not avoiding soy, you should try them. They don’t have a long shelf life, so must be refrigerated or frozen. They look fantastic, have a good health profile but I find their texture a little rubbery if they are not wrung completely dry from the soaking water and then chopped up in my food processor. My husband, Roger, doesn’t think they are necessary (I like them!). You can also use another chicken substitute for a chewy texture, like seitan or a commercial product—though these tend to be highly processed with a lot of yuk! and often egg whites. I do not recommend Quorn brand, which is made from a fungus.

I served my soup to two ailing friends and one ailing husband. It was a good RX, served alongside Indian and Italian-inspired farinata

* Vegetarian Express makes La Chikky Seasoning. It is located in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. Support Michigan businesses! I purchase mine at Country Life Naturals in Pullman, Michigan.
** I used CelefibR from Harvest Health
*** I bought my ban pho noodles at Asian Delight.