Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dutch #WFPB Improv 001 Bruine Bonen Soep - Kidney Bean Soup

 As a kid growing up in Holland, I used to love bruine bonen soep. And we were vegetarian when I was a kid, so besides leaving out the oil, I guess I could have used the recipe from those days, but I have no idea what my mother really did, although I liked to hang out in the kitchen and often helped with cooking.

So, since I have quite an inventory of kidney beans and pinto beans and other pulses, I figured it's soup season, and I made this improvisation based on a recipe from a Dutch website. I ended up straying very far from the original, but the result was amazing. My neighbor who ate some of it said it was the best soup he ever had in his life.

Bruine Bonen Soep

Kidney Bean Soup


2 cups of kidney beans or pinto beans, dry
1-3 bay leaves
2-3 medium sized onions, cut-up fine
2-3 shallots or other small onion
4-5 chillis and/or jalapenos, or both - cut-up fine
1 leek, washed and sliced fine.
5-10 cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup of celeriac root, parsnip, or turnip
2-3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 potatoes, washed and diced,
1-2 carrots peeled & diced
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
some tientsin veggies
some miso, or gochujan, or Yondu to taste.
if you want some chewyness, you could add in some baked seitan (kao fu), or ΅soy chunks or TVP. etc. Could also be mushrooms.


  • Cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 425F (Medium High)
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, turmeric and fry it some more but adding about 1 cup of water or veggie broth.
  • Add in the drained beans and 2 pints of veggie broth.
  • Let cook for 1- 1.5 hrs, until the beans are soft.
  • Puree it with a stickblender or in a food processor.
  • Add in the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme simmer low for 30 mins.
  • Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso or gochujang or similar.

Serve, enjoy.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Spicy Carrot Soup

What to do with a ton of carrots? I was given about 10 lb of organic carrots. What to do? I made this soup twice, shared some with my neighbor, froze the rest... First time I made it with the Thai red curry paste, second time with Korean Gochujang instead (I think I like that better), and next time I am going to substitute some besan with nutritional yeast and black salt for the coconut milk, because the coconut milk as too much fat. Includes link to original recipe. Depending on the amount of carrots, you can use more onion and garlic, of course, adjusting all quantities along the way.

Spicy Carrot Soup



8–10 large carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 14-ounce can coconut milk, alternatively some besan and nutritional yeast dissolved in water
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon red curry paste alternatively 1-2 tbsp Gochujang
salt to taste
cilantro and peanuts for topping



Saute the onions and garlic with a little bit of oil until soft. Add the carrots, coconut milk, broth, and curry paste. Simmer until carrots are soft. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Run through the blender until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.


Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot and set for 15 minutes. When done, let everything cool for a few minutes, then run the mixture through the blender until smooth; season generously with salt, top with peanuts and cilantro.
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Soup - Pinch of Yum
Spicy Instant Pot Carrot Soup - Pinch of Yum
Carrot soup made with 7 ingredients: coconut milk, carrots, broth, on

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Plant-Based Shopping News - restoring the Starling Avenue Triangle

Ever since I started writing about the Starling Avenue Food Shopping Triangle, things have been changing. In particular one of the three supermarkets that form the triangle, the Pioneer at 1345 Castle Hill Avenue was closed for renovations and when it was almost ready, we had the Covid lockdowns... and now they are open again and they just had their grand opening.


I did a quick survey of the aisles from a Whole Foods, Plant-Based perspective and I found some good stuff, so I'll post some of my findings here. I might do more some other time.


Massive area for fruits, veggies right when you come in. Breads on the right, was not great. (no Dave's Killer Bread, which is the only bread I buy, short of Ezekiel).

Some more pics:


Pretty good selection here...

    Great selection of herbs as well as things like red leaf lettuce, which I love...

And Wasa crackers, which are delicious and totally fat-free.

Tons of berries.

College in broth was on sale at 2 for $5.00 so I nearly cleaned them out.

And a good selection of grains, including Quinoa and so on...

I did not see too much whole wheat pasta, but at least they had some.

And a decent selection of herbs.


And, I should not forget, a whole section of Bob's Red Mill products, which is also a welcome addition. Key foods has some, but this is a pretty extensive selection!






Anyway, that is it for now. Definitely worth a visit. In my book the Wasa bread in particular is a great find. Other crackers may be low in fat, but Wasa proves it can be done without fat altogether, and taste-wise it has always been one of my favorites, ever since it started to appear in Holland in the 1960's.

I am happy to see that the Starling Avenue Triangle is restored to its former glory, and this store is a darn sight better than the old one was.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

MEX #WFPB 002 - Nopales - Cactus Salad

 I wrote about cactus salad the first time in January. When I was just hoping to start doing some cooking classes on Mexican cuisine #WFPB style. Covid came along. You know the rest.

But I've gotten back to trying to develop some recipes. And the next evolutionary step follows below:


3 good size Cactus leaves, cleaned.
1 Red Onions
15 Oz can of diced Tomato
Optional: avocado
1/2 bunch Cilantro
2 tbsp (Mexican) Oregano
some Radish or daikon
Serrano peppers and/or fresh jalapeño, or Jalapeño in vinegar
3/2/1 dressing with lemon and lime
Pepper to taste
Variations: with cubes of firm tofu, or with cevici-style marinated mushrooms


  • Cut the cactus leaves in 1" strips and cut in 1/2" chunks.
  • Cook in boiling water with some onion and garlic.
  • Let cool
  • meanwhile:
    • Cut up the red onion
    • Combine with the diced tomatoes
    • add the cilantro, Mexican Oregano
    • add in the radishes, cut fine, and/or the avocado, cut in slivers.
    • cut up the peppers (jalapeño, serrano, as the case may be)
    • add the salad dressing
    • mix and add in the nopales when cool.
    • Let it marinate in the fridge.

Serving suggestion: with tortillas, or just by itself.

Obviously, you can make this as mild or as spicy as you want.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mex #WFPB 001 - Three Sisters Posole Remix

 Just before the Corona virus madness, the plan was to do  a series of Mexican classes in my cooking classes at St. Helena's. Hopefully, we will resume in the spring, but until then, I am going to discuss some Mexican recipes.


I will use as my guide the Mexican Recipe section on Nutrition Studies, en Español. 


Yesterday, I made a Three Sisters Posole, but a kind of derivative of the recipe on Nutrition studies. I can never stop improvising, improving (and sometimes making it worse, but learning all the time).

The recipe for Three Sisters Posole

Here are the original recipes on Nutritionstudies in English and Spanish.

So here goes with the revised instructions, but I will include the links to the original. One problem I ran into, my local Mexican grocery did not have blue corn posole, so instead I used Hominy, which is Nixtamalized Corn. Chang Li Market has hominy from the Mama Tere brand. You can get Blue Corn Posole on Amazon. I'll try that next time.



  • 2 cups dried blue corn posole, or hominy 
  • 1 cup tepary beans, or any kind of small beans 
    • Optional: you can add some summer Savory to the beans while cooking them
  • 1 cup barley (optional) 
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp ground red chile
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 lime
  •  Sea Salt to taste


  • Cook posole for 2 hours until tender - or shorter if using a pressure cooker. (Hominy in Instant Pot for 15-20 mins on High pressure)
  • Cook the beans separately 1.5-2 hours until tender (Instant Pot for 7 mmins or so).
  • In a large pot, add the minced garlic, chopped onion, zucchini, oregano,, ground chile, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the cooked posole and beans as well as the barley, if you are using it.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  • Turn off the heat. Dissolve the 2 tbsp of arrowroot into the soup last and mix in well to thicken the soup.
  • Add Seasalt to taste
  • Serve with warm tortillas, wild onions, or scallions. and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

For the most part, you can play a lot with the level of spiciness, and also bear in mind that adding the arrowroot makes it thicker, but also milder.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

#WFPB - Recipe - Jackfruit Seed Curry

This recipe is a bit elaborate. You could make it simpler, but this version was unabashedly delicious... fingerlikcking good as they say...


1/2 cup veggie broth
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic diced
1-2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup water
1 small can tomato paste
1 small (5.6 fl. oz.) can coconut milk, or some besan dissolved in water
1 can Thai curry paste
1 tbsp garam masala
2 cups jackfruit seeds
2 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste


Ahead of time... for you want this to have time to cool off...
Place the jackfruit seeds in an Instapot, add enough water into the pan to cover the jackfruit seeds.
15 minutes on High Pressure will do the trick.
Alternatively, place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let the jackfruit seeds cool, and when they are cool enough to handle, pat them dry and slowly peel off the outer white covering. Peeling the seeds is a bit tedious, but, worth it.

Caramelize the oniont. 5 mins dry, no stir at medium/high (425F) , 5 mins while adding veggie brogh and stirring often.

Add in the garlic, ginger, peeled jackfruit seeds, water, tomato paste, and garam masala and mix well and let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, over medium / low heat.

Then add in the coconut milk and spinach, and gently stir until spinach is wilted.

Season with salt and pepper and remove from the stovetop.

Enjoy this Jackfruit Seed Curry with rice, naan, chapati or some Sri Lankan roti.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

#WFPB and The Apartment-size Fridge

From the #PBOB Dept - Plant-Based On a Budget - 

In a way, I am fortunate to live in an odder building, with one of the better kitchens I have had in my now 22 years of living in apartments in NYC. 

Meet My Fridge

My point here is going to be about efficient planning of your fridge in a plant-based kitchen. First, let me introduce you to my fridge:

Frigidaire Model # FFET1222UB
Vital Stats:
60" H x 24" W x 28.75" D, 11.6 CuFt, being 8.4 cu. ft. fresh food capacity and 3.1 cu. ft. freezer capacity, with one shelf in the freezer. 

I am not mentioning the fridge because I am promoting it, but simply as an example of how to use the space/capacity efficiently. To round off the numbers a bit, we have here 

Using the freezer Long Term vs Short Term

Evidently, the freezer is roughly a quarter of the capacity. But, used wisely, you can use every corner.

For the Long Term 

At the max, 50-70% of my freezer is used for frozen dishes. 
  • Often times it is simply easier to cook a larger amount rather than a small amount. I am always cooking ahead, and in my case when I make a large pot of soup or some kind of dal, I just freeze whatever I cannot eat within a few days for the long run, in quart bags. And when the freezer fills up, I shift to living on the stock pile and do less cooking, and I eat all these dishes, and often times all I have to do is make some salad and cook up some fresh veggies, etc. and some rice or noodles or potatoes to make a meal.
  • Also in the long term storage might be some products like whole wheat and besan flour, which last me a long time, and I don't want to get any bugs in them. I only use them 1 table spoon at a time.

For the Short Term

The 30-50% that is short term storage is mostly for price arbitrage. 
  • For example, during this COVID-19 episode, I saw blueberries for as much as $9 for an 18 Oz box, or $3/6 Oz. But I bought 18 Oz boxes just prior at $2 for 18 Oz, or $0.67/6 Oz and I had frozen them. Needless to say, I never bought them for the high price. 
  • I always also have a bit of mixed veggies or some frozen spinach, more for convenience, just so I have something to fall back on when I run out of time to shop fresh. 
  • I also tend to have one frozen bread. (Dave's Killer Bread of course). I don't eat a lot of bread, so I just toast a slice or two when I am in the mood.
  • Another thing for the shorter term is a bag to save up left over cut-up beggies, that come in handy to cook my own home made veggie broth. Lots of pieces that are not usable otherwise work fine in broth or stew. Some celerty that would otherwise go to waste, can be cut up and put to use this way. The trick is just not to let any veggies go bad,
  • Another thing is, when I make broth, I usually preserve some as icecubes in an icecube tray. Often, when stir-frying beggies, instead of adding liquid broth, I can use use a couple of broth cubes.

In short, with a little bit of planning that fridge is a powerful tool and the freezer compartment is absolutely maxed out.

The Refrigerator Compartment

Obviously, the refrigerator compartment is more short term by nature. If you are going to use a frozen zoup or a dal, you can take it out 24 hours anhead of time and defrost it.