Monday, June 28, 2021

Pasta Bolognese #WFPB style

Pasta Bolognese has some nostalgic value for me. When I was in highschool, if I wanted to take my girlfriend out to dinner, it was spaghetti bolognese at a Rotterdam institution, a student café/restaurant, De Pijp (the Pipe). A small restaurant on a side street, that was for students, and you always needed to be introduced by one of the members, the general public was not welcome.

So when Dr. Anna Borek (@ScepticalDoctor on Twitter), posted this recipe, I had to make it... and of course you can vary this endlessly, but the core concepts are simple and powerful.

The recipe has been tested by a neighbor and myself, as well as by Fr. David at St. Helena's and Rosemarie Ortiz, the church secretary. Everybody liked it!

Tofu Bolognese Sauce

from Anna Borek, The Sceptical Doctor


Ingredients

2 blocks of firm tofu
1 cup of cut-up celery stalks
1 cup of cut-up red onions
1/2 cup of water
3 cloves of garlic (or more, depending on your religion)
1 cup of cut-up carrots
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
a pinch of salt (or, alternatively use water with 1 tsp yondu)
2x 15 Oz or 1 25 Oz can of tomatoes
2 heaped tbsp of tomato paste.
1 cup of wine
2.5 cups of cooked red lentils (1 cup dry)
1 bunch chopped spinach
3 tbsp of Italian seasoning
1 cup of water
vegan parmesan to taste

Preparation

  • cut up the tofu into small cubes, and bake until evenly browned.
  • Precook the lentils - 3 mins of high pressure in the Instant Pot will do.
  • stir fry the celery and red onions in water in the sauce pan
  • add the garlic, diced carrots and cut-up mushrooms and lest it simmer for 10 minutes
  • add tomatoes, tomato paste and wine, as well as lentils, spinach and italian seasoning, as well as the baked tofu
  • simmer for 1-2 hours

for good measure, I am adding a recipe for vegan parmesan. 

Vegan Parmesan


Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preparation

In the blender until it is a fine powder.


Note: 

I happily made the sauce with 1 bloc  of Tofu and 4 cups of mushrooms  (I used Baby Bella), because that is what I had around. I also threw in towards the end a box of grape tomatoes, careful not to cook them to the point of bursting. They enhance the fresh tomato taste.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006h Rogier's Fusion Bean Soup

Again, small steps, big consequences. This week I tried Dominican Red Beans, and just a few small tweaks to the recipe.


For one thing, I had recently begun using some fennel in the recipe, as well as some Panch Puran, aka Panch Phoron which is itself a mixtutre of five spices, which conveys a rich aroma. It contains the following seeds: 

  • fenugreek
  • nigella
  • cumin
  • black mustard
  • fennel
Now, you can get it ground up, as a powder, or in the form of seeds. If you get it whole, the proper way of using it is to roast it in the pan before you do anything else. This step releases the flavor, you just have to watch that you don't actually burn the seeds. 

This time I used a tablespoon of Panchpuran with an extra tablespoon of fennel seeds. Personally, I found the fennel too strong in the resulting soup, but some others loved the fennel aroma, which shows you again how difficult it can be to satisfy all tastes. For the next time, I will still use the tablespoon of Panchpuran, but will reduce the fennel to 1 teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.

The new routine is now simply to pre-cook the beans with just the kombu in the Instant Pot, and then to create the base in my HestancCue Chef's pot, where the steps now are:
  1. Pre-roast the Panchpuran (whole seeds, not powder), and fennel. Sofar I am trying 7 mins at 300F. The trick is to release the flavor, but not burn the seeds. We don't need charcoal in the soup.
  2. Caramelize the onions, along with peppers, by dry roasting about 6 minutes at 350F
  3. Add in the other herbs and spices and stir-fry by adding a cup of water and Yondu, another 6 minutes at 350F, and next
  4. Add the other herbes and spices and the pre-cooked beans with liquid, and let it simmer at 230F for about 15 mins.

While it is simmering, I start to build the broth, and I let that simmer to the point that the veggies are getting soft, and then I add in the bean base and more water as needed (usually about a pint).

Then I let ic simmer together for 30 mins until it is time to take out the bay leaves and the cloves, and at that point I take out about 1/3rd or the soup, and the other 2/3rds are pureed with a stick blender.

The list of beans. This week it was the turn of Dominican Red Beans, so here is where we are on the list.

  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen - the reference bean)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. Totally delicious just as well. 
  6. Dominican Red beans, delicious. <Bean of the week, this week).
  7. Central American Red beans, next week.
  8. Pink beans - future.
  9. Red Cargamanto - future.
  10. White Cargamanto - future.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006g Rogier's Fusion Bean Soup

The transformation of my soup project is complete.

  • It started out trying to re-create my mother's Bruine Bonensoep (Dutch Brown Bean Soup), which was a favorite dish of my youth, that I have not tasted since I lived in the USA for now 42 years.
  • Then the project evolved to finding out the types of beans that were most similar in taste to the Dutch bruine bonen, which are not available in NYC, where I live. I got up to 4-5 varieties to try, including some of the Dutch beans, which I ordered from the Netherlands. After perfecting the recipe, I froze a bunch of cup-size portions of the soup that was made with the bruine bonen. And every Sunday, I cooked a new batch of soup, and on Monday, I would have the taste test. Of the first five varieties we tried, in the end I probably had a slight preference for the Dutch bruine bonen version, but only slight. Simply all of them were delicious in my book, and while slightly different from one another, at the end of the trip I could not decide if any one of them was simply BEST. The truth was, they were all good. So the next question was, with how many bean varieties can I really make this soup?
  • Eventually, I also realized that I was no longer thinking in terms of recreating bruine bonen soup, and that while I started from the traditional Dutch recipe, the question had now become not which is the best bean to make this soup, but how many varieties of beans that are readily available to me can be used to make this soup. The list is starting to grow, but I am at 10 for now. In the process, I am now calling this recipe Rogier's #WFPB Fusion Bean Soup. Somebody already asked me to open a restaurant based on this recipe. You never know what the future may hold...
  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. Totally deliciouis just as well. This was this week's variety
  6. Dominican Red beans, future.
  7. Central American Red beans, future.
  8. Pink beans.
  9. Red Cargamanto
  10. White Cargamanto.
In short, I now am half way through my new list of 10 bean varieties that all lend themselves to making this style of soup. The recipe is about half beans, half veggies, and it produces a thick soup - the type of soup that I call a meal soup, where a coup and a salad really makes a meal worth living for. A soup you can stick a fork in, so to speak.

The Updated Recipe

Inevitably, the recipe has evolved throughout this exercise, and I am printing the newest version here. The new ingredients are Fennel, and Panch Puran:


Ingredients

===the substance===

1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlottib beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tsp -1tbsp fennel for cooking the beans
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks) - added with the veggies.
1/2 lb of barley - added with the veggies.

===The Base===

1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
1 tbsp summer Savory (note this also helps with digesting beans)
1 tsp-1tbsp Panch Puran
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
2-3 Thai chili, green
1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp Summer Savory
1 tbsp of ground Annato seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika (?)

===The Veggies===

1 leek, washed and sliced fine
1 cup of eddo.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
2-3 carrots peeled & diced
other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, celeriac root etc.
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
3 bay leaves
3 cloves
3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tbsp of either miso or gochujang (or 1 tbsp of each) at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang (or half and half)

Preparation

  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally), with the kombu
  • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and fennel in the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 10 mins.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine, add in the panch puran, and dry roast for 5-7 mins at 350F (Medium High) - until the edges start to brown, but before they stick to the pot.
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and sliced chilis, jalapeños, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another 5-7 mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
  • Add in the cooked beans and the savory and let it simmer together for 15 mins.
  • In a separate pot, add the veggie broth and slowly bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
  • Add in the barley, the cut-up veggies, potato, thyme and other spices and seitan and allow to cook slowly until veggies being to get soft.
  • Add in the beans + the base of onions and allow to simmer another 30 mins or longer
  • Add the tomatoes and more water to gain right consistency
  • You can make the soup thicker by pureeing half or 2/3rds with an immersion blender, while leaving the other half/one third alone, so you can still see some beans and some chunks of vegetable floating in the soup.
  • Finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).
  • Note, if you have people who want it milder, go to the low end with the hot peppers, i.e. 2 chilis, 1 jalapeño. That is just enough for a hint. I then finish it in two batches, one with miso, and from that I put aside an amount for the "mild" customers and one with gochujang for the customers who like it spicy. Then, after I set aside enough "mild" soup, I combine the two. The Gochujang elevates the spicy nature and the miso adds the deep aroma.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006f Small Red Bean Soup

 Ok, here is yet one more variation. Small Red Beans are often used in similar ways as Pinto Beans and Red Kidney Beans, though they taste quite different, so this attempt will introduce a 5th variety of bean in our lineup. By now, I am convinced that this basic recipe is quite flexible and brings out the natural aroma of the beans, so much so that the differences in flavor are merely interesting, and not at all "right" or "wrong." For me personally, the process of this recipe development has led me well past my mother's cooking. No longer am I trying that ever elusive idea of re-creating the flavor of my youth, it is now merely an interesting exercise to try and improve on the last version, but they're simply all good. 

One other new element that I am introducing in this version is Fennel seed (aka. Anise seed), which supposedly also helps with the digestibility of beans, but evidently also tastes good, and this will set me on a new course to make this soup even more aromatic. Along with it, I also added Basil, Cloves, and Oregano, creating a deeper and more complex aroma.

Updated Bean Ratings

Based on today's results, here are my up to date ratings for the different beans in this style soup. Meanwhile I note that the differences are so slight, that I honestly can say I like all of them, and I feel inspired to keep trying more different bean varieties, and appreciate the differences. Meanwhile, it is clear to me that different people have different tastes, and getting the ratings has been very confusing. Just today someone told me that they liked Pinto beans best, whereas I put them near the bottom of the list. So trying to make sense of people's tastes is nearly hopeless, though I try to figure out what it was they liked or did not like.
  1. Dutch Brown beans (bruine bonen)
  2. Roman beans (aka Cranberry beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cargamanto beans). A very close second indeed.
  3. Small Red Beans. On the heels of Roman beans.
  4. Pinto beans. Fine as well, but not as creamy, slightly flatter tasting.
  5. Red Kidney Beans. For the future: rating to be confirmed based on taste testing.
  6. Dominican Red beans, future.
  7. Central American Red beans, future.
  8. Pink beans.
  9. Red Cargamanto
  10. White Cargamanto.

The ever evolving recipe

Bruine Bonen Soep - Reference

The purpose of this recipe was to make a comparison of the taste of different beans, based purely on keeping everything else the same.
I am trying red kidney beans, pinto beans, roman/borlotti/Cranberry beans, Small Red Beans and even bruine bonen from Holland.
Also take note of the site https://bruinebonensoep.com

Ingredients

===the substance===

1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlotti beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, Small Red Beans or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tsp fennel for cooking the beans
1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks).
1/2 lb of barley

===The Base===

1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
2-3 Thai chili, green
1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp Summer Savory
1 tbsp of ground Annato seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika (?)

===The Veggies===

1 leek, washed and sliced fine
1 cup of eddo.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
2-3 carrots peeled & diced
other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, celeriac root etc.
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
3 bay leaves
3 cloves
3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

Preparation
  • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally), with the kombu
  • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and fennel and savory in the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 10 mins.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5-7 mins at 350F (Medium High) - until the edges start to brown, but before they stick to the pot.
  • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and sliced chilis, jalapeños, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another 5-7 mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
  • Add in the cooked beans and let it simmer together for 15 mins.
  • In a separate pot, add the veggie broth and slowly bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
  • Add in the barley, the cut-up veggies, potato, thyme and other spices and seitan and allow to cook slowly until veggies being to get soft.
  • Add in the beans + the base of onions and allow to simmer another 30 mins or longer
  • Add the tomatoes and more water to gain right consistency
  • You can make the soup thicker by pureeing half or 2/3rds with an immersion blender, while leaving the other half/one third alone, so you can still see some beans and some chunks of vegetable floating in the soup.
  • Finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).
  • Note, if you have people who want it milder, go to the low end with the hot peppers, i.e. 2 chilis, 1 jalapeño. That is just enough for a hint. I then finish it in two batches, one with miso, and from that I put aside an amount for the "mild" customers and one with gochujang for the customers who like it spicy. Then, after I set aside enough "mild" soup, I combine the two. The Gochujang elevates the spicy nature and the miso adds the deep aroma.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006e Borlotti Bean Soup

One mo' time with the Borlotti Bean soup, where Borlotti beans, and Roman Beans, and Cranberry Beans, and Cargamanto Beans are all the same thing...

The model is still a variant of the Dutch Bruine Bonensoep (Brown Bean Soup), and Borlotti Beans are a very good substitute if the original Dutch beans are not available.

Beans & Kombu Soaking

The recipe is increasingly stabilizing. All the ingredients are in the pictures. The first two pics are the kombu and beans, soaking and in the Instant Pot. The 3rd picture has all the other ingredients.

===the substance===
1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlottib beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks).
1/2 lb of barley


===The Base===                                                    

Beans & Kombu in Instant Pot
1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
3 shallots or other small onion
6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
2-3 Thai chili, green
1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp of ground Annato seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika (?)



All the ingredients
===The Veggies===
1 leek, washed and sliced fine
3 bay leaves
1 cup of eddo.
3 stalks of celery, including leaves
2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
2-3 carrots peeled & diced
other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, etc.
2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can
2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

You can check the earlier posts for the precise methodology, just a few notes here: 

This is an elaborate soup, but by multi-tasking you can compress the cooking time. The beans with kombu and savory, if you soaked them overnight, go in the Instant Pot for just 10 minutes on pressure cook. If your did not soak them it's just 25 mins.

I cook the base and veggies separate up to a point, again, this creates a multi-tasking opportunity, the beans and the base can be cooking while you're prepping and pre-cooking the veggies. Once the onions etc. are done, I add in the beans from the Instant pot and let them simmer for 15 mins, while the veggies come to the boil. When the veggies get soft, I add the beans & base mixture, and then I let the whole thing simmer slowly for 30 mins. That's when I take out 1/3rd before I smoothe the soup with the stick blender.

I shred the veggies fine with the mandolin. In the end, I smooth 2/3rds of it with a stick blender, and then I add in the other 1/3rd and the Seitan, cubed. This way, the Seitan stays intact. I let it simmer with the Seitan for 5 minutes, while stirring and after I turn off the heat I add 1-2 tbsp of miso dissolved in 1-2 cups ov water. That finishes the taste. If you like really spicy, you can use 1 tbsp of Gochujang instead of one of the tablespoons of miso. It does not need anything else. Rich, aromatic meal soup. 

This soup and a salad makes a meal any day of the week.




Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Reviving my Dutch Culinary Tradition

 Today 2/2/21, I posted on FB about my own Dutch culinary heritage.

My top ten for Dutch dishes... bearing in mind that my focus is on healthy food, in the tradition of whole foods, plant-based nutrition, but I keep exploring dishes that I want to rediscover. Recently, I made a great effort about bruinebonensoep. Snert, split pea soup I have long since had under control, but after that, it gets fuzzier... I want to write down my tentative list here, with a request for suggestions, and an emphasis on the idea that there are no really healthy oliebollen and appelflappen, for there are no healthy fried foods, although some of us can work miracles with an airfryer. I note also that I was raised vegetarian, but of course today dairy is out completely too.
  1. Bruine bonensoep - Dutch brown bean soup. Current favorite. https://starlingaveplantbased.blogspot.com/.../winter...
  2. Snert, erwtensoep - split pea soup. https://starlingaveplantbased.blogspot.com/search...
  3. Brussels lof - Belgian Endives, As a child, we ate this with boiled potatoes and hardboiled eggs, with a cheese sauce with a whiff of nutmeg. Right now I make it with a sauce of besan (chickpea flour), nutritional yeast, and black salt, with some turmeric (use fresh if possible). Better than the original.
  4. Spruitjes - Brussels sprouts. Stemed or roasted with chestnuts and some nutmeg. With either potatotes or rice, and the rice you can spruce up with an caramelized/chopped onion and some mixed veggies if you like.
  5. Bloemkool - caulifflower. Easy enough with some kind of a curry sauce. Serve with vegetable rice, or potatoes, and combines very well with roasted/stirfried mushrooms. Or, I like to make lasagna with cauliflower and tofu, but that's not very Dutch. (My pasta sauce was already famous when I was a teenager, and came in handy when I was married to an Italian, though my mother in law never forgave me, because my wife thought my sauce was better than her mother's).
  6. Koolraap - Kohrabi. Interestingly, this was a use for caraway seeds. I regarded that as a very typical Dutch dish always. My mother steamed it and made it with a sauce based on whole wheat flour with caraway seeds and pepper and salt, which if fine. Recently, I have been making it more hungarian style, as gulash, which is excellent.
  7. ?
  8. ??
  9. ???
  10. ????

Ok, that is my list so far. There may be another dish or two I am not remembering at the moment, but I am asking for suggestions for #7-10 positions. I am curious what people on this list might come up with. Evidently, I am limited by what is available around here (Bronx, NY), which is a lot, but not everything. I have never seen capucijners here for example.

I will post some of the responses here, and they will become the raw material for new recipes in the future...

7. boerenkool/kale. 8. rode kool. 9. peen en uien.
ad 3. brusselslof als salade met wat zoete ingredienten zoals fruit en rode ui.
ad 4. spruitjes met champignons, uitje en knoflook.
ad 5. gebakken bloemkool roosjes, of als salade met wat olijfolie en azijn.

  • Rogier F. van Vlissingen
    leuk en wat me nog te binnen schoot : de nederlandse groentesoep vindt ik ook iets speciaals ...
    Tr: Dutch veggie soup is also something special.
  • --Red beets in any form, but grilled on bbq best. My favorite birthday food as a kid
    --Bloemkool, nutmeg, grated cheese
    --Tomato soup met balletjes. Any day. Any time.
    --Bahmi, or, what my children call Chinese Spaghetti with veggies (onion, celery, bean sprouts, spinach, bok choy, etc) instead of that horrible marinara-type tomato sauce.

    Note; I would treat Bahmi more under Indonesian cooking, for that is where it comes from.

    Hutspot 🥰 (carrots, oinions, patattos, a little bit of applesirop, a little bit of milk (or subsitute) and unsalted butter (or subsitute) all musshed together 😇) and a good veggie rookworst ^^
    I think my spelling is a little bit off today 🙈 sorry!

    Tuesday, January 26, 2021

    Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006d Dutch Brown Bean Soup

     Bruine Bonensoep, folks. That's the Dutch name. Here they are.




    These were organic beans from Albert Heyn in the Netherlands. Not available in the USA. The only thing I could find here was HAK bruine bonen in a jar,  but I prefer to cook with the dried beans.


    Inevitably the recipe has been evolving during this test run, and I am going to make it a few more times to really stabilize it.

    The Final Recipe (for now)

    Bruine Bonen Soep - Reference

    The purpose of this recipe was to make a comparison of the taste of different beans, based purely on keeping everything else the same.
    I tried red kidney beans, pinto beans, roman/borlotti/Cranberry beans, and this time bruine bonen from Holland.
    Also take note of the site https://bruinebonensoep.com and http://www.bruinebonenbende.nl

    Ingredients

    ===the substance===
    1 lb cups of Roman beans (Borlottib beans, Cranberry beans), or Pinto beans, or Red Kidney beans, or, but of course, Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
    1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
    1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
    12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks).
    1/2 lb of barley
    ===The Base===
    1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
    3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
    3 shallots or other small onion
    6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
    1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
    2-3 Thai chili, green
    1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
    1 green bell pepper
    1 tbsp of ground annato seeds
    1 tsp smoked paprika (?)
    ===The Veggies===
    1 leek, washed and sliced fine
    3 bay leaves
    1 cup of eddo.
    3 stalks of celery, including leaves
    2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
    2-3 carrots peeled & diced
    other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, etc.
    2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
    3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can
    2 quarts of veggie broth, or water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon or similar. More water as needed.
    1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

    Preparation

    • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally).
    • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and savory in the Instant Pot on high for 10 mins.
    • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 350F (Medium High) - until the edges start to brown, but before they stick to the pot.
    • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another five mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
    • Add in the cooked beans and let it simmer together for 15 mins.
    • In a separate pot, add the veggie broth and slowly bring it to a boil and turn it down to a slow simmer.
    • Add in the barley, the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme and seitan and allow to simmer until veggies being to get soft.
    • Add in the beans + the base of onions and allow to simmer another 30 mins or longer
    • Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy).
    • You can make the soup thicker by pureeing half with an immersion blender, while leaving the other half alone, so you can still see some beans and some chunks of vegetable floating in the soup.
    • Note, if you have people who want it milder, go to the low end with the hot peppers, i.e. 2 chilis, 1 jalapeño. That is just enough for a hint. I then finish it in two batches, one with miso, and from that I put aside an amount for the "mild" customers and one with gochujang for the customers who like it spicy. Then, after I set aside enough "mild" soup, I combine the two. The Gochujang elevates the spicy nature and the miso adds the deep aroma.
    =========================================================================

    That is it. End of the soup challenge for the winter of 2021.

    I will make the recipe a few more times, but the above is my conclusion sofar. I was particularly happy that I found a ways to easily accomodate a few people who like it a bit milder than what I prever.

    Conclusion

    As to my preference for the bean varieties which I tried, it is as follows.

    1. Dutch Bruine bonen - they seem to be the creamiest.
    2. Roman beans, aka Borlotti beans, aka Cranberry beans, aka Roman beans, aka Cargamanto beans - these run a close second
    3. Pinto beans. Well known from radio and TV. These make a very credible soup also.
    4. Rec Kidney Beans. For a long time, I use to thing these were a direct equivalent to the Dutch original, but no. These make a decent soup, but #2 and #3 above are closer to the original, so in a way, Red Kidney Beans would be my last choice.

    Sunday, January 17, 2021

    Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006c Cranberry Bean Soup

     Next up a version of the soup with Cranberry beans, and this became a research project all its own, for these are known by more names than I'd care to shake a stick at - in some cases these might be local varieties that are closely related but the naming gets quite confusing:


    • Borlotti beans
    • Cranberry beans (the ones I used - see above) - the package equates them with Borlotti beans.
    • Roman Beans (Habichuelas Romanas)
    • Cargamanto beans - this seems to be the name in Colombia, where these beans may have originated, but the naming is again very confused, as even Goya has one package that equates Roman Beans with Cargamanto beans, but also has packaging that calls Roman Beans Habichuelas Romanas, and then again they sell white and red Cargamanto Beans, which are quite a bit more expensive. Perhaps they are the original Colombian variety.
    • Saluggia Bean, this may just be a small local variety
    • Gadra Bean (India)
    • Rosecoco Bean
    Take your pick whichever name you will prefer, but stores may know it by one name and not the other, depending on the ethnicity.

    Update on bean economics

    1. Red Kidney Beans were about $4/lb.
    2. Pinto beans were about $1.67/lb
    3. Roman Beans were about $1.67/lb, but I used Hunza orgranic Cranberry beans, at $7.50/lb.
    4. Dutch Bruine Bonen, this is from the you're kidding me, right? Dept.: I bought 5 500 gm packages, or 2.5 Kg, ir 5.51156 lbs, for $75.50 or $13.70/lbs and 60% of that was the cost of shipping. All in the interest of science - the science of beans.

    The ever evolving recipe

    Keeping the recipe constant and only varying the beans is easier in theory than in practice. Sometimes you cannot get all the ingredients, and sometimes it is just the urge to improve on something. Here is this week's list:

    Ingredients

    ===the substance===
    1 lb cups of red kidney beans (or pinto beans, or borlotti beans aka cranberry beans, or Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
    1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
    1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
    12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu) or alternatively a cup of TVP (Soy chunks).
    1/2 lb of barley
    ===The Base===
    1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
    3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
    3 shallots or other small onion
    6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
    1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
    2-3 Thai chili, green
    1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
    1 green bell pepper
    1 tbsp of ground annato seeds
    ===The Veggies===
    1 leek, washed and sliced fine
    3 bay leaves
    1 cup of eddo.
    3 stalks of celery, including leaves
    2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
    2-3 carrots peeled & diced
    other root vegetables as might be around, turnips, parsnips, etc.
    2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
    3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can
    1 quart of vegetable broth
    1 quart of water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon
    1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

    Note: no Seitan this week, so I used TVP instead (Soy chunks), also I added a parsnip, which I did not have last week, as well as some crushed/ground annato seeds for flavor and coloring.

    Preparation

    One thing I learned is that it works best to purée half the soup after it is cooked, cooking it after it is partially puréed tends to cause settling and potential burning at the bottom.
    I think I like it best the purée about half the quantity, so that you have good substance, but you can also still recognize the beans.

    The process really naturally falls into three steps, and I use two pots in the process, which also serves at the end to separately finish a mild and a spicy version of the soup.

    1. The soaking and pre-cooking of the beans. 1.5-2 hrs if you cook it with regulat cookware, or 10 mins with a pressure cooker - I use my Instant Pot.
    2. Cooking the base falls into roasting the onioins - 5 mins at 350F, in my HestanCue cookware, which is exactly the pint where the onions start to brown but don't burn. Then I add the garlic, turmeric and the othrr spices, and cook for another 5 mins at 350F to nicely caramelize the onions and blend in the other spices. Then I add in the beans stom the Instant Pot and let it go at 230F, i.e. simmering for 15 mins.
    3. The Veggies. During this process, I am cutting up the veggies, and slowly heating up the veggie stock (2 Quarts). Once I have them all in there, I add the base with the beans, and let the whole thing simmer as low as I can get it for 30 minutes to an hour.
    That is really all there is to it.
    At the end I split it in two, first to purée one half with an immersion blender, and next to finish one half mild with some miso dissolved in a cup of water, and the other half spicy with some gochujang, likewise dissolved in water.

    Sunday, January 10, 2021

    Winter #WFPB Bean Soup Extravaganza 006b Pinto Bean Soup

    This is the next installment of my Bruine Bonensoep Fusion project, and today it is time for the Pinto Bean variety.



    I am making a minor tweak to the recipe, for some folk are very sensitive to hot spices like Thai chili peppers and jalapeño peppers, so I am toning that down. In other words, where it says 2-3 Thai chilis, I am now using 2 and where it says 1-2 jalapeños, I am now using 1. This will leave just a hint of spice, but then if you finish a batch with gochujang, you can satisfy the people who like hot and spicy, whereas finished with miso it can satisfy others who like things mild. One of my taste testers is a typical example. The husband likes it hot, the wife likes it mild.
    In all, I found that I have a slight preference for the Pinto bean version, but only slight. I'll be curious to see how murky the picture gets after I do the Cranberry beans next weekend.

    One major difference I created this week was that I made it more chunky style, as opposed to entirely smooth. Once I combined the sautéed onions and pepper with the beans, I puréed only 2/3rds of them and left the other 1/3rd in tact, plus then I also lefft the veggies in tact, as I did not use bhe blender again.

    Ingredients

    1 lb cups of red kidney beans (or pinto beans, or borlotti beans aka cranberry beans, or Dutch Bruine Bonen), dry
    1 strip of kombu for soaking overnight
    1 tbsp summer savory for cooking the beans
    12 Oz block of baked seitan (kao fu)
    1/2 lb of barley
    3 bay leaves
    1 tbsp of Tianjin vegetables
    3 medium size yellow onions, cut-up fine
    3 shallots or other small onion
    6-10 cloves of medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
    1-3 toes of turmeric, minced or 1 tbsp of turmeric powder3 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 cup water with 1 tsp of Yondu for sautéing the onions and peppers
    2-3 Thai chili, green
    1-2 jalapeños, cut-up fine
    1 green bell pepper
    1 leek, washed and sliced fine
    1 cup of eddo.
    3 stalks of celery, including leaves
    2-3 red skin potatoes, washed and diced,
    2-3 carrots peeled & diced
    2 tomatoes, or a 15- Oz can of diced tomatoes
    3 sprigs of thyme, fresh if you can
    1 quart of vegetable broth
    1 quart of water with Vegetable Better Than Bouillon
    1 tbsp of either miso or gochujang at the end to finish the taste mild with miso or hot with gochujang

    I also added in a turnip this week... 

    The Process

    • Soak the beans overnight (minimum 6 hours ideally, with the kombu.
    • Drain the beans and cook with water, including the kombu, and savory in the Instant Pot on high for 10 mins.
    • Meanwhile, cut up the onions fine and dry roast for 5 mins at 350F (Medium High)
    • Add in the minced garlic, minced shallots and chilis, pepper and turmeric and stir fry it for another five mins, adding about 1 cup of water with Yondu.
    • Add in the 2 pints of veggie broth. 
    • Add in the cooked beans 
    • puree with a stick blender, option to puree only half if you still want to see some beans. (in this case, I left 1/3rd of the beans whole.)
    • Add in the cut-up veggies, potato, tomato, thyme and seitan and simmer on low for 30 mins.
    • Add more water to gain right consistency and finish the taste with miso (mild) or gochujang (hot & spicy), dissolved in a half cup of water.

    Notes: 

    • by adding some miso or gochujang at the end, you can actually make two batches, one for folks who cannot take too much heat, and the other for the ones who love heat. Do NOT Cook the miso, just blend it in at the end, dissolved in water.
    • If you cook the beans normally, it takes far longer, like 1.5 hours or so to pre-cook the beans. In short, the instant pot is a huge time saver.
    • It is your option if you want it chunky or smooth. I like to purée the beans right when I add the stock (to cool them off also). Then, if you cut your veggies fine, as well as cut your seitan into small cubes, you can continue cooking and have a chunky soup or, if you want it smooth, use your trusty immersion blender once more.
    • My annotations will change in terms of temperatures, but for the onions 5 minutes roasting at 350F is how it works on my equipment, but what it means is: roast it dry until the edges just start to brown, but before they stick to the pan of get charred. And then, you stir-fry them by gradually adding your water with Yondu for another five minutes. If your equipment has a temperature readout, it may well be different from mine. The result is what matters.
    • Getting the dried beans (Bruine Bonen) from Holland, now seems to be unaffordable, the freight is unworkable. so I am giving up on that idea for now.

    Update on the bean counting

    Meanwhile, I continuied my research on beans... All in the interest of science, shall we say. 

    1) Red Kidney Beans - $2-3/lb (Organic nearly 50 - 100% more).
    2) Pinto Beans - same thing, $2-3/lb, and organic 50-100% higher.
    3) Borlotti Beans (aka. Cranberry beans) - regular 4 lbs/$16, which works out to $4/lb and Organic 50-100% more.
    4) Dutch Bruine Bonen, Organic Dutch Brown Beans worked out at $11.42/lbs, including the freight, which amounted to $7.31/lb. I got 3 kg (6.61 lbs) for $75.50. In all with that amount I will be cooking a lot of Bruine Bonensoep.