Archive for ‘Meat or “Meat”’

March 28, 2011

Rainy-Day Cajun Style Soup

by cillefish

It’s been raining a lot, so my vegan-for-a-few-weeks housemate Angel was in the mood for something like pea soup, but Cajun-ish. This rich gumbo-style soup is what she put together:

Angel’s Rainy-Day Cajun Style Vegan Bean & Vegetable Soup:

makes: a LOT

  • 1 bag (1lb) dried black-eyed peas
  • 4 cans vegetable broth +2 cans water
  • 2 cubes vegan bouillon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 can corn (or 2 c normal corn)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (or 2 c chopped tomatoes)
  • 8 carrots, chopped
  • 6-8 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 1 whole bunch fresh parsley, removed from the stems and minced
  • “lots” of cayenne and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp hickory “liquid smoke” flavoring, to taste (find this near the barbecue sauce)
  • 1 “Field Roast” vegan Italian sausage (or 4-5 Yves Italian “sausages”), chopped

Soak beans overnight (or place them and water-per-package-directions in a pot, bring to a boil, cover, and set aside for 40-60 min). Rinse out cooled beans, replace in pot with vegetable broth + water, bay leaf, boillon, carrots, celery, corn, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20-30 minutes, until beans are noticeably soft but not mush. Meanwhile, saute onion in oil.
Remove bay leaves and mix into pot o’ beans: onion, parsley, peppers, liquid smoke, and “sausage.” Simmer another 15 minutes. Serve with steamed brown rice and / or fresh cornbread.

February 26, 2011

Jono’s Wild-Cod Fish Tacos Feast

by cillefish

My housemate Jono makes excellent food. Here’s the approximate outline of a dinner he put together at our place as a thank-you for a friend. Tangy lemon and garlic flavors predominate, offset by the the mild buttery flavor of the fish & its beurre blanc; the sweet, mildly rich flavors of the salad; and the denser texture of the Mexcian black beans. This has “a lot going on” and takes a bit of prep time, but each step is easy and the result is fantastic.

Feeds 5 or 6. No “do-or-die measurements here because Jono does stuff by instinct, so just go with the flow. Start an hour and a half ahead of time if you don’t have help, & if you’re doing a shopping list here, don’t forget to get the stuff hidden under the links to the Mexican Beans recipe and the salad recipe.

Important: Do the beets (see salad) and the beans 1 day ahead.

A. The Tacos:

→ Item 1: Fish – Wild Cod in Lemon-Pepper “Beurre Blanc”

Sharp & mellow flavors in the marinade make a beurre-blanc-esque sauce for the cod.

  • 2 1-lb packages frozen wild Alaskan cod, thawed
  • up to 1 tsp reshly ground black pepper
  • up to 1 tsp Hungarian smoked paprika (we used Szeged, which has a mildly bitter flavor, but McCormick is fine)
  • 5-8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced (or just sliced ultra-thin)
  • ~1/8 to 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1 stick butter

Lay the fish out flat (not stacked) in a glass baking dish and rub with pepper and paprika, then cover with the garlic. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice until soaked. Set aside to soak in the flavors while you do the kale, then the salad (below). Chop the cilantro & onion (below).

Heat olive oil or peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then lay marinaded fish in it to sautee. Turn over twice, cooking evenly. Remove from pan, put fish in a shallow bowl, and pour marinade into butter gradually, whisking, and allowing sauce to reduce by half. Pour into a small cup or bowl for drizzling.

Assemble: On a corn tortilla, add kale and fish, top with cilantro & onion, and drizzle a bit of the sauce over it all.

→ Item 2: Kale

  • 5 c purple kale

Douse liberally with up to 1/3 c lemon juice (just until visibly soaked), then sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Rub between your fingers — kale is normally bitter and thick, but this process helps break down the fibers, softening the texture and flavor both.

→ Item 3: Cilantro & Onion

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • ~1/4 c to 1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix, to your preference

→ Item 4: Corn Tortillas

  • 2 packages organic corn tortillas

B. The Mexican Beans:

Jono makes his own brand of Mexican black beans that involve a bay leaf, fresh ginger, onion and garlic, but this simple version is fine.

C. The Salad:


January 20, 2011

Halibut Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Cream (& Cranberry)

by cillefish

Threw these together on a whim with a vague plan of imitating the kind of high-end fish tacos you get at the cozy, local-produce type of restaurant that’s always surprising you by dishes that feel …oh, somewhere between a warm hug and that zingy feeling you get when you get 3 seconds of an incredible song on the radio and have no idea who it was.

You know?
Sure you do.

Anyhow, these more than delivered. Easy & astonishingly great.

Here’s a picture of someone else’s similar recipe:
fish tacos

Halibut Fish Tacos with Jalapeno-Lime Cream (& Cranberry)

Serves: 2


  • 1 package (12-16 oz) Trader Joe’s battered wild halibut
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas (get the thin ones, not the thick “handmade” ones)
  • 1/4 cup Vons / Safeway jalapeno ranch salad dressing*
  • A few teaspoons of lime juice (we used the kind in the lime-shaped bottle. It called itself “organic lime condiment,” but fresh lime juice with a few strokes of lime zest is fine)
  • 1/4 cup whole-cranberries cranberry sauce
  • 3-4 cups arugula or “spring mix” (or spinach)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup SHARP white cheddar cheese, grated (the sharpest, best stuff you can find – drier is usually better. We use the New Zealand kind that Trader Joe’s carries since it simplifies shopping for this, but the best I’ve had so far was from Costco. Yeah, I know.)

To make:

  1. Preheat oven and put halibut on a baking sheet, following package directions to bake. I find that cooking it 1/2 to 3/4 of the time they say is plenty — otherwise it gets really dry and crusty. Meanwhile, mix dressing and lime juice in a small bowl.
  2. A few minutes before the halibut is done, put the tortillas in a plate with a damp paper towel on top and microwave them for 10-20 seconds, to warm.
  3. Drizzle about a tablespoon of dressing mix on each warmed tortilla. Add arugula. Remove halibut from oven and halve the bigger pieces. Divide evenly in tortillas. TSeparate cheese evenly among tacos, and top each with 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of cold cranberry sauce. Serve with a side salad that has fruit in it, and with salsa & tortilla chips.

*I want to try making my own jalapeno ranch dressing, since the Vons stuff is a little fatty. This recipe looks pretty close; just add enough tomato paste to get it to garbanzo-bean color.

In case the link disappears, the recipe is: 1 jalapeno, seeded, and 1 garlic clove; both minced fine. Add 1/4 c mayonnaise, 1/4 c sour cream, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried), 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp white pepper. Season to taste with kosher salt.

December 3, 2010

Leftover-Tomatoes Soup for One

by cillefish

shrimp, onion, tomato & barley soup
I’ve made those vegetarian “sausage”-stuffed tomatoes a few times because they’re absurdly easy and delicious, and every time I’ve frozen the middles of the tomatoes to experiment with using them as the beginnings to soup later on. Here’s a the best of my experiments so far — very tasty.


  • 2 big round tomatoes (or the middles of 4-6 tomatoes used in that stuffed-tomatoes recipe, above)
  • 2-3 cups cups of water
  • 1/2 cup leftover cooked barley or brown rice
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 cup cooked wild shrimp
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 can garbanzo or kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp Thai or Chinese fish sauce

Put the tomatoes, water, barley, onion, shrimp, and beans in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the spices and fish sauce and keep simmering until the onions are done. Salt & pepper to taste. Eat.

Some scissored chives thrown in just at the end to make it look pretty probably wouldn’t go amiss.

That’s not my photo (sorry! Here’s the one-skillet meal that it goes with), but aside from the jalapenos, my soup looked pretty darned similar (and, eff it, it’s friday and the light in here is terrible. no photo stuff at this hour).