My Introduction to Vegan Cooking

Lately I have been cooking more with Tofu and have use some of the Gardein products which I have enjoyed much to my surprise.  Although I have not made many recipes from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet the few that I have I have really enjoyed and were so good! I am just as surprised!

This is not to say I am becoming a Vegan but it is fun to cook new recipes that are not only good but healthy for you as well.  Now in my refrigerator you will find white miso and tofu at any given time.   I look forward to the time when I can sit down and read Alicia’s book more in depth, for now I am happy sampling a recipe here and there.  I have been making one recipe from the book over and over again because I enjoy it so much, I have not moved on to try anything new.

Let me tell you about Alicia’s recipe for Soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew.  I could have eaten the whole pot of stew by myself and if there are any leftovers, I usually am not quick enough to get to them first.  It was a bit of sticker shock when I was first was stocking up on vegan food items but I have gotten over it by now.  If I can’t find the right type of squash my iphone will tell me what a good substitute will be.  If I can’t find the right type of dried beans, I substitute another.  If I make the stew with more squash or more diced tomatoes, it doesn’t matter.  The stew always comes out fantastic. It is truly delicious.

So let me share the recipe with you and you try it for yourself and I bet you be pleasantly surprised as I was!

The making of the stew!

Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew

Serves 4, not in my house!

1 cup dried black soybeans, which I have not yet been able to find

1 inch piece of kombu seaweed

About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 red onion diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

Fine sea salt

Generous pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes

½ kabocha squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces, (if not a massive squash, will use the whole thing)

1 cup mirin

2 teaspoons white miso

2 celery stalks diced

3-4 fresh cilantro springs chopped

Rinse the soybeans, then turn them out onto a kitchen towel and rub to remove as much moisture as possible.  Place the beans in a dry, medium skillet and pan-toast them over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, until they puff up a little and their skins start to split.

Transfer the beans to a large pot, and add the kombu and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 90 minutes or until the beans are tender.

While the beans cook, combine the oil, garlic, onion and chili powder in a large skillet over medium heat. When you hear the onion start to sizzle, add a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and cumin and cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, squash, mirin, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook until the squash is tender about 35 minutes.   Remove a small amount of broth from the skillet and use this to dissolve the miso. Once dissolved, stir the miso into the vegetables.

Once the beans are fully cooked, drain them o f any leftover liquid.  Add the beans to the vegetables simmer over low heat until all remaining liquid has been absorbed.  Turn off the heat, stir in the celery and cilantro and serve hot!

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