Operation Empty the Cupboards continues

Two things, my friends. That is, two recipes that I’ve recently enjoyed both for their flavours and for their contribution to emptying my pantry. (We move three weeks from today, by the way. We were hoping to move earlier but our contractors are significantly behind. Our living room is still mostly a gutted pit. So nervous.)

The first recipe picks up the cocoa powder gauntlet that I thought (incorrectly) would be handily dealt with by the chocolate pudding of extreme deliciousness. It’s Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s show-stopping Chocolate Banana Shake (from The Joy of Vegan Baking*; no, I can’t fathom either why a frozen beverage is in a baking book; but I’m not complaining.)

-2 cups unsweetened milk (I use soy for this one; almond milk would likely be delicious but it’s already a really thick shake. Using almond milk here might result in death by ice cream headache.)

-2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks and previously frozen (Do not skip out on the freezing of the bananas! You’ve been warned.)

-4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

-1-2 tsp pure maple syrup (CPG calls for granulated sugar but maple syrup is where it’s at.)

Blend until smooth. Drink. Die happy.

This is perfect for those days when summer is punching you dead in the face and the A/C is about to call the union on you for over-working it.

For the kind of cool summer nights that allow for hot food, on the other hand, you want Dreena Burton’s Lemon Lentil Chickpea Soup (from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan)–which, I may add, is extra delicious when coupled with your favourite garlic bread recipe.

I made a number of changes to this one; here’s the original.

-1/2 tsp canola oil

-2 1/2 cups onion, chopped

-1 1/2 cups celery, chopped

-6 large cloves garlic, minced

-3/4 tsp sea salt

-freshly ground black pepper to taste

-1 tsp mustard seeds

-1 tsp cumin seeds

-1 1/2 tsp paprika

-1/2 tsp dried oregano

-1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

-1 cup dried red lentils

-28 oz can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-2 tomatoes, chopped

-4 cups vegetable stock

-2 dried bay leaves

-juice of 1 lemon

In a large soup pot on medium heat, add oil, onion, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard seed, cumin seeds, paprika, oregano, and thyme and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 6–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding splashes of water when necessary. Rinse lentils. Add lentils and 21⁄2 cups chickpeas (reserve remaining 1 cup), tomatoes, stock, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20–25 minutes until lentils are completely softened. Remove bay leaves. Stir in lemon juice, then using a hand blender, purée the soup, keeping some texture. Stir in remaining 1 cup chickpeas. Season with additional sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice if desired, and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.

I’d made this recipe once before and didn’t find it exciting, but I found upping the onions and garlic a little and using 1 cup less liquid than called for made for a hugely flavourful soup.

The cocoa powder, the red lentils, and the chickpeas are steadily dwindling, as are the brown basmati rice, French lentils, shredded coconut, and teas of various sorts; excellent. However, I’ve made no headway with my burden of wild rice; damn, I wish it were more worth the hassle. It’s like an albatross of food-wasting guilt hanging around my neck. I don’t know why I bought it. I must have been feeling unusually virtuous–and look where that’s gotten me!

Alright, it’s back to the packing and the generally freaking out for me. Stay cool.

*If you ever need to make a vegan flaky pie crust, this is your book.

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8 thoughts on “Operation Empty the Cupboards continues

  1. I could have used that chocolate banana shake last week when it was 101F (38C) here! Will save it and hold it in reserve in case we have another heatwave, summer isn’t quite halfway over yet. The soup also sounds quite delicious. Fingers crossed for your move in 3 weeks!

  2. I am planning to move soon, too, but my cupboards are not nearly this interesting! Maybe when I’m in the new house I can restock them more creatively. The soup sounds so tempting!

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