Vegetarian Gumbo

This is not the first time I’ve highlighted a vegetarian dish of Southern origin in the last couple months and it definitely won’t be the last. While the last trio of recipes was from Budget Bytes (the author lives in New Orleans), this recipe comes from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, which we recently acquired after seeing it on the bookshelf of some good friends in Little Rock. The cookbook is based out of a blog called the Chubby Vegetarian, which is run by Southerners who try to enjoy “classic” Southern meals without compromising their ethical wishes. This was the second recipe we’ve made out of here (never captured photos of the first, plus we weren’t overly successful with it) and this one is a winner! I would make this over and over and over again. True in its Southern style, this gumbo is spot on and probably the best gumbo I’ve ever had, in the South or not.

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As faithful readers know, on this blog we share recipes that we make in our regular day-to-day life, meaning we often only make them once. Since we are recipe sharers and not curators, we don’t have to try a recipe several times to perfect the proportions before sharing it with the world! Instead, we try recipes, adjust them as we go and then report to you if/how we thought that turned out. Therefore, it is rare to make a recipe more than once in our household, much less to do so within the same month. This stew was just that good. I tried it on a cold week while Will was soaking up the sun in Trinidad and it fed me for the entire week. Best part? I never got tired of it. Every day, it improved. So when Will returned home, I bragged and bragged about this awesome stew that I made and he finally said, “well why don’t you just make it again for me so I can try it to?” DUH. So I did and chef Willis was impressed. This recipe seems soooooooo unassuming at first and I really just picked it because I hadn’t had wild rice in a long time. Even looking at the ingredient list I was like, “eh, whatever. It’ll at least feed me for a few days.” But the nugget in this one is the beautiful beautiful flavor of the mushrooms. Let those babies release their juices as long as you can possibly bear, because THAT is what makes this a gem. Sure, it’s creamy, sure there’s other veggies. But those mushrooms. Those are what you’re waiting on. Anywho, it’s still early spring and this is a good fill-you-up meal to have in your fridge while the weather is doing its thing outside!

What a busy weekend it was! I was up in all parts of Northern Virginia this weekend to celebrate my best friends bridal shower, which took us from Reston to Purcellville to Leebsurg and back. We had a lovely time celebrating her upcoming nuptials with her FMIL, MOB and other family and friends. I fell in love with her FMIL’s dog, Rocky, and everyone should consider it just short of a miracle that the dog did not come home with me. After all the festivities, we went and got German food (my biffle is a huge Germany person, especially after studying abroad in Berlin) and she exposed me to the Donner Box. Genius creation and something worth driving all the way back up to Leesburg, for. Or you know, going to Germany to try.

We have a lot of new kitchen toys. A lot. So many, that it’s mind-boggling to keep up with them each time we cook! This recipe featured:
-new Le Creuset dutch oven (and a Wolfgang Puck one, not featured here, but also new and exciting!)
-new Turkish cookbook from our favorite Turkish family, the Kiran’s
-new onion chopper
-new cutting boards
-new Pampered Chef measuring pour cups
-new wooden utensils
-new pinch pots
-new plates/bowls

See what I mean? A lot of new toys (and this is only some). All the fun! We feel so spoiled by all the outpouring of love from our friends and family and our kitchen is certainly happier for it. I think I hadn’t realized how far the blog has impacted with those we know and love, because people really went nuts with an outpouring of fun kitchen gadgets because I think they knew we would use them, no matter how bizarre they may be! So many thanks and much love in return, friends.

So my mom randomly gave us salt pork about a month ago, for no particular reason. Not typically knowing what to do with salt pork, we kept it in the freezer until we figured out what to do with it. With all the cold weather we’d been having recently, we decided to crack open our soup book and tackle a new recipe from there. Well lo’ and behold, we came across a salt pork recipe! And it involved lentils, which have basically become our favorite thing that we ever cook with. What could be better than making a recipe where we had everything except the herbs on hand for? The answer: nothing. Now, since I was not super familiar with the whole salt pork thing, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when this turned out. The first night it was okay, but we had to rush to eat it and it practically burned our mouths off our faces! However, the second night and the ones that followed greeted us with an incredibly flavorful, filling soup that got thicker and better with time. We got a nice crusty bread to have with it and even topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese that we had left over from another recipe. Both of these additions made the soup even more appealing and for four days, we enjoyed this for dinner! A simple, straightforward very filling soup recipe that I recommend trying, if you want to eat a meat that’s a little more “out of the box.”

I know I taunted you a few days ago when I posted my Molasses Spice Cookies, by sharing that I was deciding between posting a new Moroccan or Turkish recipe. Well, I opted to present you with the Turkish one first, because how often do I have this kind of recipe for you? Understandably, the soup is a bit out of season since it’s still summer, but this particular recipe is fairly appropriate for eating year-round. It’s a nice, light soup, full of protein-rich ingredients like chicken and chickpeas. The spices give it a bit of a sweet and spicy sensation, primarily as a result of the interaction between the cayenne and mint. And the Greek yogurt provides a basis for a creamy base stock, which compliments the chunkiness of the chicken and chickpeas, nicely. It’s a pleasant, balanced soup, that provides you with a more “ethnic” meal, but without ingredients that are intimidating or stand-offish! It’s simple and satisfying-what more could you ask for in a soup?

Irish Beef Stew

Posted by Megan | Beef, Dinner, Global, Meat, Soup

It’s become an annual tradition of ours to have beef stew and Guinness cake on St. Patrick’s Day. However, because my comps were starting that day, we weren’t able to enjoy it like we usually do. However, Will still made the beef stew the week following and I eventually made the Guinness cake for his birthday. Each year, we make a beef stew that we tweak to our liking, based on our previous experiences. So for this year, it seemed fitting to use the new Budget Bytes beef stew as our guide, with a few changes. This seemed pretty similar to our annual stew, involving the same delicious components of beef and Guinness-obviously these are the most important ingredients in a stew that claims to be Irish. This is an expectedly hearty meal that can feed a household for a few days!

I know I said I wouldn’t be blogging this week due to my masters comprehensive exams, however I just cannot wait to tell the world about the soup I made this past Sunday! I just cannot help myself. I’m not going to even humblebrag about it, I’m just going to straight up brag about it. You know when you go to restaurants and you get the creamy soup of the day and it’s just so perfectly light and thick and satisfying? Well Will found a recipe for that kind of soup. The “soup special of the day” perfect restaurant soup. And I’m not even a soup person, but I loved it. L-O-V-E-D it. I have not been able to stop thinking about it all week, which usually means it was pretty damn good. We’ve actually been eating soups all week (including a beef stew and a leek soup that Courtney made and brought over), but this soup is probably the best soup I’ve ever had. So perfect.

This dish has always been Will’s thing. One of his first renditions of it was entered into a chili cook-off. It has always been one of my favorites that he makes and we couldn’t believe it had been over a year since we made it! Oh the perks of blogging about practically everything you eat-helps you keep track! Once we realized one of our favorites meals was in fact not on this blog, we decided we had to remedy that ASAP. Luckily for us, the weather decided it was the perfect time to finally get “cold” (by Florida standards), which helped us justify our hankering for this chili; there’s truly nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of chili on a cold evening.

Now, this recipe was easy to decide to make because we already had the butternut squash on hand from our Roasted Pork with Butternut Squash and Kale that we had made a few days prior. Plus, we love anything with the words lentil and curry in it, so we knew this would be no exception. It was extremely simple to throw together and didn’t take more than about 30 minutes to make, so much less complicated than other things we have tried recently! Definitely an easy filling meal, with a nice flavor palette, compliments of the butternut squash. A good, simple meal to throw on the table on a night where you don’t feel like cooking anything intricate!