It’s reached that point in the winter when it seems it may never thaw and I may never see those Dandelions in the spring again. Perhaps a bit melodramatic. A few good, calm winters have us spoiled in the northeast so the snow, bitter cold and new terms like polar vortex sting that much more. The only way to combat this seasonal slump is in the kitchen, with comforting soups and stews.
I’ve been making soups and a side salad for lunches since returning to work after the new year. Isa Does It has a pretty awesome soup section that should keep me inspired (and warm) through the winter and hasn’t disappointed yet. Chunky Miso Vegetable Soup was a perfectly pleasing lunch dish. Much like the chicken noodle soup of your childhood, there is something very satisfying about miso soup despite it’s simplicity. This version is turned into a chunky vegetable soup by the addition of carrots, celery, green beans and cauliflower. I’ve come to love cauliflower roasted or in Indian dishes but otherwise it is not my favorite vegetable so I decided to rice the cauliflower in the food processor rather than leave it as chunky florets. Beans make it a heartier fare; though I did still pack a small side salad to complete my meal. This soup is very easy and quick to prepare, delicious, and will most definitely get added to the rotation.
Continuing my winter comfort foods theme I went to the Stews, Chili’s & Curries section of the book and chose Meaty Beany Chili. I already have a vegetarian chili recipe that I absolutely love, an Emeril recipe I happened upon and have made a number of times (varying the spices and beans to change it up). The Emeril recipe is a veggie-ful chili that uses portobello mushrooms for meatiness. The Isa Does It recipe gets it’s meatiness from lentils and, as it’s name suggests, is more beany than veggie; it contains black beans and kidney beans in addition to the the lentils. It was a bit faster to pull together than the Emeril chili that requires a bit of knife work to prep the vegetables. Hearty, spicy, and satisfying it was a dinner well suited for a cold January night. I add in some avocado for creaminess, and garnish with scallion and cilantro. To complete my meal I made the Cornbread Muffins, which somehow landed in the Breakfast, Brunch & Bakes for the Morning section of the cookbook. Despite their placement, they are not overly sweet at all (Isa suggests add-ins such as berries and vanilla extract for a sweeter muffin). A simple base of whole wheat pastry flour and cornmeal, mixed with corn kernels bake up to a nice texture with plenty of corny flavor.
Isa Does It Recipes: 8