Why is it when something is titled “vegan,” meat-eaters run the other way? I simply gravitate to the word “vegan.” So you guys know how I gave up meat in May? Well, sometime in November I cut most dairy out of my diet, too. My rule is, if I am cooking and eating at home, I am vegan. If I am eating out at a restaurant or someone’s house, I will be a little more flexible (with dairy- I still don’t eat meat at all). Take, for instance, Thanksgiving. How could I pass up the mashed potatoes? I couldn’t. Especially when they were studded with homemade potato chips and topped with fried shallots (thanks, Elan!). Or the spicy macaroni and cheese? The macaroni and cheese that I dream about all year! (thanks, David!)
Anyway, sorry for my absence this past month and a half. I don’t know why, but I haven’t been inspired to write about what I’ve been doing in the kitchen, and I have been doing a lot in the kitchen. In my Family Law and Policy class, we had to do a group presentation analyzing a policy. My group chose the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (did you think I would choose anything other than a food and nutrition based policy?). For our final presentation, I decided to bake a healthy vegan treat for our class. I wanted it to be perfect and use the flavors of fall, so I spent hours in the kitchen testing recipes. I baked some mini apple muffins that were good, but not “wow!” enough. Then I baked these cookies, but used chocolate chips instead of raisins. First, I tried them with applesauce instead of Earth Balance. While they were delicious, they tasted too healthy to serve to my class. Then, I tried them with Earth Balance, as they were intended, and they were perfect. They were a hit, and really, really delicious!
Tonight I finally got into the kitchen to use the stove, rather than my oven. While I was in L.A. for Thanksgiving, my mom made me a big pot of vegan split pea soup. Split pea is my favorite soup, but for some reason I have never made it at home. My favorite place to get it is Blue Plate in Santa Monica. Well, my mom’s tasted exactly like theirs, and I’m sure her version is cheaper, too. I asked her how to make it, but she told me she just threw everything in the pot without measuring. I took matters into my own hands tonight and made the soup, measuring everything as I went along so that you guys could enjoy this recipe, too! Especially now that it is freezing outside!
My Mom’s Vegan Split Pea Soup
1 cup each onion, carrots, and celery, finely chopped
1 lb. split peas
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
more vegetable broth or water, as needed
Place all ingredients in a large pot (except for additional liquid).
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer. Stir occasionally. When mixture gets too thick, add some more vegetable broth or water. After about 1 hour and 10 minutes, the soup will be perfectly mushy and ready to eat. Enjoy!
Couldn’t be easier! It is really the perfect soup to enjoy on a cold winter night, along with some salad and toasted bread with melted cheese. Yum!