Friend Feature: SweetSugarBean

Salted Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundaes

I have been lucky enough to work with some very talented and inspiring people during my short stint in the restaurant industry.

Renee is one of those people- we met at the Rutherford House Historic Site where we both worked.  She was the head chef in the tiny little kitchen that serves the equally tiny (but super busy) Arbour Restaurant.  Think high tea, scones, quiche, sandwiches, and an incredible dessert menu, of course, all kinds of tea.  Though it was not a vegetarian restaurant, the Arbour did have some great options.  And Renee always would fix something special up for me if I wanted something different.

Well, we have both moved on since then, she, moving back home to Saskatoon, and I, of course, moving back home to Lethbridge.  But through the magic of facebook, we’ve kept in touch.  Renee continues to work in the culinary industry and has recently started her own blog at the request of many of her friends.  She just has way too many good recipes not to share!  That, combined with her artistic approach to food styling and eye for photography has created SweetSugarBean. I was lucky enough to assist a little in formation of the blog, and it’s so exciting to see how it’s grown in the short time it’s been around.

She really has a special touch when it comes to desserts, as well as yummy (but healthy) comfort food.  Renee has posted a number of vegetarian and vegan recipes and I thought I would share some of these today (and thank you for creating a separate vegetarian & vegan label!)  Click on the pictures for the recipes!

curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

And be sure to check out the rest of the SweetSugarBean’s recipe index on the side of the page.  Of course, don’t forget to snoop the chocolate section!

Mulligatawny Veggie Soup

Lethbridge got about 20cm of snow in the last 24 hours.  So when I got home, I decided it was a soup night.

So out comes the good ‘ol Joy of Cooking; which practically lives on the kitchen counter now- we reference it often.  I highly recommend it, though it does have lots of meat recipes in it, these can simply be ignored or improvised.  Hmmm.. black bean soup, U.S. Senate bean soup (uh.. no!), lentil soup with greens… nope.

Mulligatawny.  I’ve always been curious- I’ve never been able to try it since it always seems to have meat in it.

Mulligatawny, a curried soup brought back from India by British colonists, is the Anglicized name of two words for “pepper water,” molegoo (pepper) and tunee (water).The real Mulligatawny is a traditional curry-flavored pea and lentil peasant dish. Indian restaurants today serve it as a vegetarian soup and appetizer. The Anglicized version adds chicken so it’s more like a stew and suitable as a meal in itself. Originally the soup was enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. It can also contain rice, eggs, cream, and other meats besides chicken.

from global gourmet

Strangely, this mulligatawny recipe had no lentils, peas or almonds.  It’s the sort of dish you can improvise on- as long as you have the basics down (the rich, spicy broth being paramount) Which is exactly what I did to make it vegetarian.  I also had a few things kicking around from my garden, the last of the carrots and the apples I chopped and froze back in the fall.  Perfect!

This took less than half an hour to prepare and cook; perfect for a weekday night when you have little energy left for cooking.  It can also be made vegan very simply; just use coconut milk instead of cream and vegetable oil instead of butter.

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup
adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Heat in a soup pot over medium heat:

  • 1/4c (1/2 stick) butter or vegetable oil

Add and cook, stirring until softened:

  • 1/2c diced onion
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced

Add and cook, stirring about 3 mins:

  • 1.5 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp curry powder (i used medium)

After the mixture dries out a bit and coats the veggies add

  • 4c  veggie broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 mins.  Add:

  • 1/4c diced tart apples
  • 1/2c cooked rice (I used quinoa instead for more nutrition)
  • 1/2c veggie chicken, diced (I used some TVP and added a little extra liquid.  You could also use crumbled tofu, lentils, or your favorite protein filled meat substitute.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon zest.  This is an important ingredient!  Make sure you use fresh!

Simmer for 15 minutes, remove bay leaf.  then add:

  • 1/2c heavy cream or unsweetened coconut milk

Heat through, do not boil.

Serve & enjoy!