Friday, May 15, 2009

Two-Bean Vegetable Soup(Vegan); "Beefless" Stew w/Dumplings(probably vegan)

Good morning, beautiful, sunny day here in the metro Atlanta area, and I'm hoping it's a good day where you are, as well. About 30 minutes ago, I called my doctor, and kinda wish I hadn't, sigh. I think I mentioned a while back that I had to have a renal ultrasound, because my creatinine levels are too high, which means my kidneys aren't working right. So, I had the ultrasound, and this morning, Doctor told me that it shows a mass in my right kidney. I am NOT pleased. This is NOT what i wanted to hear, not today, not yesterday, not any day at all, ok? Doctor is going to call my insurance company for me today, and get the referral for either a CT scan or an MRI, and I'll see him tomorrow, as I need my pain med 'script rewritten. Needless to say, I'm scared. Maybe it's just a cyst. Whatever. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks.

Yesterday was a really good day, one of the best in a long time, as far as feeling good physically goes. It's probably a combination of the thyroid med starting to kick in, and still being quit from smoking. Whatever it is, I'm not hurting as much as I was, and I had quite a bit of energy and accomplished, for me, quite a lot. Swished and swiped the toilet and sink, stripped the bed and washed the linens, washed and dried and put away two loads of laundry, remade the bed, washed the dishes, took out the trash, and vacuumed the living room and bedroom. Had time to read quite a bit, play on the computer, and cooked supper, too. Today all I plan on doing...all that's really needed, in fact...is washing dishes again, and watering my plants.

I love beans and lentils, and I love soups, so I make quite a few bean and lentil soups/stews, even in warm weather. In one of my last few posts I said that I was going to make a bean/barley/vegetable soup, but I didn't, not exactly. It was basically the same as the recipe I've posted for the bean/barley/vegetable soup, but just a couple variations. No real recipe needed here, just as you like it/to taste.

...................................Two-Bean Soup................................................................
One can each pinto beans and cannelini beans
Onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme...all to taste
Potatoes, celery, carrots...as many or as few as YOU like.

Drain and rinse the beans, set aside. In a large pot, saute the diced onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about five minutes, or until the onion starts to get tender and is translucent. Add the peeled and diced potatoes, the two types of beans, and about 6-8 cups of water w/veggie buillion cubes or veggie broth or plain water. Season with dried thyme and the bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, and allow to simmer until the veggies are tender enough to suit you, probably about 30 minutes or so. I like mine really smooshy, so I let it simmer for closer to an hour. Your choice...I won't know, and it's fine with me. The soup can be left the way it is, or, if you like, and I do, use a potato masher or fork to mash up some of the veggies, which will thicken the soup somewhat. Serve this with a pan of hot, buttered, biscuits. Or cornbread. Or grilled cheese sammiches. Or just saltines or bread and butter. Your choice.

...........................JB's World Famous "Beefless" Stew, this time with dumplings....

Ok, ok, so it's not really world famous, and altho I never once looked at a recipe to come up with this lentil stew, I have no doubt that there are several thousand recipes just like this, or very close to it. There are probably enough variations of lentil soup to make a different one every day for at least three years out there, seriously. The important thing, tho, is that it's good, and even confirmed meat-lovers will ask for seconds, no kidding. Again, no real recipe needed, it's to taste/as you like it, ok?

Enough dried lentils for your family. Lentils don't need to be soaked, btw. You can just use them right out of the bag. And I don't recommend using canned ones, if there even is such a thing. I don't think I've ever seen canned lentils, just canned lentil soup, and that was just plain nasty. Anyway, I digress........

Put the lentils in a colander, pick them over and take out any little rocks or bad lentils, and rinse them really well. Set aside.

In a large pot, saute onions, carrots, celery if you like(I don't), and garlic. Meanwhile, wash, peel, and dice some potatoes, and then add them to the rest of the veggies. Add the lentils, a bay leaf, and enough water to cover all of it by about three inches or so. If you want to, you can use veggie broth or add veggie buillion cubes to the water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Lentils will cook that quickly, in case you've never used them before, which is just one of the reasons I like them so well.

Now for the dumplings, and I'll give you a REAL recipe for them, right off the box of biscuit mix. So, this is where it stops being vegan, because the biscuit mix has small amounts of casein and buttermilk listed in its ingredients. Dumplings can be veganized, but you'll have to use your own biscuit recipe for them, as I don't have one. I suppose self-rising flour, shortening, and soy milk would do it, tho, right? Anyway...

2 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 qt. broth
Mix first three ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls into boiling broth. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes. Yield: 16 servings.

I used much smaller portions for myself, and didn't use the poultry seasoning, I just left them plain. And instead of broth, I dropped them, using an infants feeding spoon, on top of the lentil stew.

This was a really good meal. The dumplings were small and good, and just set the stew off to perfection. In fact, when I heat up the leftover two-bean soup, I'm going to make dumplings again, instead of biscuits.

Until next time, Happy Eating.

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