32 Before 32: Carrot & Parsnip Slow Cooker Soup

32 Before 32: Carrot & Parsnip Slow Cooker Soup

Sandy treated me to a delicious birthday lunch at Bluebird Kitchen. One item I selected that cold, blustery day was a carrot ginger soup.  It was velvety and sweet, and like I do with anything that I eat and enjoy, I was driven to gorge myself on carrot soup until I could no longer stand the taste.  For this task, Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker did not disappoint. Fresh is by far my favorite slow cooker cookbook.  It’s got all kinds of soups, stews and entrees that are extremely fresh and easy.  Everything is vegetarian, but you can add meat in here and there if you are so inclined.  If using your slow cooker is a priority in your life, you must buy this book. And no, I was not paid to say that.

Carrot Parsnip soup is ridiculously easy to make:


First you cut carrots, parsnip, potatoes and onion into large chunks.


Then you toss them into the slow cooker with cayenne pepper, salt and vegetable stock (I am lazy and use bouillon, it is less expensive than canned stock, and I do not have the time or patience to make homemade stock).  I also added in a little ginger, because how can you have carrot soup without ginger?


After cooking for a great long while, I tossed in a few tablespoons of orange juice concentrate and blended it all up to its signature velvety texture with my immersion blender.  I got this immersion blender at some random sale for like $10, and it has become one of my absolute favorite kitchen tools. I love making thick veggie soups, and the immersion blender creates the perfect texture without the mess and hassle of transferring back and forth between a blender.  Plus, you don’t have to wait for the soup to cool before using the immersion blender, which makes things a lot easier.


Ta da! Delicious soup! I made way more than enough and had plenty to freeze for later. Mr. Beez loved the soup too, and given the bitter snowy days we have had lately, the soup was perfect for warming up.


Blast from the Past: Cookbooks Every Vegetarian Kitchen Needs

Blast from the Past: Cookbooks Every Vegetarian Kitchen Needs

Originally posted on August 17, 2011

I was a vegetarian for several years, but when I got pregnant with Baby Beez, I wanted to eat Uncle Sam’s Subs ALL DAY EVERY DAY, and vegetarianism went out the window. I would like to go back to vegetarianism, but the one of the keys to being a veggie and not getting bored and not getting fat is to cook at home and make a variety of different things (as opposed to, say baguettes and brie all day every day, which although delicious, isn’t ideal). I haven’t been able to cook nearly as much as I’d like lately, but when I DID have time to do all that cooking, these were the tools in my arsenal:

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. Not surprisingly, a lot of the recipes in here are soups and stews, but she does branch out with some entrees, desserts, and appetizers. Robertson includes some easy preparation tips for using the slow cooker that really helps bring out flavors. The recipes are all very diverse– this is not a set of variations on the same bean soup. My favorite recipes are the Maple Baked Beans (ok, so baked beans do not sound exciting, but they are really delicious), and the In a Hurry Vegetable Curry.

The Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This is a vegan cookbook, but you don’t have to be a vegan to LOVE it. A lot of vegetarian cookbooks are stuck in a pasta and cheese rut, and I sometimes feel like vegan cooking spends too much time trying to impersonate meat and dairy. This cookbook doesn’t waste its time on “fake” recipes. It focuses on beans, grains, and vegetables, and deliciously so. It runs the full dining gamut, an encyclopedia of vegan dining with a recipe for every occasion. It also includes very helpful cooking tips that will equip you with skills for creating your own delicious vegan recipes. Although the authors probably wouldn’t be too keen on this, I often make these recipes “non-vegan” by using regular milk instead of soymilk, butter instead of soy margarine, etc, because those are the ingredients I already have in the house. The recipes turn out just fine with the substitutes. My favorite recipes include the Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya, and the Plaintain and Pinto Stew.

Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook is the vegetarian hippie bible, and not surprisingly it’s in the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. It contains lots of casseroles and easy bakes that easily feed a full family, and also freeze very well. My favorite recipes are Cauliflower Mushroom Marranca (sooooo good) and Scheherazade Casserole.

Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks. This is a Jewish cookbook, but it’s not all blintzes and matzoh balls. We Jews are all over the world, and so is this cookbook. The recipes are from all over Europe, and there are a number of recipes out of Africa and India as well. The variety is impressive. My favorite parts of the book are the descriptions of the background and traditions surrounding each dish, as well as different variations on the recipes based on the flavors of different countries. There are also very informative sections about Jewish history and traditions, Jewish cooking traditions in different countries, and the qualities of different spices. Sephardic Leek and Cheese Casserole and Noodle Kugel are amongst my many, many favorite recipes in this collection.

What are your kitchen cookbook staples?


More Farmshare Catch Up

I was still overloaded with eggplants, tomatillos, and tomatoes, so back to the kitchen I went to whip up something to use the excess veggies, and is easy to freeze (we can only eat so much of this stuff at once!) The tomatoes are easy to handle- they’re going to become pico de gallo. Fresh salsa doesn’t last long in our house. With the tomatillos, the easy answer would be salsa verde. That usually involves broiling the tomatillos and I didn’t want to deal with that. Also, salsa verde is not as popular with my family as other salsa varieties, so I am not confident we’d go through it as quickly.

I LOVE my slow cooker, and found a great recipe for Tomatillo Pork Chili Verde stew (you can easily substitute chicken or seitan for the pork).


This was a big hit for both Mr. Beez and I. We didn’t give any to Baby Beez because I didn’t feel like cleaning stew up off the ceiling and floor and everything. But Mr. Beez and I loved it. It’s got a little zing but not too spicy, and it is plenty flavorful.

I also had TONS of eggplant to use…


I used up the eggplant with a lamb and eggplant bake that turned out AMAZING. I don’t have the recipe handy this second, but if anyone is interested, leave a comment and I’ll dig it up. The recipe calls for lamb shoulder, but for some reason the Iggle only had lamb roast. The result was that (even after draining the grease) there was a lot more fat that cooked into the tomato/spices/lamb mix, and that gave the dish a rich, decadent, but not overpowering flavor.


Despite there being a lot of eggplants in the dish, it really does not taste heavily of eggplant. This is the kind of dish you can sneak onto the plate of a resistant eggplant eater, and not have them hate you for it.