Community Notice

Stirring the Pot: Ruthie’s Plant Power Recipes

Perhaps I consumed my lifetime allotment of brisket. Or the thought of cracking another egg into a hot sizzling pan of melted butter lost its appeal. More likely, it was a documentary movie.

The film What the Health came out several years ago. It touted a plant-based diet and decried the forces — medical, political, and commercial — that block our road to optimal health. It was too much to ignore, too overwhelming to refute.

After a lifelong love affair with dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish, it was time to break up. The good news was that I got to keep my spices, grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. I lost 20 pounds and regained my curiosity. Spending time in my kitchen is a joy, a culinary adventure.

Brisket and I have gone our separate ways. And, unlike other partings in my life, my heart is not broken. On the contrary! It has probably never been healthier.

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Soup Curry Duet: Thai Sweet Potato and Thai Green Pea

These colorful coconut-milk–based soups stand very well on their own. For something a bit more festive, prepare them both and serve in side-by-side individual ramekins. The sweet potato soup takes a bit longer, so start with that.

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Ruthie says these coconut-milk–based soups stand very well on their own. Thai Green Pea Soup (top) and Thai Sweet Potato Soup | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

Ruthie says these coconut-milk–based soups stand very well on their own. Thai Green Pea Soup (top) and Thai Sweet Potato Soup | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
2 sweet potatoes or 1 sweet potato and 2 large carrots
1 can coconut milk and 1 can water
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
Juice of 1 lime

Heat oil and sauté onion. Add garlic and ginger. Continue to sauté on a low flame, briefly, to avoid burning the garlic. Add sweet potatoes and/or carrots, coconut milk, water, nut butter, and curry paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover pot and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables soften.

When the soup has cooled a bit, purée with an immersion blender. Stir in lime juice.

Thai Green Pea Soup

1 tablespoon oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 can coconut milk and 1 can water
2 tablespoons green curry paste
Juice of 1 lime

Sauté onion. Add garlic and lemongrass. Continue to sauté on a low flame, briefly, to avoid burning the garlic. Sprinkle in salt. Add peas, coconut milk, water, and green curry paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

When the soup has cooled a bit, purée with an immersion blender. Stir in lime juice.

Community Notice

Lentil Mushroom Pie

Creamy mashed potatoes are the crowning glory of this hearty dish.

This hearty, savory pie combines lentils, red pepper, carrots, peas, onions, and mushrooms, with a “crowning glory” of mashed potatoes. | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

This hearty, savory pie combines lentils, red pepper, carrots, peas, onions, and mushrooms, with a “crowning glory” of mashed potatoes. | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 pound mushrooms (baby bella or white)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup plant-based milk (almond, coconut, oat)
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an oval or square casserole dish.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a deep skillet. Add onion, red pepper, carrot, garlic, and salt. Sauté until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Mix in lentils. Remove from skillet and place in a large mixing bowl.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add mushrooms and sauté until browned, adding more oil if needed.

Return onion/lentil mixture to skillet. Mix in peas, soy sauce, and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper and adjust to taste.

Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Prepare mashed potato topping: Boil potatoes in water for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Add plant milk and vegan butter. Mash by hand or with a ricer or immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spread mashed potatoes over casserole. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Community Notice

Dates, raisins, nut butter, and oats — the ingredients in Ruthie's No Bake Almond Butter Date and Oat Bars | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

Dates, raisins, nut butter, and oats — the ingredients in Ruthie’s No Bake Almond Butter Date and Oat Bars | Photo by Ruthie Cohen

No Bake Almond Butter Date and Oat Bars

One little square of this rich confection satisfies sweet cravings. A food processor does all the work.

1/2 cup pitted dates
3/4 cup almond butter
2 cups oats
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raisins or dried cherries

Pulse dates in a processor until finely chopped. Add almond butter and purée until smooth. Pour in oats and process, adding water as needed to enable the mixture to come together. Add raisins or cherries and process until everything is incorporated. Spread into a square glass pan. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Slice into little squares.

 

 

[Ruthie Cohen has been Limestone Post’s food columnist — our resident sage — since we launched in 2015. Her archive of recipes, columns, and wise insights on cooking (and life) can be found here.]

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Ruthie Cohen
Ruthie Cohen moved from New Jersey to Bloomington in November 2011. Every day she marvels at her good fortune to be living in this gem of a town. When she is not devising recipes in her kitchen and feeding her friends, Ruthie practices and teaches yoga at Ekah and Vibe Studios.
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