Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pareve Mexican Vegetable Soup and Corn Bread

I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa recently, and she served an enticing and decadent dairy cornbread with a mexican chicken soup. The flavor combination looked amazing if a bit verboten, and I set out immediately to try and see if I could make both pareve, so that these two dishes could be served with either dairy or meat dishes.

The cornbread came out light and airy and I left out the cheese and scallions she used, because I am a bit of a cornbread purist and I don't want anything mucking it up. The Mexican soup I watched Ina make bears little resemblance to what I ended up with, and it's now something new all its own. She used tortillas to thicken hers, and I used potatoes, but the whole thing is just gorgeously scented. Ina used coriander and cumin, which I used but also added a bay leaf and smoked paprika. She also used a jalapeno in hers (without seeds), but I didn't have any in the house so substituted a small pinch of cayenne. Plus, I don't like cooking with jalapeno because I ALWAYS end up forgetting that I just minced one and somehow touch my face hours later and it burns. Even when I wear plastic gloves!!

Corn bread:

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 sticks margarine (1/2 pound), melted
3 eggs
2 cups soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, or MimicCreme
1/3 cup scallions (optional)

Sift together first five dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients and mix the dry and wet just until incorporated; do not overbeat. Let sit for 15 minutes before baking at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Mexican vegetable soup:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, minced
1 box white mushrooms, minced
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small pinch cayenne
1 bay leaf
10 cups water
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Before serving: 4 oz. almond milk, diced avocados, tortilla chips

Saute the onions, carrots and mushrooms in olive oil until softened. Add the rest of the ingriedients and simmer for 1 hour. Puree if you wish. Before serving, add several ounces of almond milk to add creaminess, and serve with tortilla chips, sliced avocado and of course, fresh hot cornbread!

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