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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Smoky Corn Soup with Tempeh 'Bacon'

Hello my dearest darlings!

I had to take a short hiatus from my blogging and I sure have missed it!  I hope you haven't forgot about me :( 

Spring has sprung!  After what seems like an endless season of wintery days and cold, dark nights, the sun now shines brightly and the whole city is bursting with greenery.  Winnipeggers especially appreciate this changing of the seasons (we are known to wear shorts and t-shirts as soon as the temp reaches above 0 degrees C) and our menu's reflect the weather:  It's BBQ season, baby! 

Bee and I discovered a working BBQ on the common patio of our apartment a couple weeks ago and made some DELISH grilled corn on the cob with chili oil.  A week later, Bee met the man who actually owns the BBQ and upon asking for occasional use of the Q in exchange for some cash, she was promptly (and rudely) rejected.  Bee figures she can get away with grilling things after midnight ;)
Stay tuned for midnight vegan BBQ recipes (and don't tell Mr. Cranky upstairs!).

Speaking of corn:  Here is a recipe for a yummy yum yum soup that you can make with either frozen or fresh corn right off the cob.  To remove fresh corn from the cob, peel off the green husks and corn silk and discard them.  Then stand the flatter end of the corn up in a large bowl and hold onto the tapered end.  Using a sharp knife, slice the kernels off the cob, starting at the top, in a downward sawing motion.  Try to keep the knife as close to the cob as possible.  And for heavens sake, DON'T SLICE YOUR FINGERS OFF!  . . .Otherwise just go buy a bag of frozen corn niblets :)

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, pressed into a block.  It is readily available at health food stores and I have seen it at many grocery stores (including the natural foods aisle at Superstore).  Tempeh bacon is a marinated, sliced tempeh product that makes for a tasty addition to breakfast or vegan BLT's.  I bought a pack at VitaHealth and plan to buy more :)

Smoky Corn Soup with Tempeh 'Bacon'
-2 tbsp veg oil
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-5 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 tsp chili flakes (or more if ya like it spicey)
-1 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)
-3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
-6 cups veggie stock or water
-6 to 8 strips of tempeh bacon, chopped into bits
-1 avocado, diced
-1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in your favorite soup pot over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, a sprinkle of salt and chipotle powder (if using) and saute until the onions are translucent. 

Add the corn and cook for a further two or three minutes then add the stock or water and crank the heat to high.  Bring the soup to a rolling boil and then reduce to a simmer over medium low heat. 

Simmer for fifteen minutes and then puree using an immersion blender OR using a slotted spoon, remove the veggies from the broth and transfer them to a blender with just a BIT of the liquid (CAUTION: hot things expand once you turn on the blender and coup explode and burrrrrn ya, so don't overfill!  Puree in bathces if you have to!) and puree the veggies to a smooth consistency, returning the puree to the broth in the soup pot.  Season with S&P to your taste.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium high and cook the tempeh until it is golden brown and crisp.  Stir it into the soup, reserving some for a garnish.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with extra tempeh bacon, diced avocado and finely diced bell pepper.  Serve to hungry friends ;)


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