OK, so it is literally one hundred and seven f’ing degrees here in the Gateway City and why I am craving hot soup, I will never know.  To turn on the oven, stove or even the microwave for that matter may just be a felony in some books, it also makes me a little sick.  That said, I had a refrigerator full of beautiful greens, a ripe avocado, newly picked tomatoes from mom’s garden and various herbs/spices that were calling out my name.  I know this says, “make a salad, you fool!” to many, but at least for the next 20 minutes, I am tossing that out the window. 

Looking, looking, looking around the kitch…. and there she is: The Vitamix!  The VM comes with a soup setting (genius!), so all you do it throw in your ingredients and let it run for a few minutes.  And, before you know it, voila! you have SOUP without turning on that pesky (and dreadfully hot) oven/stove.

Here’s what I used for the best dern green tomato soup ever to run down my throat:

3 whole tomatoes (quartered, not seeded)

1 avocado

1 handful of kale

1 handful of spinach

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp each of ::

garlic powder, dried granulated smoked onion, dried oregano, cumin, kelp flakes

1/4 C water

s/p to taste

Yes, I know this looks like something you might serve to your child as a punishment, but please take my word (or don’t and just live dangerously) it tastes like heaven and looks like hell.   Next time, I will make a cashew cheese sauce to drizzle on top and garnish with an edible flower. 

If you have not been yet to www.nutritionfacts.org, may I suggest you do so!  Dr. Michael McGregor posts one nutrition video a day and they are only a few minutes long - so if your life is too crazy to sit down and read all the latest nutrition research (Booor-ing!) why not get a teensy-tiny dose every day? 

Here’s some good news about kale.  Cooking it actually offers better health benefits!  http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/kale-and-the-immune-system/

Now here’s a great idea!

http://sites.google.com/site/stlouistransplants/home

New to St. Louis?  Old to St. Louis and wanna help out the newbies..er.. the transplants to STL?  Check out the St. Louis Transplants!  Maybe you have been re-planted (left and came back after several years) and nee to re-acclimate yourself to the town you once called home.  It sure has grown up, hasn’t it? 

Anthony Bartlett started STL Transplants because he saw that some really talented professionals who transferred here and then after a few years left because they just could not get rooted here for one reason or another.  Picking up yourself (or even more- your family!) and moving to another city has some real challenges and until now, there was not an organization that could help with every facet of those hurdles. 

STL Transplants is not a re-location company, it is a group of dedicated people who have the best interest of those who move to our great city at heart.  Companies who are transferring people into Saint Louis contact the Transplants to help them make that transition as smooth as possible. They take every facet of that person’s life and try to match it up to what they are used to. 

One way they personalize their service is by offering a plethora of small group activities.  The leaders of these groups are called sub-group leaders.  I am a sub-group leader and I offer the STL Transplants private vegan cooking classes on a quarterly basis.  Last night was our first class and it was a blast!  People from all over the country coming together because of a common interest.  So great. 

If you know of someone moving to St. Louis or your company is transferring someone in to St. Louis, think about contacting the STL Transplants.  Let’s keep building our great city!

This is a test…It is only a (tasty) test!

Later in the month I am holding a private class for a group and I like to run through the menus before I am actually center stage. Because I have a full-time job that I like most days (lucky me!) and this cooking thing is not entirely paying the bills, I still have to devote 8-10 hours a day to someone else.  This leaves very little time to create my own recipes.  So, what I do is use other recipes as a template and seriously mess with them.

For this one, I just bullied a round a little, and didn’t really mess with too much.  Little cakes are so innocent.

This is from Vegetarian Times Magazine, Sept 2011

Crispy Quinoa Cakes

Says it serves 6 - that depends on how hungry you are and how big your cakes really are.

The Set-Up

1 egg (umm.. no - I substitued flax/water snotty concoction- so much better)

2 TBS all-purpose flour - I used whole wheat

1.5 TBS tahini or nut butter - I used 2 TBS tahini (room temp)

1.5 tsp red or white wine vinegar - I had white

1.5 C cooked quinoa - yea, about that

1.5 C grated sweet potato - I also left the skins on

1/2 C 10oz pkg of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (does anyone else find this to be a pain?)

1/4 C chopped sundried tomatoes - I used a 1/2 C

1/4C chopped nuts - I ommitted

2 oz crumbled feta - I used two big handfuls - how much is that?

2TBS finely diced onion - that’s about right

1TBS chopped parsley or cilantro - I just chopped up all the parsley leaves in the package and called it a day.

1 garlic clove minced - I just read about all the benefits of crushed/chopped  fresh garlic, I put in three.

1/2 TSP salt - I did it to taste

I also added fresh cracked pepper, not noted in recipe.

_______________________________________________________________

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine “egg”, flour, tahini and vinegar in bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients and with wet hands (important!), mash into little (1/4)C patties.  Bake for 25 minues turning once.  I had to make a little longer because mine were bigger.  They were really pretty good.  I suppose you could make them bigger for an entree or serve minis as an appetizer for a party.  Super duper easy, delicious and pretty good for you, too! 

Oh, and that sauce- just combine a jar of roasted red bell peppers, a large handful of toasted almonds, a clove or two of garlic and a couple TSP of wine vinegar (suppose to be red, again, I had white).  Throw all in blender and puree. 

Pair this with a salad of your choice and voila!  I made a kale salad with vegan feta cheese.  It was awesome If I do say so….

If you are looking to impress your lady friend.  Serve this.  You’re welcome.