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from ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias

4 medium pears, ripe
1 1/2 c vanilla soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c maple syrup
2 1/2 tbsp whole or sifted spelt flour (I used all-purpose; she says any other flour works well)
2 tsp arrowroot powder
1/8 tsp cardamom, ground

Peel, core, and slice the pears into thin, bite-size pieces. Place them in a medium saucepan and saute on medium heat, stirring the pears so that they do not stick to the pan. Be sure to use ripe pears, as they will help provide enough juice to keep the pears from sticking. Add the ground cardamom and continue to stir.

In a separate bowl, place the remaining ingredients and whisk them together thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the saucepan with the pears and whisk together. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue whisking for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture evenly into 4 small dessert serving bowls. Chill the pudding for a couple of hours until set. Serves 4.

For Christmas morning, we were invited to my husband’s family’s farm for a potluck. They had decided on a theme of Turkish Breakfast- did you know that Saint Nicolas was from Turkey? It was really nice having a theme when trying to pick out food to share. It ended up being a really great brunch: the hostess and her daughter made bagels (the highlight for me- they were SO GOOD and chewy!). My mother-in-law made some delish potatoes fried in olive oil, and my sister-in-law made lentil soup, which was so good it made me mourn the fact that lentils and I don’t get along. There were some egg dishes as well, though I didn’t pay much attention to those… and we had this pudding after we cleared the dishes from the main course. There were also cookies served along with it, but they weren’t vegan.
I chose this pudding because of the cardamom. And because I love pears. Who doesn’t? Cardamom is a key flavor in the Turkish food and drink. The simple ingredient list, as well as the potential for transportation, were what sold me on this recipe (I made two double batches, and just chilled them right in the pots I cooked them in that we transported in the cooler). Aside from peeling and cutting the pears, this pudding was really easy to make; just a bit time consuming (we had 16 pears to prepare! Thank goodness Mike was a willing helper with that. Plus he got me a sweet new knife for Christmas, so that made it go faster too. xo!). Once those pears were in the pot, things went pretty quickly, and it began to look like pudding within a few moments of adding the whisked ingredients into the soft cooking pears. We ended up having a LOT of leftovers, so when a little vegan-pizza-and-cocktail party descended upon our house the night after Christmas, I was prepared with plenty of dessert for all.
The flavor of it is pretty intense with the vanilla, but I’m not sure it was the best vanilla flavor. I might try plain soy milk next time, and use some vanilla bean scrapings for a more genuine flavor. The texture of the pudding is really good. Which is weird to say about pudding- but it’s not uniform! There’s the pudding, and then there are the pear chunks. I think adding some granola in there would be over the top yummy for brekkie. Oh, and baby loved it. It was just the fuel she needed for her first horse ride!

from ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias

2-3 tbsp oil (coconut oil was a delicious option)
1 medium whole leek, finely diced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, diced; stems and seeds removed
14 oz can garbanzo beans
1 each medium red and yellow pepper, seeds and stems removed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 c corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
2-14 oz cans coconut milk
2 c water

Thoroughly clean the leek before chopping. I find that slicing it lengthwise and rinsing the insides is an effective way to clean it.

In a medium pot, fry the leek, carrots, garlic, cayenne and jalapeno in the oil on medium-low heat. Stir the ingredients so that they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. When the leeks begin to soften, stir in the garbanzo beans, salt, red and yellow peppers, corn, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serves 4.

This is one of the best soups that I have ever had. EVER. I topped it with avocado, and oh my. It reminded me of an avocado curry that I used to get at our favorite Thai restaurant before we went the vegan path. The soup itself is pretty sweet, with just the right amount of salty, and a little bit of zing, thanks to the cayenne and jalapeno. Baby liked it… Husband loved it. It would serve 6 if you had a side dish for it, 8 if you served it as a side; it’s so rich! And really, it was pretty easy to make. I do love a one-pot meal, and I love a meal that makes for good leftovers, which this one most definitely did. Again, like a good curry, it was even better the next day. I will keep coconut milk in my pantry just to make this when the mood strikes…

from ExtraVeganZa: Original Recipes from  Phoenix Organic Farm by Laura Mattias

2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium yams, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh gingerroot, grated
1tbsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
3 cups water
1 bunch fresh spinach
1/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
8 oz firm tofu chunks, water squeezed out (my addition)

In a medium pot, fry the onion, yams, garlic and gingerroot in the oil on medium-low heat. Stir the ingredients so that they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. When the onions become translucent, stir in the salt, dill and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend this mixture on high until a creamy and smooth consistency is reached. (Yay for immersion blender!) You may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your blender. Pour all of the blended soup back into the pot (and plop in the tofu, if you’re into that). Add the spinach and orange juice, and cover the soup, allowing the spinach to wilt in the steam. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

This was SO GOOD. I will definitely make it again. I was so pleased that the first recipe of the year was a good one.

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