Isa’s Faux Clam Chowder

I do admire vegans. Their love of animals is so monumental that even consuming cheese and dairy is an affront to their animal friends.

I love animals myself, but I also love cheese and dairy products. I don’t know if I can give that up. What I can do and would like to see happen is for all of us animal lovers to demand better treatment to the animals so that vegans can enjoy cheese and dairy again. I know some of us are already fighting the good fight, but vegans are still not able to enjoy the comforts of dairy and cheese.

I think our animal friends wouldn’t mind us enjoying such treats from them as long as it didn’t stem from abuse.

I’m not vegan, so this is my limited understanding that it’s the treatment of dairy animals that causes vegans to boycott it. Anyone reading this can feel free to educate me more on this issue. I would like to know, so feel free.

Another dairy rich meal I love is clam chowder and I was excited to see how the vegan alternative from Isa Does It would turn it out. True, you can’t have the clams, but what you can have is mushrooms and I do love mushrooms.

What you’ll need

  • 1 cup of cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 teaspoons of organic cornstarch
  • 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 nori sheets, finely chopped
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

The first step is remind you that this recipe takes some early preparation due to the cashew cream ingredient.

To make the cashew cream you just soak the cashews ahead of time for at least two hours. This soaking process can go up to three days if you really want to prepare. If you forgot and don’t have time to soak, you can also boil them for 15 minutes.

Whatever method you end up using, the final step for cashew cream is to blend it.

By the way, if you have a high powered blender you don’t have to soak at all. I’d make sure this is the case before you go all crazy and start blending things. Last year I got a nice high powered blender, but I still soak the cashews because I figure even strong items need a break now and then.

When you do blend the cashews, drain the water first and add 2 cups of vegetable broth and cornstarch.

While this is happening or even before if you want, pre-heat your largest soup pot over medium heat and add oil. Once pot is heated, add the onions and carrots with a little bit of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the carrots soften.

Let’s revisit the cashew cream now. Is it smooth? If no, then keep blending. If it’s a little grainy, that’s fine, but we want it as smooth as possible.

Ok, let’s check out the carrots and onions now. If they are good, add the mushrooms and celery. Cook this for 3 minutes or until they soften. Then add the potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, pepper, nori, and 3 cups of vegetable broth.

Bring this mixture to a boil by covering the pot with a lid. Once boiled, remove the lid and lower the temperature so that the soup can simmer for 10-15 minutes. Don’t let the potatoes turn to mush, though! We want them to be like my idea of a perfect man, tender but still strong. Nobody wants a mush of a man.

At least I don’t…maybe some people do.

Anyway, now it’s time to add in the cashew cream sauce. Allow it to cook under low heat for 7 minutes. You’ll know it’s about ready when it thickens up and when this happens you will add the tomato paste, lemon juice, and more salt and pepper to your liking.

We are now ready to serve! Do so by garnishing your bowl of faux chowder with chopped parsley and/or chives, crackers, and lemon wedges.

I opted for parsley, chives, and lemon.

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As I mentioned earlier, I love clam chowder and while I thought this was a good substitute, it just wasn’t clam chowder folks.

I think if I ate this soup as a creature of his own design, I would like it more. The mushrooms are nice and chewy. You can’t go wrong with shiitake for me.

The potatoes also pair well with the cashew cream and that portion of the soup did remind me a bit of clam chowder.

It still wasn’t clam chowder, though. It just wasn’t.

This soup makes me think of a Pulp song I like called Bad Cover Version.

Here are some lyrics that reflect my feelings.

It’s like a later Tom And Jerry, when the two of them could talk
Like the Stones since the Eighties
Like the last days of Southfork
Like Planet Of The Apes on TV
The second side of Til The Band Comes In
Like an own brand box of cornflakes:
He’s going to let you down, my friend
Listen to the whole thing if you want later. It’s one of my favorite bands and I haven’t listened to them in awhile so I’m probably going to do that now.
Til next time friends.

Shiitake to me Scramble

When it comes to egg dishes, you can’t go wrong with goat cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. At least for me.

You also can’t go wrong with scrambles, because sometimes making omelets doesn’t work out for people and they become scrambles anyway.

Egg dishes tend to be healthy alternatives to breakfast as well and this scramble from Cook This, Not That ensures that you keep it that way.

What you’ll need

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup of fresh goat cheese

The first step is to get your favorite frying pan out, heat the burner to medium, and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top. Once that butter starts to melt almost completely, add your mushrooms. Cook those mushrooms until slightly browned and then set the mushrooms aside.

Get your pan back out, sans mushrooms, and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and cook until spinach is nicely heated. Remove the spinach and drain the excess water.

We are now ready to prepare our eggs. Do so by mixing the eggs with the milk in a large bowel. Season with salt and pepper and whisky a go-go away.

Now go back to your empty pan and add the remaining butter. After the butter melts, heat the pan to low and add the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture continuously until egg lumps start to form. Once those lumps start to form in soft shapes add in the mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese. Cook and stir this mixture until the eggs seem fully cooked.

You are now ready to enjoy your scramble!

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Shiitake, spinach, and goat cheese scramble

As I said earlier, for me you can’t go wrong with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese. Naturally, I enjoyed this meal immensely. The eggs were nice and fluffy and the shiitake mushrooms paired well in texture and taste. Then there’s the goat cheese. Mmmm, goat cheese is so good!

If you have time to make yourself breakfast in the morning, do make this dish. You will be satisfied on all realms.