Tortilla Soup

Surprisingly, since we both love Mexican food, I’ve never made a tortilla soup. I mentioned to Liz that I was thinking of trying this one, and she said they’d had it on the tasting menu at Horizons. I was sold.

I was a little short on the seitan, so I amped up the vegetables some. Besides the “holy trinity”, the vegetables include corn, tomatoes and a (not so) optional chile pepper. The book gives anĀ  option of topping your soup with the tomatoes, rice, and avocado rather than putting them in the soup, but we just kept the avocado as a topper. I’m not crazy about hot avocados and could have done without them on top, but Jim thought they added to it. I cut the broth in half as like our soups thick. I was expecting this to be smoky as Liz had mentioned that the one at Horions was, and it really wasn’t. The headnote explains that they do a different version at the restaurant which includes grilled seitan. To give this a bit more of a bottom, next time I’d add a touch of liquid smoke. Overall, we really enjoyed this soup and would have it again.

Posted in Soups Horizons 1 | 1 Comment

Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Olives, Fennel and Cauliflower

True story. I could never find Israeli couscous anywhere and always saw it in recipes. The very day I snapped and ordered it from my wholefood co-operative (12 bags minimum order), 2 different types turned up in the supermarket opposite my work. Now I’m always looking for ways to use it so I thought I’d try this dish. It was very quick and easy and a perfect midweek meal. The cauliflower and couscous are cooked in a wine and saffron broth and the fennel is served raw on the top. This resulted in a Provencal style stew; light yet hearty and studded with salty olives. I have no fear of dishes without any obvious protein but even Matthew didn’t kick up a fuss, such was the deliciousness of this dish. I think I prefer fennel cooked to raw, so although the crunchy texture worked well I might throw it in to the stew earlier next time.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 2 | 1 Comment


Congratulations to number 11, Phoenix! Just send me your mailing address and I’ll be happy to get this book in the mail to you on Monday!

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Snow Peas with Miso Vinaigrette

So simple, yet so delicious. After finding the prettiest snow peas I think I’ve ever seen, I knew we’d have to give this one a go. The dressing makes the blanched snow peas shine. These are served cold, which would make them a really unique addition to an appetizer spread. They aren’t the prettiest dish, but it’s safe to say that wouldn’t linger long on your table.

Posted in Sides Horizons 2 | 3 Comments

Seitan Beef, Barley and Ale Soup

I must admit to making a few tweaks to this soup. I hoped they’d enhance the dish but I fear they caused a problem. First of all I halved the broth. Most of the soups in these books come out very liquidy and I like my soups to be more like stews. This, combined with the fact that my beer wasn’t as full bodied as I’d have liked, threw the flavours off balance. The dried mushrooms were far too overpowering even though I used less than the full cup called for. I love barley, seitan, beer and mushrooms, especially paired with greens (not in the recipe; my choice of side dish), so there’s definitely a great dish here but to get a texture and flavour that I prefer my tweaking needs to improve next time. I might consider using fresh mushrooms and replacing some of the broth with mushroom stock.

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Caribbean Seitan BBQ Wings

Loving seitan, barbecue and wings, making this one was a given. They were a great addition to an appetizer dinner. I really browned the seitan, which gave it an almost crispy outside. Rather than go for the full amount of agave, I only used 1 tablespoon which was right for us. These are quick, easy, and really deliver on taste. Next time I’m going to try the Chipotle version…..and there will definitely be a next time.

Guess what? It’s your chance to win a copy of the second Horizons cookbook! All you have to do is comment below about one of your favorite ways to eat seitan. One lucky winner (anywhere in the world) will be chosen on October 22nd. Good luck!

Posted in Appetizers Horizons 1 | 30 Comments

Refried Red Lentil Tostadas with Cactus Salsa

I’d had my eye on this recipe for quite a while but never seen nopales (cactus) for sale anywhere. VeganMoFo gave me an excuse to order some online from Mexgrocer.

This recipe is in the Appetizer chapter but we ate 2 each for dinner with some Mexican potato salad. The salsa was the easiest thing to make; just blending lots of ingredients together. The cactus was a very strange texture and a bit slimy but the book said to drain – rinsing wasn’t mentioned so I just gave them a dab with a paper towel. I made half of the salsa and there was plenty leftover.

The tostadas involved frying corn tortillas (I used Cool Chile), and the refried lentils were made nice and easy with a jar of one of the Horizons spice blends already in the cupboard.

It’s always great to try a new ingredient and the cactus made a light, fresh salsa. I love lentils and I love refried beans so combining the two worked well but I couldn’t help thinking I was eating dhal with salsa, which was a bit odd. Maybe more spice blend in the lentils next time. The tostadas were very crisp and a great vehicle for lentils and salsa.

I still have half a jar of cactus leftover so if anyone has any ideas of how to use it except salsa I’d love to hear about them.

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