16 February 2010

Weekend Culinary Adventures, Daktari-style

This past weekend, I did some lifestyle rearranging. Starting with my pantry. I had to get the no-no food out of my line of sight so I could actually see what good foods I had to work with. There wasn't much after all was said and done. It appears I've been hoarding an extraordinary amount of jams and jellies, and there was dried fruit in there that I didn't even remember buying. Oh how my heart broke when I saw that unopened bag of dried banana chips. (And thank God the package had never been opened. I'm not sure my willpower would have held out that long.) Once the rearranging was done, I saw that I had an abundance of tomato products and beans. So time to try out some new recipes. Diet and lactose intolerance are often two very difficult masters to serve. Put them together and things can get tough. Either the food is high fat or the food tastes bad. So after a few hours of food blog and internet browsing, I bookmarked some interesting, low calorie, dairy-free recipes. Here's the first one I tried.

Creamy tomato-basil-tofu soup. I give it 4.5 stars on a 5 star scale.

Assemble the ingredients. Amazingly simple. Oh, add an onion to this mix. I always forget one ingredient.

So you dice the onion and sweat it in a pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then you add the can of tomatoes and one or two cloves of chopped garlic. After this has heated, you add a half teaspoon of white pepper, half teaspoon of salt, and it was supposed to be a tablespoon of fresh basil leaves, but it's wintertime so I used dried leaves and added two tablespoons. I think you are supposed to add less dried spice and not more, but I remembered this concept too late. Don't worry, it turned out ok.

Ok, after heating the tomato-onion-garlic mixture for a minute or two, I added a cup and a half of plain, unsweetened soy milk. You know, the stuff you DO NOT want to make the mistake of drinking, but it is only good for cooking with. That stuff tastes AWFUL all by itself. Turn the heat off and let it all cool for a few minutes and then add 1 lb. of silken tofu. I used organic tofu by Nasoya. (See J? I'm trying.) Put all in a blender and puree. You can eat this hot or cold.

I ate it hot. It was completely yummy. Notice all those bubbles? Pureeing in the blender adds air. So it was especially light tasting. I assume that after it rests in the fridge for a day, those bubbles will burst and it won't have that wonderful light, dancing on your tongue action and just be regular old tomato soup. But one can dream.

So this recipe makes six 1-cup servings. According to my calculations, it has, per cup, only 110 calories, 5 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein, and thankfully only 413 milligrams of sodium. That's about half or less the salt you'd find in a can of Campbell's soup. It doesn't taste like salt and it doesn't taste like soy. It tastes like a very light, very fresh cup of tomato soup. The color is a little pale by most tomato soup standards, and it's not the wintertime go-to soup for when you've just come in after shoveling snow. I sort of liken this to cold cucumber soup I've tried before. I really do think it would be great cold and I may try it out like that this week. I actually think the extra basil made is taste more....well summertimeish, if you know what I mean. But. It was really great. And I'd bet your grandma would love it. If I was a grandma, I'd love it. Hell, I'm not a grandma and I love it.

So there it is. My new lactose friendly, semi-organic, reasonably salted tomato soup recipe. Not a bad find.

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