Ms. Kelly and I were recently discussing ways in which we could encourage one another to try all the sure-to-be awesome recipes in Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It's not like we don't like to cook, and it's not like Isa's recipes are ever less than brilliant. It's more about that bit of extra planning and time trying new recipes calls for. We just needed to come up with that little extra push. Choosing and cooking the recipes together seemed like a perfect solution, but the little bugger abandoned me for the big city a couple months ago. We're not terribly far away from each other, though it's far enough to be a pain in the ass.
And then, once again, the internets, specifically the Google, saved us.
We can cook them "together" using GTalk. Sweet!
We don't actually have copies of Veganomicon yet, and decided that we could warm up using a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, Isa's first book. Kelly and I both had an abundance of beets on hand from our CSA shares and with that in mind, she smartly chose the Beet, Barley and Black Soybean Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons recipe.
Smart, yes, but really... ew. I thought it sounded gross. I can honestly say that even if my pantry held nothing but barley and black soybeans and my fridge nothing but beets, I never would have considered making that recipe. Ever.
In the name of collaboration and our goal of trying new things, I played along.
The choosing, planning and prepping went well, as did the first half of cooking time. Somehow we became unsynchronized and she ended up eating 30 minutes before I did, but other than that, everything went really well.
Even better, the soup turned out awesome. The color was to die for and the light texture offered by the barley didn't weigh down the bowl. Most importantly, the relatively small list of ingredients allowed the fresh beet and dill flavors to take the lead in a simple broth of tamari and water.
Huh. Who knew I was a such borscht girl?
About half of the ingredients were local: beets, onion, dill and garlic from Blooming Glen, and pumpernickel bread from Bakers on Broad. Non local ingredients: black soybeans, barley, tamari, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (all organic and purchased at independently-owned health food stores) taragon leaves, pepper and salt.
We had fun, accomplished our goal and determined the venture a success. Yay, us! Hopefully, we'll be doing cooking together again soon :)