Two very easy ways to clean out your refrigerator crisper:
Ever since I began making soups fresh, I have found myself repulsed by canned soups (with the exception of Amy's Organic, especially the Minestrone and the Lentil!). Why do canned soups all taste the same, regardless of the flavour? And why the hell is Campbell's "vegetable soup" made with beef broth?! Not to mention my particular peeved-ness regarding the leniency with which "health checks" are handed out to products.
I like to make fancier soups (like roasted garlic and miso butternut squash) but sometimes you just want something hearty on a cold day. And sometimes you have several veggies with highly questionable freshness left over from last week's grocery run and you need to use them up immediately. That is what happened here.
Carrots, celery, a tomato, kidney beans, onion, mushrooms, leftover roasted butternut squash from the night before. And barley, because nothing says "Hey it's winter let's put some hair on that chest!" quite like barley. In an organic veggie stock, with some dried dill and fresh cracked black pepper thrown in for good measure at the end. This is very loosely based on a recipe found in Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons, but I had to improvise because it was Day 8 without a trip to the supermarket and our fridge and pantry were looking pretty pitiful.
This rice dish is from How it All Vegan and it is referred to as "Kieran's Favorite Rice", after a child the authors know. I don't know Kieran, and so I thought it would be a tad creepy for me to refer to this as "Kieran's Favorite Rice". So I'm instead going to call it "Everything But the Kitchen Sink" rice. It's another fridge-cleaner, as you can put pretty much any vegetable you're looking to get rid of into the mix and it will be fine. Except maybe rutabaga. That would be weird.
This is a very plain dish, involving minimal spice and ingredients and I think that is the best part about it. I can see why Kieran likes it so much, as it is a great way to get children and other notoriously picky eaters to consume some veggies while not freaking out because "omggzzz vegans eat SUCH weird things!". It is absolutely perfect for someone who is transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and has no idea what nutritional yeast, miso paste, wheat gluten and tempeh are (ah, wasn't it just yesterday that I didn't know you needed to COOK dried lentils before using them?). I really like How It All Vegan for its simplicity with regard to ingredients and I think it makes a perfect transition or vegan family cookbook.