Although my first cookbook has yet to hit store (and Amazon) shelves, I've been done with the recipe development for over a year. I spent all of 2011 making stuff from other people's books because I wanted a break from creating my own recipes. And I'm still doing lots of that because I find few things more relaxing than cooking other people's recipes.
But my creative drive has needs. So I'm slowly but surely starting my next project. My first book — due out in late spring or early summer — is a vegan Southern cookbook, filled with downhome veganized versions of the classic country cookin' that I grew up eating. But I've decided that my next project will be veganized versions of retro recipes from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Sort of a vintage vegan approach.
I love flipping through my mom's massive collection of retro cookbooks. The food they ate back then was SO not vegan-friendly, but that makes it all the more fun and challenging to remove the eggs, dairy, and meat. I'll slowly make things here and there, and we'll see where it goes. Another cookbook? Maybe an e-book? Who knows?
But I'm launching this project with a homemade Cream of Tomato Soup:
This was veganized from the Better Homes & Gardens Vegetable Cookbook (published in 1965). Despite its name, this skinny hardcover book is filled with meaty recipes. This recipe was vegetarian though, but I swapped out some basic ingredients like soymilk and vegan margarine. It's creamy, thick, and delicious. And dare I say way better than the old Warhol-esque Campbell's condensed tomato soup from a can? I'm saving up these recipes for a possible second book, but to celebrate my first recipe for the new project, I'm sharing this one.
Cream of Tomato Soup
(Adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Vegetable Cookbook)
Yields 4 cups
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
2 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soymilk
Break up the tomatoes with your hands and drop them into a saucepan. Pour the remaining tomato juice from the can in the saucepan. Add the onion, salt, agave nectar, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and discard. Allow the the tomato mixture to cool slightly and transfer to a blender. Blend the soup until everything is pureed.
Rinse the saucepan and melt the vegan margarine in the pan over low heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the soymilk, and turn the heat up to medium. Continue to whisk over medium-low until the soup thickens slightly, about 10 minutes (it won't reach a gravy consistency, just a thicker soymilk consistency).
Slowly the tomato mixture into the soymilk and stir to combine. Allow to heat through.