Vegetarian Cream Curry Soup & Chutney, Date Nut Dessert Recipes

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For a quick Saturday night supper – for yourself, your family, or even drop-in guests – the following recipes provide an entire suite that can be made, soup to nuts, in well under an hour. Best of all, the ingredients are inexpensive and readily available. You may have most or all of them on-hand in fridge or cupboard already.

Date Goops

These are just plain tasty, despite their silly name. And they complement Senegalese Soup (recipe follows) extremely well.

Ingredients:

  • Package of pitted dates
  • Almond butter (or peanut butter, if preferred)
  • Whipped cream cheese
  • Almonds, pecans, walnuts or other preferred nutmeats

Directions:

  1. Chop whatever nuts you plan to use.
  2. Dip one end of each date into either the nut butter or the cream cheese.
  3. Dip again in the chopped nuts.

Serve as an appetizer.

“Instant” Senegalese Soup

This was once a household standard. It should be still, especially for vegetarians, as it is filled with fiber, vitamins, flavor and elegance. It is still a favored soup in England. Although Senegal is in Africa, not India, the British brought the Indian influence to the region, and the nation’s Muslim population doubtless contributed to this soup’s name.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • Water
  • 5 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1 onionĀ (Here are some great onion choppers for you!)
  • Butter
  • Curry powder and assorted spices including nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, mace, turmeric
  • Heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Remove green outer leaves, and roughly chop apart cauliflower florets.
  2. Place florets in Dutch oven and add sufficient water to cover, about 1 1/2 quarts.
  3. Add the bouillon and cook slowly until vegetables are very tender, at least 20 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, chop one-half to one onion and brown slightly in butter in a skillet.
  6. To this, add 2 tsps. or more of curry powder and generous pinches of any or all of the other spices.
  7. Cook for a minute.
  8. When cauliflower has cooled, puree in best countertop blender, with the cooking water.
  9. Add the onion-spice mixture and puree again.
  10. Add 1/2 pint heavy cream.
  11. Blend.
  12. Chill and serve with chutney substitute (recipe follows).

Chutney Substitute

You can buy many varieties of chutney in good health food or organic food or ethnic food stores. You can make your own chutney from fresh ingredients, if you have the time. Or you can make this on-the-fly version that works well, too, from ingredients you may have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • Supermarket pear preserves, small jar (or peach or apricot if you have those instead)
  • Raisins
  • Candied ginger or preserved kumquats, or dried pineapple, chopped
  • Nutmeg
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar

Directions:

  • Mix the jar of preserves with a scant handful of raisins and a scant handful of diced candied ginger or preserved kumquats or chopped pineapple.
  • Add 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, or the equivalent grated from the nut.
  • Add 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar, or to taste.
  • Mix well.

Use a dollop per bowl as a garnish for “Instant” Senegalese Soup. Non-vegetarians might serve it as a condiment with broiled pork chops or barbequed chicken.

Green Goddess-like Dressing

You can follow an extensive, expensive recipe for the old stand-by, Green Goddess dressing, such as the one in The Joy of Cooking. That one calls for mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovies, and lots and lots more. Or you can simply make this knock-off; it’s cheap and easy, and makes a nice counterpoint to the warm, intense flavors of the Indian-inspired recipes above.

Ingredients:

  • One bottle ranch dressing, preferably organic
  • One supermarket bunch of green onions

Directions:

  1. Chop one-half to all of the scallions, depending on how much you like your onions.
  2. Empty bottle of dressing into blender.
  3. Add the chopped onions to the dressing.
  4. Puree.

Serve over a wedge of iceberg lettuce, or on any robust lettuce. It’s good on a vegetable salad of baby carrots, too, or over a simple tomato and cucumber salad.

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