Things have been looking up for us recently, which is a nice change. Not that Richmond has been terrible by any means since we’ve gotten here (quite the opposite!), but I have felt like I’ve had these nagging little thoughts constantly reminding me that our income has diminished considerably and our spending has increased and nothing in the foreseeable future is changing that. See, we decided to make the move after I accepted a position offered to me – a part-time position, with the thinking that we are fairly intelligent, hard-working people and we can make this work. (Plus we really wanted to move, so yes, there was a bit of emotion in it too.) But as the weeks passed I was having growing doubts that we were just being too optimistic and unrealistic, thinking we could fill in our employment gaps rather quickly. The majority of our days over the past month have mostly been spent looking and applying for jobs and not hearing anything back.
Well that has finally changed. Dan got a job. And not just any job, but one that puts him in a very new direction that we didn’t think possible right now. So, though I still wouldn’t say we are settled yet, as I am still looking for another part-time job and we will most likely move again in the near future to a bigger place (that would make four moves in a year but I’ve heard of worse), I can say that I am hopeful again. And that’s a nice thing to have during times of change. How fitting that Dan should get this job right before Labor Day. It is nice to have a break, but it’s maybe even nicer to have a job from which to take a break.
And now, food!
Dan claims this meal was restaurant quality. He’s being generous, but I have to say it was pretty good and just what I was craving.
Spicy Roasted Corn & Poblano Soup + Kale, Avocado, Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese
I modified this original recipe to make it vegan as follows. It makes sense to have vegan soup with a cheese sandwich, right?
Vegan Spicy Roasted Corn & Poblano Soup
6 ears of sweet corn, uncooked
2 poblano peppers
2 TBSP of Earth Balance (vegan butter)
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup of vegetable stock (low sodium)
2/3 cup plain soy creamer (or coconut creamer – just make sure it isn’t flavored)
green onions (garnish)
To roast the poblanos: (If you are fortunate enough to have a gas stove, then you can roast them over the stovetop flame, until they are blackened and charred, but I am not so fortunate.) Set oven to broil. Remove stem and seeds and slice peppers into wide strips. Place peppers skin-side face-up on cookie sheet and broil them in oven for about 10 minutes, checking them frequently. When the skin is black and bubbly and charred use tongs to place the peppers in a plastic bag (preferably in a sealed zip lock) and leave them there while you roast the corn.
To roast the corn: Place shucked and rinsed ears on cookie sheet and rub with coconut oil and a little salt. Broil in oven for about 20 minutes, turning at least once, and keep an eye on them.
While corn is roasting, heat up about 1 TBSP of coconut oil and 2 TBSP of Earth Balance in a large soup pot. Once hot, add diced onion and minced garlic, salt and pepper, and saute for about 5 minutes until softened. After about 15 minutes of the poblanos in the bag, take them out and peel off the charred skin (this should be pretty easy to do). Chop the strips into smaller chunks and throw them in with the onions and garlic. Once the corn is done roasting and has cooled some, cut it off the cob into the pot with everything else. Add veggie stock and non-dairy creamer. Bring to a boil or strong simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 mins. Turn off the heat and ladle the soup into a blender or food processor (or again, if you are fortunate even to have an immersion blender, than use it!). If using a blender/food processor than don’t fill it up more than half way full so you don’t risk having hot liquid fly all over you – blend it in batches. You can make the soup as smooth or as chunky as you like. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and maybe even tomatoes.
Kale, Avocado, Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese
8 slices of sandwich bread (use any bread with some substance but not thickly sliced)
Butter – whatever form you choose (I used Earth Balance)
Mayonnaise (I used Vegannaise)
Kale, washed, big stems/veins removed and torn into smaller pieces
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1/8 onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Block of 8oz sharp cheddar – I used 4-5oz of it – shredded
1 TBSP coconut oil
I use my cast iron skillet for grilled cheese making, but if you have a non-stick pan use that. Put oil in skillet and turn on just below med heat (I put it on 4 on the heat dial). Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. This will be the outside of the bread. Spread the inside of the bread with mayo. Assemble sandwich – I went with the cheese first, to make sure it would melt quickly, then kale, tomato, onion, avocado, and a little more cheese. Place the sandwich, butter side down, in the skillet once the oil is hot. I press it with a spatula. Check it every few minutes until it’s as dark as you want it, then flip and do it again.
GRILLED CHEESE TIPS:I like to use thinner slices of bread better than thick because I feel like the cheese melts faster/better. It’s also best to use shredded, room temperature cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches because it will melt better. I get a block of cheese and then shred it because it seems like if I buy already shredded cheese, it has something in it that makes it greasy when it melts. Oh yeah, and when buttering the bread, try to get the butter room temp as well so your bread doesn’t get all busted up.