THE ESSENTIAL VEGETARIAN
Soup on a balmy winter dayBy Katie Jeffreys
Welcome back from winter break. I hope it was restful and celebratory. Since the new year is here, what is a better resolution than to adopt a vegetarian diet? I have discussed before how to make the transition from a diet that includes meat to one that does not, by eliminating all meat products gradually or at once.
Around campus, start by trying, from Aramark, the vegetarian chili at Walker, the Granary selections, or Network’s vegetarian specials. The falafel sandwiches at the CousCous Kitchen food truck are inexpensive, filling, and tasty. If you cook for yourself, try replacing meat in recipes with soy products, available in the freezer section at Star Market or Harvest Co-operative Supermarket, both in Central Square.
A good resource for learning to cook vegetarian food is the series of vegetarian cooking classes sponsored by the MIT Vegetarian Group and Aramark and held during IAP. Each day’s course has a different topic: Monday, January10, 2000 is “Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cooking,” followed by “Demystifying Soy Foods” on Tuesday, and ending with “Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking” on Wednesday of the same week. All the classes are from 4-7 p.m. and are held in Networks’ kitchen. They cost $7 each, which includes the dinner prepared by the students. Space is limited, but contact Leah Daigle at email@example.com or 253-2814 for more information.
In going vegetarian, you can choose meatless options when dining out as well. Now that winter is fully upon us what better meal than soup to warm you up on a chilly day? The New England Soup Factory offers just that at its new location on Boylston Street, right across from the Prudential Center. I had the pleasure of dining there with a friend. The meal gave us the fuel we needed to study for finals, but I think we both found it to be a little expensive. The soup menu contains at least one vegetarian choice each day from simple vegetarian soup to more hearty minestrones and cream soups. All are available in three sizes with optional add-ins such as rice or matzoh balls. Come summer, the menu turns to cold soups such as gazpacho.
In addition to soups, there are many sandwiches and wraps with gourmet ingredients such as avocado, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. I tried one which appeared a bit small but was very filling. And of course, an array of salads are also offered to complement both soup and sandwich. The cold sesame noodles and green bean salad both caught my eye.
Overall, I would say that this restaurant gives exactly what you would expect from a high-end counter-service establishment.
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The following recipe lets you recreate a soup from the New England Soup Factory's menu in your own kitchen. It is reprinted from The PhantomGourmet s recipe collection found at <http://www.townonline.com/arts/dining/phantom/>.
New England Soup Factory's Spicy Chickpea and Butternut Soup
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
2 Cups finely chopped onion
1 Cup minced or diced celery
2 Cups sliced carrot coins
6 Cups- chunky diced peeled butternut
2 Cups diced canned tomatoes
4 Quarts well flavored vegetable stock
2 Cups tomato juice
1/2 Cup soy sauce
1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
2 Cups canned chickpeas
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. minced Scotch Bonnet Peppers
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 Cup flaked coconut
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp. coconut extract
In a large heavy lined stockpot add olive oil and garlic. Saute 1-2 minutes. Add onions, carrots and celery. Saute for 10-15 minutes. Add squash, canned tomatoes, stock, tomato juice, soy sauce, lime juice, chickpeas, ginger and coriander and bring to a boil.
Cook until all the vegetables are tender.
Add coconut milk, flaked coconut, coconut extract and cilantro, cook an additional 5-8 minutes.