Chipotle Corn Chowder

Just a little bit spicy but a whole lot delicious, this soup was a hit at a recent soup night with friends. It's a great party idea in cold weather, BTW, inviting your favorite people to bring over pots of their favorite homemade soup. Comfort food shared with comfort company -- is there a better way to chase away the chill?

Chipotle Corn Chowder

Yield: 6 servings

2.5 cups vegetable broth
1 pound frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large canned chipotle chile in adobo
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle chiles)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lowfat sour cream
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Place half the broth and half the corn kernels in a stockpot over medium-high heat. In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining stock and corn kernels with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, oregano, and salt. Process until fairly smooth.

Add this mixture to the stockpot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream and cilantro until well-blended.

Offer a lime wedge with each serving.


Green Tacos

These tacos can be garnished with the usual toppings, such as grated cheese, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Or they can be gobbled up just like this. They carry a bit of heat, so omit the jalapeno pepper or use less than called for if you don't enjoy spicy food.

Spicy Potato and Cauliflower Tacos
with Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds

Yield: 6 tacos

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 pound red or yellow potatoes, finely diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup raw, unsalted, shelled pumpkin seeds
1 whole pickled jalapeno pepper, stem removed
6 taco-sized corn tortillas

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potatoes, cauliflower, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Saute, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the broth, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, pickled jalapeno, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup vegetable broth in the blender. Puree. When the potato-cauliflower cooking time is up, remove the lid and stir in the cilantro mixture.

Just before serving time, wrap the trotillas in a tea towel and heat in a microwave oven until steaming hot, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you may toast the tortillas one at a time in a hot, dry skillet or over a gas flame, turning frequently.) Place one-sixth of the filling along the center of each tortilla and fold. Serve hot.


A Spanish Soup

The seasonings here combine to create a delicious broth. Don't skimp on the olive oil. It delivers health-promoting essential fatty acids and is an important flavor element in the dish. You may consider the raisins optional, although they lend an authentic touch. Enjoy!


This stew is inspired by a Spanish dish called garbanzos con espinacas. Serve it with crusty bread and a dipping sauce of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

8 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pinches saffrom threads
Pinch of ground cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 fresh pear tomatoes, stemmed and diced
12 ounches pre-washed baby spinach leaves
2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup golden raisins

Place the vegetable broth in a stockpot over high heat. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, saffron, and cloves. Cover and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, place a small skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the shallots and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.

When the broth is simmering, add the garbanzo beans, shallot and tomato mixture, spinach, and raisins. Bring back to a simmer and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes to heat the beans through.


Welcome, readers, to a blog about my latest cookbook, co-authored with long-time cooking companion, Susann Geiskopf-Hadler. We met in college, became almost vegetarians at the same time, and started cooking together a lot. Within a few years, we got invited to write a cookbook for an Oregon publishing house owned by a guy who had been one of our happy tasters.

That book, Fast & Natural Cuisine, was the first of many cookbooks collaborations -- currently numbering 12, and counting. It's been a great friendship and a wonderful career.

When we wrote our first book, the term "organic" was still a long way from being coined and healthy food folks like us were considered fringe fanatics. "You are what you eat" was a joke among mainstream, meat-centered cooks who thought our natural-food ways were just plain kooky.

Now Susann and I, and many other early converts to healthy cooking, have been vindicated. The causative connection between bad diet and dread disease is a definitive fact, and the organic food industry takes in many billions of dollars a year.

With 15-Minute Vegetarian, we've returned to the beginning, in a sense. It's about cooking fast and cooking natural, but it takes advantage of many prepared and packaged foods that weren't available when we got started. It's easier now that it's ever been to make simple, delicious, satisfying vegetarian meals at home.

15-Minute Vegetarian can teach you how to cook if you're a beginner, or add lots of quick new recipes to your repertoire if you're an experienced cook. Either way, it's a pretty yummy little book, if I do say so myself.

I created this blog to share some of it with you...