Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bonus Recipe of the Day! Hard Boiled Quail Eggs with 2 Dipping Sauces

4701003312_3860781fd8_zI was looking through my recent activity on my Flickr account and noticed that someone had favorited this photo. These days I’m trying to stick to a vegan diet but that is no reason not to share this yummy snack with you. If you can get a hold of quail eggs this is a very simple, yet elegant hors d’oeuvre. For me, it was a late-night snack. I purchased a dozen quail eggs from one of the many Asian markets in the Providence area. They cost 3 dollars for a dozen. Sadly, the last few times I was there they did not have them.
Boil the eggs the way you would chicken eggs. That is, place the eggs in a pan large enough to accommodate them without crowding, cover with an inch or so of water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat and allow to sit, covered tightly, for 20 minutes.
To make the dipping sauces:
Dipping Sauce 1
  • 1 cup Asian Sweet Chile Sauce
  • 1/4 minced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced Thai or regular basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (omit for vegetarian)
  • Squeeze of juice from a wedge of lime
Stir to combine and let sit a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
Dipping Sauce 2
Add 1 tbs of peanut butter to the above mixture.
If you want a bit of heat, add a dash or two of sriracha sauce
The eggs are very easy to peel so feel free to serve them unpeeled to show off the pretty shells. The yolks of quail eggs are much creamier and more delicate tasting then chicken eggs. Of course, if you cannot find quail eggs feel free to substitute chicken eggs. In that case, serve them in wedges or halves, dolloped with one of the sauces.

Hearty Soup of Roasted Butternut Squash, Apples, and Caramelized Onions (w.optional tasty extras)

First let me give you a brief account of the squash I used for this soup. It is what we call 'accidental squash'. Two large butternut squash were the sole produce from our garden this summer and we didn't even intentionally plant it. The seeds sprouted from squash seeds that wound up in the compost which Stu did not wait to ripen (or whatever you call it). I had started several flats of various seeds in March but somehow they never got put out and eventually they died. So sad. We did have cherry tomatoes from plants that self-sowed but the gate keeping our dogs out of the garden broke and my Aussie kept helping herself to ripe tomatoes before we ever got a chance. So if it wasn't for our accidental squash we would have had no home grown food this summer.

On to the soup. I hate peeling and chopping butternut squash so my laziness is partly what inspired this soup. Also, my love for roasted vegetables.

I wanted as little fuss with the peel as possible so I roasted the squash by cutting it in half vertically, and then cut those halves in half horizontally. I did the second cut because my squash was particularly big. It is generally not necessary. Salt and pepper the squash and lay them, flesh-side down, on an oiled baking sheet. It is wise to first place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment down for easy clean-up. I was not wise and had a sticky burnt mess.

I wanted some roasted garlic but I did not want to deal with squeezing sticky roasted garlic out of its skin so I peeled and smashed a few cloves and placed them in the cavities of the squash before inverting them onto the sheet. This roasted the garlic nicely while creating a protective layer against burning. I like to think it added extra flavor to the squash as well.

We went apple picking on Sunday so we have a bountiful supply. I decided roasted apples would be a delicious addition to a soup. I quartered the apples and cut out the core and seeds and placed them face-up on the sheet. I was afraid too much sugar would be released and they would become very messy if I placed them face down. This was good thinking but I should have gone the added mile of using foil.

As an afterthought, I cut deep crosshatched slices in the skin side of the solid pieces of squash for faster cooking. Once again, I wouldn't do this for the average sized squash. I placed the baking sheet in a 425 degree oven and set the time for 20 minutes. This was the time I estimated for the apples.

The apples were definitely done at 20 minutes. Some pieces roasted to the point of falling out of the peel. I set them aside in a bowl, tested the squash, and set the timer for another 20 minutes.

While the squash and apples were roasting, I made a quick stock by placing large chunks of carrot, celery, and onion in a sauce pan with water and letting it simmer. If I had fresh herbs of any kind (parsley, rosemary, thyme) I would have added some but I wasn't too concerned as I was expecting plenty of flavor from the roasted squash, apples, and garlic. If you have about a quart of store-bought stock in the pantry, or keep a supply of your own handy, you can skip this step and move onto the caramelized onions.

 To prepare the onions, cut a large onion in half, and then cut into thin slices. With the heat set to medium, add about 2-3 tbs of olive oil to the pot in which you intend to cook the soup. When the oil is hot, add the onions. You want the heat high enough to eventually brown the onions but no so high that they burn. They should slowly give up their juices (sweating) and then begin to brown. This takes about 10-15 minutes. You should only stir them once or twice.

  If you are wise, you will have planned ahead to allow time for the squash to cool before scraping the flesh into a bowl. I had a hungry husband to feed and had gotten a late start, so I burnt my fingers. At any rate, this is the next step; scrape the squash from the peel into a bowl and add the apples (peels and all), and garlic. If a teeny bit of skin from the squash gets into the bowl, don't worry too much as it will be pureed into the soup.

Turn the heat off on the onions and add the squash, the apples, and the garlic to the pot. Add the stock (drained if you are making it from scratch). Add 1 tsp of cinnamon, a generous grating of nutmeg (or about 1/4 tsp), 1/2 tsp of ginger, and  1 1/2 tsp dried sage. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until creamy and smooth and no chunks or peels remain. If you must do this in a food processor or blender, it would be safest to puree the squash and apples with only part of the stock and add the rest of the stock to the pureed mixture in the pot and stir well. Once the soup is pureed, taste for salt. I added 3 tsp without tasting and found this to be a bit too much.

Turn the heat back on and gently bring the soup just to the point of a boil. It is not necessary to actually cook it further. You just want to bring the ingredients to an even heat. You can thin the soup with more stock, water, or do what I did and add about 1 cup of almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk). I also crumbled in a bit of leftover over Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo I had in the 'fridge.

For garnish and delicious crunch, I toasted some pumpkin seeds (aka 'pepitas) right before serving.

This is  a soup that could be seasoned in a few ways. Try curry or chili powder. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a generous handful of chopped cilantro. Enrichen it with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter or other nut butter. Toss in a can of chick peas or kidney beans. You get the picture.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Got a can of pumpkin but don’t want to bake a pie?


I suggest you try this savory casserole instead. It’s the first recipe I’ve tried from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I prepared this as a treat for my eldest who was home from school for the weekend and cramming as much New England autumnal activity in as possible. We went apple picking, we browsed an antique store, and we watched a ton of horror movies.

I got started during Theater of Blood starring the never-disappointing Vincent Price so I missed most of the gross-out scenes but they sounded gruesome. It is highly recommended Halloween viewing.

This recipe has three major prep steps but none are at all complicated and then you just mix everything together at the end and stick it in the oven.

Pumpkin Baked Ziti With Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

Serves 6-8

Time: About an hour

  • 3/4 pound uncooked ziti or penne pasta
  • 2 onions, sliced very thinly
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 recipe Cashew Ricotta (to follow)
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • white pepper and cayenne (I didn’t have white pepper so I just used black---white pepper is really more about aesthetics in a dish like this)
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin, or 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree (don’t use pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

Sage Bread Crumbs:

  • 2 1/2 c bread crumbs, preferable fresh and homemade (I used Panko the 2nd time and didn’t taste a major difference)
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, chopped in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor, place the nuts in a plastic bag and run a rolling pin or a heavy can over them until they are coarsely crumbled)
  • 1/4 non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 2 tsp dried, rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (I didn’t have this but I probably would have omitted it anyway)
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREHEAT THE oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x11-inch lasagna-type baking pan with olive oil (cooking spray is fine)

If you are going to make bread crumbs and walnuts  in your food processor, prepare them before preparing the Cashew Ricotta. It is a lot easier to clean the bowl of bread crumbs then the messy ‘ricotta’ mixture.


Slow cooking over low heat is the trick to caramelizing the onions rather than burning them. I use my 8” cast-iron pan for this. It looks crowded at first but the onions will sweat out and reduce quite a bit as you can see from the photos. I sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over them to facilitate the sweat. This is what you’ll be doing with the 3 tbs olive oil, btw. It takes about 15 minutes for the onions to get to the third stage.


While your onions are browning, make the ‘ricotta’ mixture.

Cashew Ricotta

Makes 2 cups

1/2 c raw cashews pieces

1/4 c fresh lemon juice (I used bottled)

2 tbs olive oil (my current olive oil is a bit stronger in flavor than I like so I used walnut oil instead since there are walnuts in the dish)

2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic (the first time I used roasted, the second I used raw---I didn’t detect a difference)

1 lb. firm tofu, drained and crumbled

1 1/2 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp salt

In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic until a thick and creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in two or more bathes if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt. The results are delicious, very similar to the taste and texture of ricotta, and you will be immediately thinking of all the wonderful ways you can use it in the future.


At this point you may as well transfer this mixture to a large bowl and fold in the pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, pepper and cayenne, and vegetable broth and mix well. It will turn a lovely pale orange color that my camera didn’t quite capture. Instead, here is a picture from before I stirred it and you can use your imagination and knowledge of color theory to figure it out.


By now, the onions are probably ready so mix them in to the pumpkin mixture. At this point, you also should have a pot of water coming to the boil for your pasta. Cook that according to the directions on the box and drain. If you are going to cook your pasta in advance, rinse it under cold water to prevent carry-over cooking.


In a large, heavy bottom skillet (I like my cast-iron for this) melt the margarine over medium heat and add the bread crumbs, walnuts, herbs, and paprika stirring to combine and keep the mixture from burning. You just want them lightly browned. Nuts can burn quickly so this is not the time to check on anything else. You can actually turn the heat off before full browning occurs and there will be enough heat left to finish the job,

When the pasta is done, mix it well with the pumpkin mixture and spread into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the crumb topping and place in the pre-heated oven to bake for about 28-30 minutes.

This is a dish that you can easily bring to a ‘mixed’ pot-luck and no one will know or care that it is vegan.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dinner at Crazy Burger With My Girls



My eldest is home from school for the weekend. Today we had an early dinner at Crazy Burger in Narragansett, RI. Rather than share a recipe, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the delicious food this little place, tucked away on a side street in a small town on the southern coast.

Crazy Burger is a vegan friendly place with offerings beyond the run-of-the-mill Boca burger or bean patty that show up tucked away in a corner of a typical burger joint.

The service was excellent, ice water came to the table immediately and our waiter was ready to take our drink orders (we declined but this is a café and juice bar and there are lots of fresh-squeezed juice selections as well as smoothies, etc). He was attentive throughout the meal without being overbearing.

I had a difficult time deciding between the Poco Loco described as “roasted tempeh and wild black rice meld with peppers, onions,black beans & olives. Mixed up with authentic ‘south of the border’ spices. Wrapped in a tomato tortilla with avocado. Salsa & herbed sour cream goes on the side” and the Birdie Mae, “grilled tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet potato, roasted sunflower seeds, and  rosemary-pumpkin pesto combine to create a wonderful taste & texture. Grilled into a tomato tortilla.”

I wasn’t really in the mood for “south of the border” spices but I definitely wanted tempeh so I settled on the Birdie Mae. At first I was leery of the tomato tortilla and considered asking that they put it on a regular bun but then I decided to just let go and trust the chef and I’m glad I did.


The burger was savory and substantial--the texture definitely burger-like yet did not give me the impression I was eating a meat substitute. This is meatless fare that makes no apologies and that is my favorite kind of vegan food. I especially loved the chewy, nutty-sweet addition of the purple sticky rice and it is an ingredient that is going to find itself in my pantry very soon. I was not at all sorry for my decision to order the burger as-is. The tomato tortilla had a mild tomato taste that did not overpower and a nice chewy texture. The fries were delicious, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I had mine with malt vinegar but they offer home-made ketchup and Heinz as well.

My daughter Ivy chose the Wild &  Crazy Mushroom burger described as “portabella, porcini & domestic mushrooms mixed with Italian rice & fresh vegetables. Served on a vegan  bun with a wild mushroom gravy”. When our meals came to the table she realized that she wanted cheese. The waiter cheerfully took it back to the kitchen for a slice of gouda. I only had a small bite of the mushroom burger but it was enough to decide to give it a try next time. Or at least try to get my husband to order it instead of a meat burger.


Meg, had the most difficult time choosing because she was really craving a meat burger (most of the year she is at school and she does not eat meat). I pointed this out to her and she (rather sheepishly) ordered the Goofy Gorgonzola Burger---try to order that with a straight face. The Goofy Gorgonzola is "ground beef mixed w/caramelized onions with a burst of gorgonzola in the middle; on a bolo w/creamy onion-gorgonzola dressing”. A bolo is a Portuguese version of a crumpet or an English muffin. They are slightly sweet and pair beautifully with savory foods. I think it was the bolo that sold Meg on this burger. Meg chose to pair her burger with poundies a vegan dish of “Irish mashed potatoes with spinach, carrots and basil ‘pounded’ in. These had a nicely crispy crust and were very tasty.


We finished off the meal with a gorgeous, gigantic hunk of vegan carrot cake. This was easily shared by the three of us. I forgot to get a photo of it before we dug in but I managed to get one decent shot of it before it was decimated.


A meal out with my daughters is always an opportunity for a silly photo op.



At $9.99 and up the burgers may seem pricey, but trust me, they are well worth the price. But don’t just take my word for it. They have been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.


Friday, October 7, 2011

How to make a one-person serving of home made soup...

...when the tostada you set out to make doesn't quite work out.

I was out of bread or any kind of leftovers for my dad's lunch today so I scrounged around the 'fridge and pantry and came up with:

  •  a jar of Tostito's salsa
  • round whole-wheat Middle Eastern flat bread
  • 1/2 block of Colby cheese
  • a can of black beans

I put most of the beans in a container for another use and then, leaving about 1/2 cup in the can I mashed them with some of the salsa, a dash of chipotle sauce and a pinch of roasted cumin. Meanwhile, I toasted the flat bread in the toaster oven. Next I spread the somewhat soupy mixture (hint of things to come) on the bread and shaved some of the Colby on top (I like to use a vegetable parer for nice thin shavings of cheese). I popped it back on the toaster oven on a piece of foil (lost the tray ages ago) and set it to broil for 5 minutes.

The result was a sliding, goopy mess. For some reason, one side of the bread was very crispy and the other side was soggy. Grrr...What to do now? I couldn't very well give him the floppy 'tostada' mess. My dad has diminished strength on his left side due to stroke and he is left handed. A hot mess in his lap would not be good eats.

I scraped the topping onto a plate, thinking to give him some tortilla chips and serve it as a dip. Ordinarily I don't like to give him salty snack foods but this was an emergency. Unfortunately, there were only the dregs of chips left in the bag, unsuitable for dipping.

So what do you do with a perfectly decent pile of beans, salsa, and cheese? Make a soup! I have this handy 2 1/2 cup stainless-steel measuring cup which I often use on the range as a miniature sauce pan. Generally I  just use it for heating tea water, or scalding a bit of milk for bread baking but why not make a single serving a soup?

 Leftovers to the rescue again. I dumped the bean mixture in the 'pot', added about a 1/2 cup of leftover marinara (remember my daughter's marinara which I used for yesterday's pizza disaster?), and a 1/2 cup of store-bought vegetable stock. A pinch of salt, another dash of chipotle sauce and bring it to a boil.

Remember those sad, bottom-of-the-bag tortilla chips? I placed a few in the bottom of a soup bowl, poured over the soup, shaved on more cheese, add a  garnish of cilantro leaves and Ta-dah! If I had any (usually I do) I would have further garnished with a wedge of lime.

So, next time, don't throw away leftovers just because you think there is not enough left for a meal. Perhaps you cannot make a whole pizza or pasta dish with a 1/2 cup of marinara sauce but with a bit of ingenuity it easy to come up with ways to use your leftovers to add bulk or extra flavor to a soup or casserole or even a stir-fry. It helps to consider your leftovers in terms of the ingredients they contain and ask yourself how those flavors and nutritional elements can be used to liven a soup, sandwich, stir--fry, casserole, or even home made bread.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trader Joe's pizza dough FAIL!

 I bought two bags of ready-to-use basil & garlic pizza dough from Trader Joe's. My daughter made a decent vegan pizza using it the other night although she had to cook it for quite a bit longer than 6-8 minutes that the package suggests. After spending the day forgetting to eat (while writing about food!) I decided to make myself a pizza and take the opportunity to test out a recipe for faux Parmesan cheese in the not-so-charmingly titled How It All Vegan! Irresistable Recipes for an Animal Free Diet by the quite charming duo of Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. It is a simple recipe so I don't think they'll mind me re-printing it here (I hope--maybe I shouldn't have made the crack about the title). I have another annoying story about a fail with my new Kitchenaid immersion blender when I'm done with the pizza (it relates as you'll see).

Faux Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. salt
In a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder, grind the yeast, sesame seeds, and salt until completely milled. Store in a clean, dry continer with a tight-fitting lid. Makes 1/2 cup.

So far, so good. I already had some leftover marinade from my daughter's pizza the other night (very basic---garlic, basil, canned tomatoes and simmer 'til reduced a bit) so I stretched out the dough, which I had already allowed to rest quite a bit having taken it out the night before, after which I decided I wanted nachos instead, thus put it in the cupboard to use for the next day (today). I sprinkled my baking sheet with semolina flour (lacking regular cornmeal) which I know my daughter used successfully a few nights ago. The dough stretched easily. Perhaps a bit too easily in the middle where a thin spot developed. I suspect that this is where the problem lies. Since there wasn't an actual tear, I decided to let the stretched crust rest in hopes that the thin spot would even out a tad.

In the meantime I set out to prepare my faux Parmesan. Since the recipe calls for such a small amount and since my Waring Pro blender currently needs a part, I decided to use my new toy. A Kitchenaid immersion blender with a mini-food processor attachment. I had already used it on the day I received it to make a quickie feel-better soup for my husband and it worked a treat. It should handle a few sesame seeds no problem. Right?

Wrong! First off, let me just say, this thing is super. It is extremely durable feeling, with a shipping weight (for just the blender) of 4 lbs as compared to the Cuisinart model which has a 3 lb shipping weight. The cord is of heavy duty, non-twisting variety. It has 9 power settings (don't ask me why not 10---maybe the designer loves Spinal Tap?).


I could not get the damned seeds to mill. They just whirred around the top of the little bowl while the yeast flakes got finer and finer at the bottom. I cleared the blade assembly of any particles that may have been keeping it from spinning properly....about five times. Finally, I added another tablespoon or so of sesame seeds hoping that a larger volume would get things moving. The seeds did eventually grind up a little bit. Enough that I decided I didn't mind a few obvious seeds on my pizza since only I and my family would be eating it.

I spread some marina on the prepared crust, sprinkled on the cheese and....(Wait! While typing this I realized where the fail came in. I'll finish my thought and all will be explained)...popped the pizza in a 425 degree oven and set the timer for 10 minutes, remembering Ivy's experience with the shorter cooking time.
Pizza topped with "Parmesan" and ready for the oven.

As you can see from the following photos it was a mess. I have, on occasion, had a pizza crust stick to the pan a bit, but never anything a thin spatula and a little patience couldn't fix. For homemade pizza, I can ignore a little tear in a small section. My husband can eat that piece.

This time, when I've planned a blog entry around a quick, yet tasty, convenience food,  the entire middle section had totally thinned out, was practically glued to the pan, yet managed to be raw on top. As Alton Brown would say, not good eats. 
My efforts to pry the pizza off the pan with a spatula resulted in a big mess. My husband will probably eat those pieces that didn't stick.

RAW DOUGH +  BOTTOM STUCK TO PAN LIKE EPOXY=SUPREME FAIL!! *note the sesame seeds looking not a little unpleasant

At first I thought it might somehow be related to my having left it in the cupboard all night, although how a cool overnight rise would cause it to stick to the pan was not something I could explain. As I typed the bit about spreading on the marina I realized that my mistake was in spreading the sauce on before I made the 'cheese'.  Between fussing with the blender and futzing with my camera settings (I haven't used my Nikon D40 in over a year) the already over-stretched in the middle dough was sitting there, absorbing the wet marinara. I think some of the sauce actually seeped through the dough and on to the pan, thus causing the epic failure that was meant to be a late lunch for me.

Here are some reviews for Trader Giotto's Garlic & Herb Pizza Dough at TraderJoe' The consensus seems to be that for .99 cents it's a good deal for the convenience of freshly made pizza crust. However, a few have advised pre-baking the crust for about 6-8 minutes before adding the toppings and putting it back in for the final bake.

For my taste, much as I love basil, too much of it can overpower any other flavors, and such is the case with this product. I think I might prefer this dough for soft bread sticks to eat with something simple like tomato soup.

Don't discard those gorgeous beet greens!

Even if they are a bit wilted, as mine were after just a couple of days in the 'fridge. I've been aware for a long time that the greens are edible but often, by the time I use the beets, they look very sad and wilted. Yesterday I was determined not to waste them, partly because I happened to be shopping with my husband when I bought the beets and he asked if the greens were edible.
I twisted the stems and greens off the beets (I'm not sure that is the correct procedure but it worked okay) and, as they were very sandy, washed them the way a former tenant of mine, an African-American woman, showed me how to do with collards. Omitting the squirt of dish soap I swished them around in a huge bowl of water (my sink was...ahem...indisposed) for a couple of minutes then lifted them out (gently--they are not anywhere near as sturdy as collards) and rinsed them in a large colander. I then chopped the stems and leaves together by rolling up small handfuls chiffonade-style and slicing thinly (emphasis on 'style'---no need for fussiness here as they are not meant for garnish).  I repeated the wash and rinse and left to drain in the colander while I roughly chopped a couple of onions with the vague idea of making 'a soup of some sort'.
I added the still-wet greens to the pot, along with three large cloves of garlic peeled and a quart of  store-bought vegetable stock. I also had to add a bit more water to cover. This will obviously depend on the amount of greens you have. I had the greens from two bunches of beets which, while still attached to the beets did not look like much but once they were all chopped amounted to several cups worth.
You certainly do not have to add ready made stock but I would advise you to throw in a couple of chopped carrots and maybe a stalk of celery (to be removed after it's usefulness is gone---in this 'recipe' celery does not seem right). I did not have any carrots left (SHAME!) which was the primary factor in my decision to use valuable pantry stock.
The lack of carrots and celery sort of led to the soup's evolution into a sort of Portuguese soup, which my family calls by it's rightful name of caldine (kale soup). If you want to sound super authentic you can say 'sopa de caldine' . I think the correct Portuguese is caldo verde. I'm guessing the 'caldine' is sort of an affectionate slang, much like 'panala' (puh-NAY-lah) which is my mother's family's word for any sort of large soup pot. I'll explain the reasoning regarding the lack of carrots, etc. later so I can get back to the soup.
I let the greens, onions, and garlic simmer for about an hour until the water had a nice brothy look and a lovely dark amber color. I had let the greens simmer uncovered so some of the water boiled out and I added a bit more. I also added a couple of cans of mixed lima beans. I have never used lima beans in soup but I did not want to use pinto or black beans and I mistakenly thought I did not have red kidneys which is what I would really have liked. The limas were quite lovely for canned, however.
I also roughly chopped about 4 thin-skinned potatoes---a combination of red and yellow which is what were in my pantry. At this point I was pretty much aware that this was at least smelling somewhat like caldine so I used my trick for vegetarian caldine which is to add about a tablespoon of smoked paprika which mimics the seasonings of linguica and chourico (not to be confused with 'chorizo'), either one of which are traditionally found in caldine. I added a few liberal pinches of salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper and let the soup simmer another 20 minutes. Delish!
I am currently eating a (mostly) vegan diet, having decided that dairy is simply not doing my IBS any good. I'm trying for at least a month of no dairy and no meat other than some fish (sardines, anchovies,smelts, shellfish, and the occasional bit of salmon).  For the sake of tradition, and because it is absolutely delicious and you must try it at least once, I am offering my mother's recipe for caldine. Different family cooks have different recipes and I've tried this soup at many diners and restaurants in Rhode Island and Massachusetts but I like my mom's extremely simple method the best.
She would take a couple of pounds of mild chourico , chop roughly into 2"-3" pieces  and add it about 6-8 qts of water. This simmers for about an hour until the sausage has yielded up most of it's garlicy, spicy, fatty goodness. If she was trying to be low-fat, at this point she would remove the sausage and set aside and chill the stock overnight to make for easy fat-skimming. I don't bother with that. It is not a particularly fatty soup even without skimming.
What? No onions? No carrots? No celery? Nope. Nothing else at this point. Nada.
At this point add 2-3 cans of dark red kidney beans (I sometimes use cannellini but my mother never did) I don't know if my mother would bother to drain and rinse them. Ordinarily, I would because my dad lives with us and he is on blood pressure meds and has suffered a series of strokes and I don't want to kill him (yet!). However, for caldine I like to keep the liquid as it adds an extra bit of heartiness (and saltiness) to the stock.
We cannot forget the main attraction which is the lovely, leafy, emerald green kale. I find that supermarket kale does not need much more than a token rinse (sssh....I don't rinse it at all) before chopping coarsely and adding to the pot.
When the greens and beans have simmered about 20 minutes you can add the final ingredient which is 4 or 5 good-sized thin-skinned (aka "waxy") potatoes cut into large chunks. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are cooked through.
Serve with large helpings of crusty bread and butter. If you can find Portuguese white bread, which has a softer crust than Italian, you will be even more authentic.  Honestly? Even Wonder bread taste delicious slathered in margarine and dunked in this soup.
If I were still drinking I would advise you to serve it with a full-bodied, inexpensive red such as Yellowtail Shiraz, or even cheaper Gato Negro Merlot. This is peasant food, after all (although my mother's family were hardly peasants, having owned quite a bit of farmland in California, Massachusetts, and the Azores). My parents, in the days before my mom began her long struggle with non-Hodgkins, would have had a jug of Carlo Rossi. 
From the time I was a kid until today I have picked around the sausage and potatoes. While I love what they add to the soup, I don't care for the texture of either. But as my mother would have said, "mais fica", short for 'mais fica para mim' which translates as 'there will be more left for me'. My husband, who has been enjoying my mother's (and later mine) caldine for 30 years now, has always been a bit scandalized by this expression which in his Yankee way can't fail to see as anything but rude. My dad, a Southerner born and raised, has no problem with it.

My daughter has been a vegetarian since 2001 but she loves caldine so much she eats it in the name of 'cultural tradition'. She doesn't eat the sausage of course but everything else is fair game. Once the soup is thickening up, if I haven't added more water and re-served it, she and my husband like to take the beans, kale, and potatoes and make home fries served with eggs over-easy.
I think by now you've guessed how my beet greens soup evolved into Portuguese kale soup due to a lack of carrots. To me (and apparently to many other Portuguese cooks) the sweet taste of carrot would be overpowered by the robust flavors of kale and chourico, which is flavored with liberal amounts of garlic and smoked paprika (or such is my educated guess anyway and this Wikipedia article seems to agree with me). Onion simply seems superfluous.
To make a veggie version that is more authentic than my off-the-cuff pantry soup, simply substitute kale for beet greens, and red kidney beans for the limas. And be sure to add plenty of smoked paprika. You may see it as Spanish paprika or simply 'smoked paprika'. Whatever you use should have a deep orange-red hue and have a distinctive smokey aroma. Plain old generic 'paprika' will not do for mimicking the flavor of chourico. For the vegetarian version, go ahead and use carrots and onions (but please, no celery) as, unless you are starting with a rich homemade or good quality store bought stock, you will need the flavor boost. Don't forget lots of garlic.
This recipe, the first of many to come, is dedicated to my dear friend Paula Vargas who metaphorically kicked my ass 9 ways to Sunday to get me started.