BVC Eats: Comfort Food


Cat Kimbriel posted a recipe with Cream of Celery soup-which she can’t eat anymore. So she asks for a substitute for Cream of Anything Soup. Um…. I do this for myself because of dairy sensitivity and wishing for reduced sodium. It’s not as convenient as opening a can, but so much better. So…

What are cream soups? They are a sauce when used in cooking. Back to a basic cream sauce. Remember I don’t measure much so I’m dealing with rough handfuls of the veggies.

Saute onions, diced small, celery, diced small, and mushrooms, diced small. I use a canola oil margarine, but any other vegetable oil will do to suit your taste. Probably not olive oil as it has a strong taste.

Dissolve 1 tbls cornstarch in a little bit of the plant based milk of your choice and whisk into the veggies. Then add 1 cup of your milk. I like soy because it has more protein that others, but unflavored almond or other nut milk will work. This amount = roughly 1 can of condensed soup. Easily doubled. Continue simmering until THICK.

Now you can get creative. For cream of mushroom I add more mushrooms cut into bigger chunks, a whisper of nutmeg, and whatever else looks interesting that’s in the cupboard. Read the ingredients on the cans in the store and spread out from there after you gag at the stuff you don’t want.

For cream of celery add more celery, maybe a bit of chopped green pepper and ground celery seed to bump up the flavor.

If you have issues with cornstarch I’ve heard that guargum is available in the healthfood stores, but I’ve never used it.

Food issues are an excuse to explore new flavors, not a limitation.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.


BVC Eats: Comfort Food — 5 Comments

  1. Potato starch can be used instead of cornstarch to bind soups and sauces and stews. It’s available in the same sort of packets/boxes as cornstarch. You need a similar amount, it starts binding at a slightly lower temperature but tolerates higher temperatures than corn starch, and it binds clear instead of milky.
    So for a clear soup or (fruit/vegetable) sauce it’s much preferred to corn starch.
    You need to dissolve it in a bit of cold water or milk before pouring it into the hot liquid you want to bind, just like you do with the corn starch.

  2. Hadn’t thought about potato starch. That’s a good idea. It’s casserole season–1 foot of snow outside–so I’m thinking about doing something interesting.

    Oh, and green beans. I don’t like the overcooked texture of canned, so if I can’t get decent fresh beans–it is winter–I use frozen. Much better texture.

  3. Years ago I started using tapioca starch instead of flour in pies, so that the juices don’t all run out the second you cut into it, and it works just great. Hadn’t really thought about using it in everyday cooking instead of cornstarch, but will experiment and get back to you. (By the way, if you go to a health food store, the stuff will be three dollars or so a package, but if you have an oriental market near you, it will cost as little as eighty cents.)

  4. Rice flour is not starchy enough. When I cook gluten free I mix some potato starch into rice or almond flour and it works almost like wheat flour, at least in soups, stews, sauces, and fried food.