The secret ingredient is cashew cream, but I'll get to that in a minute.
When my first world complaint is that there's simply too much broccoli in my CSA share, it's time to make soup.
Soup is always about the ingredients and the fresher the better. A few simple tricks can make this an almost instant treat. Advance planning when it's cooler, and you can create a simple base that can be used to create quick soup throughout the week.
This soup had about four big heads of broccoli with the stems. The addition of carrots and potatoes did lighten the green tint.
For instant cold smooth soup, add pretty much any vegetable or bean combination (raw, pre-cooked, frozen, or whatever you have that you like) to the blender or food processor about halfway up and completely cover with water or vegetable broth with about an extra inch above the vegetable line. Blend this first and you can quickly see if you need it thinner or thicker. It's a good time to add some salt or vegetable bullion to taste and blend again. Add more broth or water for thinner. I don't use raw potatoes because I find them gritty raw, but I usually add some cooked potatoes or dried potato flakes to make it thicker. I also generally opt for only a small amount of raw garlic, scapes, shallot, scallion, or sweet onion. Too much or a really potent one can totally overpower your soup. I add a dollop of cashew cream to blend in. It's a bit tangy and salty and balances out the veggies nicely.
Advance planning version:
If you've got too many veggies that are at risk of going bad in the fridge, making a soup base will help preserve them. I do prefer them cooked generally so basically add them all to a pot and include some potatoes and more of the onion family. Carrots and celery are also good bases.
Last week I had carrot, onion, garlic, shallot, celery, both cooked and raw potaoes, some unidentified root vegetables, the aforementioned too-much-broccoli, parsley, and some cooked lentils. Put it in a large pot, cover plus one inch with broth and water, salt to taste, simmer about an hour and blend it all together. I store it in the fridge in quart mason jars after it's cooled but not cold. Not canned, but the mason jars get sort of vacuum sealed and it lasts more than 2 weeks in the fridge. This is good reheated or cold, but in 95 degree weather, who am I kidding; I'm opting for cold. If it gets too thick in the fridge I add some cold water to make it less like baby food and top with cashew cream and a dash of seasoned salt.
You can also use the base as the canvas for other more complex soups or add herbs and spices or more diced veggies or beans after blending. It is incredibly diverse and versatile.
I made the cashew cream topping with rejeuvalac, but that requires advance planning so the cheater version is below.
1 cup unroasted unsalted cashews
Juice from one fresh lemon
Salt to taste
Soak the cashews in water for about an hour and drain. Blend together. Add a little water if it doesn't come together or is too thick.
Really it's all about the cashew cream, but getting more vegetables and soup is always a good thing.
Here's my iron chef sushi submission. Weirdly it's the tomato that's the oddball ingredient as the bacon is tempeh, and avocado (swapped for the lettuce) is a fairly normal American sushi roll ingredient.
Topped with a vegan mayo mixed with some sriracha.
I brought the rice cooker into the office and made this at work. I did pretty good with the rolling.
Mixed verdict with the tasters. I usually waited until after they tried it to mention "fermented" and "soy" in the same sentence with "it's not really bacon."
I was recently in London and had the opportunity help a friend with a boutique Italian wine tasting. We made this easy and delicious bean dip on garlicky toasts that was a big hit with the sippers. Pair with your favorite white wine. I'll be having this with a 2012 St. Helena Riesling from my fave Napa Valley winery.
Simple summer bean bruschetta
4 Tbs olive oil* -divided
8 cloves garlic* - divided - 4 minced and 4 large whole
1 1/2 cups cooked white(ish) beans (1 can drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup water or broth
2 Tbs white wine (optional)
Salt (if needed)
4 slices rustic Italian style bread
*You'll need 2 Tbs of the olive oil to sauté the minced garlic, then 2 Tbs olive oil with the 4 whole garlic cloves for rubbing the bruschetta.
In a small bowl, pour 2 Tbs olive oil and add 4 whole garlic cloves and set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, add 2 Tbs olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, and rosemary. Sauté on low heat about a minute until the garlic and rosemary is fragrant. Add beans, broth or water and wine if using. Let simmer about 5 minutes to infuse the flavor or until beans are mashable and the liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Break up the beans into a rough paste so that it's sticky but some of the beans are still partially bean shaped. Turn off the heat and let come to room temp. Give it a taste and add salt as needed.
Toast the bread until crisp, but not brown. I popped in the toaster oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Now take one of the garlic cloves from the set aside bowl in oil and rub the toast hard with the garlic. It will rub off on the toasts. Repeat with remaining toasts. You can leave the toasts whole or cut into halves or quarters for more bite sized options. Top with bean mixture and remaining oil and additional rosemary if desired.
I used Rancho Gordo yellow eyed beans which are white with a yellow spot when dry but cook up kind of brownish. Any solid white bean like great northern or gigantes with a nice meaty creamy texture would work great. Yum. Garlicky...
The recipe is easily multiplied and the amounts forgiving, so this is a snap to pull together for a pot luck or unexpected guests. Enjoy!