Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cauliflower and Cashew Cream Soup





































Serves 4
Time: 40 minutes

Thanksgiving was fantastic this year. It was just the two of us, although we probably made and ate enough for six. Throughout the day, we had music or football on in the background, this on at one point and a little champagne and dutch blitz in between those things while our cat, Nimrod, spent most of the day sprawled out in her usual spot beside the heater. 
All of these seemingly little and simple kinds of things have become big and endearing things to me over the past several months—and I'm thankful for and savor each and every one of them. 

Because my life is a weird combination of not working and being in somewhat of a holding pattern right now, a slight restlessness and lack of structure have crept into my weekdays. So, to help fill in the quiet moments and gaps, I've been recently spending my days watching The Blacklist, Hit & Miss and Bates Moteltaking long walks outside unless it's freezing or raining; sipping this and thatfiguring out what to do with all of the tiny things in my kitchen; trying not to do too much of this or this; making and freezing batches of wontonravioli and homemade stock; repainting our living room; listening to this, this and this; reading The Goldfinch, rereading Come Closer and waiting for We Are Water to become available at the library; and whipping up this gorgeous and velvety soup, packed with buttery cauliflower and creamy cashews, then dragging fresh homemade biscuits through it. Heavenly!

INGREDIENTS
2 TB Earth Balance, divided
4-5 cups cauliflower florets
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups basic cashew cream
6 scallions, roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
2-3 cups vegetable broth

to serve
sliced mushrooms
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

METHOD
Place 1 TB of the vegan butter, cauliflower florets and water into a medium-sized, heavy stockpot over medium heat. Cover and allow to soften for about 20 minutes, or until almost all of the water has been absorbed by the cauliflower.

Transfer the cauliflower to a blender and allow to cool before pureeing. Once the mixture is smooth, add in the cashew cream and puree again. 

Return to your pot and add in the remaining 1 TB vegan butter. Add in the scallions, shallots and celery and saute over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the blender, allow to slightly cool, then puree again until smooth.

Now add the entire contents of the blender back into the pot. Stir in 2 cups of the vegetable broth, adding in one more cup if you'd like a thinner soup.

Garnish with sauteed mushrooms and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.





12 comments:

  1. beautiful. i have yet to make use cashew cream in a soup, dw has some reservations about that.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lan! Sneak it into some soup and wait for him to tell you how good it is! ; )

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  2. Wow, looks great! Never used cashew cream either, wonder if a hemp seed version would work.

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    Replies
    1. I've never used hemp seed, so I'd can't say for sure. If hemp cream has no real dominant taste, is high in fat and doesn't need to be strained after being pureed, then I suspect it could be subbed here. Good luck if you try it!

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  3. I'm a new vegan. I didn't see a recipe for cashew cream here. I have one, but not sure if it's the proper amount for this soup. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, there is a link to the cashew cream recipe in the ingredient list above: http://www.olivesfordinner.com/2013/09/basic-cashew-cream.html

      You can use that or just cashews and water here -- the difference between them is really slight. I hope you enjoy!

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  4. So...now you've turned me into a soup snob;) I refuse to serve canned soups now like I used to. The process is actually so simple, and the results are so much more flavorful and robust...and healthier without all the added sodium etc. I also find myself really enjoying the process of making thick, creamy soups like this in the winter months (even if it is Okinawa winter;). It is such good comfort food. This recipe in particular is outstanding! My husband was also impressed because he is not a big fan of cauliflower, but did not realize there was cauliflower in the soup till I told him, and both him and my son LOVED it. I had made a double batch (known as Fortier portions) and it was all gone that night. The only variations I made, was adding some fresh crushed garlic, and using a different kind of mushrooms which were AMAZING. I cut them much like your cauliflower steaks and pan seared them in Earth Balance before laying them atop the soup. I had never tried this Japanese mushroom before, and if you haven't, you simply must. I know you would love it. They are called "Maitake." Here is a picture of these beautiful species: http://www.google.co.jp/imgres?start=166&hl=en&biw=1366&bih=640&tbm=isch&tbnid=1vOxfI2cE3f4ZM:&imgrefurl=http://www.culinate.com/columns/front_burner/grilling_maitake_mushrooms&docid=aYWYNTyxQ0KPQM&imgurl=http://www.culinate.com/hunk/87368&w=400&h=300&ei=MwufUt2fNoTTkAWOmIG4BA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:71,s:100,i:217&iact=rc&page=8&tbnh=190&tbnw=254&ndsp=23&tx=93&ty=50

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leila, I am so happy you enjoyed, and thanks as always for your kind feedback! I am obsessed with soups right now too, there's just something so comforting about them this time of year. I love that you made a double-batch "Fortier" portion, and it was demolished -- that makes me so happy!

      Now, onto maitake -- I have only seen these once or twice in Whole Foods, but they were so ridiculously expensive, I wouldn't buy them. So I keep an eye out for them in Chinatown, but they never have them. Once I do get my hands on some fresh, reasonably priced maitake, I will be making this recipe, which looks to die for! http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/seared-maitake-mushrooms

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    2. Oh my word, that recipe looks amazing! I will have to try that too! I soooo wish I could send you fresh produce from here! It is so cheap! Speaking of ingredients from abroad--have you checked your mail lately? I sent you another package a couple weeks ago. :D

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    3. Oh yay! I only check about once a month, and luckily got to the post office before it closed yesterday. Holy wheat gluten, what fabulously strange items I have here! I cannot wait to figure out how to use them. I will be in touch on that shortly. : )

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Leila!! xo

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  5. Will cashew meal work in the cashew cream? If so would I need to soak/moisten the cashew meal prior to blending? I just bought it at the store and have never used it before. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Melinda, I'm not familiar with cashew meal, but some meals are defatted during processing, so I suspect this would not work. The cashew cream works here because it's high in fat, so I would highly recommend using that to get a rich and creamy result. Good luck!

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