Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A cool soup for a hot summer day

The other day I turned to my trusty Vegan Express Cookbook for inspiration. I chose the Curried Cashew and Green Pea Soup because it sounded just right for a summer evening. I was right. It as sophisticated, cool, delicious. Here's the recipe:
Curried Cashew and Green Pea Soup (from Vegan Express)
2 cups rice milk
1/2 cup cashew butter
1 12.3-oz package firm silken tofu
1 - 2 tsps good-qaulity curry powder
1/2 tsp minced fresh or jarred ginger
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 medium tomato, diced
3 cups frozen green peas, steamed
1-2 scallions, green parts only, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tbs lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine 1/2 c of the rice milk with the cashew butter and tofu in a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed.

To serve at room temperature, transfer the puree to a serving container, then stir in the rest of the rice milk and the remaining ingredients. Check the seasoning, then serve. To serve chilled, refrigerate the soup for an hour or so. (Serving chilled means you can prepare ahead, have it ready when you are)

To serve warm, transfer the puree to a small soup pot. Add the rest of the rice milk and the remaining ingredients, stir together, and heat until just warmed through. Adjust the consistency with a little more rice milk if needed. Check the seasoning and serve.
I served the soup with a side of cauliflower and carrot salad, also from the same cookbook.

This cookbook has become one of my favorites. Good food, interesting and fun, and easy and fast to make.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You too can make cashew butter

A while back I attempted to make cashew butter and failed. I thought it would be just like peanut butter. Put a bunch of cashews in a food processor and let 'er rip. I got ground cashews. Not good. Then I learned that (sigh) you have to add a bit of oil. And you might want to add a little bit of a sweetener, like agave syrup. So I put two cups of dry-roasted cashews, a teaspoon of agave syrup, and a few tablespoons of a neutral oil in the food processor and turned it on. When it seemed it was not getting past the grind stage I added a bit more oil. I had to do this a few times. And the result was delicious.

This exercise was necessary because I wanted to make a soup that calls for cashew butter and did not find it in the first two markets I checked. I didn't have the time or energy to go to the natural foods store, where I could have found it, so instead I grabbed a bunch of cashews. It was easy, fortunately (with a food processor).