Vegan Week, Day 3: This Is What Creams Are Made Of

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's the best thing to do on a cold, autumn Wednesday night? Fill a bag with fresh produce and head to your friend's house to drink wine, build a fire and read about your astonishingly correct astrological signs while making dinner.

I showed up at Jennifer's door with a bag full of asparagus, onions, celery and cashews (more on that later) and she was just getting started on an amazing BBQ "chik'n" pizza on Trader Joe's whole wheat crust. To go with it, I sauteed and simmered my cold, black little heart out on this amazing Cream of Asparagus soup from Tal Ronnen.

How do you get a cream o-anything in a vegan lifestyle? Cashews, baby. Before you turn up your omnivorous nose, try it. I triple-dog dare ya. (no dogs were harmed in the making of that sentence.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
from A Conscious Cook

3 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed,cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, choped
1 large onion, chopped
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup cashew cream*
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach

1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.

2. Add asparagus, celeery and onion and saute for 6-10 minutes, until celery is just soft. Add stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cashew cream and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf, season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Working in batches, pour soup into a food processor and puree. Add spinach to last batch and blend to smooth. Pour soup into large bowl and stir in spinach batch. Ladle into bowls.

*Cashew Cream: put 2 cups of cashews into a bowl and cover with cold water. Refrigerate overnight covered. Drain cashes and rinse under cold water. Place in blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by an inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth.

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