Showing posts with label non dairy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non dairy. Show all posts

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Velvety Cream of Asparagus Soup...non dairy

simple, elegant, healthy, satisfying, rich and velvety smooth.
a perfect soup for a chilly night after you've had a big lunch out with the relatives.
soup is always a great make-ahead meal to have on hand for a quick comfort food dinner when you're just too tired to lift a finger...
to whip up an easy pureed soup with just about any favorite vegetable, all you need are a few staples in the kitchen

a few staples for a simple easy pureed soup...

in the freezer at all times...
never throw away a good roasted chicken carcass.  break the carcass down and save in the freezer.  when you have a few throw them in a big pot with water to cover and make up a batch of homemade stock.  just the carcass, skin and bones with some water.  cook it down for a few hours.  the viscosity you get from all those roasted bones and cartilage is the best, hands down.
always tucked in the back of the fridge...
cut the top off, pour some olive oil on cut sides and wrap in foil.  throw it in the toaster oven for 40 minutes on 370 F.  remove cloves from skins and refrigerate in a small container covered with olive oil.  use a few cloves when ever you need that extra "took me all day" flavor.
hiding in the cool dark pantry...
i buy the big container of dried shitaki mushrooms from Costco.  put a good handful in the toaster oven on low for a few minutes to insure they are good and dry.  then put them in a spice grinder and pulverise until it is powder.  store in an airtight container in the pantry.
proudly displayed on the counter top...
not to sound like an infomercial or anything, but i highly recommend the VITAMIX.  i used to use my immersion stick blender for purees, but for this Asparagus Puree i thought i'd try the Vitamix.  i was truly amazed at the difference.  absolutely velvety smooth.  so much creamier than my others.  creamy...with no added cream...BIG difference.


1 pound of blanched asparagus (salted water)
1/2 yellow onion, sauteed in olive oil
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp shitaki mushroom powder...see note above
1 tsp fresh tarragon, minced 
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth, depending on how thick you like your soup.

blanch asparagus, saute 1/2 onion, roast garlic, bring broth to a boil.
cut tips off asparagus and save for garnish.
add everything to the Vitamix/blender...or you can use an immersion blender (see note about blender vs. immersion/stick blender above).
puree until very smooth and creamy.  add more stock if too thick.
salt and pepper to taste.
serve with asparagus tips and a sprinkle of very fine chiffonade of tarragon.
after thought...maybe a tiny zest of lemon would work well...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mushroom Soup with Middle Eastern Flavors

creamy, non dairy, warm, comforting, light, yet filling.
serve as a starter, side or main.  
pureed soups are great for parties or quick family meals because they come together in no time and can always be made ahead.  there's no meat that will get over cooked or veggies that will get mushy.  it reheats well with no separation when non dairy and can be dressed for any occasion.  serve on it's own or dolled up with a little greek yogurt and fresh herbs for the nice presentation.

 a soup like this is so easy to make when you have an immersion blender or a Vitamix.  i lean towards the stick blender when making hot soups.  i don't like to transfer hot liquids from one vessel to another. 

 as you'll see this recipe is fairly elementary...saute the vegetables, add the stock, season well, cook for a little while to combine flavors and puree.

quick note on the dried mushrooms...i always have a big container of dried shitake mushrooms in the pantry.  i find they are always reliable, a bit stronger and they add a nice woodsy flavor to many dishes.  i find them at Costco for a great price.  if you want to use fresh, go ahead...i don't know the quantity...maybe 1/2 - 3/4 lb.?

and GARAM MASALA ?...a wonderful blend of spices mostly associated with Indian food.  it usually includes coriander, chili, cumin,  cinnamon, cloves, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom.  here is just one of many  recipes for Garam Masala.  you can make your own, but i buy it for 1.99$...much easier.  garam masala can very greatly from vendor to vendor.  the brand i like best is by SADAF called Garam Masala Seasoning.   i find mine at a great market called Wholesome Choice in Irvine, CA.

makes almost 6 cups

1 lb. crimini and white mushrooms, sliced
1 heaping cup (20 Grams) of dried shitake mushrooms
(rehydrate in 1 cup of boiling water)
1/2 onion diced
1 small shallot, diced
3 - 5 cloves ROASTED garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1/2 Tbsp butter
3 cups chicken broth.  homemade is best but i only had 2 cups so i had to use 1 cup of canned low sodium
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp salt...more or less to taste
fresh ground pepper

roast a garlic head in 380 F oven for 40 min.
rehydrate dried shitake mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water and let sit.
saute onion and shallot with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt in stock pot that you will be cooking the soup in until translucent.  you might need to add a splash of stock to this...i was trying to keep the oil at a minimum.
add garam maslala and saute for a couple minutes to wake up the spices   then add 1/2 cup white wine and bring to a boil.  turn off heat and set aside.
saute crimini and white mushrooms in a skillet with 1Tbsp olive oil and a pat of butter until golden brown.  when done set aside some of the best looking slices for garnish.

dice the shitake mushrooms and add with mushroom liquid to the stock pot.
add sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, diced shitake and chicken stock to the stock pot.

bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.
get your immersion-stick blender out and puree to desired thickness.  i like to puree until smooth creamy texture.  if it's too thick for you, add some more stock and bring back to a quick boil so flavors will meld as one.
check for seasoning.  salt?...pepper?...
ready to serve as is or garnish as you please.

try a little dollop of plain yogurt and your reserved mushroom slices with a sprinkle of parsley or chives.
you could add a touch of heavy cream, but i find it isn't necessary...i try to keep the fat to a minimum and cream seems to make the soup heavy.

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