Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Creamy (vegan) Asparagus Soup with Shiitake “Croutons”

Ok, so this is my third asparagus recipe in a row, but I suppose that’s what happens when you primarily eat seasonally and locally. {sorry/not sorry}  This soup is velvety, full of spring flavors, and just happens to be vegan.  I wanted to make a creamy soup, but didn’t have any cream in the house…BUT I did have a big bag of cashews, so I made cashew cream.  It’s easy and adds such a wonderfully luscious texture and richness to the soup.  I’ve also got a trick to making the soup super green…souper green?!

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Dill Pickle Grilled (Goat) Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato – Dill Soup

Dill Pickle Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato - Dill Soup
Winter is over (’bout dang time!).  Spring produce isn’t quite ready (asparagus, I’ve got plans for you).  But I’m already craving the familiar flavors of summer…tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and dill to name a few.  Lately, I’ve really needed a hot-weather food fix.  So I decided to seek solace in the comfort of my pantry and freezer.  Last summer my dad taught me how to can tomatoes and pickles.  This is a life skill no Bloody Mary-loving, spicy pickle-obsessed gal (or dude) should be without.  It ranks right up there with knowing how to change a car tire (which I don’t) and knowing when to pull the pot off the heat before the sugar burns when making kettle corn (which I do!).   Priorities, amiright?

Books + Soup: Winter Reading and Eating

Winter reading list

Books and soup, a marriage made in polar vortex heaven. They’re a perfect pair; they go together like Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (just can’t get enough Sherlock). This winter, my reading seems to be about discovery…or rediscovery.  I’ve been delving back into some cookbooks I’d shelved for a couple years (Power Foods and Forks Over Knives), getting super stoked about new recipes and techniques in the kitchen (The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and Wild Fermentation), and FINALLY reading some Michael Pollan (I’ve read several essays and articles by him, but not one of his books).  I’m also about halfway through Outliers by Malcome Gladwell (more on that in a minute).  I’m not the best at reading BOOK-books; I usually just read cookbooks.  And I do mean I read them; I love reading recipes.  My husband will sit in bed at night with a book-book — ya know, lots of words, no pictures — while I sit in bed with cookbooks, reading recipe after recipe and ogling the beautiful food photos. But I am trying to read more non-cookbook books and cram some knowledge into this food-obsessed brain.

Golden Beet Soup with Cumin and Lime Sour Cream

Golden Beet Soup with cumin and lime sour cream

This is sunshine soup.  It’s the the kind of soup that will cheer you up in the dead of winter.  In fact, just peeling and dicing the beets, exposing their brilliantly yellow flesh, put a great big smile on a my face.  There’s just something about that color – sunny, warm, cheerful – that will wash away all the gray, stuck-indoors feelings of a frigid January.  Smokey cumin and spicy red pepper flakes evoke the cradling heat of a dry Mexican desert while a burst of lime leaves you resting on the white beaches of a tropical getaway.  Daydream.  Forget about winter for just a moment and brighten your day with this sunshine soup!

golden beets

Potato Leek Buttermilk Soup with Smokey-spiced Croutons and Chive Oil

potato leek buttermilk soup

Winter.  It’s here.  In a big way.  We just got an inch of ice, 8 inches of snow, and my son’s school is cancelled again…for the FOURTH day in a row!  Snow-soaked coats, gloves, hats and boots have lined our entryway for the past few days as neighbor kids come in and out from the blindingly white wonderland that is our front yard.  I love times like this when there’s nowhere I need to go, nowhere I CAN go.  I am literally stuck in my house, forced to peer out at the beautiful North Pole-esque scenery and spend my days cooking and watching movies.  I can deal.

It’s moments like this when one needs soup.  Comforting.  Soul-warming.  Even nostalgic.  And this velvety-smooth potato soup is just that.  Plus it’s really easy and there are only 7 ingredients in the recipe, and that includes water and salt.  The short ingredient list allows the simple flavors to shine:  potatoes, leeks, and garlic.   The buttermilk adds rich silkiness and just a bit of tang.  Spice it up with homemade seasoned croutons and chive oil and call it a day.  Game over.   {christmas} Lights out.

Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Chili

Red lentil butternut squash chili

Feeling lazy?  Too cold outside to do anything?  Want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with something warm and comforting to nosh on?  Don’t worry, I got ya covered.  Spicy.  Sweet.  Savory.  And loaded with veggies.  It’s chili time!

Make a big pot of this over the weekend and save the leftovers for those busy Monday nights.  Your Monday night self will give you a high five!