Cooking up Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream at Sur La Table

Over a week and half ago I attended a cooking class with my girlfriend Dianne at Sur La Table Downtown Summerlin. The evenings class was “Winter Soups and Stews”. By the end of the evening we had a few wonderful warm bowls of goodness to try out, they were:

  • Maple-Braised Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme
  • Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew
  • Chicken and Herb Dumpling Soup
  • Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream
You can find a list of all Sur La Table cooking classes close to where you live here: http://www.surlatable.com/category/cat2211278/Cooking+Classes

The store has a decent kitchen setup, more so for demos, as you don’t really have a cooking prep kitchen to yourself. We had small chopping area and hot pots for cooking our soups. It did it’s purpose.

The Verdict of the Evenings Soups?

I don’t normally eat chicken nor red meat but I had a small taste of all of the soups & stews. If you are a meat eater the Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew was a hit by a few of the students that evening. I would  let it simmer way longer though so that the meat just melts in your mouth – it was a tad rubbery but the broth was buttery and beautifully rich with the red wine.

For myself, I LOVED the Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream (picture above)! It was my superstar of the evening and I took that as my soup to bring home. I love any kind of soup with new potatoes. The green chiles and tomatillas made the soup taste so fresh and delightful. It was just as good the second day, but I wished I had the chipotle cream as well as it was missing some punch it had the first I have tried it. Don’t skip the step for the cream on top.  This soup is very healthy outside of the cream, so in the future I would attempt to make the chipotle cream with cashews (lactose free option) or a lower fat option (like yogurt instead of sour cream).

Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large jalapeño chiles, trimmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound new potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 6 large tomatillos, husks removed, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 pounds roasted and peeled green chiles, such as Anaheim and Poblano, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Chipotle Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream)
  • 4 tsp chipotle peppers in Adobo, or to taste, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place olive oil in a large Dutch Oven and heat over medium heat
  2. Add onion, tomatillos and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth and stir well. Taste the stew and season generously with sal and pepper.
  6. Add potatoes, beans and chiles. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover Dutch oven, and simmer until potatoes and tomatillos are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro into stew during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream) in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in chipotles and lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, plus additional chipotle and lime juice as needed.
Serve stew in serving bowls. Top with dollop of chipotle cream and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup Admiration to Myriad of Fixings!

Just the other day I was in Barnes and Noble skimming through some cookbooks and saw a black bean soup that inspired me to make for dinner. It was perfect because I was looking to make something simple that was healthy yet filling. I adjusted the original recipe a bit from what I remember ( i.e.. dried beans instead of water + canned beans instead of dried) and I added a few fun fixings!

 

The Verdict of Black Bean Soup

Well it seems as though this soup was well received by my special hungry tester. He loved it very much so. Kudos were given for all the fixings I provided to go with this soup that made it oh so yummy. This soup is one of the easiest soups to make with little more time invested if you fancy making the cashew cream and salsa fixings yourself (alternatively, just use bought salsa and sour cream)

Serving multiple fixings with this soup makes it feel like it is a Mexi-kind of meal! Give it a shot and make it your own!

Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 (14oz) cans of organic black beans (rinsed and strained)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 larger jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 tsp cumin (dried)
  • 1 tsp coriander (dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped fine)
  • salt
  • pepper
Garnish/Fixings:
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup of cashew cream (soak 1 cup of cashews for an hour, drain, puree with half of lemon, 3 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • 2 cups of salsa (1 large tomato chopped small, half lime juice, 2 tablespoon fine chopped onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, salt, dash cayenne, clove garlic minced)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Black Bean Soup Instructions:
  1. in large pot warm oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic Saute for about 3 minutes (until onions are soft)
  3. Add chile, bell pepper, cumin, coriander, and oregano and sauté for about 8 more minutes.
  4. Rinse the beans with strainer
  5. Add beans and veggie stock, Bring up to almost boiling and then turn low to simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Add half of the soup into blend and puree (keeping the other half nice chunks still)
  7. Add the purred part back into pot with rest of soup.
  8. Heat back up if it cooled a little,.
  9. Add lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.
  10. Add veggie stock to your liking if soup to thick.
  11. Ladle soup into bowls
  12. Serve and garnish with whatever you fancy: cashew cream, chopped avocados, salsa and more chopped cilantro
Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3/5) 

Taste: (4.65/5) 

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise – A Happy Ending To An Improvise of Provisions!

I have made a few sweet potato soups in the past, but never one with leeks and zucchini.

I was being a tad creative and just Googled the 3 ingredients with keyword “soup” as that is what was all we had in the fridge. From now on, I want to challenge myself to use up everything in the fridge and not let anything go to waste before I head back to the grocery store for new provisions. I sincerely cringe at how much food wastage restaurants and hotels partake in and truly believe it will be a big problem later on in life for the World.

The Verdict of Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

“It was one of your best soups ever!” words directly quoted from my handsome boyfriend.

Well I wasn’t planning on this one being one of my superstar soups. But it seems to be Graemes all time favourite of soups I have made for him. He has had his fair share of my soups and makes some dandy ones himself. I was really impressed with this soup myself. What I really loved the most , is that it had very fine chopped veggies added in the end. I was first going to fry some veggies for a pretty presentation of garnish, but at the last moment I decided to use them raw for a healthier texture to the soup. I must say for myself, that is what I really liked about the soup, it had very nice tidbits of crisp yummy veggies in the velvety smooth puree from the Vitamix. The chipotle was subtle yet added some heat in random spoonfuls. We ate every drop of the soup for lunch the next day!

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups zucchini (about 2 small), chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used 3 stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adoba sauce.
  • 1 cup cashew cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
Instructions for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise :
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil up over med/high heat.
  2. Saute leeks, sweet potato and zucchini for 3-7 minutes.
  3. Make sure you keep about 1.5 cups of raw veggies reserved on a plate and finely chopped or julienne them more. Do not cook them yet.
  4. If using cube stock, dissolve it in 3 cups boiling water.
  5. Add stock to vegetables in pot.
  6. Bring soup to subtle boil and then lower heat with lid on pot, simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Puree soup with salt, pepper and chipotle in a blender. Be careful if still hot.
  8. Add soup back into pot and stir in cashew cream and the reserved raw veggies (keep a tad for garnish for each bowl though).
  9. Gently heat soup back up on low.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and also garnish with some of your reserved veggies and finely chopped chives.
  11. Drop or swirl in some cashew cream in any design you fancy.
  12. Feel free to adjust the Chipotle to your liking/heat tolerance and add water if soup is a tad too thick for you.
This soup can be served chilled as well. I personally fancy this soup warmed though!
These little morsels of raw veggies is what make the soup great texture versus just being 100% puree.
I love this stock cubes above. I picked them up in Singapore and sure would love to see them in North America soon!

Original Recipe From Here:

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used cashew cream instead of cashew sour cream and also used more and added it  in the soup base.
  • Used fresh chives as garnish.
  • Reserved a fair bit of raw chopped veggies to add in after I puree the soup and for garnish.
Soup Mistress Rating for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (5/5) 

Yam and Peanut Stew – A Ski Hill Cafe Inspiration

For the last two months, it has been quite a delight to be staying up at Whistler. When we were up on the ski hill, we’ve found ourselves eating most lunches up at the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. The food service is pretty good compared to years ago and I think they really rock some of their soups!  One particular soup they dished up was a Spicy African Yam and Peanut soup and it inspired my boyfriend to make a similar soup for us one evening.

He found this wonderful recipe for Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale here.

The Verdict of Yam and Peanut Stew?

I LOVED this soup very much being a peanut lover myself! I craved this soup the next day and just had to have leftovers. The soup thickened up the next day, so I added a little more vegetable broth. This soup is definitely a tummy delight.  Don’t cut out the green onions though, they were the superstar garnish that made the soup just pop in my mouth with flavour! One thing to note, is the healthiest ingredient (kale) in the recipe was left out (forgot to purchase it at the grocery store)! Perhaps we will make it again in the future with the kale…Kale seems to give so many soups a ultra healthy and tasty boost!

Yes please…I want to have it again!

Yam and Peanut Stew Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 large yams, chopped into 1 inch
  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ripe vine tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 can of homemade or store-bought diced tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • a dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 cups vegetable stock + extra as needed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup green onion, tops only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts, chopped

Yam and Peanut Stew Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot set on medium heat. Add the onion and begin sauteing till onion is getting translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger, and continue to saute for another 3 minutes, till garlic is fragrant. Add the yams, the red lentils, the tomatoes, the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and give it all a quick stir to combine.
  2. Add 4 cups vegetable stock and bring mixture to a boil. If there isn’t enough broth to cover everything but at least 1 inch, add another cup of stock. When soup boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and lentils are very tender. If you need more broth as the mixture cooks, add it.
  3. Add almond butter and stir well. Using an immersion blender, blend soup till about half of it is pureed and the other half still has texture. The soup should appear creamy, but chunks of sweet potato should be visible.
  4. Season to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve, topped with a tablespoon each of green onion and crushed peanuts

What He Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Oops – missed the 4 cups of kale by accident! Perhaps it will join the soup party next time!
  • Used organic almond butter instead of peanut butter…much healthier for you!

Soup Mistress Rating for Yam and Peanut Stew:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup or Vice Versa

Serve up[

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Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.

After a few recent visits to Nuba restaurant in Vancover-  it has inspired my Scottish sous chef and I to create more cauliflower dishes lately. Nuba has a killer Cauliflower Najib’s special, if you ever make it there, do make sure you order it. My Scottish sous chef decided to make this yummy soup for us after a beautiful day of cross-country skiing in the Callaghan Valley, BC, Canada.

The Verdict of Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup?

This soup is tasty and very much filling – the parsnips dominate the cauliflower and we both liked the parsnips. I think the soup should have been called “Parsnip Cauliflower Soup” instead of “Cauliflower Parsnip Soup”.  No herb stood out that much either, but that being said, the herbs and spices worked well in this delightful bowl of liquid! I would make it again.

Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray or two with tin foil.
  2. Lay cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, and garlic, out on foil, and drizzle with olive oil, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast veggies for about 35-40 min, or until they’re soft and golden brown.
  4. Place veggies in a high speed blender (you may have to work in batches) and add broth and almond milk. Blend until soup is smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if you need to. We added about 2 more cups. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender.
  5. Transfer soup to a pot and re-season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6.  Serve with a few pieces of fried sage and a swirl of cashew cream.
Original Soup Recipe: http://www.choosingraw.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-parsnip-soup/

What My Scottish Sous Chef Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used almond milk instead of rice, soy, or coconut milk
  • Used 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Added fried sage as garnish
  • Added a dollop of cashew cream
  • Used more vegetable broth – 5 to 6 cups. Was originally too thick.

Soup Mistress Rating for Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Cashew Cream of Leek, Zucchini and Parsley Soup

Serve up

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Serve onions on top for garnish with some finely chopped parsley.

I just picked up a great cook book in Vancouver (Mouthwatering Vegan, Over 130 Irresistible Recipes For Everyone). I read it from front cover to back cover like I have done so with all of my cookbooks and magazines. I love reading recipes to learn from common techniques and ratios of ingredients, especially so for soups!

I decided to make this super easy soup for a chilly rainy day. It fancied me because it had leeks – they are something that I want to use more in my cooking.

The Verdict of Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Soup?

This soup is very nice and healthy indeed. At first I found the soup quite bland when I tried it, but when we added garlic and then truffle salt at the end, bam – it was to die for! Also, the addition of caramelized onions as a garnish was a good idea…I went back for more onions when I got halfway through my bowl of soup! I wished that I caramelized more onions though – perhaps next time!

This soup freezes well and is very much so truffle salts best friend! I would make it again next time!

Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 cashew cream (1/4 cup of cashews and 1/2 cup water)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Instructions Soup:
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil.
  2. Saute leeks and garlic for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add zucchini and sauté for 4 more minutes.
  4. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes over low heat.
  5. Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth.
  6. Return soup back into pot to reheat, add salt and pepper
  7. Soak 1/4 cup of cashews in water for 20 minutes, drain and blend in blender with 1/2 cup of water.
  8. Add cashew cream to soup, keep soup in pot on very low/simmer.
  9. Fry up onions until they are slightly caramelized.
  10. Add finely chopped parley to soup pot and stir (leave a little for garnish)
  11. Ladle soup in bowls.
  12. Serve onions on top for garnish with some finely chopped parsley.
  13. Sprinkle a small amount of truffle oil and/or truffle salt.
  14. Enjoy!
Original Soup Recipe: from a book I just purchased: Mouthwatering Vegan, Over 130 Irresistible Recipes For Everyone, by Miriam Sorrell.

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used truffle oil and truffle salt after soup ladled in bowls
  • Used fried caramelized onions as garnish with parsley
  • Added 2 cloves of garlic
  • Adjusted leeks and zucchini to 3 and 2

Oh ya, I made a great accompaniment with the soup – Tomato Onion Phyllo Pie, here’s a recipe that was my inspiration: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/tomato-onion-phyllo-pizza. So delish and so easy!

Soup Mistress Rating for Zucchini Leek and Cashew Cream Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Gluten-Free French Onion Soup, An Apres Ski Delight

Ladle the soup

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Ladle the soup into 4 ovenproof serving bowls. Top each with a slice or two of toasted bread cheese rounds

I have been wanting to make a gluten-free vegetarian french onion soup for sometime. Being up in Whistler for the skiing season was a perfect start to get back to some soup making.

I decided to spend some extra special attention to caramelize onions for this soup – time was on my hands since I am so blessed to work at home. I let them carmelize for close to double the time the original recipe called for.

The Verdict of Gluten-Free French Onion Soup?

This broth and the onions were super delish and especially so the next day.  I would use even more cheese next time. My soup tester said he’d prefer regular Gouda instead of the smoked Gouda I used.

Udi’s Gluten-free Millet Chai bread is pretty tasty and kept well in the soup but costed a whopping $9!! Yikes! I think I have to go back to making my own homemade gluten frees bread.

 

Gluten-Free French Onion Soup Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick goat butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a splash water
  • a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 slices of Udi’s gluten free bread (Millet Chai), cut if needed to fit your bowls
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
Gluten-Free French Onion Soup Instructions:
  1. Melt the butte and oil—and then add the onions, a splash of water and salt and pepper. Stir well, then cover with a tight-fitting lid. This will capture steam and help the onions release all their moisture. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onions soften and become quite wet, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until all the water has evaporated. Lower the heat a bit and slowly begin to caramelize the onions, stirring them frequently. This will take about 1.5 hours. You don’t need to stir continuously, just enough to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom. Continuing to lower the heat will also help prevent sticking.
  3. For the soup, when the onions are a deep golden colour and have shrunk dramatically, add the brandy. Turn up the heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the additional liquid seems to have evaporated. Add the worcestershire and broth and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Preheat the broiler in your oven. Toast the gluten-free bread slices both sides for a minute.
  5. Cover the bread with an even mound of shredded cheese. Broil until the cheese has melted and browned and looks beautiful.
  6. Ladle the soup into 4 ovenproof serving bowls. Top each with a slice of toasted bread cheese, enough to cover the top of the soup.
  7. Enjoy!
Original Soup Recipe: http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/french-onion-soup/#.UreUKRaiKZM
What I Changed From Original Recipe:
  • Used goat butter instead of regular cow milks butter
  • Added worcestershire sauce
  • Used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
  • Used gluten free bread (Udi’s Millet Chai)
  • Used smokey gruyere instead of regular
  • Used brandy

Soup Mistress Rating for Gluten-Free French Onion Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)  
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos at Chicago’s XOCO is all xoxo’s!

Just this weekend I ventured to Chicago for a layover on my way to Winnipeg to visit my family. I’ve been in Las Vegas for the last 3 months with beautiful warm sunny weather and holy moly my body was in shock when I got outside in Chicago!!! it was windy and very wintery freeze your butt off weather. Everyone on the streets were bundled up in big bulky jackets, hats, scarfs and gloves. I had a tiny leather jacket and leather gloves…not good enough for my walk to check out XOCO for some mexican fare.

By the time I got to the restaurant, I changed my mind of trying one of their famous Tortas. The Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos (AKA soup) fancied me way more – I really needed some hot broth to thaw out my insides and extremities!

I ordered the Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos and it had: black beans, woodland mushrooms, zucchini, potato-masa dumplings, greens, avocados, and serrano chile.

The Verdict of XOCO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl:
I felt the love big time with this this Meal-in-a-Bowl (AKA soup)…. it should be called xoxo Soup! My tummy had a genuine almost cuddling-like affair with this soup and was very grateful to the warm tasty broth! The big chunks of avocados, lots of onions, tasty mushrooms, deep flavourful broth and black beans that weren’t mushy made up this delightful meal-in-a-bowl. The broth was unique and not like all other Mexican soup broths, I couldn’t pinpoint what all of the spices were.  And the healthy greens were nice and fresh added on top. XOCO’s soup puts the tortilla mexican soup I had two days ago at El Segundo’s in Vegas to shame.

XOCO had a superb ordering process and great customer service experience. A sweetie of a gal who gave me a seat number, asked me when seated  if I’d like sparkling or still water. The sparling water was for free – a nice touch for so-called street food in a restaurant that did not break the bank!

Here’s a spoonful of all the scrumptious chunks of love and lot’s of onions oh my!

If you are going to check out XOCO’s Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos make sure you also order the Roasted Garlic Tomotilo Guacamole with choice of 2 toppings, tomatillo salsa, 3 chile salsa and just-made chips. I had the queso fresco and grilled onion!
Soup Mistress Rating for XOXO’s Vegetable Meal-in-a-Bowl-Caldos:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Oh So Very Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Sans Cream!

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup

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The completed Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup with Goat Brie Pesto grilled sandwiches,

Lately I’ve been using cashews in recipes for replacement of sour cream or cream cheese (in savoury dishes as well as sweet dessert toppings) and all have turned out so wonderful. I have a fair bit of almond milk in soups to date, but wanted to try cashew cream in its place. This particular recipe grabbed my attention because it had a range of spices that I would not normally use together in one recipe. I was first a little septic because I never thought of using cumin, curry, dill and basil together with cloves. I thought “what the heck”, let’s risk it and give it a shot.

The Verdict of Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup

Wow, let’s just say it is a home run! If I was served this soup in a restaurant I would definitely think that it had a ton of fatty cream and butter!

I must say that my scepticism was wasted thinking time. The mix of spices played very well together. Not one spice was overpowering and they all seemed to be in perfect harmony!

The soup had delightful hint of heat…not too much either.

And oh so awesome creaminess!!!

This soup goes very well with the goat brie pesto grilled sandwiches I made with yummy gluten-free bread!

I also think this soup is very versatile and tasty for any kind of pasta. The next day I simmered it down a little and added in fresh cooked gluten free pasta with jumbo shrimp, smoked salmon and a bit more pieces of fresh basil.  Who would know that this delectable pasta sauce was a soup the previous day?!!


Note: Cellery is missing in the above ingredient picture – I did add it in the recipe though!

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions,
  • chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle, dried
  • 3 tablespoon fresh basil
 , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 whole cloves 
(or ground)
  • 2 28-oz cans chopped or diced oragnic tomatoes
  • The juice from one lemon or lime
  • basil for garnish

Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup Instructions:

  1. In a blender (I used a vitamix) blend the cashews and water until smooth.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat the oil, and add the onion, celery and salt. Cook slowly, partially covered. Stir occasionally. When onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and chipotle and cook until fragrant. Add remaining spices and continue to cook another minute or two.
  3. Add tomatoes, and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soup begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4.  Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth.
  5. Add cashew cream into soup.
  6. Add the lemon juice and fresh basil
  7. Reheat gently, watching carefully as it’s easy to scorch the bottom.
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the optional basil leaves.
  9. Enjoy!
I made a pesto with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan for a lactose-free alternative for the brie goat grilled sandwiches, here’s the recipe:

 Basil Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup Nutritional yeast

Combine the basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

The Original Creamy Cashew Tomato Soup Recipe Here: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Cashew-tomato-soup-346120

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Used olive oil instead of canola oil
  • Did not use fennel
  • Used fresh basil and added it at the end.
  • halved the recipe
  • Added a 1 1/2 cup of water, it seemed to thick

Soup Mistress Rating for Creamy Tomato Cashew Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

Curry Squash Lentil Soup

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Brrr, can someone turn up the heat please? I’m in Vegas and it has been chilly and rainy for the last few days – I feel very much like I am back home in rainy Vancouver, BC!

Soup is on my mind more lately and since there seems to be abundance of squash at the supermarkets – I asked myself “why not make a soup with it?”

I found this recipe online (link below) but I adjusted it a tad to my liking.

The Verdict of Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

This soup’s broth turned out pretty tasty with just enough curry.  The original recipe called for only water in the base – I think adding in vegetable stock in place of the water made the broth much nicer! I liked how the cilantro oil floated on the top and gave a nice herbal flavour. The quinoa was hearty and filling and a great source of protein. If I was to make this soup again in the future (and I think I may), I would add a little more celery. I think the soup had a little more room for some chunky vegetables like celery and carrot if you like. I also liked the fact that I substituted coconut oil for olive oil – it added a little bit of a Thai flair to the curry broth. My soup tester fella really liked the souo as well and only commented that it needed a little more ginger in the next batch!

I found it interesting that the red lentils sort of dissolved into the soup. I am sure they added to the tasty broth even though I could not distinguish them in my spoonful of goodness!

We ate the soup two days in a row and on the second day, we added some torn up kale – it worked very well in the soup!  I never felt healthier after soup as I did with this one!

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup  Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 2 carrot, chopped small
  • 2 celery rib, chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart (32 oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup quinoa

For cilantro oil:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • salt
I like to chop the vegetables really nice and small so it presents well in the soup!

 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a large heavy pot,  on medium saute squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  • Add lentils, broth and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Stir in lemon juice into soup and season with salt and pepper in the soup.
  • In a separate pot while soup is simmering, boil 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, simmer until fluffy.
  • Ladle soup into bowls, add in a scoop of quinoa and drizzle cilantro oil.
  • Enjoy!

Make cilantro oil: 
Purée cilantro, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender.

Serve soup drizzled with cilantro oil.

Original recipe from here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curried-Squash-and-Red-Lentil-Soup-351416#ixzz2l7gwR653

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Replaced butter and vegetable oil with cocnut oil for soup base and cilantro oil.
  • Changed basmati rice to quinoa as the accompaniment.
  • Replaced half the water with broth – I like always using a vegetable broth for more depth.
  • Added 1 more carrot and celery rib.
  • Added salt to cilantro oil. It tasted too bland without the salt. Salt lifts the flavours very much so!

What I’d Do Next Time to Make it Even Better:

  • Add one more celery rib.
  • Add one more teaspoon of minced ginger.

Soup Mistress Rating for Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3.5/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5)