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) 

How to Make Herb Oils And My Favorites With Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower soup with 5 herb oil

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Cauliflower soup with 5 mix herb oil (dill, chive, oregano, basil, parsley) with crispy prosciutto.

Last night, I made a big batch of cauliflower soup (one of my favorites soups) and I was feeling a bit creative and curious to what herb oils would taste best drizzled on top. I decided to make chive oil (it’s pretty popular in many recipes) and follow the exact same process with other fresh herbs I had on hand. In the end, I had the following 8 different herbs oils to try with my cauliflower soup:

  1. Chive oil
  2. Dill oil
  3. Parsley oil
  4. Oregano oil
  5. Sweet Basil oil
  6. Rosemary oil
  7. Cilantro oil
  8. Mixed herb oil: chive, dill, parsley, oregano, sweet basil

Cauliflower soup with herb oilOh my, what did I get myself into?!
I was not sure if I had a big enough appetite to try 8 bowls of soups, so I decided to use espresso cups (8 mini soups) with a different oil in each. The winner was then allowed to bathe in a large bowl of soup in the end after my taste test!

The verdict with herb oils and my cauliflower soup? All of the herb oils looked pretty much the same (green), so I had no preference over another for the look. But my favorite tasting herb oils with my cauliflower soup (ranked from most favorite to least) were: basil, the mix of 5, chive, dill, oregano, and then parsley. I was not a huge fan of the cilantro oil nor the rosemary oil – they were both too overpowering. If I was to use the cilantro or rosemary oil in anything, I would use less drops or maybe add more oil to dilute them a tad.

Sky is the limit: These oils would be great to garnish and enhance so many other soups. Some that I can think of are: parsnip soup (chive, dill, basil or oregano oil), potato soup (chive oil), borscht (dill oil), white bean soup (chive, dill, mix oil) and tomato soups (basil, oregano or parsley oil).

Not just for soups: Herb oils are also great drizzled on fish, scrambled eggs, potatoes, steamed vegetables, pasta and salads (for salad dressing, I would add a tad of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.) I actually had the basil oil in my egg white scramble this morning with a slice of prosciutto and goat cheddar.

Ingredients for Herb Oil:

  • 1 small bunch chives (or dill, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, cilantro)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper

Instructions for Herb Oil:

  1. Bring small pot to a boil.
  2. Plunge herbs in boiling water with prongs, for about 10 seconds.
  3. Shock them in cold ice bath with prongs.
  4. Drain, wrap the herbs in a paper towel, and squeeze all of the moisture out.
  5. Cut herbs in half. (If rosemary take the herb off of the sprigs – they are too woody)
  6. Put herbs in a blender/small processor.
  7. With machine running, add oil in a slow stream; puree for about 2 minutes.
  8. Let stand at least 1 hour in fridge.
  9. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing against any solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much oil as possible.
  10. Discard solids.
  11. Add to plastic squeeze bottle.
  12. Drizzle a pretty or cool design on top of your soup.
  13. Refrigerate left over herb oil. I try to use it up within 2-3 days tops, bring it to room temperature before using.

Do you have favorite herb oils that go well with certain soup recipes? Feel free to share below!

Tomato Shrimp Basil Soup For Lazy People Like Me

Tomato Shrimp Basil Soup

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The completed Tomato Shrimp Basil Soup

Yesterday, I was working at home all day on the computer and was planning to go grocery shopping, but I lost my steam by end of day and decided not to go.

My fridge was looking very bleak for dinner ideas, and there’s no way I was going to resort to ordering in. But I had 7 tomatoes, bunch of basil, bunch of parsley, cream (left over from Thanksgiving – not normally in my fridge) and some shrimp in the freezer. Soup was a gimme for me.

You can take a guess that I was feeling a little lazy. I decided to make this soup without following any recipe and didn’t do anything special to seed, roast or peel the tomatoes (like some recipes call for). I just chopped the tomatoes as is and threw them in the pan.

This soup only took 30 minutes from prep to filling up my stomach.  And by golly, I think I will make this soup again in future. It was so yummy and I have left overs today for lunch!

I have plans to redo many soups in the future and I will be:

  • cutting calories and trimming fat from some favorite recipes
  • adjusting so they are vegetarian, gluten-free as well as vegan – where I can
  • adjusting dried herbs for fresh herbs
  • adjusting processed foods for natural and/or organic – where I can
  • adjusting highly acidic forming recipes to be more alkaline forming (healthier for you)

This soup makeover is:

  • gluten-free

Tomato Shrimp Basil Soup Ingredients:

  • 14 shrimp (26/30 count size)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 7 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3/4 cup basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup cream (note: I’m only using a small amount of cream, some recipes usually call for way more)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small pan, cook shrimp until opaque (don’t overcook) and put aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in heavy pot over moderate. Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer at med-low for about 15 minutes until tomatoes are soft.
  4. Working in batches, purée soup in blender with lime juice, parsley and basil until very smooth (about 30 seconds), then return to pot.
  5. Return soup to pot, stir in cream and gently heat through.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top with shrimp and a basil leaf as garnish. Serve immediately.

Soup Mistress Rating for Tomato Shrimp Basil Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)