Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

Awhile back I posted a photo of this gorgeous pile of broccoli on Instagram with a call out for broccoli recipe requests. If you replied there, thank you!! It’s so fun and helpful to hear your ideas and there were tons of great ones! Many of you said “roast the broccoli, simply, and finish it with a little lemon.” You must know me really well because I love a simple preparation like that. Another big request was for a lighter/vegan version of cheese broccoli soup.

I turned to Jack and said “cheesy broccoli soup!!” and his eyes lit up because he gets excited like a little kid when I say “cheesy!”

This recipe is not to be confused with cream of broccoli soup. I have a super delicious, very green, Creamy Broccoli Soup on page 55 of the cookbook that I love so much. It’s made with leeks, coconut milk, broccoli, lemon, and spinach. It’s light, healthy, and tastes similar to the version my mom made for me while I was growing up.

This version – CHEESY broccoli soup, is thicker and more rich and cheese-like. Don’t worry – there’s still a ton (or a pound) of broccoli in this recipe. I love both versions, it’s just a matter of what I’m in the mood for (though Jack is always in the mood for cheese).

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

For the “cheese” factor here, I loosely based the ingredients on the ones I used in this Carrot Queso. Potato is the main thickener (along with some cashews), carrot gives it a cheesy color, apple cider vinegar gives it tang, and dill adds a savory flavor that pulls it all together. I should add that there’s also broccoli stem pieces blended in here because I got tons of requests to use the whole bunch of broccoli. Waste not, want not!

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

After you puree the base of the soup, the florets of broccoli get pulsed in so that the soup has a lot of broccoli texture throughout. Return it to the pot and simmer until the broccoli bits are cooked through.

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

While the soup simmers, roast the last of the broccoli along with some cubed bread because this soup is best with some crispy garnishes. Happy soup night!

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison

Harvest Haven Salad

The other day, we were having dinner with the family and my mom said “so, do you want to host Thanksgiving this year?” My first instinct was – heck no, that sounds like a lot of work! Of course, what came out of my mouth was a noncommittal “ok, sure? I guess?” Later that night, as the idea settled in my mind, I thought of the beautiful fall harvest-y type dishes I could make and I started to get excited.

I got warm and fuzzy feelings picturing my family gathered around the kitchen in our new home, drinking wine and talking about “the game” (football?), as my mom and I rotate dishes in and out of our Wolf double ovens (that will now come in super handy). As the one who usually shows up to Thanksgiving at the last minute, straight from the airport, this hosting gig seems like a big adult step.

What does all of this have to do with the beautiful salad up there? Well, the inspiration for both hosting Thanksgiving and the salad were from a trip we took to Madison hosted by Sub-Zero and Wolf. We’ve loved working with them over the past couple of years, and we’re totally on board with their philosophies – to inspire people to cook and create memorable experiences with their families, and to enjoy fresh, seasonal food.

Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison

Something that I didn’t know before this trip, is that Sub-Zero and Wolf appliance are made right here in Madison. We toured both factory floors, and while they didn’t let us take photos of their proprietary processes, it was fascinating to watch the appliances being built from start to finish and to learn about the rigorous testing they do at each and every step. It gave me peace of mind knowing that the appliances in our home are going to last through the rigors that we put them through – holidays, cookbooks, and more. I was also reassured that if I (or anyone) have a problem with an appliance, someone from Madison (not overseas) will be on top of the repair.

Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison

Also in Madison we met their resident chef, Joel Chesebro. He cooked for us and explained to me why I should almost always use the convection setting on my oven. Since I use the oven mostly to roast veggies, he explained that the consistent heat creates a nice, even brown crispness around the edges. In fact, the only time he doesn’t use convection is when baking cakes or quick breads so that the tops of the baked goods don’t brown before the inside is done cooking.

Next, (the prettiest part!), he took us on a tour of their new barn and the dreamy Harvest Haven gardens where they source the produce for guests of Sub-Zero and Wolf year round.

The blue skies and epic amount of fresh produce growing right there(!) made me want to move to a farmhouse in Wisconsin and make my #farmhousegoals come true.

Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison above: the freshest butternut squash

below: barn dreams, and a spread of delicious pickled vegetables that Chef Joel made for us. Note to self: I need to get the recipe for those pickled Moroccan carrots – the spice combo was amazing!

Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison Harvest Haven Salad & a trip to Madison

After strolling through the farm, their team made us a wonderful meal, and well, this salad (pictured at the top of this post) just floored me. It was so simple, but it was made from the freshest lettuces, tomatoes, turnips, and carrots that we just saw – proving yet again that delicious, beautiful food doesn’t have to be complicated! This will be the perfect start to my Thanksgiving meal. I just had to get the recipe from Chef Joel to share with all of you, and he kindly sent it, so here it is!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Why on earth would you make homemade pumpkin puree when we all know the stuff from the can is perfectly fine? Good question, here are a few reasons:

1. You live in a country where they do not sell pumpkin puree in cans. I’m not sure exactly which countries do and don’t export America’s favorite canned vegetable, but every year it comes up in the comments whenever I post fall pumpkin recipes, so I feel like there are enough of you out there!

2. You got overzealous at the farmers market because the pumpkin was so cute and fall looking, and you didn’t realize you’d have at least 20 pounds/9 kilos of pumpkin to deal with. (pictured above)

3. You went out and bought a pumpkin to make this soup (yay!!), and now you have lots of pumpkin left over.

4. Because sometimes it’s just fun to make something from scratch, like homemade tortillas, pizza dough, etc., even though there are perfectly good versions available at the store.

So here we go, let’s start our pumpkin puree! It’s not rocket science, basically you need to scoop out the seeds and roast the pumpkin until fork tender…

Once cooled, scoop the flesh from the skin and run it through a food processor until it’s smooth.

Depending on your pumpkin (or squash… this can also be done with certain squashes), the consistency of your puree may be more watery than that of a canned puree. If you’re making pie, you might want to strain the excess liquid by letting it sit in a fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth) over a bowl for 30 minutes. In baking recipes like these cookies or this pumpkin bread, I simply used about 2 tablespoons less liquid (less oil in the cookies, less water in the bread).

Of course there are savory uses too! The puree could be made into a creamy soup, or seasoned and stirred into risotto (I’m going to try that next!)

Note: when I used buttercup squash, my puree was much thicker. 

Store the leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge or freeze it for later!

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

It seems like every day these days is some new National ___ Day… National Dog Day, National Donut Day. But today is extra special, because today is not just a National day, but a World day, and possibly one of the best food World days, as it is… World Pasta Day! So obviously to celebrate, I made pasta!

This mushroom pasta was inspired by our recent trip to Parma, Italy where we traveled last month to attend the Barilla® Pasta World Championship. Mushrooms were in season in the area and every restaurant we went to seemed to have a mushroom special. Mushroom ravioli, mushroom spaghetti, mushroom soup, mushroom everything. Jack and I happen to love mushrooms so I was itching to make this mushroom-lovers spaghetti once we got home.

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

This recipe, obviously, starts with the mushrooms. I used sliced cremini mushrooms, but by all means, mix in other varieties such as chanterelle mushrooms or oyster mushrooms if you want to get crazy with your mushrooms. The rest of these ingredients – olive oil, garlic, herbs, and a touch of cashew cream with Dijon mustard – seem so simple, but they compliment the mushrooms in such a delicious way. Specifically, if you’ve never tried tarragon before it has an anise/licorice flavor that you might not love at first sniff, but it REALLY makes the deep savory flavor of the mushrooms pop.

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

Now that the weather is cooling off, this is our kind of weeknight recipe. It’s quick to toss together, which is the beauty of pasta, but is also so yummy, satisfying, and very flexible. For example, if you don’t have tarragon and chives, rosemary and/or sage would be delicious… sub in gluten-free pasta if you want to, and there’s a vegan option (below) to use cashew cream instead of regular cream. Of course if you’re not vegan, top this with fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano because this recipe is inspired by Parma after all!

Buon appetito!

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

How to Make Matcha

How to Make Matcha

When it comes to food “trends,” I’m usually so late to the game. Chia pudding, smoothie bowls, cauliflower smoothies… I didn’t see any of those foods coming and staying (to be honest the cauliflower smoothie thing still sounds a little gross to me). But matcha… I’ve been loving matcha before it was the cool thing to love.

I can’t quite remember the first time I tried matcha. It’s been so long, but it might have been on a swirly soft serve cone in Kyoto. Matcha desserts and matcha lattes are all over the place now, but what I want to focus on in this post is simply how to make matcha. We’re partnering with Pure Leaf because they make matcha now(!), which means that you can find matcha in your regular grocery store. Pure Leaf Home Brewed Matcha Tea is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ tea estates in Kagoshima, Japan. The green tea leaves are shadegrown, dried, and ground for a full-bodied, smooth taste. I very often skip coffee in the morning and drink matcha with almond milk instead. Here’s how to make a cup (I made two!) of Pure Leaf Pure Matcha or Pure Leaf Matcha with Ginger:

How to Make Matcha

Step 1: Bring 8 oz. of water (or a mix of water and nut milk) to a boil and empty your matcha sachet into a mug or bowl.

Step 2: Pour just enough water (2 oz.) over the serving of matcha to blend.

How to Make Matcha

Step 3: Whisk until matcha is fully dispersed and there is a foamy layer on top. A matcha whisk is ideal, but you can use a small regular whisk if you don’t have one. To get your matcha to foam, whisk briskly from side to side (not in a circular motion).

How to Make Matcha

Step 4: Add remaining 6 oz. water (or steamed almond milk like I did!) and whisk again until foamy.

IMG_0143-cropped

Step 5: Enjoy!

You can use steamed almond milk or coconut milk (like I did) in lieu of the second addition of water. I often like mine with sweetened vanilla almond milk, and if you’re a newbie matcha drinker, you might want to try it this way until you acquire the somewhat bitter taste of matcha.

This post is in partnership with Pure Leaf Tea.