Ugly Food.

There is no shortage of naturally beautiful food.  Any quick look online for vegetable-centric recipes will turn up thousands of images:  brightly colored carrots and peppers, enough shades of salad greens to fill a forest, vibrant pink-red beets, unnaturally bright yellow and orange citruses.  Most of the time, cooking vegetables lends color to the plate and a deep satisfaction to ones body as she eats.  The variety of colors and textures, by nature, are photogenic.  And Pinteresters, Instagrammers, Facebookers and the like are all happy to oblige.

broccoli mushroom soup

I have about half a foot in the digital world.  I enjoy photographing things as I've made them as a way to preserve the art form I generally consider cooking to be.  It gives me visual cues to remember them for the future.  My process of creation for the foods I choose to make are as important as the the final plating; I certainly give thought to how something will appear in the end, but I don't let it overtake my frugality or health-mindedness.  I like to think that anything can look beautiful if given the opportunity, but often, I don't brag about the ugly but sustainable foods coming from my kitchen.  The concoctions that arise from the seemingly empty refrigerator go unrecorded, and don't find a way to social media boasting.  The ugly foods are eaten quietly alone for lunch without fanfare, tasty but completely unsightly.

Late last week I did a thorough fridge cleaning.  I cleaned out dozens (I wish that were an exaggeration) of partially full jars, things that had turned and things that were just collecting dust and unlikely to be used due to age or contents.  I was left with a vastness in there: brightly lit glass shelves that I could see through once again.  I found a whole cabbage that had somehow gotten crowded out and pushed to the back, a couple of stalks of broccoli that I all of a sudden remembered buying when it was on sale last week, some mushrooms that needed immediate attention or imminent tossing.

Saturday I wished I had more broccoli as I remembered the impressively simple broccoli soup I had made from Franny's a while ago.  I even considered running out and getting more until I acknowledged the guilt I had for the rapidly decaying mushrooms now occupying their own clean shelf toward the front of the fridge - right where I could be reminded of their presence every single time I opened the door.  Why couldn't I make a broccoli-mushroom soup using Franny's method of hot-searing the ingredients on one side only?  Who cares if I was bound to consume a dirt brown bowl of soup, something I couldn't well be proud of sharing on the Internet...

broccoli mushroom soup

My great-grandmother made the best soup of foraged and dried mushrooms.  It too was kind of an ugly soup, creamy colored and studded with wrinkly rehydrated mushrooms.  It had plenty of tang from sour cream and vinegar, and my Mom is able to make a version that tastes just about like I remember - although I've never reproduced it myself with good luck.  I added vinegar to this soup in memory of that soupYou could even add a little more, but I was feeding a baby as well as myself and so opted for only a couple of tablespoons. 

Broccoli-Mushroom Soup (inspired by Franny's)
 yields about 6 cups
  • about 5 cups of broccoli, florets cut and the stalks trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 8 oz. (give or take) crimini mushrooms, possibly of questionable freshness, caps only
  • 3-4 good sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • olive oil, at least 9 T.
  • unsalted butter, at least 3 T.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 c. water
  • 1-2 T. apple cider vinegar
  •  asiago cheese (or other salty, firm Italian cheese) for serving
In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over fairly high heat (I aim not to scorch the oil or send it to smoking and rendering it not quite as healthful).  Add about half the broccoli in a single layer and let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes - until it is blackened on one side, bright green, and crisp-tender.  Transfer it to a large bowl, heat another 3 T. of olive oil and repeat. After transferring the rest of the broccoli to the bowl, dust it with kosher salt.  Then, heat a little more oil and arrange the mushrooms in a single layer, cap side up.  Put the lid on the pot and let the mushrooms cook for about 2 minutes, just until some moisture is released.  Then, flip the mushroom caps over, and continue cooking with the lid off for another 2-3 minutes until they are nicely roasted looking and somewhat dried out.  Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with broccoli and reduce the heat under the pot to medium-low heat.  (Maybe give the pot a minute or two to cool down before continuing.)

Add some butter and maybe a little more oil to the pot, and add in the minced garlic.  Try not to let it brown.  After it cooks for a minute or so, add in the onions and a pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes or so until they are nicely softened.  Add the broccoli and mushrooms back to the pot and add the water.  Taste, and adjust for additional salt, and grind in some black pepper.  Increase the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the broccoli and mushrooms are fully soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender until it is of the consistency you prefer.  Taste to adjust for salt, and add the cider vinegar to taste.  Eat as hot as possible, with plenty of grated asiago cheese.  (Cubing the cheese is also nice, as is a big spoonful of kefir cream...)

broccoli mushroom soup

The only way I can tell it is spring for sure (other than the date on the calender) is the bright green that has suddenly popped up in my lawn.  The trees aren't really even budding out yet, and overcast rainy days in the mid 30's or 40's has me perpetually thinking about the Nick Cave song that starts out "It was the dirty end of winter, along the loom of the land..."  The dirty end of winter is the time for dirty looking soups like these, vegetables that nourish and taste so good while not looking so good doing it.  It's the ugliest food, getting used up before the explosion of fresh, young things - and it's no less delicious. 

It reminds me of my most favorite, loathsome looking foods: army green pea soup made with dried split peas and bland and flabby looking pasties with cabbage and potatoes, cooked until the pastry is flaky but devoid of any life giving color.   The rhubarb kuchen made with the old industrially-colored workhorse rhubarb that springs to life every year at my parents house (not the pretty, pinky crimson variety favored by every food blogger on the planet), and beef soup made the way my forebears did it by combining everything (including the humbly brown, ground meat) with water and bringing it to a slow simmer with canned tomatoes and whatever else needs using up.  These are real life giving foods, although ugly - and they deserve at least these few moments in the Internet sun.

On and Around New Year...

New Year's Eve and Day have both come and gone, and now I'm surrounded by leftovers from the past several days. Not that I'm complaining. It was fun turning my house into the central hub of girlie conversation for a few days, punctuating our jabbering with as many sweets as we could hold. I rarely do as much visiting as I have done in the past few days, and now that the house is quiet, I miss it greatly.

On the sweets front, I already had quite an impressive amount of leftover Christmas cookies, and more added to me from my Mom. But an email from Northern Brewer convinced me to bite the bullet and add even more. You may remember the beginning of my obsession with them back in June when I started brewing kombucha. Though I haven't been there for a visit in a pretty long time, just the thought of their store still excites me. It's like a well organized and stocked pantry of laboratory supplies for obsessive fermenters like myself. If you are of the curious type and just walk in the front door, you immediately find inspiration and 20 new things you feel as if you must try. No surprise then that the mere mention of a New Year's Champagne Cake led me to yet more sugar.

I decided to turn a half recipe into 18 cupcakes. They are simple, yes, but actually quite elegant and complex. I topped them generously with an orange cream cheese frosting, which proved to be the perfect complement. I think I ate 4 of them all by myself on New Year's Eve... and I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the least bit sorry. I tried them both cold and at room temperature (since some people like refrigerated cake, and I usually do not), and I couldn't really decide which way I liked them best. At room temperature, the frosting was soft and droopy, from the fridge it was a bit more sturdy.

The room temperature cake tasted surprisingly like the inexpensive, yet delicious, Cristalino Brut Cava. This Spanish sparkling wine is actually a really great match for many different food types. (I once memorably served it with a Portuguese fish stew.) It has aggressive bubbles, and a semi-sweet flavor that believe it or not actually makes a simple butter cake recipe taste beautifully like champagne.

Plus, how much fun is it to say Champagne Cupcake?

Champagne Cupcakes (slightly adapted from the Northern Brewer blog)

makes 18
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. champagne or sparking wine
  • 1 1/2 c. plus 3/8 c. (6 T.) AP flour
  • 1 1/8 t. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sized bowl, sift (or stir) together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter together with sugar until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating a full minutes after each. Beat in vanilla.

Add flour alternately with champagne (or sparkling wine). (Add flour in three additions and the wine in two, beginning and ending with the flour.) Mix until well incorporated, but do not over mix.

Portion batter into 18 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.

Cool completely before topping with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. (recipe follows)

This frosting makes a little more than you probably want to use on a batch of 18 cupcakes (or, maybe not!). This frosting is so good, I have an overwhelming urge to make some vanilla ice cream to use up the rest. I've never added leftover frosting to an ice cream before, so I'll let you know how that works out for me.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from Epicurious)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • grated peel of 1 orange (preferably organic, about 2 t.)
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 - 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. sour cream, cold from fridge
With a hand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until very soft and well combined, then add orange peel and vanilla. Add about half of the powdered sugar, and continue mixing. After the powdered sugar is incorporated, add about half of the remaining amount. Mix well, then taste and add a pinch of salt if you feel it needs it. Mix in sour cream, and beat well. If the consistency is too soft, add a bit more powdered sugar. Refrigerate for a half hour or longer (to firm up a bit more) before using a knife to top cupcakes.

Prior to the overindulgence of sugar, we actually attempted to be quite virtuous by making pizza. Any time I have company, I use the excuse to knock out another of the veg heavy Lahey pizzas on my Lahey Project list. This delicious specimen was the Pizza Radici de Sedano, or celery root pizza.

I'd have to say, that this is the variety that I was looking forward to the least, and the one that is probably my favorite so far. The celery root turns soft and nearly potato-like in some parts, while still retaining the trace of celery flavor. Another of the cheese-less pizzas in My Bread, I decided that being from Wisconsin entitled me to add just a little bit of Parmesan during the last few minutes of baking. We can't see it floating on the top, but are convinced that the salinity of the cheese is a good addition to an already perfect recipe. I can't help but say it again: You have to get a copy of My Bread for yourself!

Though we could have easily survived on leftovers and sugar well into the new year, I decided to make a New Year's Eve Gumbo on December 31, 2010. I had proudly made a stock from shrimp peels that my Husband peeled for me (his only kitchen task, and one he enjoyed!) last month using the method that Sally Fallon outlined in Nourishing Traditions. I'm actually a "take it or leave it" type when it comes to shrimp, and this stock smelled so delicious when I was simmering it that I could hardly wait to use some up in something. I only ended up using a cup in this gumbo recipe from Paula Deen, but I'm convinced that it made a difference.

I took back my vow of "no chicken parts" for one day, and used 3 chicken breasts along with andouille sausage and a half pound of shrimp for this southern stew. I have never made this before, and am so thankful for leftovers and the promise that it will be made again. I hate the description, but I'll use it anyway that the broth was actually silk-like, since the pot was thickened with a whole half cup of flour. A fair amount of veg was present for all of that meat: a large green pepper, onion, okra and home canned tomatoes. We served the gumbo on plain white rice, and garnished with slices of sourdough bread. I was actually surprised that the meal wasn't as heavy as I anticipated. Well, at least not until I continued eating Champagne Cupcakes on into the wee hours of the morning.

Gumbo (adapted from Paula Deen, via Food Network)

serves 8-10
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 12 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices on the bias
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 c. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 smallish bunch of parsley (flat leaf)
  • 1 c. shrimp stock (could use chicken or beef stock to equal the 4 cups of liquid, we agreed that 4 cups of the shrimp stock may have been too "shrimpy".)
  • 3 c. water
  • 14 oz. "stewed tomatoes" (1 can, or equivalent home-canned)
  • 2 cups frozen, sliced okra
  • 4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • 1/2 pound small shrimp (25-30 size), peeled and deveined

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a non-reactive (enameled) dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool slightly.

Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste and 1/4 bunch chopped parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Add 4 cups liquid (shrimp stock/water or other stock), whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions and shrimp. Cover and cook until shrimp is opaque and cooked through about 3 minutes. Add additional chopped parsley, and serve over rice.

I reheated the last of the celery root pizza for lunch today, and look forward to a little bowl of gumbo for supper later tonight. Meanwhile, I'm sitting around in a clean-ish house after having taken my tree down yesterday. It's always a bittersweet time of year for me, I love Christmas and it's joy, the remembrance of the deepest things of life. A year ends, another notch indelibly marked into our lives, and January begins as a clean slate with nothing on the horizon.

The days seem immediately to lengthen, and the circle of seasons and life continue on. Being the homebody I am, I wonder what I can get myself into for the next few months before all I want to do is be outside, and I have a few ideas. If you have any suggestions, send them my way. Meanwhile, I'm off to read about sprouting grains...

Happy New Year!!

Vegan Monday: Spaghetti Squash Soup

vegan spaghetti squash soup, originally uploaded by Rcakewalk.

I guess I should have waiting until after lunch to write my Vegan Monday post... since I took my own advice and did use up some forgotten vegetables in the fridge to make this soup for my lunch.

I had about 1 1/2 cups of leftover spaghetti squash, added 1/4 onion, one carrot, cut in half, one cup of water, some sliced garlic and sliced ginger root. I seasoned with red chile flakes, cassia cinnamon and salt and pepper and mixed everything in the VitaMix. (I decided about half-way through mixing to add a teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken it. I'd have liked it a little thicker, perhaps I'll have some cooked leftover potatoes or sweet potatoes next time!)

One of the fun things about the VitaMix is that it can blend so fast that it makes soup hot. I don't need piping hot soup, so I let it blend for about 4 minutes, maybe a bit longer. Then, I poured my soup into an old tureen from my Gram and garnished with lots of raw walnuts, chopped Hidden Rose Apple, and Aleppo pepper.

Hidden Rose apples are new to me this year, and I love them. They are firm and spicy - not to mention a beautiful and surprising rose color on their interiors. Externally, they are a blushing green, so it is startling to see the pink middles.

If you don't have a VitaMix you can always make soup the normal way, and puree with an immersion or regular blender. A sure way to incorporate leftovers and vegetables into your diet is to remember that you can include them in soup. Never the same twice, I think I'll adopt this approach a lot in the coming months.

Of Heat, Dog Days, and Cucumber Gazpacho.

I never think it will happen, yet every single year it does. I always think that it will be different, yet strangely it never is. I usually make a solemn vow that I will appreciate it and soak it up, but come August, that vow goes the way of the New Year's Resolution come February. What am I talking about, you ask? The heat of summer - that brutal, crushing, lung-filling heat that in my area of the world comes with unprecedented humidity.

"First of all, I hate wearing white. Even when I give white a chance, I'm not fooling anyone — I've always been a Rizzo, not a Sandy..." says Diablo Cody, in perhaps the finest piece of summer journalistic op/ed ever crafted. (Really, go read it, I'll wait.) I go further, since I really detest such warm weather favorites such as shorts or *gasp* dresses/skirts, so as the dog days of summer wear on, I find myself wanting to hole up in my a/c inspired house, happily jean-clad, and baking like it's 20 below zero.

Part of my disdain is that despite the humongous bounty of the garden, market, and this year my CSA, I have absolutely no appetite. Even a brisk walk (resulting in the dripping dampness of said non-shorts and non-dresses) can not conjure the slightest hint of hunger, yet due to my self-imposed job of kitchen cohabitation, I feel that I must keep up with my three squares per day. I know other food-people know what I'm talking about. I have to find excuses to make all of the interesting stuff I read about, and like I've said before, I'm the one firmly rooted in the Live To Eat column of human beings.

Enter cold soup. Before the oppressive heat of summer, and for the second installment of my Vegan Mondays, I made a cold Avocado Cucumber Soup. While I've eaten all manners of cold soups in restaurants, I tend not to ever indulge in them at home... and I cannot tell you there is a good reason for it. The Avocado Cucumber Soup was excellent, and now that my state has turned into a sauna, I can even better appreciate it. While that version of soup was vegan, today I made a vegetarian version gifted to me by my friend, Ann.

Though it's been more than a decade since we've worked together, and she moved to California (my envy green and thriving, as you know), we continue to keep in touch. While chatting at Alterra when she was in town recently, she mentioned this soup that has it's origins in the L.A. Times. I had 2 cucumbers firmly residing in my fridge, one in each of my last two CSA boxes. I really love cucumber, but sometimes, I think there is only so much cuke a person can eat - especially since my chosen method of ingestion is sliced and mixed with mayo or sour cream, huge amounts of dill and salt and pepper.

Really my favorite thing about cold soup recipes is that you can go on blending, mixing and tasting until you come up with something you are downright proud of eating. That is exactly how this soup is. And when I finally felt like eating lunch around 2 o'clock this afternoon, nothing could have hit the spot harder than this spicy hot, cold soup garnished with heirloom sweet tomato.

Heirlooms. Just as precious as jewels, in my opinion - and worth the heat of Summer in and of themselves.

I will give you what Ann emailed me, and annotate in {parenthesis} what I actually did. I had to bring the recipe down to about a cucumber and a half's worth of volume.... but you know how to make soup - right? Throw in what makes you happy! (Direction applications are from Ann.) You can easily Veganize this soup by substituting avocado for the yogurt.

Cucumber Gazpacho (via Ann Martens, via the Los Angeles Times)
  • 4 1/2 cucumbers (about 2 1/2 lbs.), divided {I used 1 1/2 cukes}
  • 1 c. plain yogurt {I used a heaping 1/4 c. of my strained Greek style yogurt}
  • 1 t. Thai red curry paste {I used a heaping tablespoon of Spice House red curry powder}
  • 1/3 c. lime juice (Ann's husband, Dave, uses 3 limes and never measures) {I used 1 lime, juiced}
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper (Dave uses up to three) {I used 2 small ones, from my garden}
  • 1 1/4 t. salt, to taste
  • 1/4 t. pepper, to taste
  • 30 cilantro leaves (Dave uses a big handful, sans stems) {I used a big handful}
  • 20 fresh mint leaves (Dave uses a big handful) {being intrepid still of mint, I used the leaves of 3 good sized stalks}
  • fresh rosemary (this addition is a Dave original!) {I used the needles from one longish stalk of rosemary...}
  • 1/2 c. olive oil {I glugged in about 3 Tablespoons}
  • 1/2 medium tomato for garnish {I used a few of my Black Prince heirlooms, sliced}
"Peel, seed, and cut 4 cucumbers into quarters. Cut the remaining one fourth cucumber in small dice and set aside for garnish.

Place half the quartered cucumbers in a blender jar (I used my food pro, due to the sad state of my blender) and add the yogurt, curry paste, lime juice, jalapeno, salt, & pepper. Puree. While the blender is running, add the remaining cucumber, cilantro, mint, and rosemary (if using). This is a fun stage for kids because it turns green suddenly!

Adjust the seasonings, then while the blender is on, and gradually pour in one-half cup olive oil to emulsify. Chill until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, make the garnish by combining the diced cucumber, 1/2 tsp lime juice, a pinch of salt & pepper, the diced tomato, 1 tsp. olive oil, and a little chopped mint & cilantro.

To serve: Spoon the gazpacho into bowls and sprinkle each with garnish.
We have never made the garnish because we are too impatient. We just pour the soup into big mugs and drink it right away :) Yum!"

I ate about half of my amount for my late lunch today, and plan on eating the leftover glassful tomorrow, as the heat does not promise to give way any time soon. On the brink of each new season, I tend to long for the polar opposite. When Spring was at hand, I longed for fall, a cool reprise, and rainy, damp afternoons. Why do I always want what I can't have, instead of basking in the moment, weather-wise, I mean.

Maybe I'm not so much for the heat, as I am for the cool, a Northerner by birth and genetics (except for that Mexican side...). Layers of clothing and walks without breaking a sweat certainly do sound appealing at this point in the year. Perhaps it's the warm-weathered Mexican part of me that creates these feelings of indecision when it comes to Summer, or maybe it's just that I'm not so hungry. Either way, I am sure I'll be enjoying this cold Cucumber Gazpacho as long as I'm able to get fresh Wisconsin cucumbers. It's certainly one thing that is a perk in these long and hot, dog days of Summer.

Raw Vegan Monday: Avocado Cucumber Soup

This is week number two in my four week series of Raw Vegan Mondays. I did a lot of reading this past week about this diet, and I must say that I am even more fascinated than before. I really think if you are studious, it is possible to have a well balanced and healthy diet while following strict parameters. I found myself "dissecting" my current eating habits and including much more fruit and veg in my every day cookery (or lack thereof), and remembered how nice it is not to worry about cooking meat. (Though I should mention that we did have some steak in there one day: but not only did one T-Bone provide one nice meal, one whole leftover chop went into a huge pot of veg-heavy soup so we have meals into the future.)

There seem to be many different vegan mindsets. Some include dehydration and some do not, some include "faux meat" substitutes and some do not. If I would adopt this diet for good, I'd probably opt for the Non-Faux meats version, since while I'm sure some of it is just perfectly fine, it really doesn't appeal to me. It seems that the whole point of Raw Vegan food is it's unadulterated preparation and pure whole food flavor, and an added bonus for me is the ease in which it is prepared. The food is made, the food is eaten. That's it. Most recipes are written for the eater right now, so prep time is minimal and fast and there are none of those pesky leftovers to worry about.

I'm looking forward to some more good experimentation, since it is easier to focus on food flavor when you have a set list of rules to adhere to. Each specific flavor has no chance of getting lost in a simple preparation, and that is why most practicing Raw Vegans will insist upon seasonal and organic produce, and why I did for this Avocado Cucumber Soup. (Well, most of my seasonal produce did come from abroad... no avocado and citrus trees here in the Great Midwest!) The flavors were so bright and pronounced, and I truthfully did not miss any cooked component - save perhaps a nice slice of crusty bread alongside... I also think it is key to taste as you go. You can add or subtract to your liking.

Avocado Cucumber Soup
(adapted from Gone Raw submission by Blissful Mother)

Makes one large serving or two smaller (easily doubled):
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 c. water
  • handful of cilantro, most of the stems cut off
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • splash of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • aleppo pepper for garnish
  • cherry tomatoes for garnish
In a food pro, combine avocado, cucumber and pumpkin seeds and process until somewhat smooth. Scrape down sides. With motor running, add juices. Add spices and salt and pepper to taste, and pulse/process to combine. You may wish to add more spice or salt or pepper, but if you like it how it is, add the cilantro and process until smooth - adding water if desired to reach the soup consistency that best appeals to you. Lastly, add the sesame oil and pulse to combine.

Pour into a bowl, and garnish with cracked black pepper, aleppo pepper and cherry tomatoes.

Had I a nice fresh ear of sweet corn, it too would have been added raw, but May is not the time for corn in Wisconsin... I also nearly added a canned chipotle pepper, but stopped when I realized that it probably would not have been raw, since it was heat processed. If you are looking for a tasty, non-raw, variation, you could certainly add it, I'm going to next time.

I was surprised at the rich and full flavor of this soup, and indeed, it does seem decadent to eat a whole avocado in one sitting. I am continuing to learn and grow more excited about vegan cookery in general. While it is not raw, I'm going to borrow a food dehydrator from my Mom at the end of the month and experiment with sprouted grain breads. Another small smiley box from Amazon will be on my doorstep any day with this book that I am eagerly anticipating. Maybe I'll see if I can't knock back some of that gluten obsession for awhile - not that I will forget about my new Lahey Project tab. Meanwhile, I have another Raw Vegan Monday to challenge myself to and more websites to discover. Ahhh, the life of a Food Blogger!