Apparently, several more people than just my aunts and 5 others read my first post. I know for a fact that at least 3 cousins read it too… and one of them is not even on my side!
Seriously, folks, I was so overwhelmed your wonderful and supportive response to my first post that I could not wait to share the next thing with you. And that next thing is going to be the first “official” recipe that I ever wrote- this beautiful creamy roasted red pepper soup! I thought it was appropriate since we are just starting out, don’t you agree? I’ve been cooking for a long time, but like most of us out there, my first recipes were from cookbooks, the internet, and my mother (usually written on the back of grocery receipts.)
I’m like my mother in that I can never leave any recipe alone and just follow instructions. Nope, I’ve gotta tweak it… leave this out, add that, substitute for something else. I usually do this in the name of health, but sometimes, just because I feel like it. I view cooking as not only a science, but also an art, and with that comes self-expression… but maybe that is only my justification for feeling compelled to fiddle with something.
Can anybody relate?
When I started to cook without a recipe at all, it felt so freeing that I never wrote anything down, just WHAM, get in the kitchen, get the food made, and BOOM, we’re eating! Nice!! Only two problems with that: 1) if it turned out great, I couldn’t repeat it, and 2) if it turned out bad, I might accidentally repeat it. Soooo I disciplined myself to write. Yup, it cost me time… and forced me to measure… and now I have a million scraps of paper in my kitchen drawer with recipes waiting to be put onto my online cookbook… but maybe I’ll just pass those onto my own daughters like my Ma did with her brownie recipe on the Safeway receipt.
But anyway, this creamy roasted red pepper soup is one of my first original recipes. It’s seriously delicious!! And seriously vegan!! Of course, it too has changed over the years… I can’t even leave my own recipes alone.
You can use bottled roasted red peppers, but why, when it’s so easy to roast your own. Just remove the seeds, put them face down on a baking sheet, and stick them in the oven (upper heating element on) for 20 minutes or so until the skin is black. Once they are cool, the skin slips right off. Then they are ready to use.
It seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this soup, but really, it’s just to layer the flavours. If you get everything out before you begin, I guarantee it will go quickly.
I love that the rich spiciness of this soup is offset by the smooth velvety-ness of a secret ingredient called soaked raw cashews. These little babies blend up just like thick cream (ok, ok, only in recipes… for ice cream topping you’re gonna have to use something different…) and are the secret ingredient in lots and lots of vegan food. You might as well just buy a big bag of them now. Cashews, unlike heavy cream, are low in saturated fat (the heart-clogging kind) and have no cholesterol. Plus they are packed with nutrients and fiber, how great is that??
When your soup has simmered and you’re ready to puree it, just drain the cashews and put them in the blender (I used my Vitamix) or food processor with a ladle or two of the soup. Put in just enough soup to keep the blades running.
Blend until it’s super creamy. Then add the rest of the soup and puree until smooth. The whole thing is done in less than an hour, including roasting the peppers.
As I was photographing the finished soup, I pulled out my Greek yogurt to dollop on top. I thought it would look nice and give a beautiful contrast to the orangey-red soup. But then it wouldn’t be vegan anymore, so I left it off.
However, please feel free to add it, because you know I will understand… I can never leave a recipe alone either.