Sunday, September 13, 2009

By Popular Request--Creamy Mushroom Almond Soup

My most recent culinary conquest was inspired by one of the many soups originated by vegan cooking goddess Ely Pugh at first at the Flaming Ice Cube and now The Bread Chef in Boardman, Ohio. (If you are a health-conscious individual living in the Youngstown area and have never experienced Ely's soups, your life is in seriously need of some vegan love.)

In general, I am loathe to go too out of my way when it comes to meal planning. I am loathe to buy an item specifically for a dish unless I can be certain to find additional uses for it in the case of leftovers.

It was quite extraordinary, then, when I discovered I not only had a substantial portion of baby bella mushrooms as well as a bag of raw almonds. And while soup has always been rather shaky ground for me, I was determined to persevere.

So I went about my usual method of finding recipes--I did a google search of listing the ingredients I wanted to use and then surveyed the results to find a recipe that would allow me to buy the fewest additional ingredients. I had no luck, however, and the solution ended up coming from Keri Harmicar after I resorted to a facebook call for help.

And now, without further ado, my version of Creamy Mushroom Almond Soup:

(a quick note about measurements: I was mainly eyeballing while I made this, so these ratios are by no means exact. Feel free to add or subtract elements to reach your desired flavor and consistency.)

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp tarragon, or to taste
1/2 tsp thyme, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup vegetable broth (I made mine with vegetarian bouillon dissolved in hot water)

Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, and spices, and cook till veggies are tender (and remember Julia Child's golden rule: don't crowd the mushrooms!)

Meanwhile, grind almonds to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, food processor, or magic bullet (you can probably use a blender as well, but I find them inefficient for quantities this small.)

Next combine almonds and veggies along with broth in blending contraption of your choice. Blend until smooth. Garnish with tarragon and an almond.

Serves: 1 or 2, depending on your appetite.

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