Sunday, March 22, 2009

The beauty of blending

I went for a long run today since the weather made it hard to stay inside. When I got back I decided to make a smoothie. 

Almond milk* (vanilla unsweetened)
Mixed berries (frozen)
Dash of honey

*Almond milk is a great alternative for those that are vegan, sensitive to lactose or maybe just dislike soy.

I bought a hand immersion blender a month or so ago, and have put it to great use the past few days. Its expanded my cooking vocabulary. Now I can include the words: sauces, soups, dips, spreads, & smoothies.

I made a sweet potato soup earlier this weekend, courtesy of my friend Kelly. It was delicious. It was lighter than I expected a sweet potato soup to be, almost carrot-like.

Kelly's recipe
1 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 tbsp oil
3 medium onions, medium dice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch celery, medium dice
2 carrots, medium dice
1.5 tsp ancho chili pepper
2 tsps grated ginger
8 cups water or vegetable stock
~3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 small dried chipotle pepper (or 1/2 if fresh)
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
pumpkin seeds, toasted

If using cumin seeds, toast them in a pot over medium heat until they brown. Add oil, raise heat to medium-high. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots. Cook without stirring until the veggies start to brown (this takes patience & restraint!) When they've begun to brown, add ancho chili pepper, ginger & ground cumin. Cook until a heady aroma arises from the pot & the vegetables are soft.

Add the stock and sweet potatoes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft (about 40 minutes). Taste the soup, add the chipotle pepper. (Remember: The heat of a chipotle pepper will continue to develop over the next day or so)

Let the soup cool (*hand immersion blender is great here) before you puree it. You can ladle spoonfuls into a bowl to add back into the stock so the soup is chunkier. Add the lemon or lime juice before you puree the soup. Taste again to test the heat of the chipotle pepper, add more if you'd like. Cane sugar can be added to lower the heat of the pepper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds on the stovetop or a toaster oven. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds. Kelly likes her soup over quinoa or brown rice (gluten-free option). I've eaten several bowls with toast this weekend. 

Note: I didn't have chipotle peppers, so I used cayenne pepper & a dash of curry to replace it. It still tasted great!


ChickPea said...

Hi! Thanks for commenting on my blog! I have used almond milk as a base in my smoothies before but found it too thin in consistency. I have never tried coconut yogurt (period!), but I would love to give it a try sometime. Any recommended flavors?

Unknown said...

I used plain coconut milk yogurt with mango, strawberries and a splash of orange-mango juice! They make several fruit flavors with the coconut milk, but I haven't tried any yet.