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Monday, April 27, 2009

Raw Cream of Asparagus Soup

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Yes, you read that right—raw!  This soup is completely uncooked, just made in a blender.  It’s not even heated up.  And don’t think I’m off my rocker, hehe.  Think cold soups and gazpacho! 

My husband and I have decided to incorporate healthier eating into our diets, in a couple of ways.  One, by adding one or two vegetarian meals per week, and two, by adding a couple of raw food recipes to our repertoire every week or so.  What are some benefits of eating raw foods?  Well, the obvious, of course—you’re  not cooking the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals out of the food.  Then there’s the fiber—that's an important benefit.  But so is feeling good about what you eat.

I’ll be the first person in line when someone’s grilling a steak, chicken, or a burger—I love meat.  But maybe I don’t want to eat it every single day.  Who says I have to?  No one, of course.  Maybe some of you are feeling the same way.  Especially in the summertime, when eating lighter and not heating up the kitchen sound like two really good things.  And eating lots of raw, locally grown and organic foods appeals to us right now.

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With these thoughts in mind, we went to Barnes and Noble last weekend, grabbed a bunch of raw (un)cookbooks off the shelf, grabbed a table in the cafe, and immersed ourselves in “uncooking.”   Some of the books were exactly what we expected.  Recipes were complicated, with three, four, or five separate components.  You “needed” a special blender, and a “must have” was a dehydrator.  Sure, the food looked amazing, but these recipes were no way to ease into a raw food lifestyle.  Not for us, anyway.

Two books stood out among all of the ones we looked at, though.  First, Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes, by Ani Phyo, and Everyday Raw, by Matthew Kenney.

See them both here, on Amazon:

 

Both of these books make adding raw foods to your diet easy and definitely not daunting.  The recipes are droolworthy and beautiful.  The ingredients aren’t hard to track down.  There  may be a few new ingredients you haven’t seen or heard of yet, but that’s what google is for, right?  And so far, I’ve had no trouble tracking down the few things I didn’t have in my pantry. 

In Everyday Raw, Matthew says you don’t even need a dehydrator, which I don’t have.  You can use your oven on it’s lowest setting, with the door propped open.  What’s the dehydrator for?  Well, it’s for raw breads, crackers, crusts—in other words, they’re dried, not heated and baked. 

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I’m going to try my hand at making raw bread from Ani’s book this week, and will keep you posted.  It’s for the Sun Burgers on Black Sesame Sunflower Bread that she’s enjoying on the cover of her book.  They look and sound incredible!  My husband and I figured that since we’re just starting out and testing the waters, we’d compromise with crusts and breads for the most part.  In other words, if we want raw pizza, we’ll make the healthiest pizza crust we can find, bake it, and then add raw toppings.  Same thing for tart and pie crusts, breads, etc.  As we get better at this, maybe we’ll invest in that dehydrator and see what we can do.  A side note—Ani’s tart and pie crusts are not dehydrated—just held together with dates and pressed into the pan. 

So far, Ani’s book seems to be the best place to start.  She rarely uses a dehydrator—very few of her recipes call for one, and we already know we can use our oven.  She also has a website, where you can see some of her recipes.

When we left the bookstore, we headed over to our local natural foods store.  It was fate.  They were serving samples of this raw soup.  Who can resist a free sample?  It was delicious—cool, creamy, fresh tasting, and had a little crunch from some fresh corn sprinkled over the top.  And guess what?  They had copies of the recipe, and everything to make it, right there in one place.  Of course we picked up everything to make it at home!

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This one’s very good for summer meals when you want a little bit of a starter.  Serve a small bowl or a pretty little cup of this to guests and I’m sure they’ll love it.  I don’t think I could sit and eat a whole bowl of this, though.  It’s amazingly creamy and rich for something that has no cream in it!  The creaminess comes from raw cashews blended right in, and an avocado.  There’s also coconut water in this.  Not coconut milk, but water.   That’s refreshing on it’s own!  And delicious, too.

Every single ingredient in this recipe, except for the raw cashews, can be found at my local grocery chain.  In fact, many of them were cheaper there than at the natural foods store.  It’s all trial and error.  Also—I think you could easily warm this soup up if you prefer! 

Raw Cream of Asparagus Soup

from A Market Natural Foods

Print this recipe here.

Makes 4 servings

1 bunch raw asparagus
1 ripe avocado
1 liter coconut water
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup fresh dill
juice of one lemon
1 tsp tamari
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 ear fresh corn, with corn removed

Add all ingredients except corn to blender.
(If it's too much to fit all at once, do it in two batches and mix together.)
Blend until smooth or desired texture.
Top with fresh corn and serve.

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Another benefit of raw cooking?  For the most part, it’s pretty quick.  This one was, anyway.  Keep an eye out for more recipes like this one, raw and uncooked.  But don’t worry, there’s still meat in the freezer, and bread in the oven, hehe.  Baby steps.

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33 comments:

Joy said...

Wow! Good for you. I started adding raw food into my diet, too, but not too much. I got really sick when I went beyond 50% raw. My doctor said that not all bodies can take raw food, and perhaps I'm one of them.

Risa said...

I love that you are trying to incorporate raw food into you diet. Keep us posted on how it affects your health.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Love this recipe Elle. I always find that most raw recipes you end up spending an awful lot of time to make them taste like cooked. I couldn't do the multiple stepped ones but this one looks great!

Maria said...

Looks good to me! Perfect soup for summer!

Dawn said...

I love raw foods and am slowly reading up on it. There was a time when I did do a long bout with raw foods and my body felt amazing.
So, this soup looks good, I love that you added corn too. Is there a raw gazpacho recipe? One of my fav soups for summer.

Nick said...

Looks delicious, although I've had my fill of asparagus lately. A group of us get together every Thursday or Friday for themed dinners and somehow there's always a lot of asparagus and the bathrooms wind up smelling terrible for a few hours.... Perhaps it's less potent when pureed...

Kristen said...

Wow Elle, this looks great! beautiful photographs. The idea of a raw food diet sound great when it is hot. I wonder how I would do during the winter when comfort usually comes pipping hot? I have tried a similar idea to this with cucumbers, I will have to give the asparagus a try!

Aggie said...

Oh this looks fantastic. I have been wanting to add more raw to my diet too...I'm not big on cold soups but not really sure why. This one is calling my name and will be perfect for our warm weather!

- bcgw. said...

Stunning photo! You got to love a photo that really makes you want to dig in.

giz said...

Impressive - the more I read about raw food, the more I like the whole concept. The soup looks so appetizing.

Lisa said...

I would like to add some raw foods into my diet and this is the perfect recipe to start with. Thanks!

Grace said...

good for you, elle! i think it sounds like a terrific soup, if a person likes asparagus. i particularly like the corn on top--always nice for a little chew. :)

kat said...

I bet the avocado adds a lot of creaminess too. I can see this would be perfect on a hot july night

Jeff said...

I use the oven trick to make jerky. I would like to invest in a dehydrator but the good ones can get pricey quick and I just do not think I would ever use it enough.

I love raw asparagus and can sit in the garden munching on it without a problem. That is the closest I have gotten to raw. Although it does seem to be getting a lot of momentum so I may have to head to the library and page through some book.

onlinepastrychef said...

This soup sounds wonderful! And rich--avocado and cashews?! Yowza! But I'd eat it anyway. I like that the cookbooks you found had approachable recipes with approachable ingredients. It seems like lots of these raw cookbooks focus a lot on making food look or taste like cooked food. What's the point of that, really? I think the food should be what it is--raw. But I'm still eating meat. And bread;)

Bill Ritchotte said...

I love cold raw soups like gaspacho. Mmm! Reminds me of Legal Seafood's cold soups.

Jessica said...

This looks so tasty! I love asparagus in all forms..especially soup!

lisaiscooking said...

Sounds like a great change, and I'm looking forward to following along! Your soup looks delicious. I made a raw cucumber, avocado, green onion soup a few weeks ago (didn't post it) and really enjoyed it.

Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

This looks like an awesome recipe for summer. We LOVE asparagus so it'll be an easy one to talk everyone in my family into.

justeatfood said...

Elle this is so inspiring! What a gorgeous soup. We haven't ever tried to eat raw although I can appreciate the benefits. Good for you! Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Annie said...

Sounds like a good idea to me... Eating raw every so often has to be a good thing!!

unconfidential cook said...

I'd love to put raw foods into our diets, and I'm going to try this...but not tell anyone. I bet I bet this recipe will do the trick.

Peter M said...

I'd give this a shot...a cold soup hits the spot on those hot days. Besides...it wouldn't sting as it drips through my nostrils after a good laugh!

applecrumbles said...

That is a great recipe! So unique. Great find and beautiful pictures.

Katie said...

I had a friend do the raw thing for a while she said it was the best she ever felt. I wish I could do it but I like my soup hot!

Kelly Cline said...

That looks sooo delicious and lovely!

Maggie said...

What a great idea! I just made an asparagus soup that wasn't perfect, but now I'm inspired to try yours.

I've been reading a raw food blog lately: http://www.choosingraw.com/ could be a nice source for more raw inspiration!

Elle said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I appreciate all of your comments. :)

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

Now, this is such a new idea for me. As good as it might be, I am not sure if I dare to take the first step! I applaud yours and your hubby's courage to kickstart a healthy diet!

Jamie said...

Raw asparagus? I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it! This soup looks flavordul and creamy and so delicious!

taste memory said...

looks delicious! congrats to easing into vibrant eating. its an awesome way to not only cleanse the body but you'll notice to cleanse your *palate* as well.

your soup looks fantastic elle ;-)

Kevin said...

I have not tried the raw food meals yet but this soup is really calling my name. Asparagus with avocado!

Dazy said...

My heart will rejoice after having this soup. I have tried this with little beans and carrots added. I can die for soup and will add this one to my collection.

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