I’ve been making meals and bits from cookbooks whenever I have the chance lately. It’s a very chill (and also necessary) break from my own cookbook stuff. Lots of Ina classics in the mix (obviously), but since Fall is the season of the cookbook release, there’s been good stuff from plenty of other new works. I generally cook by feel/whatever’s around/whatever urgency is grabbing at me, so the straightforward process of opening a book, measuring, and connecting the dots has been grounding.
A little while ago, Gena sent me her new book based on her Food52 column, The New Veganism (which I love). Food52 Vegan serves as a gentle, vegetable-focused guide to naturally incorporating vegan dishes into your everyday. The viewpoint is one of vibrant and curious inclusivity. It’s not an outright effort to recreate classic omnivorous foods with vegan ingredients, which is a huge relief. Vegan diets have moved far away from being a strictly fringe choice because of certain culinary efforts to embrace the plant kingdom’s diversity (and other non-food motivated reasons). Off the top of my head I can think of about a hundred naturally vegan foods that are way more satisfying/interesting than a veggie burger. Gena seems to get that, and showcases that understanding through a bunch of recipes I can get excited about: roasted ratatouille, eggplant tagine with millet, and parsnip fries with harissa mayonnaise to name a few.
I love that the book is a non-intimidating size of 60 recipes. And also that there are shots of food with glasses of wine in the mix! Sometimes the vegan thing gets lumped in with the highest-vibe-achievable thing, and embracing the in-between has always been my personal thing, so I appreciated that. The photographs are beautiful and relatable at the same time, which is important if you’re new to plant-based eating and want to get from A to B with minimal hesitation.
I made the gingered carrot bisque because I had a crisper FULL of carrots for some reason, freshly dug potatoes from my parents’ garden, and a few jars of homemade vegetable stock on hand as well. The ingredients/steps are minimal, but the soup is really interesting. Super creamy, naturally sweet, plenty of zing and depth from fresh ginger and a spoonful of curry powder, too. We had it with some fresh, seed-y sourdough for dinner and it was just the thing. I used a spicy curry powder, so it gave me that little flush in the cheeks that feels good on a cool day :)
Happy days and big hugs to you all. xo
Ginger Carrot Bisque Recipe
Reprinted with permission from Food52 Vegan, by Gena Hamshaw, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Print the recipe here!
Notes: I changed a couple things when I made up this recipe from the book. I’ve noted those changes in parentheses, but will also summarize here: I lacked celery, so replaced it with an equal amount of diced celery root (extra creaminess!). Gena’s recipe calls for a swirl of savoury cashew cream at the end, which sounds amazing. No raw cashews on hand though, so I made a basic little bowl of tahini cream for mine. I used half in the soup and then reserved the rest for garnish (stirring a little turmeric into half of it as well). Instructions/Ingredients for this are below!
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery (I used celery root)
1 (1 1/2 inch) piece of ginger, finely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 pounds carrots, chopped
1 small to medium russet potato, cut into large pieces (I used a large yukon gold)
1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/4 cup raw tahini
1/3 cup filtered water (+ extra if needed)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and ginger and sauté until the onion is tender and translucent, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the broth, carrots, potato, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Season everything with salt. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes.
Using an immersion blender (or using a regular blender and working in batches), blend until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot over low heat and cook, stirring often, until heated through.
In a small bowl, stir together the raw tahini, water, and salt to taste. It will seem chunky and weird at first, but keep at it until you have the consistency of coffee cream/half ‘n’ half. Add more water if necessary. Pour half of the tahini cream into the pot of soup and stir to incorporate.
With the remaining tahini cream, scrape half of it into a small bowl. Add the turmeric to the small bowl and stir to combine.
Serve the soup hot and garnish with swirls of the regular and turmeric tahini cream. Drag a paring knife through the swirls for a marble effect, if you like.