Hot’n’Cold Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I am not sure what the weather is like where you live, but here it seems that it has a multiple personality disorder. Just as I had started taking out cozy wool sweaters, leggings and boots, here I am sitting in shorts and at-shirt. I am not complaining – personnaly I love this change in weather. Just when I thought I was going to completely flip my wardrobe from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter, I am giddy at the thought of wearing my favourite sundress one last time.

This soup recipe is the best for this kind schizophrenic climate: a roasted red pepper soup, that is just as good hot on a cold day or even cold for when the mercury rises one last time.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

  • 3 peppers
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tbsp miso shiro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch chili flakes

Begin by roasting peppers. I am not going to describe the roasting, resting and peeling process because I have already written it out for you here.

Slice off the top of the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and roast on the BBQ or in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400°F. What you are looking for is some caramelization happeningto the garlic cloves. Open up the aluminum foil to check to see if the garlic is tender and golden brown under the paper wrapping each clove. There are two ways of proceeding with removing roasted garlic from its paper wrapping. You can eithersqueeze out all the flesh into a bowl, but I find this way you get a lot of waste and mess. A bit more time consuming but works really well, is to take a pairing knife and remove each clove from it’s paper casing. I know it sounds tedious, but I swear it is better for extracting the roasted caramelized cloves.

The rest is beyond easy. For this soup recipe I recommend using about 3 cloves of roasted garlic (or 1 tbsp paste depending which method you chose above). Extra cloves can be pureed into a paste with olive oil or butter and used as a spread or to add to sauces. Keeps for a week in the fridge.

Combine the garlic, roasted red pepper, whole fresh tomato, miso shiro,water and chili flakes in a blender. Process until smooth.

Garnish with plain yogurt, croutons, olive oil, nuts or seeds, and depending on what Mother Nature has to offer that day serve cold or hot. Makes two servings.

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Salsa as easy as 1-2-3

In the last two, maybe even three years, I haven’t bought a single jar of pre-made salsa. Nothing tastes better than a homemade version and it is the simplest snack to put together. No cooking required, homemade salsa never ceases to impress and the combinations are endless.

At this time of year I always have tomatoes on hand. They are simply irresistible with their heirloom shapes, golden yellow and oranges, bright and captivating reds, which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. My heart skips a beat whenever I see them on display at the market, isles and bushels lining the rows of vendors. During the off season, I like using the small grape variety because they remain sweeter than the larger counterparts.

My basic salsa recipe is another way for me to use up some leftover vegetables in my fridge. Use this as a guide and have fun with it!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes
  • ½ diced cucumber, zucchini works well too
  • 1 tbsp to ¼ cup pepper, hot or sweet, or both
  • ¼ cup onions, use any variety you have on hand
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lemon juiced, or a vinegar of your choice
  • Something spicy like chilli flakes or hot sauce to taste
  • Some chopped fresh herbs, like cilantro, parsley, basil, or dried if in dire straights
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Spices
  • Salt and pepper

Begin by chopping, dicing and mincing all you fresh ingredients and combining them in a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt to help draw out some of the juices from the vegetables. Add your chosen chilli flavour, herbs, spices and olive oil. Mix well, taste and adjust your seasonings.

There is tons of room to pay around here, but here are some of my favourite spices and herbs combinations.

  • A classic salsa that reminds you ofMexico: cilantro, cumin and hot smoked paprika
  • Try mixing in different nuts and seeds: parsley, chopped pistachios or pumpkin seeds, hot chilli flakes
  • Or add extra sweetness with fresh fruit: mango, pineapple, kiwis, grapes, apples… all work well!

Cashew Cream Parfait

What better way to use seasonal berries and fruit than in a parfait. Once again we are keeping these fantastic ingredients in their simplest form possible. In today’s post, behold the tiny Quebec blueberry, ready to burst out their purple sweetness.

This parfait is raw and hits anyone’s sweet tooth. The first step and most complex step (if you can call it that), is to make the cashew cream. For this recipe you do need a blender that will be able to whip up the cashews and water into thick creamy mixture.

Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of raw coconut nectar (or agave or honey or maple syrup work well, adjust quantities to taste)
  • 1 pinch of sea salt

Making cashew cream is much like making nut milk, without the straining and with less water. You can choose to soak the cashews from 2 to 8 hours in filtered water, but if you need a dessert quickly then this recipe works just as well without the soaking process and rinsing.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until you have a smooth, thick and creamy mixture. The pinch of salt is what helps balance out the flavours. Give the mixture a taste, and adjust sweetness as desired. I usually start with only one tablespoon of sweetener and add more if needed. The cashew cream keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge.

You can use this cashew cream in so many different ways. When I have some on hand, I add a spoonful to smoothies to add sweetness and a creamy texture. It is also my base for my raw pie filling, to which I add ½ of coconut oil for extra richness and a cup of fresh fruit. Most of the time I keep some in a jar in the fridge for easy to assemble desserts, and that is exactly what I’m going to show you now with this parfait made with local blueberries from Quebec.

I recently got the chance to play around with the Flip camera and I put together this little video here. Okay, there is some background noise, no fade in or fade out, and the flow isn’t perfect…. But, for my first ever self-recorded video I am pretty excited!!!

Let me know what you think and if you like it let me know! In which case there will be more to come. =)

Last but not least, here is how you assemble a Raw Cashew Cream Blueberry Parfait!