I'm determined not to let a single squash blossom go to waste this summer. This is a recipe I've been looking forward to since I picked up Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen a few months ago. This soup is chock full of pumpkin blossoms from my brother and sister-in-law's garden, and garnished with some of my zucchini blossoms.
This recipe turned out great, and the handful of vegan replacement ingredients were excellent - I'm pretty sure most people would be surprised there's no dairy here. Almond milk and vegan chicken broth powder provide savory and creamy elements, along with a boiled potato - I blended the soup in the food processor halfway through, and the potato provides a silky texture when blended. Sweet corn, diced zucchini, and roasted poblano pepper give the soup additional heartiness.
Bayless's recipe calls for a half cup of cream, so I used soaked and well-blended raw cashews. Unless you have a really great blender, this is the only time-consuming part. After scraping the sides a few times, and adding just enough liquid to make a cream, soaked and blended cashews make a nice cream substitute.
Of course, the majority of vegan food doesn't need dairy or meat stand-ins to achieve delicious flavor. That's why summer is the perfect time for the two Donna Klein cookbooks in my collection - The Meditteranean Vegan Kitchen, and Vegan Italiano. In both books, Klein builds awesome vegan dishes around fruits, veggies, fresh herbs, seeds, grains, and nuts, without using dairy or meat replacements to mimic anything. I turn to these books often this time of year, because her approach really lets fresh ingredients play the starring role. Above is one of my favorite ways to prepare fresh greens - spinach with raisins and walnuts. This recipe works well with all kinds of greens - kale, chard, collards, etc.
This is another Donna Klein recipe - grape tomatoes from my garden, sauteed in olive oil just until the skins start to wrinkle, then tossed while hot with red basil, sweet green basil, cilantro, and Italian parsley. As much as I love snacking on tomatoes right from the vine, this tastes even better.