Fresh Peas and Watercress soup with a drop of Cashew Cream

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It has been a while since my last recipe post, and as the daily rush of activities take control of my life I manage to snick in a moment to reflect on the cycle of nature and the dignity and beauty with which this summer season has graciously made way for a beautiful fall. My cooking energy has been going towards the preparation of our upcoming Oktoberfest in Amsterdam, which will be a celebration of the harvest time, in which my colleague Alexander and I will be cooking up a vegan storm, with some inspiration from the earthy cuisine of our German neighbours. More than imitating German meaty dishes it is my goal to use this traditional festival to inspire us and our guests to become even more creative with vegetables, and in a playful and subtle way to hint at some aspects of the traditional German foods; but my most important goal is to capture the celebratory earthy spirit of this century old celebration.
So, if you happen to be in the area and are in for a great festive time look us up here.
Aside from preparing the Oktoberfest I have also been doing lots of other things like thinking about peas and watercress, ehm…! I have been looking to make a soup that is creamy, appropriate for this season in terms of texture and taste, nevertheless fresh and inviting of what is to come, and the idea of combining these two gals has stayed with me and now I know why, they make a fantastic pair.
See for yourself, this is a wonderful combination of two elegant tastes which truly complement each other.

Fresh Peas and Watercress soup with a drop of Cashew Cream

1 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions finely diced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
about 3 medium size potatoes chopped
6 cups water
sea salt to taste
2 cups of fresh peas
3 big handfuls of watercress
a couple of oregano leaves
Black pepper

Рin a soup pan saut̩ onions and garlic in the olive oil
– add the potatoes and 1/2 of the water
– cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are well cooked
Y- add peas and cook for 10 minutes
– add the watercress and cook for 5 minutes
– add the oregano
– blend well with a hand blender or a blender
– serve in a nice bowl or glass with a drop of cashew cream and a dusting of black pepper

Cashew Cream
1 cup of soaked cashews
1 cup water
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt

-mix everything in the blender until totally blended and smooth

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Lady in Black

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Oh how good it feels to go back to my kitchen after days of being busy making lesson plans and grading tests for my seventh, eighth and ninth graders. Although I haven’t been as frequent with my blog posts as I had been I have not been totally neglecting my culinary obsession, since I have also been preparing and planning for the Pop-up Restaurant Amsterdam, which of course everyone has written down under October 5th in their calendars. This event will be great fun, we have very tasty dishes in the planning, great home brewed beer and a good share of live German Oktoberfest (dance) music. So please stop by if you happen to be in Amsterdam on this day.

Today’s recipe is Black Quinoa. I would really recommend that you give this mysteriously beautiful grain a try, most likely it will pleasantly surprise you. Not only is black quinoa as nutritious as its white counterpart, but it has a deliciously nutty taste and texture which is unique and perfect for pilaffs, salads and surely a bunch of other things which I am planning to discover in the future.
I opted to go easy on myself and not work too hard, actually for this recipe I didn’t work hard at all. But the result is this exotic, elegant, crunchy and super healthy tasty pilaff, which will “exotify” (as in making it exotic, I just added a new word to the English language) any meal of which it becomes part of.

Very important for the success of this dish is the fact that this morning I went to the farmer’s market and bought some succulent fresh vegetables, which made the end result embarrassingly easy, since it was merely a matter of inviting these characters to mingle with each other. You could use white or red quinoa for this dish, but really, black quinoa is worth the trip to the health food store.

Black Quinoa Pilaff
2 cups black quinoa
3 cups water
the juice of 1lemon
3 tbs olive oil
a pinch of salt
the corn kernels of 2 cobs blanched
a handful of flat leaf parsley
5 or 6 of the best pomodori you could possibly find cut in medium size pieces

-in a pan with a thick bottom cook the quinoa with water and a pinch of salt
-lower the flame when it begins to boil and use a flame deflector
-cook for about 20 minutes at low flame
-in a cup mix the lemon juice, olive oil with a pinch of salt
-place the quinoa in a dish and mix in the olive oil dressing
-add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently
-serve!

I served the black quinoa with tempeh sticks with mustard sauce, sauerkraut and lightly blanched greens

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