Every food blogger eventually reaches the point in her life where she begins to feel extreme blender jealousy. For me, it began a few months back when I was berating my cheap blender for being completely useless. It was high time I got myself a sophisticated blender, I reasoned. So I got in touch with Blendtec, the company that makes the most luxurious blenders, and they graciously offered to aid this unfortunate food blogger.
Blendtec decided to let me give one of their designer series blenders—the most beautiful of all expensive blenders—away to one fortunate reader in addition to sending me one. This is the best I can offer; I wish I could do an Oprah and hand out blenders to everyone.
Guys, this new mixer is fantastic. So far, I’ve used it to create avocado salsa verde, coconut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew milk, and this very creamy vegan soup (more on the soup in a moment).
I used the blender to make the coconut butter first, and it was amazing. With this new blender, I was able to complete the task that took me 15 minutes with my old KitchenAid food processor without pausing to scrape the sides once. I may decide to replace my old food processor with my new blender. I get excited just thinking of all the homemade hummus, nut butter, and pesto we will create.
The fact that these new blenders don’t have any knobs to catch drips (I’m sloppy) or seem cluttered on the counter may be my favorite feature about them (I hate clutter). When not in use, the blender has a gorgeously confusing appearance thanks to a computerized touch interface. With a moist rag, cleaning is so simple. The jars are constructed of BPA-free plastic, and it is also long-lasting and created in the USA.
I should forewarn you, my lovely potential blender winner, that it’s possible that you won’t know which hue to choose. Black and cream-colored champagne, like mine? I thought about my decision for some time. I wanted a hue that would go well with both my dream kitchen, which would have a large white subway tile backsplash and a gigantic dishwasher, as well as my existing tiny, dishwasher-less, crooked cabinet kitchen. The color champagne struck me as being nice and neutral, and I believe it will look lovely in my future kitchen.
But maybe you already have a fancy blender. Maybe you want to hear about some soup you can make with it! I came across this one when I was flipping through Martha Stewart Living’s latest cookbook, Meatless. The cookbook is full of creative, easy vegetarian dishes that are right up my alley. I couldn’t decide what to cook first, but the title of this spicy, hearty soup captured my attention with the words “dried cherries” in the title. I adore tart dried cherries and the idea of incorporating them in a savory soup intrigued me. At first bite, I thought it was a bit of a funny combination, but after the flavors had a chance to meld, I really loved the addition.
Also read: Curried Cauliflower Soup
Out of curiosity (read: I can’t stop playing with my new blender), I decided to try puréeing a bowl of soup after making it according to the cookbook’s directions. Though it produced a lusciously creamy bisque, my taste tester and I agreed that it was better when it retained some of the distinct textures and flavors of the ingredients. Bottom line: strain out some of the vegetables before pouring the rest in your blender as stated in the recipe below. It’s worth the extra trouble and the soup comes together quickly regardless.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 piece (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (¼ cup)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk (reduced fat or regular), divided
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped tart dried cherries or cranberries
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems, plus 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves for garnish
- Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped ginger, garlic, shallot and carrots. Sprinkle a dash of the salt over the vegetables and cook until softened, stirring often, about 7 minutes.
- Add curry powder and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rest of the salt, ½ cup of the coconut milk, the water and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Pass 2 cups of soup through a fine sieve into a bowl to separate the solids from the liquids. Reserve the solids for later and return the strained liquid to the pot of soup.
- Let the soup cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender until smooth. You may need to do this in batches as you do not want to fill the blender jar more than halfway. If necessary, reheat soup after blending, then stir in the reserved solids.
- Reserve some cherries for garnish and stir the remaining into the soup, along with the cilantro stems. Ladle soup into 4 bowls and swirl in remaining ¼ cup coconut milk (1 tablespoon coconut milk per bowl). Garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves. This soup is great with a side of lightly toasted whole wheat naan.