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OMG-vegan butternut queso

OMG-vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmessOMG-vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmesssquash tangle // @thefirstmesspre-roast butternut // @thefirstmesssecret weapons // @thefirstmess
On the surface, this glow-y orange business is a trashier outing than we’re all used to here, but a craving’s a craving and OOOOH. Em. Gee. This one turned out pretty great. The “queso” itself is bonafide wholesome–the application of it determines the trash factor for real. The first thing you have to do when you fix up a vegan nacho cheese-y situation, is let go of any pre-conceived notions/misguided hopes that your creation will taste like a vat of dairy thickened with that good old butter (more dairy) + white flour roux. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but taking vegetables and health food staples, but then also hoping for cheese is very bad math.

I’ve had entirely cashew-based versions of vegan nacho cheese before and loved it every time, but I do find it rich. A cashew-based anything is really tasty, but the fattiness sometimes makes for a flat-seeming overall flavour. Then I thought of butternut squash pasta sauce and how naturally creamy it is (and also how undeniably orange it is). And then I went into the backyard to check on my gnarly and twisted up butternut vines. The little squashes still aren’t ready, but they are steadily making a fine mess in a hidden corner of my vegetable garden. I wound up buying one at the store solely for this purpose. So!

My point with hippie nacho cheese-making: it can’t just be all the fatty and rich plant-based things blended together. People obsess over cheese because of umami characteristics (among other reasons)–the fifth taste that hints at a crucial presence of sneaky-satisfying glutamates in foods. It’s pleasantly savoury in a way that may not be immediately apparent. Also, addicting. Before you even begin to replicate a food like queso with vegan considerations, you’ve got to strategize on how to make it really work. It’s key to remember that all-out replication might not be an appropriate end goal. I was just aiming for a squash-y, lightly cheese-y and spicy sauce to eat with nachos (a woman can dream, right?).

I roast the butternut squash to get some caramelization, but not too much. You need the moisture for a lush consistency. I sauté shallots and jalapeño down to almost paste-like consistency, just to fully develop the sugars in the shallots and to tame the bite of the jalapeño. Then I went in with some of my pantry stock, more specifically items that had natural umami qualities: tamari, miso, and dijon mustard. These add-ins help to strike out the predominantly sweet flavour of the squash. The broth I used to thin the mixture was rich with shiiitake mushrooms–another savoury pal of ours. The nutritional yeast is the more obviously cheese-y flavoured (+ Vitamin B12-rich) component. If you’re hesitant to buy it only for this, I urge you to try it sprinkled and mashed into avocado toast. A final addition of finely minced pickled jalapeños really balanced everything out for me.

From here, you can go all trashy nacho with the salty toppings and beer like me (salt yaaaay) (but also, I used cilantro flowers so maybe this is more delicately refined than I had previously thought?!), or you could sensibly pour it over some roasted vegetables and brown rice, or something. I’m trying leftovers on roasted cauliflower tomorrow. Anyway, I’m on my way to a food blogger event and a much-needed break in Pennsylvania this week. Catch ya on the Instagrams + big, cheese-y love to you all :)

scooped // @thefirstmessingredients for vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmessOMG-vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmessOMG-vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmessOMG-vegan butternut queso // @thefirstmess

OMG-vegan butternut queso recipe
serves:
makes about 3-ish cups
notes:
All the little add-ins like dijon, garlic, cumin, and hot pepper can easily be adjusted for quantities that suit your taste–I did a lot of adjusting and re-blending before I got mine the way I wanted it. Just make sure you salt the mix adequately and deeefinitely use the nutritional yeast, babes ;) Also, a hot tip if you forget to soak the nuts/seeds: simmer them in a small pot of water for 10 minutes to speed up the softening.

1 small-medium butternut squash
olive oil
salt + pepper
1 large shallot, fine dice
1 jalapeño, fine dice (use seeds if you like it hot)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup of raw cashews/pine nuts/ sunflower seeds, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cloves of garlic, peeled + rough chopped
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp light miso
vegetable stock (to get the blender going)
squeeze of lime juice OR splash of pickled jalapeño brine
1/4 cup minced pickled jalapeños

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Cut the squash down the middle, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Rub the flesh of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves, cut side down, onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Slide the tray into the oven and roast until squash is tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Let squash cool slightly.

While squash roasts, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Pour a good bit of oil into the pan and add the diced shallots. Stir them about and cook until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the diced jalapeno and cumin to the pan and stir. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are very soft and have taken on a sort of dry-paste consistency, about 7-10 minutes, lowering heat if necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Scoop the cooked squash flesh into a blender pitcher. Discard squash peels. To the blender, add the soaked nuts/seeds, garlic, nutritional yeast, dijon, tamari, miso, a tablespoon or so of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add enough vegetable stock to the blender to get everything moving. Gradually bring the blender speed to high and blend the mixture until you have a smooth purée. Add the sauteed mixture of shallots and jalapeno to the blender and blend mixture until smooth again. Taste the queso at this point and re-season, add lime juice/jalapeno brine etc. to your liking. You can also add vegetable stock to achieve your desired viscosity.

To serve, heat the queso in a small saucepan over medium. Once you get some bubbles coming through, serve it up nacho-style, over roasted vegetables, with pasta, or any other way you can dream up.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar24/09/2014 - 4:10 am

This queso is straight up dreamy!! So creative!

valentina - sweet kabocha24/09/2014 - 4:35 am

This seems so much delicious! Are pickled jalapeños essential? In Italy we haven’t this kind of products :)

Laura Wright24/09/2014 - 7:13 am

Hey Valentina! I wouldn’t say it’s totally necessary. Maybe if you make it, just try to find a bigger jalapeño pepper and use a bit of extra lime juice when you’re blending it all up.
xo Laura

Katie @ Whole Nourishment24/09/2014 - 7:25 am

Butternut squash queso!! Wow, I love it. I’ve had a pasta cheese sauce based on butternut so I can imagine this is delicious. And though I’ve had some good cashew-based sauces, I completely agree they can be flat sometimes, and that’s why this sounds like the best reinvention, ever!

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)24/09/2014 - 7:29 am

Looks insane (the good kind), but it was the stellar .gif placement that won me over.

Dillon24/09/2014 - 8:39 am

OMG is right. This is creative genius right here. Can’t wait to try…

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth24/09/2014 - 9:01 am

If this tastes anywhere near as good as it looks, it’s a winner. I haven’t been able to make a vegan cheese successfully yet, so I definitely want to give recipe a try!

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan24/09/2014 - 9:24 am

Ohhh lawd I am allll over this!! You are a genius Laura!

Isadora @ She Likes Food24/09/2014 - 9:58 am

Oh my gosh, you just combined two of my favorite things: butternut squash and nachos!! These nachos and that sauce look so amazing and I want to put that sauce on all the things :)

Caitlin24/09/2014 - 10:50 am

love your eloquent write up on this omg butternut squash cheese. it looks like everything and more a vegan cheese should be. also, you are queen of the gifs. ps- where in pennsylvania are you staying? i live near philly.

Nik@ABrownTable24/09/2014 - 10:55 am

You’re a genius! The texture and color look perfect, I’m going to give this a shot soon, I know a few people that would love to try this.

lynsey24/09/2014 - 11:21 am

OMG yes… I love that this doesn’t have cashews. Not that I don’t love cashews, but they are kind of in a lot of things like this and this switch up is so wonderful. The colour too….. just one more OMG. xo

Lindsey24/09/2014 - 11:26 am

i always notice the butternut mac & cheese recipes out there and think how would you cut the sweetness?! salt on its own can’t do it, so the fifth taste makes so much sense, laura! a perfect way i’m sure to make it all come together like a proper cheesy dish! have fun in PA!

Millie l Add A Little24/09/2014 - 11:39 am

This looks ridiculously tasty Laura!!! Yummy!

Sophie24/09/2014 - 12:41 pm

OH ho hohoho. This is so bitchin, Laura! Look at that consistency! That color! I love how you considered all the flavor profiles and how to achieve them, it must be insanely delicious. Dang! Although I do eat cheese, I am definitely going to try this — for health, and for my vegan/DF pals. What a treat! I LOVE YOU FOR THIS. And for all the gifs today!

michelle24/09/2014 - 1:21 pm

Laura, pretty please open a vegan restaurant!!!!
Another inventive, healthy and gorgeous recipe.

jaime // the briny24/09/2014 - 1:53 pm

Laura, I so admire the way you communicate, both through word and through your beautiful photographs. your idea + recipe is brilliant, and I love all this talk about umami; it makes me really think about how I can pair tastes and play with flavors and ingredients in general. you are an inspiration!

Laura Wright24/09/2014 - 2:19 pm

Hey Caitlin! We’re going to be in the area of Bethlehem Pennsylvania. I have no clue what the geographical relation to Philly is there–just a point B programmed into my GPS at this point ;) Wish I was going to be around longer so we could have a little coffee hang.
-L

J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats24/09/2014 - 2:55 pm

Not sure what kind of sorcery and magic is at your disposal but I think you just convinced me to buy nutritional yeast O_O

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence24/09/2014 - 7:44 pm

Uhhhh, this looks pretty incredible. I’m not vegan, buuuuut I really want to try this recipe out. So creative!

kristie @ birchandwild.com25/09/2014 - 10:55 am

Oh.my. this sauce looks amazing. and these nachos remind me of a 27 ingredient nacho i had at a vegetarian restaurant in banff. they were amazing, but they didn’t have an amazingly colorful sauce like this!

Pat25/09/2014 - 11:54 am

Valentina, what about trying pickled pepperoncini peppers?

Heather25/09/2014 - 12:11 pm

This looks amazing! Reminds me I need to post the tex-mex hummus I make that keeps me from craving queso dip!

renee (will frolic for food)26/09/2014 - 11:18 am

holy mother of nacho cheese. the vegan cheese gods obviously shone down on your butternut squash baking brain because THIS. good god. me and fiancee (both dairy intolerant and all about the nooch) are going to be trashy nacho-fying this butternut queso recipe all the way. pile it up baby!!! thanks for developing this beauty!

Christine26/09/2014 - 12:39 pm

I can’t wait to make this – queso dip is one of those recurring cravings that I haven’t really satisfied since switching to a dairy-free diet. And with all the nacho fixings? Amazing!

[…] not only created what appears to be a spot-on vegan butternut queso, but she accompanied the recipe with insights and glimpses into her process which get my mind […]

Karishma26/09/2014 - 5:12 pm

being lactose intolerant, i always love tasty alternatives! this looks so gooood!

[…] vegan butternut queso. […]

SouthernSpoon27/09/2014 - 8:15 am

Delicious~ yet another use for butternut, love it. My lactose-intolerant sister-in-law is going to flip over these.

Emily @ Sweets and Beets27/09/2014 - 6:41 pm

That’s awesome. What a great idea!!

Baby June28/09/2014 - 8:49 am

Yessss! That looks incredible! I will definitely have to try this sometime this season, love love love that it is vegan :)

Elenore28/09/2014 - 3:36 pm

Yeeeeessss! I love a good butternut mac’n cheese but this?! I mean yeah. OMG!

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures28/09/2014 - 8:29 pm

Uh – you are a genius! Seriously – your creativity with both your recipes and photographs blow me away every time! PS Have a great tip! Looks like a blast!

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño30/09/2014 - 5:33 pm

This is no joke!! Brilliant idea!

Meredith01/10/2014 - 1:25 pm

Your pictures are always so beautiful!!! I will certainly have to try this soon now that the temperature is dropping a little. Have fun in PA!

Kris01/10/2014 - 5:10 pm

This is totally my dinner on Friday night. OMG can’t wait!

Steve Lassoff01/10/2014 - 11:03 pm

These look so good! We will share these on Pinterest.

[…] Butternut squash queso… are you kidding me? YUM! […]

[…] the biggest squash fan, so I’m always looking for unique squash recipes. I saw Laura’s OMG-Vegan Butternut Queso and knew I had to try it. It was so good! You definitely can’t skip the pickled jalapeño […]

[…] don’t think you need to be vegan to drool over this butternut queso. And now I want […]

angela brown15/10/2014 - 5:16 pm

Oh my gosh, this is genius! Such an awesome idea. I plan to eat a (giant) batch of this over the weekend! Thanks for sharing. Also, beautiful pics! – angela :)

michelle17/10/2014 - 2:27 pm

Soley upon your recommendation, I bought Green Kitchen Travels. The photos are in fact gorgeous and the food does look delicious. But in my opinion, your food is even more elevated and interesting. The flavor combinations and mix of ingredients in your work is just downright fantastic. I have made a ton of your recipes and every one has been delicious. You have opened up door to food I would have never tried be it for your recipes. We need more awesome female chefs. Especially those cooking vegan and whole foods. I sincerely hope that you will follow up on your obvious talents. Open a restaurant, start a kickstarter to create a food truck…Here in NYC there is always a line down the block at the Cinnamon Snail food truck. Laura, go for it!

Lora18/10/2014 - 9:32 am

This looks like a great recipe and I am going to give it a try tomorrow. Question though… what do you mean by trash?

Laura Wright18/10/2014 - 12:13 pm

Hi Lora, I think when I said “trashy” I was just recalling those crazy movie theatre/baseball game nachos with the radioactive-looking cheese goo on top. Nothing too serious ;)
-L

[…] OMG. Need to make this STAT. […]

really good tomato soup

really good, really easy tomato soup // @thefirstmessreally good, really easy tomato soup // @thefirstmesshomegrown // @thefirstmessoutside my door // @thefirstmesstomato centrepiece // @thefirstmessjuicy, deep red, summer // @thefirstmess

I’m a lover of intentional productivity, but I really can’t stand life hacks. I mean some of the little ones are useful, (while some are just crazy talk for real) but I’m talking about the ones with dedicated books and sites to match. Hack your work week, hack your diet, hack your sleep patterns, hack your marriage?! When I think of hacks, I think of quick solutions, dull/inauthentic persons, reckless use of sharp objects, and barely getting by–as in “hacking it.” Alternatively put: not the kind of forces I want in my life.

But that “work smarter, not harder” thing seems to be thrown my way a lot, whether I’m cutting lime wedges at work or filing papers and bills for freelance endeavours. It’s a little tidbit of advice that always seems to be within earshot from outside. I’m largely motivated by curiosity and personal or communal growth. I can’t help but take the long way around because getting lost in the journey is one of the cool things about being interested in something (maybe not so much when you’re cutting limes, but you know what I mean). Devoting your time, your being, taking some necessary space, practicing, and then giving something your full attention doesn’t always get the job done quickly, but bonus: you get to feel like a real person finding their way.

A present and inspired life is one that hits obstacles and doesn’t always have a two minute/3 step solution involving a re-purposed towel rack or simplistic mantra you can tell yourself over and over again to make something bearable/forgettable. In my short (but telling) research on this subject, I read a tip in a 30 Days to A Better Relationship life hack that went something like “Always assume the best about your significant other.”  What about just ENGAGING your partner with frequency so that you never have to assume anything? (this same article suggested a particular number of hugs to administer throughout the day as well, soooo there’s that.) UGH to hacks and the internet. Who else could use a frolic in the grass and a waffle right about now?

We’re not going to hack soup today. We’re going to slow roast tomatoes for over an hour and we’re going to purée them with cashews that we mindfully soaked beforehand. And it’s going to be the creamiest, most comforting and nourishing bowl of tomato soup. It’ll take time, but it’s mostly inactive, so you can watch an episode of Breaking Bad or read a book or something while it’s all happening. There’s a lot of recipes like this available online and in cookbooks, but I’ve already made this exact formulation a couple times, and I think that always counts for something as far as sharing goes. We had a rather cool snap over here, which made for some slowly decaying tomato plants and an urgency to get the fruits picked and preserved in some form or another–basically the best possible timing for a cozy, homemade tomato soup. To slower days, all :)

out back garden // @thefirstmesscooling off // @thefirstmessjuicy // @thefirstmessfield to soup // @thefirstmessaccompaniments // @thefirstmessreally good, really easy tomato soup // @thefirstmessreally good, really easy tomato soup // @thefirstmess

creamy vegan tomato soup recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: If you don’t have cashews/forgot to soak them, feel free to use some full fat coconut milk instead–about a 1/2 cup. This will change the flavour a bit, but you could totally go with it and roast the tomatoes with some cumin and coriander seeds to balance the flavours out.

4-ish pounds of tomatoes (I mixed my varieties up for maximum flavour, but also because that’s what I had)
3 shallots, peeled
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from stems
olive oil
salt + pepper
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2hours + drained
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup basil leaves, packed
2-3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut any large tomatoes into quarters. Cut medium Tomatoes into halves and leave any cherry or grape tomatoes whole. Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet with any cut sides facing up. Cut peeled shallots into quarters and nestle amongst tomatoes. Stick garlic cloves into juicy spots of tomatoes or nestle them between cut tomatoes like the shallots (just to avoid burnt + bitter garlic).

Scatter thyme leaves on top of tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil on top of everything, using no more than 1-2 tablespoons. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for about an hour, or until the tomatoes have shrivelled up a bit and the shallots are soft. Let cool slightly.

In batches, blend the roasted tomatoes with the soaked cashews, tomato paste, basil, and vegetable stock until you have a smooth purée. Pour blended soup into a large pot. Once you’ve blended everything, including the accumulated juices in the baking sheet, add the balsamic vinegar to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, check it for seasoning + adjust, and serve hot with extra basil and olive oil drizzles.

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valentina - sweet kabocha17/09/2014 - 4:50 am

I made something similar 2 weeks ago (http://sweetkabocha.com/last-tomatoes/) ^_^ I used cashew for a basil cream to add as topping, but I’m sure that your soup is so creamy with cashews blended in it!

RB17/09/2014 - 6:02 am

If this sounds delicious at 6 a.m., imagine how it will taste this fall weekend.
Doing it.

Betty Bake17/09/2014 - 6:31 am

loved the talk about life hacking! it made me smile and laugh – Im so with you, I life intentionally and enjoy the journey

high five and hugs… (loved your writing)

enjoying the journey

Betty Bake

Katie @ Whole Nourishment17/09/2014 - 7:05 am

I agree, a present and inspired life doesn’t mean everything is perfect or we have the perfect way to deal with things. For me it’s more about learning to let things be the way they are and doing my best to accept them and move/adjust with them instead of fighting against. It’s a hard lesson to learn but so glad to know I’m not alone. And this roasted tomato soup looks amazing, especially with the chickpeas. Great fall transition soup. :)

Patti17/09/2014 - 8:12 am

Oh my goodness! This has to be the most beautiful post on tomato soup if ever there was one! I am completely inspired with the photos, recipe and message :) Thank you.

Emma Galloway17/09/2014 - 8:25 am

Those are some damn fine looking tomatoes Miss Laura!!! Beautiful.

ana @ eats and shoots17/09/2014 - 8:28 am

Those pictures look so amazing! I love your posts!
Oh, and one day I hope I’ll have a garden that is half as beautiful as yours :-)

Okay, I have to be honest, I haven’t read every word of this post yet, but your photography is AMAZING. So refreshing and unique from almost any other food blog–I literally race over here when I get a notification of a new post in email. I love that all your shots are different and not 7 different angles on the same setup. Beautiful!

sue obryan17/09/2014 - 8:50 am

I absolutely am in love with the 5th and 6th photographs, as well as the shot of the parchment paper after you have removed the tomatoes. I have to tell you, I read a metric ton of food blogs that are all really photographed and written very well, but I must say yours really stands out and this post is a perfect example. Oh, and I’m sure the soup is delicious!!! :)

this whole set of photos tell such a lovely story. i also love the idea of blending in cashews to make the soup creamy… i guess it’s a bit like thickening curry sauce.

jodi17/09/2014 - 9:34 am

These photos, Laura. So good. I’m home back in Canada for a few weeks and together with this gorgeous soup who have capture September here perfectly. Can’t wait to get back to my kitchen to try it, avo toast on the side always! x

Ashley17/09/2014 - 9:38 am

Absolute tomato soup beauty! Just lovely. {THESE PHOTOS} And yes, waffles. I always have to click on every single link you make because they’re just too good. Also, next weekend…I think 6 forced hugs per day will be appropriate. xo

shanna mallon17/09/2014 - 9:54 am

I love efficiency, I mean, I looooooove efficiency and hate wasting time waiting for something and will always look for “smarter not harder,” so I am the perfect audience for those quick tips and fast solutions, but even I have to admit that feeling like a person can sometimes get lost in that super speedy process and feeling like a person (and making other people feel like persons) is not a thing worth losing. We’re remodeling a house we just bought (I know you can relate to this and ps the pictures of your kitchen/dining area here are gooorgeous) and while we are doing the big things just this month so we can move in, even that short one month involves lots of sloooow projects. Like pulling down a wallpaper border in four separate days (!!!) or ripping up linoleum side by side with Tim drenched in sweat and working our butts off but, strangely, loving it. I painted one fireplace three times. It was in the first few days of owning the house and the longness of the process almost broke me. But then I had this flash of “one brick at a time!” and I swear it changed everything. I think that’s kind of what you’re saying here. One batch of tomatoes at a time. Step by step. There’s beauty in it.

kristie @ birchandwild.com17/09/2014 - 10:12 am

This is the lunch of my dreams. Seriously stunning photos here. Wow. And it is vegan? Yes!

Nik@ABrownTable17/09/2014 - 10:40 am

When you shared the picture of those tomatoes on Instagram, I was blown away. So many gorgeous colors and types. The tomato soup looks pretty delicious and if tomatoes were grown year round, I’d eat this daily :)

Corey17/09/2014 - 10:40 am

I have about 6 gallons of tomatoes (not an exaggeration. Will this soup freeze well? I’d love to make it now and eat it later this winter!

lynsey17/09/2014 - 10:40 am

I am beyond excited to seriously settle into fall and cozy up to a soup like this. I am just writing an article on slowing down, and this was the perfect reinforcement for it. Beautiful as always! xo

Sam @ PancakeWarriors17/09/2014 - 10:46 am

This is beautiful and I have about 4 lbs of tomatoes needing a home. This will be their fate! Amazing photos

Caitlin17/09/2014 - 11:20 am

i love the way you think and couldn’t agree more. i love slow roasted tomatoes. they are like candy.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth17/09/2014 - 11:48 am

Amen, sister! I completely agree with your opnions about “hacking.” I love this soup and your photo of it in a big mug – that’s exactly how my mom used to serve us tomato soup as kids.

tanya17/09/2014 - 12:55 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on lifehacks. I’ve been feeling vaguely uneasy about those things for a long time and you expressed it for me so perfectly here. Plus, can’t wait to try the soup recipe!

Sherrie | With Food + Love17/09/2014 - 1:20 pm

I like your style. To long, slow, days full of soul soothing soup.

lisa17/09/2014 - 1:23 pm

laura, this recipe is gorgeous, and all the pictures are so damn wonderful. it was a pleasure to read it!

Ashlae17/09/2014 - 1:28 pm

Life hacks are for bitches. I SAID IT. But I’m only being a liiiiittle serious. Your garden is sexy. This soup looks baller. Can’t wait to slow roast some ‘maters once the weather cools down.

Eileen17/09/2014 - 3:54 pm

You have such a beautiful garden — and just check out that bounty of tomatoes! I love it. Also, now I’m wondering why I have never thought to make a cream of tomato soup with cashews before. Such a good idea.

Grace17/09/2014 - 3:56 pm

So warm and inviting. The pictures, like you’ve invited me into your home as a friend – this soup, so cozy and comforting. I want to hangout and slow cook with you.

Meg @ Beard and Bonnet17/09/2014 - 5:34 pm

I love everything about this soup including the fact that you took the time to slow roast the tomatoes. So many tomato soup recipes online call for canned tomatoes. Sure canned tomatoes are convenient, but you miss out on that beautiful soothing aroma that only slow roasting on a leisurely day can offer. This is just gorgeous!!!

hannah17/09/2014 - 6:04 pm

Hi Laura, I lvoe this post, your words really ring true and I totally agree with your stance. Whilst it’s tempting to “get shit done” as fast as possible it inevitably reduces all those small tasks, which are in fact the stuff of life, to “shit”.
Also, I would be really interested if you were to post your recipe for stock. I usually follow the recipe in “reFresh”*(by Ruth Tal) but I’m ALWAYS interested in variations. I guess some people might think it’s boring but I find it totally exciting getting new ideas (like corn cobs!!!)
ANyway… I’m a stock geek I guess
hannah x

justabtvegan17/09/2014 - 7:40 pm

What a beautiful soup! I’m always amazed at the richness and complexity of tomatoes and cashew cream together. And it really does capture the essence of this time of year. I’m making a similar soup tonight with our last tomatoes and Carmen peppers.

molly yeh17/09/2014 - 9:47 pm

“getting lost in the journey is one of the cool things about being interested in something” <—– my new mantra when i'm stuck in the middle of my 27th failed honey cake (which at the rate of things, is where i'll be by the end of this week). but it is just SO MUCH MORE rewarding when it works.

thank you for this post.

and for this recipe, which will help me with my 30,000,000 tomatoes from my garden.

Liz @ Floating Kitchen17/09/2014 - 10:37 pm

Stunning photos and beautiful words. I read this article in Huffington post a few weeks back on the topic of life hacking and I think you might enjoy it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-roll/stop-life-hacking_b_5522006.html

Tieghan17/09/2014 - 11:57 pm

These are some of the most GORGEOUS photos in this post. So pretty! Delicious end of summer dinner!

Meghan18/09/2014 - 1:39 am

I am so incredibly in love with everything that is this post. I can’t stand lifehacks, and often find that haste really does make waste. But the time you have put into this recipe, everything from your gorgeous garden to the soup itself, is apparent and much appreciated. This is slow living, and I could think of no better way to go about just that than with a really good tomato soup.

Lindsey @ Piecemaker18/09/2014 - 11:31 am

Laura, I wholeheartedly agree that sometimes taking the long way around lends for more enjoyment in the end :) Thanks for the reminder and I’ll be roasting my tomatoes first before making my sauce this weekend!

joyti19/09/2014 - 1:38 am

I think “life hacking” only works on the small things, there’s no shortcuts for the big, important stuff.

The soup sounds absolutely delicious!

[…] Mmm … The First Mess shared a recipe for Really Good Tomato Soup. […]

tamara m.19/09/2014 - 10:09 am

Amaaazing soup! I just made it today (and eating the second helping as I type, actually) with homegrown tomatoes and it’s just… so comforting of the fact that fall really is here.

Cheers from Slovenia.

lana19/09/2014 - 11:54 am

OMG Laura! I am making this on Sunday. The slowest of all days. And your kitchen looks awesome!

Elizabeth19/09/2014 - 4:43 pm

Oh my god, YES! As an artist and printmaker at heart, I am ultra suspicious of anything that doesn’t take at least four hours. I don’t want to cut cherry tomatoes faster or make 5 dinners in 5 minutes. And since I think “hacks” might be the new “You’ll never believe what happen’s next,” I am so happy and relieved to read this perfect defense of things that are slow and hard won. This is such a great post, summing up so many thoughts I’ve had buzzing in my head, but never really been able to pin down. I’m going to head into a too busy weekend armed with this post, and knowing that experience is better than any old hack. Cheers x 1,000. (Also, so much tomato goodness –– I can hardly take it.)

soysusu20/09/2014 - 4:17 am

Your pictures are beyond beautiful

[…] vegan tomato soup. […]

Ami@NaiveCookCooks20/09/2014 - 3:00 pm

I am so jealous that you have tons and tons of fresh homegrown tomatoes!!! Totally gorgeous . I wish I was your neighbour!

[…] finally, a few quick notes about this corn soup! I used  a simple cashew cream (idea courtesy of Laura’s recent soup post where she did the same thing with a tomato soup – genius!) to make the soup creamy and give […]

sioushi21/09/2014 - 12:28 pm

I love your recipes, but it’s actually ““Always assume the best about your significant other” that’s inspiring my first comment – sorry! I agree that article sounds poorly written. The idea it was trying to convey is better worded as “Don’t ascribe ill intent to your partner; if you habitually do so, the relationship is not healthy.” For example, one night they slam the lid of the toilet and wake you up. Do you think “Oops, must have slipped out of their hand” or “That inconsiderate jerk, I’ve told them a million times not to do that” or “Oh no, what are they mad about NOW?” Those snap reactions are largely unconscious but have a huge effect on your next interaction with your partner.

Kimberley21/09/2014 - 1:10 pm

Hi I love this. Being in SF where the tech thing is at fever pitch and everyone wants to hack and disrupt the shit out of everything, this really resonates. The slowness and intentionality of cooking is what drew me to it in the first place. And on top of that I love what you’ve done with tomato soup. Feeling it.

Laura Wright21/09/2014 - 1:22 pm

Hi Sioushi,
Thanks for commenting–regardless of your motivation! I really appreciate your perspective on this, especially since shifting away from possibly negative thought patterns is something I’m constantly working towards. Thanks for helping me read that differently :)
-L

ATasteOfMadness21/09/2014 - 8:57 pm

This tomato soup is gorgeous! I probably could eat the whoe batch!

Ashley22/09/2014 - 9:17 am

My friend was asking me if I wanted some heirloom tomatoes from his garden the other night and of course I said YES. He then said they’re a little past their prime and might be good for making sauce or something. I was like…SOUP! This was such a unique recipe in that the soup was really cooked in the oven! Loved that. I threw in some rosemary [with the other herbs] and a bit of sweet onion because I only had 1 shallot. Lunch leftovers today! Thanks for this recipe!

Marissa22/09/2014 - 7:56 pm

Those are the most beautiful photos of tomatoes I have ever seen. I really enjoyed your writing, as well. Too often lately I’ve been swept up in doing everything as quickly as possible or not doing anything at all. I would love to take my time on something I loved, whether that be cooking a meal for my husband and I or admiring and exploring the woods around my home. Good luck with your lovely garden. I am envious of it and hope I can grow beautiful things next spring.

Kim23/09/2014 - 12:03 pm

This sounds delicious. At what temperature did you roast the tomatoes?

annie tucker23/09/2014 - 1:24 pm

this looks incredible! your recipe just went to the top of my must-cook in fall list!

Laura Wright23/09/2014 - 7:44 pm

Hi Kim, the tomatoes roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Isadora @ She Likes Food24/09/2014 - 12:22 am

Haha, I love the name of this soup!! That’s awesome! I also am obsessing over all the delicious tomato photos you have on here! I pulled out my tomato plants a week ago, but now I’m wishing I had them back! I can’t get enough tomato soup and this really does look really good :)

[…] about time we all started thanking the recipe gods for creating tomato soup. And then went and made this slow, simple, and intentional version of it. And this yellow tomato version with halloumi […]

Renee H.01/10/2014 - 11:15 am

To hell with hacks! Sometimes (often times) we need to let things slowly simmer in order to truly develop into something magnificent- in cooking and in life. We are all to concerned with efficiency and rushing about (guilty).

I can be down right impatient and I have to consciously remind myself to slooooow dooowwwn. I tend to have the “fear of missing out” mentality that makes me want to do it all, and fast, so I can move on to the next thing. This post has served as a wonderful reminder this morning to really savor the process of living, rather than only strive for the final result. Bravo!

Sarah01/10/2014 - 9:17 pm

Stunning photos! And the soup sounds delicious. What’s on top? Roasted chickpeas?
Amen to slow days and no bull. :)

[…] devoting your time, your being, taking some necessary space, practicing, and then giving something your full attention doesn’t always get the job done quickly, but bonus: you get to feel like a real person finding their way. {source} […]

Samantha Attard08/10/2014 - 3:32 pm

Hi Laura!

1. Love the sentiment about the life hacks (and agreed…talking instead of assuming is a really good idea). Totally appreciate that your delightful response is to make food very slowly. Awesome.
2. I am so impressed by your garden!! Your kale is out of control.
3. Thanks for another delicious looking recipe. I look forward to trying my hand at it!

Have a great day,

Sam

Borough 22 Brownies09/10/2014 - 8:50 am

Yep. Making this one too! Yummmers!

[…] The First Mess to get the full […]

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup23/10/2014 - 6:27 pm

[…] during the cold-weather season, which lasts approximately an eternity here in Michigan. When I saw this recipe for a cashew based roasted tomato soup, I knew I had to try it. I love roasting tomatoes for the […]

dark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns + a cool new thing

dark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comthe figs // @thefirstmessdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.comdark chocolate + fig cinnamon buns // @thefirstmess for baked-theblog.com
Something different today! I’ve joined forces with some fine people on a new group blog adventure called BAKED. We’re all Canadians and just thought it might be nice to cozy up into a new space that celebrates baking (duh), photographs and just the extra cool craft of making sweets and bread and such at home. Kelly, Gabriel, Kris, Ashley and I all have different styles, so the goods are going to range from rustic + seasonal to super sweet + rich to whole grain + hippie dip–guess which one I fall under ;)

I’d say baking/treat-making isn’t something I do as often as I should, so it’s nice to have an outlet that’ll push me in that direction and keep me on my toes. Anyway, if you’re into baking and pretty pictures I’d highly recommend giving us a follow over there or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’ve been workin’ our butts off for this one, so I’d appreciate it big time, loves. I’ll be posting there every 5 weeks or so. To new adventures!

We’ve all got one recipe up there today and mine is something I’ve been alluding to on social media for a bit. Gooey soft cinnamon rolls with dark chocolate and fresh figs. There’s an orange vanilla bean glaze in the mix too, and for real? These are a bit over the top. Delicious for sure though. It’s an easy enough dough to whip up and after a couple risings and some rather quick baking time, you get all that messy bun-ly goodness. I’m going to serve a version of them next time I have some peeps over for brunch. Here’s the link to the recipe on BAKED.

Be back with something savoury and vegetable-heavy next week! I like vitamins, I swear.

Side note: I picked the winners for the VEGA ONE giveaway from last week. Emails were sent, so check the inbox/spam ;)

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Sara from Sweden10/09/2014 - 5:39 am

wow!!!! these look amazing!! and the photography is absolutely fantastic!

Karen10/09/2014 - 6:44 am

These are beautiful!
Did you post the winners of the vega giveaway somewhere?
Thanks!

Renée E Engelbrecht10/09/2014 - 7:04 am

Hi I’m a South African living in Accra, Ghana – returning to SA in a few months time, I’ll be living in the Little Karoo where these small beautiful figs abound – this is a recipe I’ll definitely be using. Many thanks, I really enjoy your posts – regards, Renée

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar10/09/2014 - 7:05 am

So excited for this project!!! And these rolls?!? Awesome.

Aine @ AwkwardIrishGirlBlogs10/09/2014 - 7:39 am

Oh my goodness those are beautiful! Can you just post me some now please?
Love the new blog idea, I’ll be keeping an eye on it – thanks!

Alysa10/09/2014 - 9:33 am

I can’t believe how delicious these look. Pretty sure I’d have the pan to myself since the hubby doesn’t like figs. Okay by me. ;)

Looking forward to BAKED. What a fun project!

Sue O'Bryan10/09/2014 - 9:48 am

Oh my dear what a bunch of gorgeous rolls you’ve created! Heading on over to Baked . . . . looks amazing so far!

Nicola10/09/2014 - 9:48 am

These look so delicious! Just started following baked the blog on Instagram. Can’t wait to see what you all come out with.

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth10/09/2014 - 11:06 am

What a great idea to join forces with your friends. I’ll definitely be a regular visitor to BAKED! And I love your first offering – beautiful and delicious!

Sophie10/09/2014 - 1:05 pm

What a great project! If these buns are any idea of what’s to come, I’m on the edge of my seat! Wow. The sliced figs = so pretty and must bake up so jammy and wonderful! xoxo

Life and the lemons10/09/2014 - 1:12 pm

You are such an inspiration – i visit your blog every day!

I just launched a new blog (http://www.lifeandthelemons.com/) – think it’s gonna be fun and exciting in time!
Have a look, and keep up the good work!

http://www.lifeandthelemons.com/

Millie l Add A Little10/09/2014 - 2:10 pm

Looks delicious and love the sound of the project!!

Liz @ Floating Kitchen10/09/2014 - 3:44 pm

These buns look off the charts! And I love the new site. So much talent in one place! I want to do a little happy dance!

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)10/09/2014 - 4:27 pm

Love, love the new site! It is so fun seeing all of your different styles together on one site. Such a great idea, can I move to Canada and join you? ;) Just kidding! (Sorta.)

molly yeh10/09/2014 - 7:30 pm

whoaaa these rolls are sexy. i am so excited for BAKED!!!! go canada :)

Those things are just OOZING chocolate. They look amazing.

Nicole10/09/2014 - 8:44 pm

These look delicious!

Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen11/09/2014 - 3:20 am

I’m so excited about BAKED! Canada holds a special place in my heart, so I can’t wait for all the goodness you five are going to share with the rest of the world.

Kathryn11/09/2014 - 6:02 am

What a great idea! I’m so excited to see what you guys are all going to bake up for us. I’m planning a little weekend jaunt to Canada at some point in the next couple of weeks/months so a little bit of baking would be the perfect preparation ;)

Charlie11/09/2014 - 12:16 pm

What is that herb/plant with dark leaves and stem and flowers in this picture?
http://www.thefirstmess.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/figbunzFINAL_TFM1.jpg

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures11/09/2014 - 8:07 pm

This is such a wonderful idea to create a community around food! This makes me want to find my clan : )

Laura Wright12/09/2014 - 8:45 am

Hi Charlie, It’s a type of sedum/stonecrop that I have growing in my garden. They’re really easy to take care of and look beautiful all year. There’s hundreds of varieties, but this one looks pretty close to what I have: LINK.

Alanna12/09/2014 - 2:15 pm

I am head over heels in love with these! I would have never thought to pair chocolate and figs. So excited for Baked!

Maryna12/09/2014 - 3:14 pm

Figs in the buns is something crazy awesome!

Katie @ Produce on Parade12/09/2014 - 6:12 pm

This is incredibly brilliant! I am always snacking on dark chocolate and dried figs together, what a winning combination!

Baby June13/09/2014 - 7:55 am

Those look incredible! Such a creative variation on cinnamon buns. Baked sounds like a cool venture too! :)

Elenore Bendel Zahn15/09/2014 - 4:55 am

Something in me sort of died at the sight of figs and chocolate up there.. Can you imagine a fig/chocolate pizza?! OMG!!!

Laura.. you know. YOU ARE AMAZING! Tehe..

Love you baby!

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño15/09/2014 - 2:37 pm

Yay! Wonderful news! Can’t wait to check it out. These rolls look sick BTW!

erin {yummy supper}16/09/2014 - 12:17 pm

Laura, Those chocolatey figgy buns look so good I can hardly stand it!
Drooling over here.
xoxo
E

Week 38… | Cookingdom20/09/2014 - 5:50 am

[…] dat mijn vijgen allemaal al weer op zijn, misschien toch nog nieuwe kopen om chocolade vijgen kaneel broodjes te […]

J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats22/09/2014 - 11:07 am

Cannot express my adoration that you used fresh figs for this! Amazinggg.

Kamilla23/09/2014 - 3:53 pm

I wanted to say thank you for your beautiful site!
I’ve been vegan for nearly two years now, and your recipes have been a huge help to me while I learn to cook real food with great nutrition and flavor.
I made these cinnamon rolls last week, and they honestly took the prize for Favorite Dessert Ever. My photos were horrible, so I don’t have any to share. But the rolls did turn out beautifully.
Again, Thanks!

John D27/09/2014 - 4:12 am

Ooh Chocolate. Such a great idea