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 :)
creamy vegan tomato soup recipe
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. Also, I puréed this in a high speed blender, which might account for the serious creamy-ness. I think similar results are possible with an immersion blender or food processor–maybe with just a few extra textural bits.
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
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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