This sweet potato soup and sunbutter chip blondie night happened twice last week. I wish you could have been here. The first time, I made them at home and the next, I made them for a cooking demo at the Worcester VegFest. Both times, the pot and pan were emptied in a hurry. Though the second drew a much larger crowd (6,000+ attendees and 100+ exhibitors).
David and I hauled six bags of cooking essentials, two crock pots, plus the little one and his stroller and gear into the downtown convention center on Sunday morning. We needed a covered wagon, or any kind of large cart on wheels for that matter, to contain the cutting boards, bowls, whisks, blender, etc. sticking out every which way.
After circling the building in search of an unlocked door, we finally found our way in. Then it was wait, set up, demo recipes, pack up, and go home. This was no small feat as you may imagine (thanks Mister, I owe you one), yet somehow we pulled it off. I have no photographs to show for it, unless you count the ones I shot in our kitchen.
The cooking demo happened anyway. I laughed my way through the mishaps and attempts to handhold a microphone while chopping. If you were there, thanks for coming, and you know what I’m talking about. I made the peanut butter version of the blondies for the demo (see recipe notes below), although I think the sunbutter one is my favorite. The little one sat in his stroller and with a little help from the audience (thanks Sarah and Nicole!) and festival volunteers, the recipes were made and as promised, I’m sharing them here. Thanks also to the fine folks who run VegFest for inviting me and for putting on a terrific event. I hope to see you all again next year.
For now, Happy Wednesday!
Spiced Sweet Potato Soup
makes 9 to 10 cups
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium chopped yellow onion, about 1 ½ cups
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, about 8 cups
10 thin rounds of ginger
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (homemade or store bought)
½ cup fresh orange juice
garnish: coarsely chopped cilantro
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté about 5 minutes, until it begins to release its juices, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, and a few pinches of cayenne. Cook until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes, adding a little stock if it sticks to the pan.
Add the sweet potatoes, ginger rounds, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 quart stock. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth, adding a little extra stock if needed. Return to the pot, add the orange juice, and thin with stock until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary and, for a bit of heat, add a pinch or two of cayenne. Serve the soup in bowls with chopped cilantro.
Sunflower Seed Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
makes 12 bars
2/3 cup vegan butter, melted
½ cup creamy sunflower seed butter*
1 cup turbinado raw cane sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
¼ cup vanilla almond milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the vegan butter, sunflower seed butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the almond milk. Add the flour in batches until everything is mixed together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan using a spatula or your hands.
Bake until browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars. Store in a covered container.
*These are equally good if you want to substitute 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter in place of sunflower seed butter (which I did for the Worcester VegFest). For the peanut butter version, I like to add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped peanuts to the recipe which can be folded in with the chocolate chips.