February 19, 2019
I love this time of year when the first crops of local asparagus announce the coming of summer. I have a go to recipe that I make and freeze for later as we all know the season is short for this local produce bursting with flavor. And I am always looking for dairy free options to convert a lactose laden recipe without giving up any texture and taste.
So why am I so interested in dairy free? We recently inherited a new family member who is responsible for helping my step-daughter bring her first child into the world. When we first met this lovely young man at a family potluck dinner, I was designated the entrée, so I brought my famous roasted vegetable lasagna, busting at the seams with mozzarella, parmesan, and goat cheeses with a bit of béchamel tossed in for good measure. Or in other words, a dairy allergy nightmare. I watched with joy as he voraciously devoured not one, but two pieces. When it came to dessert the fare was a delectable homemade cheesecake. I pondered his reaction when he refused a slice and oh so quietly said something about not being able to eat dairy. Oh no. If you know me you know I don’t do too many things quietly, so with vigor I announced the amount of each cheese in the lasagna with worry that I had just done in the future father of my next grandbaby. I discovered this polite young fellow doesn’t like to make a fuss. Thankfully I didn’t kill him.
Being dairy free is sometimes a choice and sometimes a fate bestowed upon us. And when I host a family meal or bring something to a potluck now, I always make it without dairy. With the first bunch of fresh, local asparagus I brought home last weekend I endeavored to make it without butter, cream or milk and see if I could end up with the same luscious result. My favorite recipe for cream of asparagus soup started with a Foodland Ontario recipe that I picked up at a farmer’s market in Milton eons ago. Over time I have played with it and now it’s very much my own recipe. And it is just a swoon worthy as the dairy option. Please feel free to use milk, cream and butter if dairy free is not your gig.
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
- 1lb Ontario asparagus, chopped
- 1tbsp Vegan margarine such as Becel
- 1 Ontario white onion
- ¼ tsp Maldon or sea salt
- 1/8 tsp Freshly ground pepper
- 1 Ontario white potato, peeled and diced
- 1c Chicken stock
- 1/2c Unsweetened almond milk
- 1tbsp Better Than Bouillon roasted chicken base
- 1tbsp Chopped fresh dill
- 1tbsp Lemon juice
Cut asparagus into 2inch pieces and set aside. In a pot, melt margarine over medium heat. Cook onion, salt and pepper, stirring for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chopped asparagus, potato and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is tender.
Take off heat and let cool for a few minutes. Use a hand blender to puree mixture until silky smooth. TIP: If you have blended it until you think it’s the right consistency as noted, keep blending for another 2-3 minutes. You won’t be sorry. It will have the consistency of a soup you are served in fine restaurants. Stir in the Better Than Bouillon, unsweetened almond milk, lemon and dill. Warm until ingredients combined. Then enjoy.