Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup

There was this little café near the river. We used to walk there hand in hand.  We visited often. There were freshly picked flowers on the table and room for about 30. At night, candles flickered and glowed.

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Their menu was concise and ever changing with the season. But the one constant was their focus on surprising (and tasty) soups.

It was there where our creative minds, which constantly bounce with ideas, found comfort and groundedness as we sat peacefully over two bowls of steamy soup.

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I think about that space in time often…

how there always seemed to be just one perfect table by the window waiting for us…

how the café’s size was intimate but its energy expansive….

and how the dining space was full of soft chatter and the tantalizing aroma of complex simmering soups.

While the café still remains by the river and ideas continue to fill up our heads, physically we’ve moved on.  But this week, my mind took me back there, to snowy Vermont.  And with those thoughts came cravings for soup. Flavorful spicy soup made with whole foods.

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So I pulled out this little gem of a recipe from Cookie + Kate and cooked it with love.

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This week, I hope you’ll take time to enjoy a quiet night with this simple soup with spicy notes… inspired by a little café called That’s Life Soup.

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Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup
{adapted from a recipe from Cookie + Kate, original recipe from Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes}
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Ingredients
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste, or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well.Peanut Soup-7
  3. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often.
  4. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
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Until we simmer with spice again,
a+h

Decadent Spiked Hot Chocolate {Holiday Treats}

This past weekend while Harrison was off doing a stage, I put on my double layers, toboggan, boots and gloves and briskly walked downtown to see my home girl Jen on display at the “Touch of Vermont Holiday Market” at City Hall.

Guess whose friend got a new camera? No one's safe.

As I waited for the line to subside at her booth, I went ahead and moseyed around to see what this market was all about.  I, of course, gravitated towards a booth ‘o baked goods belonging to Butterfly Bakery of Vermont and got a whiff of some decadent vanilla that I just couldn’t resist.

Sweetest little bottle. Butterfly Bakery is located at 87 Barre St in Montpelier, VT.

When I returned I waved it around in front of Jen to show off the dreamy little bottle to which she asked, “So whattcha going to make?  Cookies? A cake?”

“A cocktail!”, I interjected and slid the little vial back in my camera bag and off I went.

Well actually I waited for Harrison to return so I could put in my request.  “How about a hot toddy?”, I announced.  “If you mean another hot chocolate…” he replied back with a knowing look in his eyes. “Yep, that’s right,” I said. “But this time, let’s make sure it’s spiked!”

Perfect for your upcoming holiday parties… why don’t we let loose on some Decadent Spiked Hot Chocolate, shall we? Two thumbs up, yes we shall.

Oh yeah. This is going to be good.

Ingredients:

  • (2) cups of organic whole or 2% milk
  • (1) cup of mini chocolate chips
  • (1) teaspoon of organic vanilla (we just loved ours from Butterfly Bakery of Vermont)
  • (1) Tablespoon of raw sugar
  • (1/4) cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream

Optional Additions:

  • (1) ounce (a.k.a. one shot) of peppermint schnapps
  • (4) to (6) ounces of freshly brewed dark roast coffee
  • (1) ounce of vodka (we like Barr Hill)…add this and you have what we call a Hot Black Russian

Directions:

1. Whisk your milk, sugar and vanilla together in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat.

2. Then add in your chocolate and Bailey’s Irish Creme and whisk until blended (reduce heat to low).  You want to achieve a rich, velvety texture then turn off heat to serve.

Warm milk and chocolate. Feeling dreamy already...

3.  Pour into your cups and top with some fresh whipped cream (plus coffee or other optional additions if you please).

I wanted to just pour it straight into my mouth. But, got to be a lady.

Bottoms Up! Spiked with coffee to make a mocha on your left. Spiked with peppermint schnapps on your right!


Until we get decadent and dreamy again,

A + H

Want to see what Jen had on display?  Check out her etsy shop here.