Creamy Tahini & Lemon-Asparagus Soup by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


tending to my small backyard garden makes me super happy.  it's a feeling i can't really explain. it challenges me, makes me think, forces me to get out of the apartment (especially on super busy days), and even in frustrating times i learn something.  one of the first things i do in the morning is to check out what's growing, what critters are crawling around, if there are any birds in our new birdhouse - it's like a whole little ecosystem right outside our bedroom door.  the same goes for my mom's garden which (before i moved out) i would help her tend to.  when frank and i go up there on weekends, i bolt for the garden and peek at what's popping up.  her rhubarb bushel and lemon verbena patches are getting so big, so we're planning to make a rhubarb pie for memorial day - but right now, when asparagus spears are shooting up, and chive, and other veg blossoms are blooming is my absolute favorite time.  i will never ever tire of the various shades of spring green, or light purples, and vibrant yellows.  every year they make my eyes totally sing.

this soup recipe was really created based on what's freshly available at the market, in my backyard, and (importantly) what this babe and i want to eat. this is a simple soup that really comes together quite fast.  since there's no starchy potatoes involved the cook time is relatively fast - which is awesome!  so what's the creamy base in this soup, you ask? TAHINI!  when i was in LA the other week i saw a bottle of Soom tahini at my favorite little spot, Cookbook, and grabbed a bottle.  since i came back i've been thinking up ways to use it aside from my weekly prep of tahini-yogurt sauce, or hummus.  i really wanted the nutty flavor to shine.  and shine it totally does.  the soup is sturdy, light, and frothy, with just enough asparagus flavor, and hints of lemon-y tang.  frank and i ate 2 mega servings the other night, and it's (for real) my new favorite soup.  even the baby was moving around a whole lot, which i'm taking as an indicator that he's super into the soup as well!  (also, in the notes below i have a mini list of my go-to tahini brands with links if you're interested.)

big spring hugs, all! xo



creamy tahini & lemon-asparagus soup | v

i use tahini pretty often in soup and i've found that the quality really matters both for the texture of the soup and the flavor.  my favorite brand so far is Soom tahini which i found at a small shop, but is also sold here.  some other brands i love are Roland, Al Wadi, and also 365 Whole Foods brand which is sold at Whole Foods but can also be found here. and i'm not sure about you, but i used to store my tahini in the fridge until i was told by a shop owner to store it at room temp and to just give it a good shake before using - i've never looked back. 

| makes 2 large servings or 4 small |

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped (roughly 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or filtered water)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • 2 2-inch pieces lemon peels
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt & fresh pepper

garnishes:

  • asparagus ribbons
  • chive flowers
  • pea tendrils or baby greens
  • tahini paste


method

  1. heat a large soup pot over medium heat.  once hot, add the olive oil and onion, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent.  add the garlic, stir and cook for 30 seconds.  add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute, then add the broth (or water), chives, and lemon peels.  bring soup to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 10-15 minutes.  remove soup from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. carefully transfer soup to an upright blender, add the tahini paste and lemon juice.  blend on high for 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. taste and adjust salt and/or lemon juice.
  3. return the soup back to the soup pot and bring to a simmer.  garnish and serve hot. 

enjoy!


more asparagus recipes:


asparagus, pea + broccoli rabe saute over chive-chickpea mash

asparagus, pea + broccoli rabe saute over chive-chickpea mash

balsamic roasted asparagus salad w/ fried capers + 7-minute eggs

balsamic roasted asparagus salad w/ fried capers + 7-minute eggs

cilantro black rice, w/ roasted asparagus + garlic scapes

cilantro black rice, w/ roasted asparagus + garlic scapes

Dana's Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Coconut-Cashew Frosting (+ A Giveaway) by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


if you follow me over on instagram or snapchat (dollyoatmeal), then you know i've been in LA for a long weekend with my family.  my mom and i went to visit my brother, his fiance, and her family.  it was an overwhelmingly fast, but beautiful mother's day weekend made all the more special because my brother's fiance is pregnant (due this summer) and frank and i are expecting a little one as well (ours in september!)!  cousins will be born within a couple months of each other, and we all couldn't be more swept up in all the feelings at the moment.  aside from my parent's heads exploding at the thought of 2 grandchildren within a couple months of each other, we're all just taking it as it comes, and counting our blessings.  i'm still wrapping my head around a lot at the moment as well, and savoring each time i feel this babe rolling around, tumbling, kicking, and whatever else these ones do in there.  and as soon as i get my stuff together i'll be sure to share more ;)

a couple of weeks ago i was lucky enough to get my hands on dana shultz's new book, minimalist baker's everyday cooking!  i can see this book being my ultimate go-to not only now, but i'm already bookmarking recipes for the months after the babe arrives.  if you're familiar with dana's blog then you're aware that her recipes are 10 ingredients or less, take 30 minutes or so to cook, and are 1 bowl/pot recipes.  this book is a continuation of these kinds of easy-to-prepare recipes without lacking any flavor or creativity - which is such a fete!  i've been trying to curb my cravings for sweets, but when i do partake in them i prefer refined sugar-free baked goods (i get crazy sugar highs that make me feel like crap, so i can't imagine how that would make my little one feels!).  so, when i saw dana's recipe for her vegan vanilla cupcakes (they're gluten-free, too!) i was literally drooling - plus, i was dreaming of all the (eggless) vegan batter i could lick!  her recipe calls on an abundance of wholesome ingredients without losing that velvet-y, cake-y sponge that's so essential for a really good cupcake.  the frosting recipe she provides called for a few ingredients i don't keep in my kitchen, so i whipped a vanilla frosting riff off of this old recipe and added my pregnancy go-to: strawbs!!  in any event, go make these cupcakes no matter which frosting you use.  i have a feeling this recipe will be a kitchen staple for a lot of cupcake-loving peeps out there.

*enter to win a copy of Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking by leaving a comment below with your go-to craving (pregnant or not!).  1 winner will be chosen at random (open to US residents only) and will run until next wednesday, may 18.  good luck!!! :) *UPDATE - giveaway now closed.

xo's

cupcake stands provided by aheirloom



Dana's Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Coconut-Cashew Frosting | gf

a couple of notes: i substituted the cane sugar in dana's cupcake recipe for coconut sugar 1:1. also, there are 2 options for the frosting below.  the first one is from dana's book, and the second one is a coconut-cashew alternative with smooshed strawberries.

from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

| serves 12 |

cupcakes

  • scant 1/2 cup (115ml) unsweetented plain almond milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 flax eggs*
  • 1/2 cup (100g) organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75ml) maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) melted coconut oil, grape seed oil, or melted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (73g) almond meal, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup (30g) gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 cup (160g) gluten-free flour blend (i used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour, plus more as needed

frosting

  • 1/2 cup (112g) vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups (140-224g) organic powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk, to thin

strawberry coconut-cashew frosting

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed
  • coconut cream from 1 15-ounce full-fat can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or melted and cooled
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk 
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 6-8 medium strawberries, more for garnish

*flax egg

  • 1 tablespoon (7g) flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37ml) water


method

  1. preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).  line 12 muffin tins with paper liners, or lightly grease and flour (with gluten-free flour). shake out excess.
  2. in a liquid measuring cup, measure out the almond milk, add the vinegar and baking soda, and stir.  let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. in the meantime, prepare the flax eggs in a large bowl.  let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. add the sugar, maple syrup,  and almond milk mixture to the flax eggs and beat to combine.  then add the applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. mix.
  5.  add the almond meal, oat flour, and gluten-free flour blend. beat or whisk to combine,  if the batter appears too thick, add a little almond milk.  if too thin, add a little more gluten-free flour blend or almond meal.  the batter should be thin but pourable.
  6. divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling them 3/4 full (there should be enough for 11 or 12 cupcakes).  bake for 24-31 minutes or until puffy, golden brown, and toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean. 
  7. remove from the oven and let rest in the muffin tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  allow the cupcakes to fully cool before unwrapping to avoid sticking to the wrapper.
  8. for the frosting, wipe/rinse your mixing bowl clean and add the butter and vanilla.  beat until light and fluffy.  then add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup (56g) at a time.  continue mixing until thick and creamy.
  9. drizzle in a little almond milk to thin.  the frosting should be fairly thick do as to hold its shape once on the cupcakes, so only add as much milk as necessary to make it spreadable.  add more powdered sugar if it gets too thin.
  10. frost the cupcakes generously.  sprinkles or fresh raspberries makes the perfect garnish.
  11.  leftovers keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, though best within 24 hours. 

strawberry coconut-cashew frosting

  1. place cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a high-speed blender (preferably a vitamix) and blend, adding more milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until smooth and creamy.  taste and adjust sweetness, adding the additional tablespoon of syrup if needed.
  2. refrigerate frosting for at least 5-6 hours or preferably overnight.  
  3. mash strawberries with a fork or pulse in a food processor until you have medium chunks.  press through a fine mesh sieve with your fingers and reserve the strawberry juice for another purpose.
  4. when the frosting is sufficiently chilled, fold in the strawberries and frost the cupcakes.  leftover cupcakes with this frosting need to be refrigerated. 

reprinted from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Dana Shult


similar recipes:


tiny layer cakes

tiny layer cakes

strawberry oat cacao muffins

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hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compots

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A Spring Picnic & My Easy Peasy Go-To Menu by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


frank and i started dating in doldrums of winter.  we had plenty of dates in warm, cozy coffee shops in the east village, heated movie theaters, or long walks through central park bundled up in hats and scarves.  as soon as spring hit we would drive north of manhattan to where i grew up, where we would take walks along the hudson river, breath fresh air (while also having sneezing fits from all the pollen), and lay in the grass with sunshine on our faces.  getting out of the city and into a more natural world is something i crave this time of year.  so when we had a free weekend and the weather was nice we made our way up to one of our favorite spots. the area where we usually park was closed so we took a new adventure through an overgrown path, down a hill, and into the most beautiful pasture that led us to a gravel road. it was lined with the most beautiful mossy stone walls, tall grasses, and wispy wild flowers - slice.of.heaven.

not that i'm a pro picnic-er or anything, but i've learned some tips and tricks along the way to packing a super fun and totally functional picnic meal: 

first - i prefer parchment paper to plastic bags for sandwiches.  yes, parchment could certainly be better for the environment, but it also doubles as a plate/placemat which is an awesome thing when you're out in the wild (er, at a park).

second - snack packing is a must! especially for me.  no one (and i'm really just talking about myself here) should get hangry in a beautiful walk/hike situation.  i reach for snack, or light energy bars in the car, as we're walking, or in some cases as dessert.  i'm digging kashi's new plant-based GOLEAN bars, especially the salted dark chocolate with nuts! it's packed with plant-y protein, and there's no laundry list of ingredients you've never heard of or can't pronounce.  they're a new favorite, for sure!

third - when deciding what salad to bring, lose the greens.  salads that don't wilt are my go-to, usually a grain or bean salad, or a chopped israeli salad. 

fourth - fresh fruit preferably packed in some sort of jar to avoid any unwanted mushiness, along with a small cutting board and some sort of pocket knife for cutting, although that's not totally necessary, and totally depends on what fruit you're packing.   

fifth - i prefer using cloth napkins.  not because i'm too good for paper, but they act as really efficient padding when i'm packing the picnic bag.  they also don't blow away as easy as paper, and they're reusable (i wrapped my cutting board in one at the end of the picnic so i didn't get the inside of my bag all messy - 2 thumbs way up!).

and lastly - beverages.  we happened to pick up an insanely delicious raspberry and tomato (!!!) smoothie that was awesome, but we also had plenty of water to keep up hydrated as well.



picnic menu

avocado asparagus sandwiches (*recipe below)

mixed nuts

fresh strawberries (or whatever fresh fruit is at its peak)

grain or bean salad 

energy/snack bars (like these)

add ons

cloth napkins

water or beverage of choice

pocket knife

small cutting board

plates - disposable or enamel

fresh picked wild flowers, picked along the way (totally optional) 

* this post was created in partnership with kashi.  all opinions, as always, are my own. thank you for supporting dolly and oatmeals's sponsors!



sautéed asparagus and dijon avocado sandwich | gf  (vegan option)

sandwiches like these are my favorite - fresh, simple, and wholesome.  i love the sandwich as is, but i could see a splash of balsamic adding even more delicious flavor

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or veganaise
  • 2 tablespoons good dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • half a bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • fine sea salt & fresh pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
  • handful of baby greens
  • 4 slices toasted whole grain gluten free bread (or bread of choice)

method

  1. whisk together the mayo (or veganaise) and the dijon. set aside.
  2. heat a skillet over medium heat.  once the pan is hot add enough oil to lightly cover the bottom.  add the asparagus, a couple pinches of salt, and a few cracks of pepper.  cook asparagus, shaking the pan every few minutes, until tender and lightly browned.  remove from heat and let cool.
  3. top each slice of bread with the dijon mayo, then add some greens, avocado slices a few pinches of salt and pepper, and as many asparagus spears will fit (depending on what bread you use).
  4. wrap the sandwiches in parchment paper. 

A Spring Picnic & My Easy Peasy Go-To Menu | dolly and oatmeal

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balsamic roasted asparagus salad w/ fried capers + 7-minute eggs

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spicy sweet potato chip sammie

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