Thursday, September 1, 2011

Avocado + Cucumber Soup with Basil OIl

I've been thinking a lot about vegan food lately. You see, I've been vegan for long stretches during my lifetime, but I always seem to find my way back to the middle. 

What's the thing that I miss when I'm eating vegan? Richness. So many already-delicious foods can be made sublime by a splash of cream, a pat of butter, or a swipe of mayo. Suddenly it dawned on me: two of the richest-tasting foods in the world come from plant sources -- avocados and coconut milk. I devised a devilish plan to use both ingredients in one rich, vegan dish. This soup is all we had for dinner the other night, and we were full and satisfied.

Avocado + Cucumber Soup with Basil Oil

2 avocados (peeled, seeded)

2 large cucumbers (peeled, seeded)

coconut milk (1 cup)

half a lime (juiced)

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sambal

pinch of salt (to taste)

about a cup of water

basil oil (or basil leaves)

handful of rice noodles (fried for a few seconds in canola oil)

fresh chives

The first eight ingredients go into a blender and are puréed until smooth. Add enough water to thin the mixture to the consistency of pancake batter. Chill.  Serve cold garnished with basil oil, fried rice noodles, and chives.