Carrot Cappuccino

On a snowy winter day, carrots had arrived from the farm, the smells of T’s morning espresso still permeated the air in the kitchen, I had just made fresh almond milk the day before…all the perfect ingredients to make a carrot cappuccino I thought.

IMG_3050Ready to be enjoyed with some ribbon carrot chips as garnish and some cracked coriander seeds for a flavor twist.

IMG_2990Ingredients:
1 large bunch, about 1.2kg/2lbs10oz organic carrots
2 cups + 3 Tbsp homemade almond milk
4 Tbsp strong espresso
2 tsp coriander seeds
Coarse sea salt
Fleur de sel
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 350F

IMG_2993Peel the carrots. Continue peeling one of the carrots to create ribbons. Keep the center of the carrot to chop along with the bunch.

IMG_3001Place a little olive oil in a small bowl to coat the carrot ribbons. Place them on a Silpat on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

IMG_3002Meanwhile, chop the remaining carrots. If you prefer, you can grate them-they’ll cook even faster.

IMG_3004After 10 minutes, the carrot ribbons will have started to shrink. Flip them to the other side. Lower the heat to 300 and bake for another 15 minutes approximately.

IMG_3005Once the carrot ribbons are baked into chips, set them on a wire rack to cool.

IMG_3006Bring 4 cups of water with a generous pinch of coarse salt to a boil. Place the chopped carrots in the boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes.

IMG_3016Drain the carrots over a bowl to save the cooking broth.

IMG_3023Place the carrots in the beaker of an immersion blender along with a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid.

IMG_3026Purée the carrots using an immersion blender. You might have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your beaker.

IMG_3033Place the puréed carrots back in the pot. Whisk in the almond milk and espresso. Heat gently to warm the mixture.

IMG_3015Crack the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle.

IMG_3034Mix 1 tsp of cracked coriander seeds into the carrot mixture and reserve the other tsp for serving.

IMG_3038Pour into cappuccino serving glasses or cups.

IMG_3042Gently warm the 3 Tbsp of almond milk remaining and froth using an electric frother.

IMG_3050-0Spoon the froth on top of the carrot mixture, garnish with some carrot chips, and sprinkle with cracked coriander and fleur de sel to taste. Enjoy!

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Homemade almond milk

This is the purest way to enjoy nondairy milk. Raw almonds and water. That’s it. None of the other ingredients added to commercial almond milk. It also tastes the best. Truly like almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2812.jpgThe task might sound intimidating at first, but with the right tools, it is quite simple. I make a batch every two weeks and it takes about one hour. Very much worth it. Taste-wise and health-wise. Please, do try for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2623.jpgIngredients:
500 g raw almonds (about 4 cups)
8 cups filtered water + for soaking

Special equipment:
Food processor fitted with a steel blade
Chinois and pestle (or fine sieve)
Cheese cloth

Plan the day before.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2627.jpgPlace the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2641.jpgThe almonds will plump and the water will become cloudy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2643.jpgDrain the almonds.
Now there are two ways to proceed. You can peel the almonds to obtain a pure white milk, a very lengthy process, or simply not peel them and use them as is. I will show both ways.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2647.jpgPeeling the almonds is not complicated, just time consuming. If you have help in the kitchen, it can be a fun task to do together around the kitchen table/counter and enjoy sharing time this way. You can use a paring knife, or simply your fingertips. Whichever works best for you. You may want to add a little water in the unpeeled almond bowl to keep them moist, as they dehydrate quickly and are easier to peel when fully hydrated.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2654.jpgI’ve peeled half of my almonds to show you both ways. Same process, slightly different results.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2657.jpgPlace the almonds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may want to do this in separate batches so the bowl doesn’t overflow when adding the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2664.jpgFirst, grind the almonds alone.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2671.jpgThen add about 1 cup of filtered water for 1 cup of almonds slowly through the feeder while processing.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2684.jpgYou will obtain a creamy milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2686.jpgSet out your chinois (or sieve) for straining the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2692.jpgPour the milk through the chinois, over a tall container where the milk can drain.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2698.jpgMix the pulp around with the pestle until all the milk has been extracted.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2708.jpgScrape the sides of the chinois with a spatula.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2710.jpgPlace the pulp back in the food processor for a second round. Process by adding the same volume of water as the first time around.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2719.jpgPlace through the chinois again to extract the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2729.jpgScrape the pulp from the sides of the chinois onto a baking sheet so you can dehydrate it to transform it into almond meal. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2742.jpgDrape a cheesecloth over another container and pour the almond milk through it to remove the finer almond grains remaining.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2760.jpgPull up the cheesecloth to let the almond milk drip.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2764.jpgSqueeze the milk out of the pulp inside the cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2771.jpgOpen the cheesecloth to remove the fine pulp and combine it with the previous pulp onto the baking sheet. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2780.jpgPour the milk into a bottle with a tight cap. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Shake the bottle before using as the particles will separate while refrigerated.
Now for the unpeeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2786.jpgPlace the unpeeled almonds directly in the food processor, and proceed as for the peeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2784.jpgGrind them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2785.jpgAdd the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2789.jpgExtract the milk through a chinois.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2790.jpgWhen the pulp remains, place back in the food processor for a second round. Pour through a cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2796.jpgAnd finally put the remaining pulp onto a baking sheet.
To make the almond meal, I place the baking sheet in the oven on the proof setting for a few hours. Sift the almonds when dry enough. Place back on the baking sheet and back into the oven, on proof setting, for another few hours until completely dehydrated. If you have a dehydrator, that would work very well as well. Then store in your pantry and use in your baking or cooking recipes as you would store-bought almond meal.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2800.jpgHere is the difference between the two milks. Purely visual. Taste wise, no noticeable difference. Either way, I wish you to enjoy it in your coffee, hot chocolate or in your baking and cooking recipes.
Delicious for your taste buds and your body!

Wild Mushroom Quiche

Quiches are very versatile and once you are comfortable making one, the possibilities are limitless: you can change the filling to pretty much anything you like or have on hand. In this recipe I use a combination of Chanterelle, Shiitake and Brown Button mushrooms, but feel free to use other types of mushroom that might be available in your area.  This is a lactose-free version of the traditional recipe, using almond milk.

20131103-140018.jpgGreat as an appetizer along side a plain green salad (frisée or mâche are my favorites), or as a side dish to accompany an entrée, or even as a main dish for a luncheon. Most steps can be prepared ahead of time so you can assemble it and bake it later.

20131103-140505.jpgIngredients for about 6 servings:
For the filling:
1 1/4 lb mushrooms, mixed variety
1/2 onion
3 eggs
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic
3/4 oz chopped chives
Reserve a few springs of chives for decoration
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil for cooking

For the olive oil dough:
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil + 1 Tbsp
1/2 cup hot water +1 Tbsp
1/4 tsp salt

A rolling pin
9-inch tart dish

Preheat oven to 325F.
20131103-145747.jpgStart with the dough. Place the flour on a flat surface and create a well in the center. Add the salt, olive oil and hot water.

20131103-145838.jpgWork the ingredients together with your fingertips.

20131103-180459.jpgForm a ball, lightly flour it so it does not stick.

20131103-181333.jpgRoll it out on a lightly floured surface in the shape of the tart mold.  Pick it up by rolling it onto the pin and then lay it into the tart mold.  No need to oil/butter and flour the bottom of the mold. Adjust the edges.  Reserve.

20131104-064542.jpgFor the filling, clean, trim and cut the mushrooms in fairly even bite-sizes.

20131104-064634.jpgChop the onion. Reserve.

20131104-064741.jpgChop the garlic. Reserve.

20131104-064856.jpgChop the chives. Reserve.

20131104-064956.jpgHeat a bout 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and reduce the heat to low.  Cook the onion until soft and translucent, tossing occasionally.

20131104-065105.jpgAdd the mushrooms and garlic to the skillet and turn up the heat to medium. Toss occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.  When the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and reserve.

20131104-065201.jpgMeanwhile, prepare the custard. Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk till blended. Then, whisk in the almond milk.

20131104-065246.jpgSeason with salt and pepper.

20131104-065402.jpgAdd the chives and mix well.

20131104-065448.jpgSpread the mushrooms on the bottom of the tart crust.

20131104-065552.jpgPour the custard evenly over the mushrooms. Bake for about one hour to one hour and twenty minutes, until lightly golden.

20131104-065724.jpgServe warm and enjoy!

Brandade de Morue (Salt Cod Purée)

This specialty of Nimes was a common lunch item when we were growing up near Avignon. My mother would prepare it the night before, place it in the oven in the morning prior to leaving for school/work, and program the oven so that it would be ready to be served when we got back home for lunch. Back then every business closed religiously for lunch, and schools were on the same schedule. My parents picked us up from school at noon, we drove home to share lunch, my brothers and I would breathe the fresh air and play in the garden while my parent enjoyed their after lunch expresso, then they would drive us back in time to start at 2pm for the afternoon. Our school days typically ended at 4:30-5pm when we would come back home for ‘le gouter’.
As children, we LOVED coming home to this dish, even though it might contain a bit of garlic for the unaccustomed palate, this was the diet we grew up on: garlic and olive oil.
20131027-142830.jpg This dish can be served either as an appetizer, along with some grilled sliced baguette, or as an entrée, accompanied by other seasonal vegetables. Here I simply cut up some crudités to be used more as a ‘dip’, however, if you want a more authentic version and original flavors, I suggest you served this dish with toasted baguette the first time you make it.
20131027-142916.jpgIngredients for 4 servings:
1 lb salt cod, skinless and boned
1 lb potatoes
1 1/4 cups almond milk
3/4 cup olive oil
8 garlic cloves
a few springs of fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
2 oz parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F
Rinse and soak salt cod a full 24 hours before starting the preparation of this recipe, changing the water at least 4 times.
20131027-142955.jpgAfter soaking the salt cod (see instructions above), drain and rinse.
20131027-143051.jpgPeel, wash and cut the potatoes in large chunks.
20131027-143232.jpgPlunge the potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water, return to a boil and keep cooking about 10-15 minutes at a rolling boil until the potatoes are tender. Drain, set aside.
20131027-143400.jpgPeel and cut the cloves of garlic in half. Remove the center part. Set aside.
20131027-143437.jpgZest and juice the lemon.  Set aside.

20131027-143519.jpgChop parsley finely.  Set aside.

20131027-143802.jpgPlace the salt cod in a large pot of cold water, bring to a simmer (do not boil), and drain and reserve.

20131027-143844.jpgHeat the almond milk and garlic in a separate pot.

20131027-143926.jpgAdd the salt cod, bring to a simmer, and continue simmering for about 10 minutes.

20131027-144008.jpgPlace the cod, garlic, half the almond milk, potatoes, lemon juice, lemon zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process till smooth, periodically adding more liquid from the almond milk.

20131027-144150.jpgHeat the olive oil and pour in the mixture through the feeder.  Keep processing until completely blended.

20131027-144230.jpgWhen all the ingredients are fully blended, (there should be no lumps from the potatoes), transfer to a large bowl.

20131027-144316.jpgAdd the parsley and black pepper and mix well with a wooden spoon.

20131027-144412.jpgBrush oil on the bottom and sides of 4 individual ramequins or cocottes (showing more on this photo because I doubled the recipe).

20131027-144521.jpgFill the cocottes almost to the top.  This preparation does not rise, so be sure to fill them as much as possible.

The recipe can be prepared ahead up to this point.  If this is so, cover the cocottes and refrigerate, up to one day, until ready to bake.

20131027-144710.jpgFreshly grate the parmesan finely.

20131027-144952.jpgSpread evenly over the top of each cocotte.

20131027-145201.jpgPlace in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, till the tops are golden.

If you had refrigerated the cocotte, you’ll need to bake them a bit longer, maybe another 10 minutes until they turn golden.

20131027-145308.jpg Enjoy!

Hazelnut Praline Flan for Leslie

Flan was a regular staple at the end of a meal in my family. It is easy to make in advance and keeps well refrigerated and much lighter than a crème brûlée. My mother used cubes of sugar to make caramel, and knowing exactly how many sugar cubes to use to make caramel made it fast and easy. Here I’m using almond milk as a way to make this recipe lactose free, but feel free to use other milk if you do not have lactose intolerance in your family.

20130902-003153.jpgFor this recipe I decided to add hazelnut praline because a dear friend of my boyfriend loves hazelnut desserts and I made this one in Leslie’s honor. It takes a few extra steps to make the praline, and it is well worth it.

20130902-003514.jpgIngredients:
For the flan:
3 farm fresh eggs
2 cups organic almond milk
4 Tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the hazelnut praline:
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1/2 cup hazelnuts (shelled and preferably skin removed)
3/4 cup organic sugar
3 Tbsp water

For the caramel:
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 Tbsp water

Sugar thermometer
4-6 individual ramequins or terrines with lids (depending on size)
Large baking dish for the water bath
Preheat oven to 375F

20130902-003639.jpgIf the hazelnut still have skins, place them in the oven on a baking sheet in a single layer for a few minutes.

20130902-004109.jpgTake them out of the oven before they brown and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Once cooled, rub them between your hands to remove the skins.

20130902-065923.jpg Making the hazelnut praline:
Brush a thin layer of oil on a marble surface or a baking sheet.
Place sugar and water in small sauce pan.

20130902-070309.jpgMelt sugar into caramel until temperature reaches 130 C (266 F).

20130902-070536.jpgAdd the whole hazelnuts. Continue cooking.

20130902-070626.jpgThe sugar will initially react to the hazelnuts by crystallizing. Keep cooking, mixing vigorously using a wooden spoon.

20130902-070711.jpgOnce the caramel is dark brown, remove the pan from the heat. Be sure not to over cook the caramel, otherwise it will burn and you’ll have to start over.

20130902-070754.jpgPour it immediately onto the oiled marble or baking sheet, spreading the hazelnuts so they do not overlap.

20130902-070939.jpgOnce cooled and hardened, break it up by hitting it with a rolling pin.
Place the broken pieces into a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

20130902-071044.jpgProcess until you obtain a granular powder. Set the praline aside.

20130902-071125.jpgFor the caramel, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook until dark brown.

20130902-071207.jpgRemove from the heat and pour into the ramequins.

20130902-071244.jpgImmediately sprinkle a layer of praline powder so it sticks to the caramel.

20130902-071343.jpgPour the almond milk into a pan and heat until boiling.

20130902-071541.jpgMeanwhile, place three eggs into a mixing bowl.

20130902-071621.jpgAdd the vanilla and whisk the eggs until completely blended.

20130902-071735.jpgAdd the sugar while whisking vigorously until the mixture is pale yellow and foamy, and has doubled in volume. Note: please keep whisking while adding sugar to the eggs otherwise the sugar will “cook” the eggs.

20130902-071902.jpgAdd the hot milk into the egg mixture continuing to whisk until fully incorporated.
Note: it is important that you pour the hot milk into the bowl with the eggs and not the other way around. If you added the egg mixture into the hot milk, it would cook the eggs.

20130902-071941.jpgUsing a ladle, pour the mixture equally into each ramequin. Feel free to fill them up as much as you wish. These will not rise during baking, and rather sink once cooled.

20130902-072031.jpgPlace the ramequins into a baking dish with a water bath.
Place in the oven for about 40 minutes until the top is brown and feels settled.

20130902-072342.jpgOnce cooked, take out of the oven and let cool. Then place the lids on top of each ramequin and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

20130902-072426.jpgWhen ready to serve, run the blade of a knife around the flan.

20130902-072942.jpgPlace a plate on top and reverse it upside down, shaking a bit to ensure the flan detaches from the ramequin onto the serving plate.

20130902-073017.jpgSprinkle additional praline powder and decorate with a few extra hazelnuts. Enjoy!

Eggplant Mousse

We obviously grow a lot of eggplants in Provence in the summer time, and we have a myriad different ways to prepare them. My mother used to make “Mousse d’Aubergine” for us fairly frequently. This recipe was one of my brothers’ and my favorites. So making it is always reminiscent of the summer lunches we would share out on the patio. Here in Chicago, it is wonderful served as a brunch as well as an accompaniment to a dinner.

20130817-165847.jpgWhen I spoke to my mother about the fact I was going to share this recipe on my blog, she admitted that lately she hadn’t been making it, because it contains cream and she no longer tolerates lactose well. So I made this recipe with almond milk instead, and it turned out delicious. You can enjoy it either way, depending on your dietary preferences.

20130818-073846.jpgIngredients:
2 large organic eggplants
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large organic tomato
1 large shallot or small onion
1 garlic clove
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
3-4Tbsp olive oil
Fresh chives for decoration
Preheat oven to 400F

20130818-073920.jpgCut the eggplants in half and brush olive oil on the the inside.

20130818-074009.jpgPlace on a baking sheet face down and bake for about 40-45 minutes.

20130818-074040.jpgMeanwhile prepare the tomato sauce by peeling and chopping the onion and garlic. To save time, my mother did to always peel and seed the tomatoes, so here I simply removed the hard green core from the stem and chopped the tomatoes country-style. The texture will be a bit more grainy than if you peel and seed them, so if you prefer a smoother texture, please refer to my Mussels with in Orange, Tomato and Saffron sauce recipe to see the technique on how to peel and seed tomatoes.

20130818-074116.jpgHeat the olive oil and add the chopped onion. Reduce the heat to simmer until the onion melt and become translucent.

20130818-074212.jpgAdd the chopped tomatoes and garlic. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until soft and cooked. Season with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.

20130818-075254.jpgUsing a spoon, scoop the eggplant away from the skin. It should detach very easily when cooked.

20130818-074533.jpg Drain the eggplant in a colander for a few minutes to remove excess water.

20130818-074734.jpg Place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

20130818-074822.jpg Process till smooth.

20130818-074857.jpg Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and add the almond milk. Mix well.

20130818-074946.jpg Separate the egg yolks and reserve the whites for whisking. When the eggplant is cool enough so it won’t cook the egg yolks, add them one at a time mixing energetically and well. Season with nutmeg and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.

20130818-075329.jpg Whisk the egg whites until stiff with a pinch of salt.

20130818-075407.jpgAdd about 1/4 to 1/3 of the whisked egg whites to the eggplant mixture and mix well.

20130818-075445.jpgFold in the remaining egg whites until fully incorporated.

20130818-075620.jpgPour the mixture into individual soufflé dishes, or one large one depending on how you intend to serve it. Place the dish(es) in a water bath and bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the soufflé dish you are using.

20130818-075727.jpgThe mousse is ready when the top is golden brown.

20130818-075805.jpg Top with a thin layer of tomato sauce, decorate with some fresh chives, and enjoy!

Chilled Asparagus Soup with fresh Basil

Chilled soups are always refreshing in summer. This recipe is a non-dairy creamy soup, basically puréed with almond milk. It is particularly popular with friends who have dairy restrictions in their diet, or people who simply enjoy a lighter version of creamy soups.

20130630-115840.jpg The chilled asparagus tend to have a more delicate flavor when mixed with potatoes which act as the binding agent in the soup. If you wish to enhance the asparagus taste of the soup, add a little cumin (optional).

20130630-115930.jpg Ingredients:
2 lbs asparagus
1 large shallot
2-3 small potatoes
1/2 jalapeño pepper
2 garlic cloves
1.5 oz fresh basil
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
2 cups water
2 cups almond milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon rind for decoration

20130630-145516.jpg Remove the seeds and white/silver lining of the inside of the jalapeño pepper

20130630-145651.jpg Cut the jalapeño in strips and dice finely.

20130630-150113.jpg Peel, crush and chop the garlic finely. Peel the shallot preserving the roots to hold it while chopping. Slice it horizontally, almost reaching the roots, then vertically like an onion, and finally, chop it vertically again but in a perpendicular direction.

20130630-150230.jpg Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot and add the chopped jalapeño, garlic and shallot. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes. You might add the cumin at this time if using.

20130630-150343.jpgWash, peel, and slice the potatoes. Cut them in sticks and dice them in small even pieces so they cook faster and evenly.

20130630-152557.jpgAdd potatoes to the pot and continue cooking on low heat.

20130630-152644.jpgIf the ends of the asparagus are thick and woody, it is best to snap the ends off between your fingers rather than cutting them with a knife. By snapping them, they naturally break off at the point where the tender part of the asparagus meets the woody part. Discard the woody parts.

20130630-153925.jpgThen, trim the tips by slicing them individually at a diagonal to preserve a naturally elongated design.

20130630-154010.jpg Cut the asparagus stems in about 1-inch pieces, add them to the pot along with 2 cups of water and moderate salt. Bring to a oil, lower the heat and simmer about for 8-10 minutes, until the asparagus stems are cooked.

20130630-155308.jpg Separately, bring a small pot of generously salted water to a boil and plunge the asparagus tips for a few minutes until they begin to be tender yet slightly firm to the touch.

20130630-190438.jpgRemove the asparagus tips from the boiling water and place them immediately in an ice bath. This will stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

20130630-190515.jpgDrain them as soon as they are cool and reserve.

20130630-191527.jpgOnce the asparagus stems and potatoes are cooked, place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

20130630-191608.jpgProcess until smooth and let cool a few minutes.

20130630-191647.jpgAdd the basil leaves at this time and process further until the leaves are incorporated into small pieces into the soup.

20130630-191728.jpgAdd the almond milk one cup at a time and process to blend perfectly.

20130630-191800.jpgPour into a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

20130630-191842.jpg Meanwhile, cut a long piece of lemon rind with a small pairing knife.

20130630-192342.jpgRemove the extra pith (white part) that might be left attached to the rind.

20130630-192422.jpgCut thin strips (‘julienne’) and reserve.

20130630-192459.jpgSet up the lemon rind and asparagus tips to serve.

20130630-192602.jpg When pulling the chilled asparagus soup from the refrigerator, check for seasoning, add salt and cumin if necessary, and some finely ground black pepper. Place a ladle a of chilled asparagus soup in individual bowls or cups, decorate with the asparagus tips and lemon rind strips.

20130630-192643.jpgChilled asparagus soup, here served with a grilled fig. Enjoy!