1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cups vegetable broth
4 teaspoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
3/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Fresh black pepper
1 to 2 nori sheets, finely chopped (see note above)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Optional: fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish
Saltines for crushing over the top
Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion and carrots in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, for about 10 minutes, until carrots are softened.
In the meantime, we’ll make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth and cornstarch. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from one to five minutes depending on your machine. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every now and again to make sure you get everything.
Back to the soup. Add mushrooms and celery. Cook briefly, for about 3 minutes, just until mushrooms are softened. You want them to keep their texture.
Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, nori and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Be careful to keep a close eye so as not to overcook them or they will turn into mush.
Stir in the cashew cream mixture, and gently heat, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, until nicely thickened. Add the tomato paste and lemon juice and taste for salt and seasoning. Add a little extra water if it seems too thick. Serve garnished with parsley or chives, if you like, and a few saltine crackers. A wedge of lemon looks pretty, too.