November 18, 2013


One of my all time favorites is Clam Chowder!  For this Meatless Monday, I wanted to share an absolutely amazing vegan alternative.  I can not express enough how delicious this recipe will think you are in San Francisco sitting at Fisherman's Wharf.  Really!  No joke!

 It comes to us via Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  And, funny enough, another recipe from guest Chef Tal Ronnen.  See more of Kris' amazing journey and buy her cookbook at  

Shopping list:
Cashew Cream
4 cups whole raw cashews (rinse and soak overnight; I put mine in the fridge and soaked that day, around 8 to 9 hrs) Note: This will make waaayyyy more cashew cream than you need but I will share other ways to use it later
Kombu Broth
4 pieces kombu seaweed (they are small squares so it is stated to use about 5 by 8 inches; you can find this at Whole Foods or Mother's Market or the like)
2 quarts water
Smoked Mushrooms
1 tbsp small hickory chips (this didn't seem like much, so I actually had the bigger chips and used about a cup.  Be sure to see how long to soak them and do it ahead of time.  You will use these to smoke the mushrooms)
1 heaping cup diced king trumpet mushrooms (these are also known as king oyster mushrooms)
(They look like this =)

**You will also need a roasting pan with a rack if you don't have one.  I picked one up at Bed, Bath and Beyond for 15 bucks.
Chowder Assembly
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup peeled and diced baking potato
2 1/2 to 3 cups water (This is to control the consistency of the soup while it is cooking.  You will have plenty of the kombu broth left over.  I added that instead of plain water)
1 tsp lemon juice, more to taste (I actually used 2 or 3 times more, and served wedges on the side.  I love my lemon =)
1/2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce, more to taste (I used Crystal Hot Sauce)
2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
1 tsp black pepper, more to taste

To prep: Set the oven to preheat for 450 degrees (for mushrooms) and be sure to soak the hickory chips. (They need to soak for about 25 minutes) Then, I started with the broth first.  It takes 40 minutes, so while this was on, I was able to prepare everything else.


Combine the kombu seaweed and the 2 quarts water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook 40 minutes.  When done, strain through sieve into bowl and set aside.  Whatever you don't use in the recipe, you can cover and keep in the fridge for 10 days.

Prep Cashew Cream

While broth is cooking, strain cashews and rinse again.  To prepare the cashew cream, place cashews in high-speed blender.  (I have a Magic Bullet and it worked great.  You will need to do this in batches)  Add enough water to cover by an inch and puree until completely smooth.  Pour into a sieve and whisk the cream into a separate bowl.  This will separate the cream and the nut pulp will be left in the sieve.  Keep the cream only and you can toss the pulp.  The cream should be like a thick, heavy cream. (if you have a good recipe for the nut pulp, let me know=)  Again, you will only be using 1 1/2 cups of the cream, but you can do lots with the left overs.  The left-over cream can be kept in the fridge to use later.

Dice onion, celery, and potato and put in one bowl.  Set aside.  Dice mushroom and set aside.

Prepare Smoked Mushrooms
Drain hickory chips and place on foil-lined bottom of roasting pan.  (The book has you use a stovetop smoker OR a roasting pan.  I don't have a smoker, so the pan worked really well in it's place)  Place the mushrooms on foil on the rack.  Cover pan with foil and roast for about 10 minutes.  (The book said 3 to 5 in the smoker, but it wasn't long enough in my oven.  Just keep checking so you don't over roast, because the mushrooms will get bitter) Take out and set aside.

Combining all the goodness
Heat the oil in a medium size pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and potato.  (see why you can keep them in the same bowl? huh?? =) Sweat until softened, stirring frequently (8 to 10 minutes)

Add 1 1/2 cups EACH of the kombu broth and cashew cream, along with the smoked mushrooms.  Reduce the heat and cook over low heat, stirring frequently (about 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors sing and dance and have a party together)  As the cashew cream thickens, add the broth, one cup at a time, as needed, to thin and adjust the consistency.  I used only about 2 cups total of the extra broth.  It all depends on how thick you want your finished soup.  In the book, they said they added about 3 cups.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.

Season with lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.  Taste to adjust the seasonings as desired.  

“How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
Julia Child

So, taste, people, taste!! =) 
The book said it makes about 2 quarts of soup to have 12 servings...??  I don't know about that!  12?  (They DID add more extra water, though.)  However, we split it up into 2 HUGE servings and then had some left over for 1 second helping =) I don't really know how much a "true" serving is, but we couldn't resist to heap it in our bowls ;)  Yumm-eh! 

You will definitely have enough cream and broth left if you need to just cut up more veggies and make another batch.

Serve with sourdough bread and Enjoy!

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