I was in artichoke heaven the other night when I tasted this incredible cream of artichoke soup at a birthday party, and I simply had to share this quick easy recipe with you today in honour of St Patrick's Day. Being Irish, I look forward to it every year! Those of you who have been following me for a while would be familiar with my friend Mika and her two boys Rei and Kai who I lived with when I first moved out to CA in 2010. They are my family here; and through Mika, I have met some of the most wonderful people -- Liz and her adorable son Flynn; and the Mohr Family: Jim and Toshiko, and their gorgeous children, Selina and Sean.
Our monthly "pot luck and games night" has become one of my "can't live without" events that I cherish. Recently, Selina and Sean both had a birthday a day apart and they each had a birthday dinner party, where they chose their favourite foods, and selected the guests they would like to share their special night with. I felt honoured to be included amongst the "chosen few", and relished not only the wonderful company, but the incredible food!
This unbelievable artichoke soup was the starter on Selina's Birthday Menu, and I begged Toshiko for the recipe after the first spoonful! I must admit, I do that with absolutely everything Toshiko makes, for she is one of the best cooks I know. I have yet to taste anything that isn't absolutely to die for! I must admit to having "veganized" her original recipe that contained mascarpone cheese. I have chosen to "cream up" this soup with a handful of raw macadamia nuts. But if you want to make this recipe nut free you could always just leave them out, or add a little bit of soy milk.
This soup has a gorgeous rich flavour without getting too fiddly. The secret? Just a few simple ingredients. The other huge selling point is that it only takes 30 minutes to make from start to finish. It is super easy. In fact, that is what Toshiko says whenever I ask (with a full mouth) about one of her recipes. "Oh, it's easy!" she says as if nothing this super woman does is any big deal! The beauty of her reply is that, more often that not, it really is!
I wish I could introduce you to all of these wonderful people. They are so special to me, and have become my "L.A Family". Scott felt so bad that he couldn't make it to the birthday dinners that he stayed up until midnight the other night making two loaves of his famous chocolate banana bread for each child. He delivered them last night to rave reviews. Scott is an amazing baker and makes the best banana bread I have ever tasted in my life. I received an email this morning that the Mohrs agree! I will veganize that recipe and share it one day.
Until then, enjoy this blendsational soup! I have had such fun playing with all of my Le Creuset pieces this month. The best thing about that French oven is how gorgeous it looks on the table. I still cannot believe how warm it keeps the soup with the lid on! I came back an hour later for seconds last night and the soup was still hot.
Happy St Paddy's Day everyone!
Toshiko. Thankyou for sharing this recipe. I love you.