When: Thursday, December 6, 2012, 6:00pm until 8:00pm Where: ERA art bar and Lounge, 19 Grand, Oakland, California 94612

New Year's Eve Dinner Party Cooking Class with Chef Alex When: Sunday, December 30, 2012, 10:30am Where: Whole Foods Market Oakland Wellness Club, 230 Bay Place, Oakland, California 94612 Join Chef Alex Bury to learn how to plan a delicious, yet healthy plant-strong New Year's Eve meal. Alex was trained as a classical chef at the world's premier culinary college, the Culinary Institute of America. $5 drop in fee, open to the public.

On a wintry day, nothing satisfies like a rich and creamy bowl of warm soup.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

by Allison Rivers Samson, from her award-winning column, ‘Veganize It!’ in VegNews Magazine

Serves 6

1 cup raw cashews
2 quarts vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon coconut oil (unflavored)
1 cup onion, 1/4-inch diced
3 cups cauliflower, cut into large chunks

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6 cups broccoli, separated into bite-sized florets and peeled, stems cut into chunks
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a dry blender, grind cashews into a powder. Add 1 cup vegetable broth and blend until it makes a completely smooth cashew cream.
  2. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat and add coconut oil. Sauté onion, cauliflower, broccoli stems, and marjoram for 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetable broth, cashew cream, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and cook until vegetables are very soft, approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, or in small batches in a regular blender, blend soup base until completely smooth. Add broccoli florets and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender. (Adding broccoli separately ensures a creamy, white soup base, rather than one that’s tinged green.) Add pepper to taste and serve hot.

Note: If broccoli isn’t your favorite soup ingredient, try something else! Carrots, potatoes, button mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus and corn all make excellent additions to this hearty soup. Or, use white cauliflower for the base and add orange (or “cheddar”) cauliflower as the finishing veggie.

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