As a food blogger, coming up with recipes and flavor combinations and ingredients can get exhausting. So when a cookbook from a trusted author comes along, it’s a joyous relief. And I say “trusted” in the truest sense of the word, because if there’s anyone’s cooking I trust, it would be Laura Wright’s.
With a background in restaurants, Laura has a command of flavors and techniques that is uncommon in the food blogging world. Her blog, The First Mess, is a bastion of fine eating that stands out, rightfully, among the crowd. Her recipes are vegan, but that almost seems like an afterthought when you’re too busy enjoying the subtle nuances of flavor in her food. Tip: if you ever encounter someone who thinks that vegan or vegetarian food can’t be elegant, direct them to Laura’s blog.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the person behind the food. Many of us food bloggers have role models who we look up to, whose blogs and recipes and photography we admire. Laura is one of those people to me. She had announced her cookbook’s existence in 2015, so when I received my first cookbook offer in 2016, Laura was the first person I looked to for advice. I’ll be totally honest, I was super nervous emailing her – it was like asking Stevie Nicks for singing tips. But Laura sent me back the most thoughtful, insightful email I could have hoped for, that must’ve taken her a long time to write. The whole email felt like a virtual hug, saying, you’ve got this, girl!
I could go on and on about how awesome I think Laura and her recipes are, but you can see it for yourself in her new cookbook, eponymously titled “The First Mess Cookbook“. Inside is a wealth of recipes, beautifully photographed, that will inspire you to cook and eat well. I would argue that you could actually become a better cook just by reading the methods in this cookbook. I already know that this book will be a staple in my kitchen!
Even though I bookmarked nearly every recipe to make, Laura’s Small Batch Roasted Soup stood out to me because of its elegant simplicity. Essentially, all you do is choose your favorite seasonal vegetables, roasted them with aromatics, then blend them up into a soup with beans and vegetable broth. So easy, but so full of flavor! For this recipe, I used leeks, celery, and kale, but you could use any vegetables you like. Which is something I love – autonomy in cooking. You can tailor the soup to your preferences, but you’ll still have Laura guiding you along the way. It’s really a beautiful thing!
- 2 Cups Seasonal Veggies, chopped
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic, peeled
- 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to Taste
- 1 Cup Cooked Beans (like navy)
- 1½ Cups Vegetable Stock
- 2 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- Bread, Cooked Rice, Millet, Quinoa (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss the chopped veg, chopped onions, and garlic clove with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. After the vegetables are evenly coated, slide the baking sheet into the oven.
- Roasted the veggies until the onions are browned slightly and your seasonal vegetables are softening. Asparagus or broccoli take about 15-20 minutes to cook, while sweet potatoes and squash take about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven when done.
- Place the roasted vegetables in a blender. Add the beans, vegetable stock, and lemon juice. Slowly bring the blender speed up to high, and keep blending until you have a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Pour the blended soup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, uncovered. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve soup hot with bread on the side or cooked rice, millet, or quinoa on top.
The First Mess Cookbook
You can purchase The First Mess Cookbook here!
For more information about affiliate links, please see my Disclosure!