In a blender, add the soaked cashews and about 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add extra water as needed.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth, it should be fairly thick. Set aside.
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables become slightly tender. Add corn and saute for 1 more minute.
Add vegetable stock, diced potatoes, bay leaf, and all other seasonings. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup and stir in your cashew "cheese" sauce. Cook an additional 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken a little. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper if needed. To serve, ladle soup into bowl and top with optional toppings.
Recipe from http://www.thekindlife.com/post/morgans-cheesy-chipotle-corn-chowder, retrieved June 2011.