Monthly Archives: December, 2014

Souper Sunday – Curried Cauliflower Soup

Vancouver is known for its temperate climes but occasionally, we do get some winter weather and we’re about to go into the “freezer” with some sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures.  There was a definite chill in the air on my morning walk so I thought it was perfect day to make a warming soup.

This has been a favourite recipe since I first saw it on The Missing Ingredient Facebook page earlier this year, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit with ingredients I’ve had on hand. I added garlic to the recipe as I love the flavour as well as it being good for you. For a bit more zest and healthy benefits, finely grated ginger can be added just before being taken off the heat.

Curried Cauliflower SoupCurriedCauliflowerSoup

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets, stems chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil¹
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or through a garlic press
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste²
Zest from 1 small lemon³
1½ cups chicken stock¤
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk∞
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower with olive oil. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if necessary to ensure there is room around the pieces so the cauliflower doesn’t steam. Roast until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, sweat the onion with sesame oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for about a minute then the curry paste and lemon zest. and stir to incorporate.

Add all of the roasted cauliflower stems and half of the florets to the pot. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar.

If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend until smooth. Or alternatively, ladle  several batches carefully into a blender ensuring there is enough liquid to ensure a smooth purée.  Remember to hold the blender lid down with a dishcloth to ensure it doesn’t pop off due to the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each with ¼ of the cauliflower florets, serve immediately. Additional toppings are bacon bits, roasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, and fried onions. Leftovers freeze really well.


¹ The original recipe calls for just olive oil but I love sesame oil and it complements the Thai flavour.

² Depending on the brand of curry paste, you may need to adjust this amount to ensure you get some heat and flavour. I’ve amped up the flavour using Sriracha sauce as well.

³ If you don’t have lemons on hand, you can use lemon or lime juice to add brightness.

¤ The original recipe uses vegetable stock which would make it vegetarian but I prefer using reduced or no sodium chicken stock for more flavour.

I have made this soup with both regular and lower fat coconut milk with good results. 

December Days Pass at Light Speed

hyperspace-star-wars

Maybe Science Facts will be able to prove that days in December pass at light speed

I had all the good intentions of participating in this month’s Blogging Challenge even though I knew it would be extra challenging as December is always busier than the rest even if  I know I have less going on than others.

It is difficult to imagine how during university, I took a full course load, had papers and finals, worked retail about 30 hours/week plus family and friend gatherings during this month. Perhaps youthful energy and a bit of a slightly OCD/over achiever personality?  Where did that person go? 😉 


Last month’s big NaBloPoMo was focused on many newcomers signing up to participate and get the posting daily. However, for the rest, there is a theme to help focus thoughts and this month, it is seasonally appropriate for December:   J O Y.  There are some prompts that I really like but not sure how many I will get to nor will they be in any particular order.

What do you do when you’re down to bring yourself a little joy?

This prompt made me giggle a bit.  While growing up, I was a tom boy, but eventually, found myself drawn to the colourful world of cosmetics. I practised the newest”looks” with my friends, but in fact never wore much on a daily basis due to long days filled with early morning or after school sports team practices or games.

I must have been in my 20’s when I somehow ended up in a local drug store after a bad day at work and found myself wandering the cosmetics section. Human nature – my eye was drawn to a SALE sign. Hmmm, a rainbow of hues from nude, pink, red, purple and browns. Which shade would look best? Moisturising, long lasting, shimmer, gloss, so many choices. Trying out the various options provided a good distraction from the troubles of the day and by the time I left the store with one or two new purchases and a lighter spirit. And while I do covet the +$35 Dior Rouge, I stick to the drug store brands to keep the damage <$10.

As a “feel better” treat, it was relatively long lasting, non-caloric, not overly expensive and no regrets the morning after. 😉

IMG_7317.JPG

Not all “bad day” purchases, but a good collection. But it’s time to cut myself off. 😉

However, as you can see, the last thing I need is another lipstick. I’m being grown up and have cut myself off.

Instead, I am doing something else that I hope gives a lift to the soul in giving of myself: my time, expertise, or words. In Giving is Good for the Soul, the post describes the benefits of giving of oneself, and how it covers physical, emotional and spiritual well being. I have often heard, if you want to stop thinking about your worries, spend time volunteering and helping others.

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. – Maya Angelou

AspireToGive

I hope that being this type of Giver will bring both the receiver and me some joy.  While I hope that I will try to give each day, for this holiday season, I am planning for the 12 Days of Christmas so that will give me until January 5th.  I will report back in the new year about how this little project goes in giving and receiving Joy.

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