I figured it's about time I dusted off the old cobwebs from this blog and get back into it, because it seems like ages since we've connected here. At the end of last year (oh that sounds so weird) I made a conscious decision to step back from blogging and social media. I felt myself falling into unproductive patters, and having a general lack of motivation to create anything really inspiring. Based on conversations with other bloggers, friends, in the artistic/creative field or not, I think everyone feels that drain at the end of a year, and in my opinion, everyone should step back and unplug, cause it does wonders for the soul.
We were fairly busy over the holidays. We spent two weeks back in Toronto, visiting and eating, drinking, and more eating. We spent New Year's Eve in Washington nestled in a cottage, tucked away in the mountains, no cell reception and no internet. It was not a problem though, because we had a hot tub over looking the lake, a fire place, so much food, cheesy 90's movies, and a whole lotta booze. We spent the days skiing at Mt Baker and the nights recovering from skiing. It was the perfect end to a year. I had all intentions to return to Seattle, excited to start creating new recipes, ideas for a blog re-design, plans to build shelves in the spare room closet, ....and then I got sick. Sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, aches, and pains. No energy to eat, too sore to watch tv. I was a mess. And then Brent got sick, and we were both lying on the couch complaining about our ailments, staring at each other, the dog staring at us. We were now both a mess. Two cases of ginger ale, and few cartons of orange juice, multivitamins, and a nightly run to the local pho shop, we are now on the mend and have almost made a full recovery. And now that we have that out of the way, I am hoping that was the last cold we get for 2015.
Now that I am feeling better, I've been really excited to get back into the kitchen. The thing I've been craving the most is savory soups (Parmesan, lemon juice, kale, cauliflower, spices) which is rare for me because most of the time I'm just not that into soups. If I do make a soup though, it's usually one with a pretty thin broth with small pieces of vegetables or pasta scattered throughout. Lately, I've been really into this insanely delicious whole roasted cauliflowercovered in smoky paprika and spices that I've made 4 times in the past month. It is so good. I wanted to take the roasted cauliflower with smoky paprika, beer, and cheddar sauce concept and transform it into soup form.
I started by roasting a large cauliflower cut into small pieces with smashed garlic for 30 minutes in loads of olive oil, salt, paprika, and chilies. I then caramelized some leeks and carrots with fresh ground pepper. I added half of the cauliflower to the carrots and leeks, broth, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. I then pureed all of those ingredients into a thin broth and added the rest of the cauliflower pieces back in for texture. The soup turned out extremely bright orange from the carrots and paprika, but I assure you that it is very much a cauliflower and leek soup in flavor. The broth is savory and delicious and I want to soak it up with every kind of bread imaginable. I have never been in love with a soup as much as this one. The lemon and Parmesan, smoky paprika, chilies, olive oil, roasted cauliflower and garlic, ugh, the best flavor combinations. I am already prepping to make another batch.
In other news, I've got a recipe up on Food52 for Mexican Sipping Chocolate. It is a liquid dark chocolate concoction with orange zest and spicy and is the perfect treat for these cooler days.
ps. It's so good to be back.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, LEEK, AND CARROT SOUP
serves 6 - 8
1 large cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cracked black pepper
10 cups stock
1 fresh lemon, juiced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
On a baking sheet, scatter the cauliflower and the garlic cloves. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, paprika and chili flakes. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the cauliflower half way through.
In a large soup pot, fry the carrots, leeks, and black pepper with butter on low heat for 10 minutes, or until the leeks soften. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Once the cauliflower is done, place half into the soup pot and set the rest to the side. Cook the soup on low until the vegetables are very soft, roughly 30 minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth.
Add the rest of the cauliflower pieces, the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese to the soup. Garnish with green onions, chili flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve luke warm.
Can be kept in the fridge for a few days.