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Archive for April, 2010

This weekend, the world experienced an inconvenience unprecedented in today’s “get anything now” society. The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (yes just try to pronounce  ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl) set the international travel community into a frenzy,  ruining holidays and wedding plans, threatening jobs, tearing apart lovers, and in some cases creating bridezilla wars over limited floral imports from Holland.

Brian and I are also victims of this raging volcano. One day before he was due to fly back to NYC, Heathrow Airport mandated a ground stop, trapping him and I’m sure hundreds of thousands of others in foreign countries. I should consider us lucky; he is able to continue working from there, and he’s in a safe country where we can communicate regularly until it is safe to fly. But I have never been so anxious being apart from my man, and I don’t know what else to do…but to COOK.

Traveling on the long weary road, there is nothing better to come home to than a bowl of steamy, hearty soup to satisfy your tummy and warm up your heart.

The Cauliflower Soup, adapted from Fine Cooking, adds a refreshing balance of roasted red peppers, almonds and mint to lighten up and update the classic creamy flavor of the cauliflower. I added vegetable broth and curry to give more depth and created a thicker consistency for a heartier texture.

The Butternut Squash Bisque is one of my favorite soups to make. This time I used pears instead of apples, infused it with coconut milk for more richness, again added curry powder for a subtle, unexpected spicy zing, and topped it with crushed pistachios to introduce some nutty fun.

Cauliflower Soup with Almond, Mint & Roasted Red Pepper Garnish

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into 5-6 cups of florets
  • 4 cups of veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup of fat free half & half
  • 1 handful of almonds, crushed or chopped
  • 2 whole roasted red peppers, diced
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp mint
  • 1-2 Tbsp curry powder
  • salt & pepper & red pepper flakes, to taste

Comfort Me:

  • Boil the cauliflower in a pot well seasoned with salt until tender. Drain, leaving about 1/2 to 1 cup of cooking liquid
  • Working in batches, puree the cauliflower with veggie broth and some cooking liquid.
  • Note: Puree to the consistency of your liking – thicker for a heartier texture, and thinner for silky smooth creaminess
  • Bring the puree into a pot on low fire, stir in the half & half, and season with salf, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in curry powder.
  • While the soup is on low simmer, roast 2 medium sized red peppers in the oven at high heat (around 400-420). Let cool, gently peel, dice, and toss with olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Add crushed almonds and mint and stir well.
  • Spoon the soup into bowls, and top with red pepper almond mint garnish.
  • Warm up your soul.

Butternut Squash Pear Bisque

Gather The Goodies:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 pears
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 14oz can of coconut milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 handful of crushed pistachios
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring Him Home:

  • Attack the Butternut Squash with purpose, penetrate it’s stubborn outer layers to get into the aromatic earthy inner deliciousness. Then cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Peel, core and cut the pears into about the same size as butternut squash
  • Cook the butternut squash in vegetable broth, bringing to a oil until squash is tender.
  • In batches, puree the squash & pears in the vegetable broth until smooth.
  • Transfer the puree back into the pot and stir in coconut milk and curry powder. Simmer for 10 minutes until flavors are well integrated
  • Spoon the bisque into bowls and top with crushed pistachios
  • Fill up your tummy with steamy goodness

Finally, I’d like to end this post with a prayer. Dear gods of the friendly flying skies, please clear the air of that murky volcanic ash cloud and make it safe for my honey to fly home. I have a very pressing need for someone to do my laundry, snuggle with, and test taste my food.

As you said, “En los manos de dios”. So we’ll wait patiently and when you make it safely back, you’ll be greeted with all the warm steamy food you can eat and the biggest bear hug ever delivered in the history of mankind.

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