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The last couple of days have totally served to remind me of WHY I've hardly blogged at all since I went back to work....holy crap....I get home at 6:30/7. Scramble to throw something on the table by 7:30/8. Then eat, tidy a bit. It's 9. Then I need to work out....by the time I'm done, it's usually 10:30, and I need a shower and I need to go to bed. Not a whole lot of time for loafing, photoshopping, photo-uploading and blogging. But dammit, I'm going to blog this year.
So it's 10:45, and I really should be showering and going to bed (damn you Chalean Extreme for kicking my butt everyday). But instead, I've parked myself in front of the computer, because I figure that probably at least half of my readers have perhaps made a resolution to eat healthier, and I've got a couple of recipes that could potentially be useful. And I took pictures of them.
And I promised I would share.
I've waxed poetic about cauliflower soup before, so when I encountered this recipe, while perusing my new Clean Start cookbook (a gift from family...not from a company), I was very intrigued. The combination of roasted cauliflower and roasted garlic seemed pretty much unassailable, so I figured I would give it a try. I served the soup with a chef salad and a yogurt-based green goddess dressing (recipe follows). The combo was great, and was also equally great at lunch today. This is a delicious simple recipe - easily kept vegan (though I used chicken stock, as that's what I had in the cupboard....as an aside, I do have a fantastic new method for vegetable stock that I hope to share shortly!).
My only beef with the Clean Start cookbook, which is full of gluten-free, vegan recipes (without being preachy, which is also awesome), is that there are no calorie calculations or nutrition information. While the book is not specifically a 'diet/weight loss' book, the recipes definitely form part of a healthy lifestyle...one that could lend itself well to weight loss. So that's the one thing I would change about this book....sure, I can easily plug a recipe into nutritiondata.com (and it's free!) and THEN plug the calorie information into fitday.com (also free!), but I'm lazy. So I wish it were in the book.
Roasted Cauliflower and (Roasted) Garlic Soup
stolen and lightly modified from Clean Start
2 heads cauliflower (about 10 cups chopped)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit extra
1 garlic bulb/head (the whole thing)
1 cup diced sweet onion (I used vidalia)
2 T mirin (very very sweet rice wine check asian section of supermarket or sub half honey/syrup, half sherry/red wine)
(2 t sea salt) - I omitted this
4 cups stock or water (I used chicken stock - I would add the salt if you use water)
2 T fresh thyme leaves (I subbed about 1 t dried thyme)
1. Preheat oven to 450F (original recipe calls for 350F and 1 hour of roasting time...I was hungry and impatient).
2. Toss cauliflower with 1 T olive oil and spread out on a cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper to avoid sticking and scrubbing). Cut top off garlic, drizzle with olive oil and wrap loosely (but seal tightly) with foil. Place both cauliflower and garlic in oven and roast for about 30 minutes or so (stir the cauliflower every 10 minutes to prevent burning...if it starts to burn, turn the oven down a bit). Alternatively, if you have more time, use the lower temperature (350F) and roast for longer. Your choice. :)
3. Remove from oven and set aside. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out roasted cloves, discard skin, and set aside.
4. In a large pot, saute onion in 1 T olive oil until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add roasted cauliflower and garlic, mirin, salt and stock/water (also add thyme at this point, if using dried). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes (or until cauliflower is REALLY soft).
5. Remove from heat and puree (either with immersion blender, normal blender or food processor...your choice. I prefer immersion blender.
6. If using fresh thyme, add it, and some fresh pepper. Feel free to garnish with thyme. Or be lazy like me, and just grind a little pepper over it.
Voila. You are done. The original recipe says to simmer for another 20 minutes, but I was really hungry and this turned out just fine. You could simmer for longer though. I think my cauliflower heads might have been a little on the large side, so I added a bit of water after pureeing to thin the texture a bit.
Yogurt Green-Goddess Dressing
1 cup (not chopped or packed) of mixed fresh herbs. I used equal parts dill, basil and cilantro. It was epic.
1 cup plain yogourt (greek/fat free/not so fat free/whatever)
1 T maple syrup
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2-3T?)
1-2 T olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 small minced clove of garlic
(salt) - I didn't add any as I'm trying to cut back
Combine ingredients, puree with kitchen gadget of choice. Mine was on the runny side (my herbs were still pretty wet from being washed), but the dressing was so flavourful, it didn't really bother me. I served this on spring mix, chopped veggies, 8 croutons (yes I counted....that's a serving...ugh) and 1/2 oz grated aged cheddar. It was a delicious salad.
I don't know the exact calorie count of this meal, but it was satisfying and tasty. I thought the garlic and cauliflower went really well together, and the salad gave some nice crunch and texture, and the little crouton and cheese bits gave me just enough sodium and unctuous deliciousness to make up for the relative vegginess of this meal. Two thumbs up. Hubs agrees.