Every winter I find myself returning to some version of a creamy puréed broccoli soup. This time around I’ve gotten the making of it down to a very simple formula. In fact it’s a formula that I’ve used successfully for making a roasted butternut squash soup and a roasted cauliflower soup. I think it’s a formula you can use to make other roasted vegetables into soups as well, without overthinking it, adding different spices or herbs to bring an individual flavor to each soup.
I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to root vegetables, which means I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Nothing wrong with that, but why play the same note over and over again when you have so many others to choose from? I realized how monotone I’d been after eating at a local farm-to-table restaurant where one of the sides was mashed parsnips, and since then I was determined to add it to my repertoire.
If you aren’t familiar with parsnips, they look like a carrot whose pigment has faded. Though the parsnip doesn’t have the vibrant color of its relative, its flavor and fragrance is so much more interesting than the candy-sweet carrot.
I thought I’d occasionally share ideas for staples that I keep in our kitchen and use nearly every day. One of my favorites is ginger juice. Spicy, pungent, great for digestion and in cold and flu tonics… I use it so often that it became a chore I needed to simplify. So I came up with this idea of how to always have the flavor of ginger ready to go. There’s really no recipe here, only a few descriptive steps. Be sure you have a pair of protective plastic gloves to wear while working with the ginger, especially if you have skin that reacts strongly to handling spicy foods. I purchased a box of disposable nitrile gloves which keep me from dealing with burning and irritated hands anytime I prep a bunch of ginger. You’ll also need a powerful blender such as a Vitamix to purée the ginger, which is one tough root.
At long last I return to this small space on the world wide web. It’s been a nice break, and I needed it to find my balance after radically changing how I eat as a result of following the autoimmune paleo protocol. With the experience of three very different food jobs in three very different kitchens behind me, I’ve also realized that I like working best at a slow and meditative pace, alone, in the relative quiet of home. Of course there is the clanking of pans, the stirring of whisks, the sliding of drawers, and on and on, but it’s orchestrated by me and is a kind of music to the ears, a background to occasional moments of inspiration. Our dog, Hiro, keeps watch while perched on the couch where he can see me, when he’s not sleeping, as I’m working in the kitchen. He is not a fan of the music I make.
I’ve started baking again, experimenting with grain-free flours such as cassava, butternut squash, and arrowroot, among others, as well as more natural sugars like coconut, maple, and honey. These scones are the result of many half-batches of tweaking this and then that, and then trying something even more challenging by making them AIP-compliant, with an amazing result on the first try. Sometimes inspiration strikes, but not without laying a lot of groundwork.
In a matter of days, lunch all over the United States shifted from salads to soups, courtesy of an arctic front delivered via an ocean storm that hit Alaska’s Aleutian Islands over the weekend. Shades of polar vortex to come, perhaps? I submit that this phenomenon has existed here in Texas long before the term was coined last year, where it is not unusual to see a 40 degree temperature drop from one day to the next.
Not all things are an efficient use of your time and energy. Take, for instance, the handheld electric fly swatter. The premise of the handheld electric fly swatter is that you smack said insect once and the electric current zaps the bug dead. It’s sort of like the big POW! that kills the bugs in the cartoons in bug spray commercials, but without the use of toxic chemicals. It’s a fine idea, in theory; quick, easy, portable, and just the sort of thing that calls to husbands from hardware store shelves.
When things get heavy, it’s good to lighten up and change the regular rhythm of daily life a bit. It’s Spring, after all, or at least it’s trying to be, putting forth its best effort to shed the layers of winter and show itself off. I’m all for that, because it’s something like a make-over, of the earth as it were, and I love makeovers.