easy roasted broccoli soup


 
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.

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grain-free rosemary, chocolate & olive oil cake

grain-free olive oil cake | themusicianwhocooks.com
 
Rosemary, chocolate, and olive oil. It’s an amazing combination of flavors that I first came across several years ago in Kim Boyce’s “Olive Oil Cake” from her inspiring and innovative cookbook, Good To the Grain. It’s also a combination that I’ve used before for a favorite brownie recipe which one of these days I’d like to re-do as grain-free. But more to the point, let’s talk about this cake.

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mashed parsnips

mashed parsnips | themusicianwhocooks.com
 
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.

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ginger juice

How to make ginger juice | themusicianwhocooks.com
 
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.

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butternut squash scones

butternutsquashscones
 
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.

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