Tag Archives: sweet potato

Curried cauliflower and sweet potato soup (vegan)

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Last week, the almost unthinkable happened. It got cold here. Temperatures dipped below freezing overnight! I wore a heavy wool sweater and my fleece-lined winter raincoat and a scarf and gloves to walk to work! We broke out the fuzzy slippers and the hot water bottles and generally hunkered down. And I made soup.

I love soup at almost any time of year, but when it’s cold out (and all you hardier types in areas where there is “real winter” can stop laughing at my reaction to a little flirting with the freezing point now, thanks), soup can especially hit the spot. Some how a hot bowl of liquid just warms you up that much faster than a hot plate of solids.

Of course, for your extra cold weather, you want an extra warming and satisfying bowl of soup. For this recipe, I add a hefty dose of spicy Thai chilis, and temper them with a can of coconut milk. Cauliflower to make sure we’re still getting some vegetable matter in, and sweet potato for a hint of sweetness and a nice dose of starch (vital when your body is fighting to maintain homeostasis, right?). Blend it all together, and the result is a thick, velvety soup with a sneaky kick of heat (for those of you who prefer a milder soup, I’d suggest adding just one chili pepper, then increasing the heat in individual bowls with a little hot sauce as desired).

M., who has a pretty low tolerance for consecutive nights of the same dinner, actually requested that we eat this soup for dinner on Monday, he loved it so much on Sunday night. The weather’s warmed up again this week, but I’ll have this recipe filed away and ready to deploy for the next little freeze. For those of you who are still feeling winter’s grip, try this to help you through.

Because we’re almost always freezing some part of our soups and trying to maximize available freezer space, the recipe below doesn’t contain a lot of liquid and may come out too thick for some tastes. Feel free to dilute individual bowls with a little more hot broth before serving to achieve your desired consistency.

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Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup
serves 8

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic
3 Thai chili peppers (the very small green kind)
3 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp asafoetida powder*
1 sweet potato (about 6 oz), peeled and cut into 8-10 pieces
1 head of cauliflower (approx. 2 lbs), cut into pieces ~2-3″ long
4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk
salt, to taste

*This spice can be a little tricky to find, I’ve had success at Indian groceries or natural foods stores with a good bulk spice section. If you can’t find it, the soup will still taste fine without.

Method
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil to a medium heat. Add the onions, stir to coat with oil, and allow to cook until onions are soft and slightly translucent, about 8-10 minutes

2. Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chili, curry powder, and asafoetida, cook for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add sweet potato and cauliflower, stir to coat with spice and onion mixture. Add broth, cover pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow soup to simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower is cooked and will fall apart with a firm touch from a wooden spoon.

4. If you have an immersion blender, puree the soup right in the pot. If not, transfer soup to a mixing bowl, then use a food processor to puree batches of soup, returning each pureed batch to the pot. Be careful not to overfill the food processor (I try not to cover the top of the central knob piece on the s-blade).

5. Add the coconut milk to the pureed soup and allow to heat thoroughly (avoid boiling the soup after adding the coconut milk).

Thin with broth if desired, serve hot.

Sweet potato tartlets with gingerbread crust (vegan, gluten/grain free)

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Here’s a confession for you: I’ve not done much of anything to prepare for Thanksgiving this year. Instead of preparing a traditional holiday spread, M. and I will be heading off with a group of friends to do some camping up north(ish). Thanksgiving camping has become something of a tradition for us, though this is the first time we’re making it a group outing. We will for sure be having some good food, but there’s no way I’m lugging a turkey or even a few pies several miles through the “wilderness” to get to our campsite. So, no traditional Thanksgiving dinner for us this year!

Still, I’m not totally out of the Thanksgiving loop, and I would have to be living under a rock to have missed all the recipes floating around the internet, not to mention the pumpkin pie spice smells being pumped into the grocery store. While I love a slice of pumpkin pie as much as anyone, lately I’ve been feeling more drawn to its neglected Southern cousin, the sweet potato (or really, yam) pie. And thus, these sweet potato tarts came into being. The gingerbread crust is something I’ve been fascinated with every since I was introduced to the concept five or so years back. This version is both vegan and gluten/grain free, relying on soaked almonds to form the base material. Molasses and a hefty dose of ginger, plus a few notes of cinnamon and cloves finish things off. The filling is also relatively low on sugar: sweet potato and two dates is all you need!

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Sweet potato tartlets with gingerbread crust

makes 12 tartlets (I used a 1.75″ diameter, like this tin)

Ingredients
For the crust
1 c. almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1 T molasses
1 T ginger
1 T coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

For the filling
1 c mashed sweet potato
1 T ground flax seed
1 T almond milk
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Deglet Noor dates (I use the Hadley brand, they seem to be pretty solid–nice and moist!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
1. In a food processor fitted with the metal S-blade, combine all crust ingredients. Process into a thick dough/paste. A slightly “grainy” consistency from the nuts is fine, but there should not be large nut chunks.

2. Grease a mini muffin pan and start oven preheating to 350F. Press dough into muffin cups. Bake for 12 minutes.

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3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Using the same food processor (you should scrape out any large amounts of leftover crust, but a few smears clinging to the side are no big deal), blend together the filling ingredients.

4. Fill the muffin cups. I find this step works best if you fill an icing bag with the filling and pipe it in.

5. Bake for another 12-14 minutes, until filling is just barely beginning to brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

To remove from pan, gently slide a knife around the top edge of each tartlet. They should then be ready to pop right out.

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