Hey there strangers.
I know. It’s been a minute. Don’t think that I haven’t noticed.
The past couple months have been a whirlwind. Soon after my last post, it became a necessity (for my health and sanity) to leave my old apartment. I had lived there for 3 years, since my first day arriving in NYC back in January 2012. While there were a bunch of positives to living there (an 8-minute walk to work, lots of space and great kitchen light for photos), the negatives eventually began to far outweigh the positives. There is only so long one can deal with negligent management, lack of heat & hot water during the winter, bursting pipes, safety issues,… I could go on.
In any case, a move become a must so I spent a crazy month looking for a new place, with a bunch of ups and downs including retracting an application (and losing the fee) and being shown apartments with recent history of bed bugs. Luckily, I eventually found my current digs in Woodside, Queens. It was quite the decision to leave Manhattan (and my hop, skip and jump to work), but well worth it. There are so many fabulous benefits to my new hood – it’s culturally diverse but still feels homey, there are countless restaurants of all ethnicities, it’s safe, puts me close to my childhood best friend and easily accessible to Manhattan and Brooklyn (except weekends lately with all the track work). My apartment itself is leaps and bounds nicer than my old one (um, 24-hr laundry room so I can wash clothes in my pajamas), yet costs significantly less.
I posted a quote on my personal Facebook last week that reads “all great changes are preceded by chaos.” I’ve learned repeatedly how true this is…
So, now on to my first recipe post from my new place – now dubbed “The Unprocessed Hub” if you follow me on Instagram. I have made a Sweet Potato and Cauliflower recipe in the past that was pretty tasty, but I wanted to pizazz it up a bit. I came across some fabulous purple sweet potatoes at my new local organic market to add some color and anthocyanins – primarily peonidins and cyanidins – that have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, they’re not just a pretty face.
As for the creamy bedazzle, I wanted to add a punch of flavor and some healthy fats – bring in avocado, cashew, cilantro and lime. Not only does it add flavor, but depending how much you use (a little goes a long way), you also add to the creamy texture of the soup.
Definitely a winning first recipe test in my new kitchen.
- 1 large head cauliflower
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Few dashes garam masala
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 leek (white parts only), sliced thin
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- 7 cups filtered water
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- Salt, black pepper and cayenne, to taste
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 cup cilantro
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread out cauliflower onto a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and garam masala, toss lightly, and place into oven. Roast cauliflower until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.
- Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, leek and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.
- Add water and sweet potato and bring to a boil. Salt (about 3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender.
- Add in cooked cauliflower. Either divide soup into 2 parts once cooled, blending half in a blender and then adding back to the pot, or use an immersion blender to purée to desired consistency right in cooking pot (my method).
- Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Warm over stovetop, if needed, prior to serving.
- Soak cashews in water for about 2 hours, then drain. Blend cashews with remaining ingredients until smooth. You will likely need to add more water to thin out to drizzle consistency (likely 1/2 - 1 cup).
- To serve soup, top with a drizzle of avocado cilantro cashew cream and freshly chopped cilantro.