A few years ago I developed a hernia and was forced to change my eating habits substantially. The major change centred on the quantity and frequency of my meals. In a nutshell – smaller portions, more frequent servings. I learned to be a grazer, filling up on very small amounts. I also learned to have a lot of food in close proximity because, should I forget to eat every few hours I would end up cranky and shaky and feeling rather craptacular.
Regardless, several years of eating this way, plus my hernia-fixing surgery in August of last year has left me a much slimmer, much healthier, less cranky version of myself. It has also left me estranged from my kitchen for some time. I used to cook. I used to make soups and non-dairy lasagna. Chili was a staple, and tuna or salmon steaks were common fare. I would make cookies and cakes, crumbles, squares, tortes, and other delicious sweets.
That all ended when the hernia started.
Fortunately I’ve recently rediscovered my kitchen. It wasn’t something I planned. It just happened. I think it was a result of the flood. Having the kitchen taken away from me reminded me how much I loved to play in it. I won’t say I’m a good cook, but I can find my way around. My parents are great cooks, and I remember learning a lot from them as I grew. Spending hours helping my mom with cookies and cakes, watching intently as my dad made all sorts of amazing feasts, and working at Chudleigh‘s for the better part of my youth – all have taught me not to fear the kitchen. And they have provided me the experience to know what to substitute should a required ingredient not be on hand. Some times things work. Some times they don’t. The point is that I’m willing to experiment and only use recipes as a guide.
Apparently I’m on a kitchen kick. In the past month or two I’ve managed to bake 6 pies (4 pumpkin and 2 salted chocolate pecan pies – all dairy free) for two separate occasions. Tonight I continued my kitchen-love rekindling with a big-ole-batch of Roasted Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, and Garlic Coconut Tandoori Soup (recipe below). In this particular case I didn’t bother following a recipe. Surprisingly, it turned out pretty well.
It’s amazing how much cooking makes my house feel like my home.
Roasted Butternut Squash Cauliflower and Garlic Coconut Tandoori Soup
- 1 butternut squash, cut in half with seeds and other goo removed.
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces.
- 6 cloves of garlic.
- 1 container of chicken or vegetable stock (salt reduced).
- 1 can of coconut milk (light).
- 1 cup of water (possibly more depending on the consistency desired).
- 2 tbsp of brown sugar, lightly packed.
- 2 tbsp of vegan butter.
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- 1 tbsp of tandoori spice.
- salt and pepper (to taste).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place butternut squash halves face up on a baking pan.
- Drop 1 tbsp each of butter and brown sugar into the seed pod of each squash half.
- Place the pan in the oven. Add a cup or two of water to the pan. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of the squash).
- While the squash is roasting, combine the cauliflower and the garlic into a large bowl. Toss with the vegetable oil and some salt and pepper. Place on another cooking pan. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Pour stock and coconut milk into a large pot. Add 1 cup of water. Let simmer on low heat.
- Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot. Continue to simmer.
- Once the squash is cooked, remove the flesh from the outer skin and add to the pop of stock, coconut milk, and cauliflower.
- Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. You may need to add water.
- Using a food processor, blend the soup to remove large chunks. Blend until you reach the desired consistency.
I think that it could be served with a dollop of sour cream (but I don’t eat that), a sprig of mint (for colour), or possibly some cinnamon.
- Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Ginger (cathweber.blogspot.com)
- Butternut Squash & Chestnut Soup (speltforchoice.wordpress.com)
- Roasted Butternut Squash (spoonful.com)
- Butternut-Cauliflower Crock Pot Mash (health-heretic.com)