Roasted cauliflower soup with curried parsley oil recipe

IMG_4425I was in a cauliflower rut. I’d steamed it and tossed it with raisins and capers. I’d steamed it and mashed it with garlic and oil. I’d roasted it in a pool of extra virgin olive oil and topped it with kalamata olives. Now what?

Sometimes, a different format is the solution: move out of the side dish realm and into another course.  I decided to make soup and see what would happen if I roasted the cauliflower, along with roasting onions and garlic. The result was a rich, buttery soup with a nutty taste.  And, like most soups, the flavor intensifies and tastes even better the next day. Continue reading

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Sweet potato, arugula, black bean, avocado salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

sweet potato salad bowlOne of my recurring resolutions is to try more recipes from the cookbooks I receive and amass throughout the year. I’m happy to say that I’ve whipped up the chickpea dressing recipe from the Dirt Candy comic cookbook—which is a fun read and an inspiring and innovative take on vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

lentil ball saucedBut the book that is getting more use right now is the Meatball Shop cookbook, which isn’t even mine. The latest recipe we tried, the vegetarian lentil “meatball” recipe, was enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores alike. We followed it to the letter, but have some ideas about changing it up for next time, so stay tuned.lentil balls

To accompany the lentil balls, I put together a winter “comfort salad” of roasted sweet potato, arugula, avocado, black beans, and toasted almonds. I call it a comfort salad because it’s hearty and satisfying even on a cold day when you wouldn’t gravitate toward salad, and it could be a meal on its own, along with a thick slice of grainy bread. I dressed it with a pomegranate vinaigrette, but considered topping it with this tahini dressing. Continue reading

Cardamom Five-Seed Granola Recipe and Homemade Holiday Gifts

Granola BagsIt’s Cement Truck Kitchen’s favorite time of the year, because we are more indulgent than usual. We experiment with new granola recipes and other treats that can be put into labeled coffee bags or spooned into cellophane packages and secured with shiny bows.  And, it’s the time of year when some people appreciate a festive digestif on a cold night, so we’ve tried an experiment.Gifts

This year’s projects included a cardamom five-seed granola, roasted rosemary walnuts, and limoncello. Continue reading

Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

IMG_4173After finding a lentil and coconut milk soup recipe on Sprouted Kitchen I filed it away for a cold day.  Today’s that day, with a light snow coating everything and encouraging indoor pursuits.

IMG_4166The recipe called for lemongrass, which would amp up the flavor and be quite delicious, I’m sure, but I was not amped up to search the suburbs for it. I also added sweet potatoes because almost everything is better with some roasted sweet potatoes. And then there’s the coconut milk, the quantity that I reduced from the original so that I could save some calories for those cookies hidden away in the freezer. If you like a creamier soup, go for the full 1 ½ cups of full fat coconut milk. Continue reading

Polenta and roasted vegetable pie for Mother’s Day

Getting dinner on the table

 If you ask any of my three brothers to tell you about a time when they laughed the hardest as a child, they will either recount watching the Cheech and Chong “Up In Smoke” movie with my dad, or they’d recall one specific family dinner.

My mom cooked for our family of six every night, kept track of my three brothers and me, and did all the housework. This was before feminism came to our Los Angeles suburb, so my mom just did her job and tried to get us to help when she could. But sometimes we didn’t do our part (and who could blame us–we were 6, 8, 10, and 12 at the time of this memorable meal). My mom would yell and we might or might not be more helpful next time. Eventually she came up with a better strategy. Continue reading

Foolproof turkey and sweet potato chili

Chili makes for an ideal cold weather dinner. It’s my standby when I’m having friends over, not sure exactly what time we will eat, and I want to make it in advance. It’s also hard to mess up.

To make it special, you can serve it with all kinds of fun toppings (avocados, sliced jalapenos, olives, etc.), with a salad and cornbread to round it out. And it’s happy to to simmer on low heat as you wait for your guests to arrive. Continue reading

Greens, sweet potatoes, and cannellini beans with harissa recipe

greens, sweet potato, and cannelini beansWhat was I thinking when I bought a bag of “southern greens blend,” which is a pound of mustard, turnip, and collard greens–stuff I probably would throw away, not knowing it’s edible–and some spinach?

I was thinking its probably good for me and everything else looked kind of tired after a  long drive from the west coast. Flash forward four days, and this bag of trimmings is the only thing in the vegetable drawer. And, right about now I’m thinking this blog should be called the root vegetable kitchen. But, I have hope for a decent healthy dinner in 60 minutes less.

The way some people use bacon to fix food or myriad other situations, I add sweet potatoes. So here’s a quick weeknight healthy vegan dinner that would make Aunt Nettie proud. Continue reading