I love to eat! But I'd rather not spend a lot of time cooking. I developed these crockpot recipes with inspiration from Heaven's Banquet—Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cookbook by Miriam Hospodar, and The Ageless Woman—Natural Health & Beauty After Forty, by Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, an expert in the system of natural medicine called ayurveda.
For a recipe index, see the Blog Archive below.
Crockpot Soupe Basics:
I'm an intuitive cook; I use words like "about" or "handful". My recipes make about four servings of hearty soup. The basic measurements are: 1/4 - 1/3 cup whole grain; approx. 1/3 cup lentils; 1.5 quarts of water; 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter, highly recommended by ayurveda) or vegetable oil; 1 teaspoon of salt; 1 rounded Tablespoon of spices; and about 3 cups of mixed veggies. I use, and recommend, organic ingredients for the purest food and optimal nutrition. I hope this blog helps you enjoy good eatin', good health, and creative cooking! I love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cauliflower soup with nutmeg

I’ve been enjoying the holiday cooking and baking season! For Thanksgiving, I decided to try some recipes in an intimidating Indian cookbook which has been staring at me from the bookshelf for years. While shopping for ingredients in an Indian grocery, I told the owners about my plan. They thought it was so funny, they said they would make a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. I need to go back to follow up... and report my success!

One of the discoveries of the Thanksgiving experiment was a delicious nut paste which I used in today’s soup: I simmered 2 tablespoons of white poppy seeds for half an hour, and soaked 2 tablespoons each of blanched almonds and cashews in warm water for about an hour. Drain the soaking water from the poppy seeds and nuts, place in a blender, adding about 1/4 cup of fresh water. Blend until smooth, and set aside. (I did this yesterday evening.)

Overnight I soaked 3/4 cup of split mung dal. I think a can of organic white beans would also work well. Today I forgot to add grain....! but I would use 1/4 cup of brown basmati, quinoa or millet. (If I were using canned beans, I would simply purée them in a blender and add to the cooked grains. If making this soup without grain, I would add the puréed beans after sauteeing the spices in oil, before adding the veggies.)

I brought the dal to a boil in 1.5 quarts of veggie broth (water would be fine), and transferred it to the crockpot, leaving it on high for a little over an hour while we showered, stretched, and meditated.

In the final countdown to the morning commute, I sautéed a quarter of a sweet onion in 2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or ghee would be great) until the onions become translucent. We aren’t big onion eaters, but they are very healthful so I use them occasionally. I also added about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. (Note: according to ayurveda, using fresh black pepper heated in ghee is very nourishing for brain tissue, and is recommended for preventing Alzheimer's disease. See The Raj ayurvedic medical spa at www.theRaj.com for an article about this.)

I mentioned nutmeg in the title of this blog, but actually I used powdered mace, my latest culinary fascination. Mace and nutmeg come from the same nut and have similar flavor, so either would work. (Mace has a more subtle, complex flavor.) Freshly grated nutmeg is so much more interesting than the packaged powder; a fine toothed “microplane” zester works really well. In either case, add 1/2 teaspoon of mace or nutmeg to the hot oil and onion mix. (You may need a dash more if using pre-powdered nutmeg.)

Stir in 3 cups of finely chopped cauliflower and dark green chard. Toss in a a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped. Add 1 teaspoon of mineral salt. Sautée a few minutes until the veggies soften, then add to the crockpot.

Add the nut paste, stir the soup well, and ladle up your thermoses (or turn the crockpot to the lowest “keep warm” setting). And away you go!

On days when I've made more than enough soup for lunch, I leave the crockpot on warm all day and add a big handful of freshly chopped parsley to augment the soup for dinner.

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