By Tuesday, December 28, 2010 , , , , ,

Happy Holidays! Pickle's school is closed for the week, so he and I are hanging out at home. It's been a blast so far and we're only on Day Two. Here's what our days have consisted of:

1. Wake up and watch Little Bear; have juice and fish oil pills/tangerine-flavored chewables for P.
2. Eat steel-cut oats and dehydrated apples with a little maple syrup for sweetness.
3. Play with all of Pickle's new toys, while still in pajamas - heaven.
4. Have a snack (steamed edamame, seeded crackers, clementines, etc.)
5. Head outside: go on snow walks, shovel, sled in our back yard (we have a mini hill), make snow angels, follow bunny tracks.
6. Inside for lunch (soup, grilled cheese and avocado sandwiches, etc.)
7. Nap time: for me and Pickle yesterday; again, heaven.
8. Post-nap snack and more playing.
9. Make dinner (see recipe below) and dance.
10. I love vacation

I made a pledge to myself that I would cook out of my cookbooks more this year instead of constantly printing out recipes online. I'll share them with you as I proceed. I'm highlighting Alice Water's lovely cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. Last night's meal was spicy cauliflower soup from page 257 of this lovely tome. I changed only two things: I used orange cauliflower and I pureed it a bit more than what she called for as Pickle likes silky-smooth soups. Try it - it's warm, hearty and good for you, too!

Spicy Cauliflower Soup
modified from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
serves 4-6 hungry mamas, dadas and bambinos

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, scrubbed clean, ends trimmed and diced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
salt ( I used about 2 teaspoons total)
freshly ground black pepper
6 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
1 large head of cauliflower, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water

chopped cilantro
wedges of lime

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onion, carrot, spices and salt & pepper. Cook and stir often until softened but not browned. Stir in cilantro, cauliflower, broth and water.

Raise heat to high and bring to a boil; stir occassionally. Once a boil is reached, reduced heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. At this point, either puree with an immersion blender or use a stiff whisk to coursely puree the soup. If overly thick, add a little hot stock to thin until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkling of cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Here's what we're eating this week...

Menu: week of 27 December 2010
Monday: spicy cauliflower soup
Tuesday: mushroom ragout with pappardelle
Wednesday: braised pork shoulder with polenta
Thursday: black-bean soup served with crusty bread
Friday: shredded pork tacos with avocado and black refried beans
Saturday: Happy New Year! lasagne bianca with homemade pasta served with a fennel-apple salad
Sunday: sauteed broccoli rabe on ricotta bruschetta

Happy eating, -s.

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