roasted cauliflower and shallot soup + spinach pasta with basil ricotta sauce

JM: “What’s that sound?”
AES: “It’s my hand blender. I’m blending the soup.”
JM: “It sounds like someone is screaming. Are you making death for dinner?”
AES: “Sorry.”
JM: “That’s the worst sound in the world.”

Last night’s lesson: do not use a hand blender while talking on the phone. It not only destroys your alibi, but it also comes pretty close to guaranteeing that you will be the proud new administrator of a Facebook event called “iPhone Soup — Experiencing Technical Difficulties.”

Roasted Cauliflower Shallot Soup with Purple Yam Chips

-1 head of cauliflower
-1 purple yam
-3 shallots
-1 clove of garlic
-3-4 cups vegetable broth
-1-2 cups of skim milk (add until it’s the color you want)
-olive oil and/or coconut oil
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-salt ‘n’ pepa

Chop a head of cauliflower into florets and combine with a chopped clove of garlic, a diced shallot, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft and brown on top. While the cauliflower roasts, slice a purple yam (I found mine at an Asian supermarket in Arcadia) into chips and heat some oil — I used coconut — in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry the chips about a minute on each side and set aside on a paper towel when done.

When the cauliflower is done, set it aside and chop two shallots into thin strips. Sauté in the base of a large pot until brown. Add the cauliflower, vegetable broth, milk, and vanilla. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for a few minutes — because the cauliflower is already cooked through, it won’t need too long. Use a hand blender to combine ingredients. If you’re going to use a regular blender, for pete’s sake be careful. I know I sound like your mom here, but seriously, I worry about you. Stop trying to be a hero and get a hand blender.

When the soup is blended, add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the yam chips, which will sink to the bottom and not look as sexy as you originally planned (but trust me, they’re delicious in this).

Spinach Pasta with Basil Ricotta Sauce and Toasted Almonds

-spinach pasta (I used the kind made of brown rice instead of wheat)
-1/2 cup of ricotta (I did half part-skim, half whole milk)
-splash of milk
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
-2-3 tbs chopped basil
-1/2 clove garlic
-zest of one lemon
-1 tbs olive oil
-salt and pepper
-1/4 cup slivered almonds

Put the water on to boil, because this is quick. Blend the ricotta, milk, 1/4 cup of the parmesan, basil, garlic, zest, olive oil, and pepper until smooth. Taste it before you add any salt, because it all depends on what parmesan you use. When the sauce is ready, put it aside and focus all your attention on the almonds. How might those almonds be feeling today? Do they want to get a full-on tan, or just warm up a little? Put a pan on medium heat and find out — you won’t need any oil to toast them, just throw ’em right in there. Set the almonds aside in a bowl, and drain the pasta when it’s ready. Put the pasta in a bowl and combine with the sauce, as well as the rest of the parmesan, and a little more freshly ground pepper. Top off with the almonds. Congratulate yourself for making something that isn’t terribly unhealthy, but totally tastes like it is.


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