The weather has been calling for lots of soups and stews lately, with all this dampness hanging in the air and making everyone sick. Luckily, this curry happens to be a great defense for the immune system, in large part because of its spices. Cumin and turmeric are well known for their healing and fortifying properties. The carrot juice provides the vitamin A, while the kale is chock-full of wonderful vitamins. Both the cauliflower and zucchini are anti-inflammatory vegetables with B vitamins. Cauliflower also contains stores of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin K.
I like using cauliflower because of my impossible weakness for the underdog in every situation. It seems cauliflower doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, and if there’s anyone who will side with the losing team, its me. Cauliflower is making a slow come-back these days, as it should, because it is extremely versatile and can be incredibly tasty when treated properly. I like to think that I am playing my part by making this warm toasty curry. This dish is packed with flavor, spice and color, and it’s just the thing to chase away the blues that can come with too many rainy days.
2 medium yellow zucchinis
1/2 head cauliflower
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
2/3 cup pure carrot juice (about 2 large carrots steamed and juiced)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ginger
In a medium size pot, simmer together the tomatoes, carrot juice, and half of the minced garlic on low heat. Stir in one tsp of curry powder along with the cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, coriander and ginger. Dice the zucchini and divide the cauliflower into small florets. (I used blended cauliflower that I had on hand from my cauliflower pizza crust, which also worked fine). Heat olive oil over a stove top and saute the zucchini for about 10 minutes or until browned. Remove from oil and add to the pot with the tomato curry sauce. While oil is still hot, add the onion. Saute for about two minutes, then add the cauliflower to the pan and saute for about 8 minutes. Lightly salt, then add the garlic and saute together for a few more minutes until brown. Add to the tomato curry. Stir everything together and add the second teaspoon of curry powder, the rest of the salt, and the chopped kale. Simmer on low until kale has wilted. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Sometimes in the quiet of the evening when its very cold outside and you’re very tired and when the world seems heavier than usual, the best thing to do is to keep busy and make a pot of hot soup. Maybe there really is something medicinal about it, not just in the steamy spoonfuls, but also in the preparation. The laying out and washing of the vegetables, the perfunctory repetition of the chopping on wooden cutting boards, the whispery snaps of the parsley and cilantro leaves being separated from their stems. This is not a soup that needs measurements or precision. It will take anything you have, and requires that your senses be the judge. If the smells are inviting and the broth is full-flavored and wholesome, and the stiff vegetables have yielded to release their bite, its time to fill your bowl. Pots of soup were being made since humans first walked the earth, and the world still turns.
Whatever is available.
In this case:
A few chicken bones and some chicken breast meat
2 tsp Hungarian paprika 🙂
1 tsp celery salt
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp oregano
2 large carrots
1 can stewed tomatoes (you can use fresh, but the ones sold in wintertime do HUGE injustice to the perfection of the tomato when its in season)
small bunches of cilantro and parsley
3 big handfuls of kale
2 tsp salt, or however much you prefer
Put the chicken bones and meat into a pot of water and set on low heat. Chop the vegetables and add everything in. Let it simmer until the vegetables are tender.
You know what I realized today? I realized that sweet potatoes need to be eaten with fat. I mean, not only do they spike to divine taste levels with some fat, but they have a soaring content of beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A which is a fat-soluble vitamin. This occurred to me as I was ecstatically savoring my post-lunch dessert of a sweet potato. I had baked it in the skin, sliced it open, slathered it in coconut oil, and sugar-coated it with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger spice. I was almost in a euphoric state over the deep orange hue, the pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth silkiness and the aromatic pie flavor of each bite. It was like a symphony in my mouth. The sweet potato was singing to me in all its buttery suaveness, and it was as though it was made for the coconut oil and the coconut oil for it. Except they actually were made for each other. God didn’t just say “It is good.” Oh no. God said “It is best enjoyed decadently, and just to make sure that you get the unexpurgated experience, I will create it in such a way that you will only get the full nutritional value by adding fat.” Thank you God.
But all this talk of the post-meal dessert should not completely rob the actual lunch of its spotlight. Because lunch was really perfect as well.
Kale Salad with Tuna and Cranberry Horseradish
2 cups chopped kale (any variety)
1 can white tuna
1/2 of a gala apple
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
3/4 of an avocado
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 tsp cranberry horseradish (Harbor Creek Farms has a good one)
Lay the kale in your dish and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it. (The vitamin C in the lemon and the vitamins in the kale are also a delicious and nutritional match made in heaven!) Drain your tuna and mash it with the avocado and cranberry horseradish. Add in the fresh cilantro. Lay over the bed of kale and squeeze a bit more lemon juice for good measure. Chop or slice the apple on top. Coat with the sunflower seeds and enjoy!
Bonus: If you want to hear a strange song about an avocado, listen to Jens Lekman’s “Your Arms Around Me”