Happy new year to you! Hugs and positive thoughts going out as we all get another beautiful chance to start again. I hope everyone got a solid stretch of personal downtime over the holidays–to read, create, travel, have a long bath, cook, bake, play, be in nature or just do absolutely nothing. I got in a good mix of all those things and I can’t tell you how vibrant/fortunate I feel because of it. A clear calendar that makes way for just being and doing as the inclination strikes has a powerful restorative effect on your stillness of mind and overall future outlook. This is most especially true if you do creative work I think–time away from screens or just rest in any form lets you get outside of your own head for a moment. This mindful work and rest cycle has proven to be an important and productive way of life for me. Having said that, I’m excited to be back here. I’ve got a lot of delicious things in the works, all scribbly ideas on scrap pages or in semi-organized Word documents.
If you read any number of blogs (food or otherwise), it only seems natural to talk about hopes, new ambitions and the wildest dreams for the year ahead around this time (and to also make a bangin’ salad with lots of fresh things–I swear this is always my favourite week on the lifestyle-focused internet). I’ll spare you that today by simply saying that on a worldly scale, I always hope for peace and more positive union, and for my own path? I’ll work to eliminate fear as an entity through the sheer act of trying and doing. This is a net that casts large for sure. Fear of failure is one of those things that bundles itself in with excessive worrying, self-doubt, negative thought patterns, and lowered sense of worth. If you’re a normal person that feels, I think you can relate to having been caught up with that gross clique before. I’m a grown-ass lady that just doesn’t have time for that stuff anymore.
But also? We adopted a sweet, playful and adorably clumsy rescue pup over the holidays, and her deeply sincere and unconditional love has been keeping me in the bright light so hard. She’s made the turn from timid and fearful over to constant companion and champion-level cuddler in record time. She also grunts a bit when she gives her little kisses. I couldn’t be more in love. There’s a few extra things to handle with Cleo in our little family now, but I feel like my mind is less inclined to go in the direction of worry and doubt since we brought her home. Staying calm and positively focused for her sake is way more important. It’s been a win-win. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, I would gently nudge you in the direction of adopting. It’s worth it! We found our girl through this organization if you’re Canadian and thinking about it.
So now I have a little furry pal that follows me around and takes naps by the kitchen heat vent when I’m cooking. She came all the way from Louisiana so I’m guessing she’s used to just a touch more warmth. The other day we were in the kitchen together while I was fixing up this little chowder number and her little wet sniffer was going crazy! I knew I wanted this to be thick and stew-like with all of the creamy-delicious winter-white veg I could get a handle on. This is all leeks, celery root, cauliflower and parsnips, but turnips, new potatoes and kohl rabi would be excellent additions too. I rely on pungent grainy mustard and bright lemon to really lift the creamy sweetness of the veg. Old Bay seasoning comes in with its celery-saltiness, and then there’s thyme and tons of garlic too. Just puréeing half of the mixture gives us that thick and luscious chowder-vibe we’re after. It’s like magic. Healthy and clean, but it totally sticks to your ribs too (you know I would never go all “detox” on you guys). I roast some cabbage until I get golden brown edges of sweetness and just plunk little tangles of it on top of hot bowlfuls. It feels sauerkraut-ish, which is too good to pass on with the mustard addition.
See you all next week. I still can’t believe it’s 2015 aaah! xo
dreamy winter vegetable chowder w/ mustard, lemon + crispy cabbage
print the recipe here!
notes: Feel free to mix it up vegetable-wise, maybe swapping in some squash, sweet potatoes and carrots for more of a deep orange chowder-ish experience? You could add some cooked white beans for an extra hit of protein too. Also, be aware of your the salt additions. I find the mustard, Old Bay and lemon make for a strong salty vibe from the start, so I would advise on tasting as you go.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large cooking onion, small dice (1 3/4 cups)
1 leek, small dice (white + light green part only)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
1-2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 celery root, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 heaped cups of small-chopped cauliflower florets
1 1/2 tbsp grainy mustard
salt + pepper to taste
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, but I love it)
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (Buy it or make it yourself!)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
crispy cabbage ingredients:
1/4 head of a green cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp olive oil
salt + pepper
optional seasonings: Old Bay, celery salt, caraway seeds, nigella seeds, za’atar etc.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the leeks and continue to sauté until the leeks are soft, about 4 minutes more. Add the minced garlic and thyme to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chopped parsnips, celery root, and cauliflower florets to the pot and stir to coat in the oil. Add the grainy mustard, salt + pepper to taste, and Old Bay. Stir to coat all the vegetables in spice. Add the lmeon juice to the pot and stir. Add the vegetable stock to the pot, stir again, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and lower heat to simmer. Let the chowder cook and bubble until the parsnips and celery root pieces are tender, about 15-18 minutes.
Ladle half of the chowder into an upright blender and carefully purée until smooth. Pour puréed portion of chowder back into the soup pot and bring it back to a boil. Check the chowder for seasoning, adjust and serve hot.
While the chowder is simmering/cooking, make the crispy cabbage. Place the sliced cabbage onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the 2 tsp of olive oil over top, season with salt and pepper and add any spices you like. Toss lightly to combine and spread cabbage out evenly on the baking sheet. Slide the sheet into the oven and roast the cabbage for 13-17 minutes, or until browned on the edges and crispy in parts. You’ll have to flip the cabbage around a few times while it’s roasting. Serve warm cabbage on top of the dreamy winter vegetable chowder.