So I spent the last weekend at my first ever blogger conference-type thingy in Pennsylvania with some funny, passionate, smart, and encouraging people. Lots of hugs, smiles, introductions, inspirational messages, and totally delicious things to eat. I think it’s possible (and totally normal) to be an introverted extrovert, and being in that environment of brand new, but also strikingly familiar instances brought out that personal conundrum all the more for me. I like to be loud and make crude jokes with lots of swears. But I also like to step into my fortress of solitude and parse out some of the bigger messages when I’m in the thick of it. Or just wander off into nature a bit. I think we all have a little bit of that duality.
After the conference, my road trip partner and I took a drive to Philadelphia to meet and stay with a friend of ours. We had less than 24 hours, but that didn’t stop us from having three sit-down meals (most notably here), two drink outings, and one bangin’ almond milk latte before we left. It was the perfect, quietly familiar ending to a high-energy, ecstatically social weekend. Some topics relating to career opportunities came up with the three of us, and before I even realized it, I was saying things like “Why not me?” + “I wish I could be doing stuff like that.” The comparison thing finds its way in sometimes. And then my racing mind couldn’t sleep that night. I was a bit distracted on the long drive home, thinking about what I’ve been doing wrong.
The upshot of this inner back-and-forth is that I’m not doing anything wrong. The whole weekend was glaring proof of how mistaken I was, however briefly. The heart of the blogging adventure for me has always been connection and a slow refinement of my own skill set. I get to connect with so many interesting people every week here, and we talk about plant-based food, new techniques, flavour combinations that excite us, intuitions and feelings we’ve all had, and some of the more trying bits in life.
When I got home and noticed that the hood of my car was smoking after a drive around the block, and that the only thing we had in the fridge was a sad-sack head of cauliflower (and some garden kale for the win), I stopped caring about the “Why not me?” question. I had dinner to make and other things to focus on. I know that all of you can relate to that on some level, which is a potent reminder of some of my business here. We get to connect over the abundantly good and the frustrating spaces of life. Sometimes it’s just a legitimate recipe and sometimes it’s a real-life revelation disguised as a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions. Either way, that connection is at the heart.
This is what I made for dinner that night with the smoking car and the limp-y cauliflower. Deep-nourishing and relatively quick comfort. It’s a pantry-raid effort that I recreate in some form almost weekly. There’s lots of vegetables, spice, stew-y tomato richness, tender greens, and the heft of chickpeas to fill it out. I know I’ve featured a couple stews/soups similar to this in the past, but with the frequency that I make this on my mind, it just felt right to share. Stay cozy out there, all. xo
SPICED CAULIFLOWER, KALE + CHICKPEA STEW
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: The amount of vegetable stock you use depends on how thick/thinned out you want this. I went for something in between :)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cooking onion, small dice
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
small jalapeno or cayenne pepper, seeded + minced
1 cup waxy potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
3 cups small cauliflower florets
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cups vegetable stock, depending
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 bunch lacinato/Tuscan kale, stems removed and chopped
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
chopped leafy herbs to finish (parsley, cilantro etc)
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy + large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, lowering heat if necessary. Cook until very soft, translucent and almost breaking down, about 6-7 minutes. Add the curry powder and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, for 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, ginger (if using), and jalapeno to the pot. Stir and cook until fragrant, constantly stirring to avoid burning the garlic.
Add the potatoes and cauliflower to the pot and stir. Season with lots of salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pot and stir once more. At this point, add 1 cup of vegetable stock (you may want to add more later). Stir the pot, place a lid on top, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat on the stove to a simmer and remove the lid. Cook until the potatoes are just-tender, about 40 minutes. Add the chickpeas and diced kale,, and simmer for 5 more minutes or until greens have wilted.
Check the curry pot for seasoning, adjust, and serve hot with bread, naan, cooked brown rice, quinoa, millet etc. Garnish with chopped leafy herbs.