Roasted Cauliflower Soup

 

I’m not really much of a talker; I’ve never been a terribly chatty person. I’m more of a sit-in-the-back-and-watch kind of girl.

I think I get it from my mom – she’s an introvert like me.

 

I often have to remind myself – and sometimes force myself – to be social. It’s easier, now that I live with roommates, to actually interact and spend time with people outside of work. In this, I’m made to interact, to connect, to converse, to be with others.

When I lived alone, just Olive and me, there’d be days at a time when I’d come home from work and stay there – never seeing another person beyond the occasional apartment neighbor – and we’d share a tepid “hello” before quickly walking past, avoiding eye contact.

 

And yes, I realize it’s not entirely healthy, this hermit-like behavior.

 

 

It’s just that I’m happy alone; I’m happy doing my own thing, reading my books, watching my movies. Just Olive and me.

I think that’s why I like writing so much. It’s solitary – just the words and me. Sometimes with Spotify or NPR or a movie playing in the background; sometimes with just the sounds of the house – cats racing circles, dogs whining, trees rustling outside the window, cars on the street, birds, the air conditioner kicking in.

 

It’s just me and an empty page. The warmth of my laptop against my legs or the crispness of a blank paper in my hands.

I don’t have to struggle to find the right phrasing or vocabulary. I don’t stumble over my words like I do when I’m nervous or pressed. I can take my time; can consider the thought that leads to the phrase. I can just be with the words – to let them flow unhampered and uninhibited.

 

 

Yesterday my mom invited me to meditation at our church. I turned her down, not really thinking that’s my thing. And then I realized, quite literally right now, that this writing is my meditation. It’s my chance to escape and lose myself in the page, to release what’s built up inside and hurl it into the world. To give it legs and wings and hands. To let it run and fly and grasp at others. To bleed my pain and joy and sorrow and enchantment across the page. To cultivate thoughts into letters into words into sentences into paragraphs.

 

It’s just me and the page and the words.

 

And Olive.

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Serves Four

1 medium head of cauliflower
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
4 slices gluten-free bread, crusts removed and torn or chopped into 1 inch pieces (I like Udi’s)

Begin by preheating the oven to 420 degrees F.  Cut the cauliflower into equal sized florets, about the size of a walnut, and spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Toss to combine and bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes, turning halfway, or until they are fully roasted and nicely browned, without being burned.  Remove to cool.

In a saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and add the shallots and garlic.  Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, thyme, and white balsamic vinegar and warm thoroughly.

When the cauliflower is cooled, add it (while reserving some small florets for garnishes) and the broth mixture to a blender and process until your desired smoothness.  Taste for salt and pepper.  If you want more contrast, you can add more white balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice.   Return it to the saucepan to keep warm over low heat.

In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and add the torn bread and a pinch of ground black pepper and stir for 5-8 minutes, until crisp and toasted.

Serve the soup hot topped with croutons, the reserved cauliflower florets, and a sprinkling of fresh thyme.  Top with shaved parmesan, if desired.

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