Our Thanksgiving weekend was a whirlwind and we each had our parts to play. Some of us in the kitchen, some of us outside keeping the children out from underfoot with hockey practice or sledding or skiing trips, with the occasional last-minute run to the grocery store for just one last thing.
We also packed my little boy’s third birthday party into the order of events (a little late, but better to celebrate with guests), so every day was packed.
We enjoyed our holiday food all weekend, and sent traveling family home with leftovers, but there is still more left in our fridge to be eaten — as well as birthday cake… and pies… and candy… and cookies.
While it was a relief to not have to cook for a while, multiple reheated rich meals topped off with sugary desserts rendered my jeans a little too tight and my body sluggish. But the holiday season isn’t over, and there is much more activity and culinary decadence to come, so on the off days between the trips and celebrations I find it necessary to eat strategically, so I can enjoy the marshmallow-topped yams and butter-drenched rolls without a second thought.
Our down day meals need to be quick and easy — with minimal preparation and as hands free as possible — and they need to be loaded with nutrition (instead of saturated fat and sugar) to balance out the soft cheese, puff pastry and chocolate.
This dish is one I used to make quite often in the months leading up to my wedding but has been out of my regular rotation for a while. It was a favorite back when I was working in the bakery and would come home physically exhausted and unwilling to stand in the kitchen for very long at all. If you have an immersion blender, this is also a one-pot meal, making the other half of the dinner work just as easy.
One whole head cauliflower
Half of a large, sweet yellow onion
One sweet apple — gala or Fuji work well
½ cup raw cashews
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 teaspoons light olive oil or coconut oil
Juice of one lemon
White pepper to taste
Wash your cauliflower and remove the stem. Roughly chop and add to a soup pot.
Peel and roughly chop the apple, add to the pot.
Cut the onion into quarters and add to the pot.
Mince the garlic and toss into the pot.
Add the olive or coconut oil and set the pot over medium high heat.
Cook the vegetables until fragrant and soft but not browned.
Cover with water and return to the heat.
Add in the cashews, salt and turmeric.
Boil for 30 minutes. The cauliflower should fall apart, and the nuts should be softened. Add more water throughout, if necessary.
Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the soup in the pot. Take your time and be sure all the nuts are fully blended.
If you do not have an immersion blender, the soup will need to be carefully ladled into a blender or food processor and blended until smooth before being returned to the pot.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Taste and season with extra salt and white pepper.
I garnished with chopped chives, a drizzle of olive oil, and a swirl of sour cream.