Category: Main Dish

Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup

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Cream of Broccoli and Cashew Soup // My New Roots
 
Have you ever convinced yourself that something is delicious so you can actually handle eating it? Let me count out a few of my least favourite-tasting healthy things that I consume with disdain: spirulina, chlorella, most sea vegetables, flax seed oil, and wheatgrass juice. I have also been like this with broccoli, probably my entire life. Especially after studying nutrition and learning just how incredibly good this veggie is for us, I’ve really forced myself to eat more of it, regardless of how yucky it tastes to me.

The challenge lives on. Although I have found suitable homes for most of the aforementioned foods in smoothies (thank goodness for smoothies), broccoli just doesn’t work all that well blended up with banana. Call me crazy.

My first introduction to broccoli was cream of broccoli soup, of the canned variety: salty white mire with infinitesimal flecks of green, which I suppose was supposed to make whoever is eating feel a little healthier. But the broccoli? Is it even in there? All I remember is a hot bowl of thick, sulfur-flavoured cream, and the only indication of broccoli being the putrid fart-y stench. My five-year-old self was put off to say the least, and broccoli quickly made it to the top of my ick list.

Although I’ve made it a habit to cover up the taste of broccoli more often than letting its true flavour shine through, this soup is different. First of all, it’s mostly broccoli. And it’s scrumptious. It doesn’t hide underneath crazy cheese sauce or dressing because it doesn’t need to! It’s earthy and delightful. It’s shockingly green and decidedly not fart-y because the broccoli isn’t overcooked. It’s rich and creamy with a hint of spice that you can dial up or down depending on whom you’re cooking for.

I used cashews to deliver that unctuous richness, and nutritional yeast to mimic the cheese-y taste of dairy. Not only does this really take the soup to a whole other level, swirling that velvety cream through the bowl of green creates a beguilingly beautiful result. I mean, just look at it. This is satisfying and stick-to-your-ribs kind of fare, which is perfect as the autumn wind begins to blow. I am proud of this soup. It marks a grown-up kind of shift in my palette and my diet. A soup to celebrate not just health, but deliciousness.

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How to make Broccoli not a bummer
Brassica vegetables! Repulsing children since the beginning of time!

Okay, why do kids hate this group of veggies so darn much? Even adults tend to shy away from them in many cases. I believe sulfur is to blame – that uber-healthy, yet stinky and gas-producing compound naturally found in broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and the like.

There is a very important trick to remember when cooking these beauties up, and that is to not cook them very much at all! Broccoli contains good amounts of chlorophyll, the “life blood” of plants, which actually helps counteract the sulfuric taste, smell and wind-making properties. Chlorophyll, however, is very sensitive to heat and once it’s gone, that rotten egg scent which would otherwise be neutralized, will likely spoil all hope of your munchkins munching the veg. Five minutes is all it takes to lightly cook most brassicas, while maintaining their high levels of chlorophyll and vitamin C. This will also reduce gas, and that makes everyone happy.

Steaming is the healthiest way to enjoy broccoli, especially if you consume the steaming water as well. In this case of this soup, the water in which the broccoli is cooked, gets blended up into the final dish, making this a mineral-rich soup where very little nutrition is lost.

If you are going to cook the stems of broccoli (waste not want not!), steam them 2-3 minutes before adding the florets, as they take a little longer. Remember that the broccoli leaves are completely edible as well and loaded with nutrients.

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By the way, thank you all SO much for an absolutely fabulous time in Amsterdam! The cooking classes, lectures, cookbook event, and Restaurant De Kas dinner were tons of fun for me and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. I have plenty of beautiful photos so stay tuned to Facebook where I will share them very soon!

With gratitude and broccoli,
Sarah B

Show me your soup on Instagram: #MNRbroccolisoup

Late Summer Abundance Bowl

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Late Summer Abundance Bowl / My New Roots

 

I have a serious shopping addiction. But it’s not for clothes, or house wares, or even kitchen tools.
No.
It’s for health food.

Although I am incredibly excited to go back to Canada every summer to see my family and friends, the other thing I unapologetically look forward to the most, is browsing the aisles of the natural foods co-op. Oh, I could spend hours upon hours wandering around, checking out what’s new and exciting in the world of loose leaf teas, gluten-free bread, vegan ice cream, and sampling the latest nut butters. Did you know they now sell dehydrated kombucha scobies in bulk? Omigod, reeeally? So yea. I have a problem and I’m not afraid to admit it.

This year I found something very thrilling, and that was sorghum. I had heard of it before, but only in relation to the syrup that is made from the plant. I didn’t know that the plant also produced a cereal! Omigod, reeeally? The silliest things light my fire. I guess you know this by now.

sorghum

Anyway. Sorghum. It’s gluten-free, high in fiber and rich in iron and the B-vitamins. Sorghum is also very high in protein (more than quinoa!), yet it lacks lysine, an essential amino acid, so combining it with something that contains this amino acid is important. I chose chickpeas in this case so that we can cover our bases, and indeed make a perfect protein.

Sorghum originates from Africa, then traveled through the Middle East and Asia along ancient trade routes and the Silk Road. Today sorghum is a staple food in India and Africa, but did you know it is the third most important cereal crop grown in America? Insanity!

Late Summer Abundance Bowl / My New Roots

 

Sorghum is very similar to millet in its nuttiness and dry quality. For this reason, it is perfect for cold salads and pilafs as the grains don’t stick together. Like millet, this grain requires a lot of water for cooking too, at a 3:1 ratio. Although there was no mention of soaking the sorghum prior to cooking, I found that cooking it straight from dried took a very long time (more than one hour) and even required more water than suggested. When I cooked it again after soaking it overnight, the sorghum cooked a little faster (about 45 minutes) but still took almost 3 cups of water to reach the desired tenderness.

You can find sorghum (obviously) at health food stores and gourmet grocers. I suspect that it will get more attention in the coming years as words of its awesomeness spreads, so be on the lookout. You heard it here first.

tomatoes

 

As summer wanes, we begin to see the gorgeous produce burst forth from all the warm temperatures and soft rains. It’s a beautiful time of year because it’s the season when almost everything is in season! Tomatoes and cucumbers are at their best, fully ripe and juicy and sweet. My late summer abundance bowl celebrates all of this, with an Indian twist honoring the traditional Indian grain, sorghum. I played around with it quite a lot and eventually settled on using curry and coconut as base flavours, then combined with a kachumber salad and chickpeas. The cilantro, cumin seeds and citrus are bright and playful against the rich coconut-y vibes. You will love it.

Late Summer Abundance Bowl / My New Roots

*   *   *   *   *   *

Great news everyone!
Registration is now open for the cooking classes, lectures, and other events taking place next month in Amsterdam. I am so pumped to finally be teaching breakfast classes! Hoorah! My fav meal of the day plus tasty snacks – what could be better? Nothin’.
I will also be presenting 2 different lectures, giving a (free!) Q&A session at the America Book Center, and hosting a collaborative dinner at the world-renowned restaurant, De Kas.

I am over the moon to be touring, teaching, and above all, connecting with you in person once again.

Please visit Healthy Happy to learn more about all the events and book your space today. Looking forward to seeing you there!

brekfastflyer

 

 

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

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Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Keep it simple. Use what you have. Make it work.

I’ve been staring at these three ideas for the past few hours. In between breastfeeding my baby, laundry, trying to make food for myself, emails, brushing my teeth and changing a couple diapers, I’ve been back and forth to my computer unsuccessfully getting any further with this post.

Then I read it again and realized that the advice that I was trying to give all of you out there was precisely what I needed to hear myself.

My days are so different than they used to be. Instead of being able to play in the kitchen from dawn until way past dusk, I’m playing with my sweet baby. Instead of making food for all of you to recreate I’m making food for us. Unremarkable, perhaps, but there is a turning inwards, a quiet and simplicity that I’m cultivating, or at least trying to. It isn’t glamorous and most of it isn’t worth blogging, but it’s real life. And I am very grateful for it.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Needless to say, meals have been simple and Abundance Bowls have been abundant. I’ve been cooking grains and beans in bulk to use for later, then tossing whatever fresh veggies I have on hand into the mix. If I can bend time and squeak out five or ten minutes worth of creativity, a sauce happens, or maybe a quick pickled condiment. All of a sudden, a pretty boss bowl of tasty, healthy food sits before me and I feel like the luckiest person in the world, living in true abundance. That is what the Abundance Bowl is all about. Keeping it simple. Using what you have. Making it work. And I guess feeling that kind of overwhelming gratitude doesn’t hurt either.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

Here we are in the first breaths of true summer. My little family and I are back in Canada for the next little while and it feels amazing to be home. The sun is bright and the river is crisp, gardens everywhere are bursting with fresh food. The Early Summer Abundance bowl celebrates all of it, along with the feeling of luckiness that always pervades my thinking this time of year, as we begin to reap the benefits of the season.

I chose freekeh in this edition, a roasted, immature wheat that tastes deep and rich and is the perfect counterpoint to sweet, young beetroots, earthy radishes and vibrant sprouts. The grain is harvested while still young and soft, then roasted or sun-dried. The health bonus of harvesting immature wheat is that it retains more of its nutrients and proteins than its fully-grown counterparts. It even claims to have fewer carbohydrates than regular wheat because it’s young. It surprisingly has more dietary fiber content than brown rice, plus more calcium, iron, and potassium content.

You can find freekeh at Middle Eastern grocery stores and increasingly at natural and gourmet food shops. Sometimes it is referred to and sold as “Green Wheat”. If you have never tried freekeh before, get ready to freak out. It’s seriously amazing stuff! It cooks up like any other grain, keeps very well in the fridge and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love it in salads, especially with lots of garlic, olive oil and lemon to balance the smoky flavour.

As I was after a sort of Middle Eastern flavour profile, I chose to make a harissa-spiked chutney with spring onion and dates, which is altogether scrumptious. Leftovers of this are excellent smeared on toast with poached eggs for breakfast, accompanying roast veggies or in an avocado sandwich. The colour isn’t very sexy, but the flavour is oh-my-goodness delicious. And to really take this Abundance Bowl to the next level, I may have put a little seared halloumi cheese in there. Maybe. Oh I totally did.

Early Summer Abundance Bowl

 

As for those of you asking about the Potluck Picnic in Toronto, I have made the difficult decision to skip it this year. There are so many things going on in my life (all positive!) but in the name of keeping things simple and quiet, I am honoring the commitment I made to myself to focus my energy on my family at this time. I so much appreciate your enthusiasm, and also your understanding. And of course I look forward to resuming the event next summer!

Show me your Abundance Bowls on Instagram: #earlysummerabundancebowl