I feel like I am waking up from a forced slumber; as if I had eaten a poisoned apple or pricked my finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. But this evil spell was self-inflicted: oy vey, we are often our worst enemies are we not? Have you ever wanted to start a new project but got cold feet? Or felt overwhelmed? Have you ever even started a project and left it to simmer because the steps involved to get it done seemed daunting? Have you ever started a project with confidence only to see that confidence dissolve when researching the subject matter? Have you ever second guessed your knowledge and ability to see a project through? Even worse, have you ever shied from jumping into a new adventure or a new chapter because negative public opinion gives you the creeps? What about putting your whole self out there and risking becoming the target of trolls? Has that ever made you question what you were about to do, say or expose? And what if you made a mistake, would you feel like you might be fed to the lions alive? Would that stop you from pursuing something you have always wanted to do? Well, these statements sum up thoughts and feeling that have sporadically filled my mind for several months now. I feel like I have been frozen in a state of total weirdness: at times feeling inadequate in my knowledge, at times feeling like I wasn’t up to snuff with «others» in the blogging world and finally at times feeling completely wiped out of creativity. I think these feelings are normal and part of inner growth. These soul searching moments serve the greater picture and permit us to move forward, take new directions and define the essence of who we are in a particular moment in time. We should all give ourselves permission to have moments of uncertainty. I am not embarrassed to say that I have been going through unsettling times on the blog front, trying to find my direction and what I hope this project of mine will bring to me and to you.
The main questions I have asked myself over and over again are the following: Why do I have Harvesting Dinner in my life? What actually prompted me to start blogging? What is it that I hope to gain from this experience? What is it I hope my readers gain from reading, following and cooking my recipes? What are my readers looking for? This last question will probably remain a mystery since no two individual are looking for the same thing. I have spent many hours pouring and scouring through countless articles, blogs, Facebook pages (and their reader comments), scrutinizing menus, reading restaurant reviews and immersing myself into the current trends and attractions to our food cultures. Trying to figure out how to target a particular niche market is mind boggling and I think overall, has been the main source of my bloggers anxiety.
It is now time for me to be carefree and simply enjoy filling Harvesting Dinner with what I like best and what makes my toes curl up in happiness! There will be no exact article «formula»: life stories, anecdotes and memoirs may or may not precede recipes. Restaurant reviews might be lengthy, especially when the Chef and his team have wowed this girl. They work so hard: their ephemeral successes deserve the accolades of those who reveled in their art. In a nutshell, food will be celebrated in every post, and the words will be written with the mood of the day.
What’s in it for you at Harvesting Dinner?
First and foremost, I hope you will relate to my deep connection with my culinary roots (biological or adopted), especially thanks to the women (and some men) in my life who have highly influenced my style of cooking. I hope you will come back again and again because the recipes you have made in your own kitchen from this site worked and the information you found was trustworthy. And finally, I hope you will take the time to connect with me: to ask questions, to share your successes and also mishaps.
The recipes I propose at Harvesting Dinner are for the most part very simple but I will throw in the odd intricate recipe if it is worthy of your time and efforts! My goal is to make sure the recipes I propose can be easily executed by most home cooks. This is not to say that trips, tricks and new techniques will not be explored but it means that cooks of any level can tackle nearly every recipe presented in this blog.
What Harvesting Dinner is
- A one woman blog inspired by family, friends, chefs, ethnic grocery stores and travels
- Keeping it real and simple: real food prepared in a real (and tiny) kitchen
- Add and Pop-up free
- Amateur photography (i-phone and i-pad)
- Tested and retested recipes, judged by those I feed
- I do not have a ghost writer
- I do not have an admin
What I know it cannot be:
- I cannot be extremely productive or active: running this blog solo and having another life on the side can be quite the challenge LOL! As Forrest Gump quotes: “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. Sometimes, I’ll inundate the site with new content and other times, you may hear crickets in the background 🙂
- Overly stylized, using tons of props and expensive camera equipment
- Extremely fussy: writing a recipe for extreme technical recipes would drive me insane
So with no further ado, let me turn this new chapter of Harvesting Dinner by offering you a big family favourite. It is a soup recipe and you should know that my family has dubbed me the Soup Queen. In my home, life without soup is literally unthinkable. Soups are amazing: they fit in one pot, feed an army, stretch the dinner dollar, are comforting & healthy, they fill the tummy up and they warm up body & soul… Sometimes they are super fancy but mostly, they are easy to execute. They dress up a dinner as a first course yet they can also be the entire dinner. Soups are served around the world and every single culture has its own repertoire. Soups are truly the comfort food of the world!
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP
What you need:
Roasting the cauliflower
2 cauliflower, rinsed and well dried
Olive oil, about ¼ cup
1 tsp each: salt and sugar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion sliced or diced
2 potatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp. curry powder
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
⅓ cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup thick Greek yogurt (crème fraîche and sour cream are good substitutes)
Sumac for garnish (optional)
*Low fat dairy can be used but keep in mind that is will slightly alter the finished taste and texture of the soup.
How to make it:
- Heat oven at 450°F, set rack to middle position. If your oven offers convection mode, select convection roast. TIP: this function roasts from the top element instead of the bottom which results in reaching deep browning of the vegetables before they become overcooked (mushy).
- Cut cauliflower in small florets, toss with oil and sprinkle with salt, sugar & pepper. Spread on large baking sheet and roast until florets turn brown, turning from time to time. It will take anywhwere between 40-60 minutes to achieve a deep roasted colour. The speed up the process, make sure the cauliflower is not full of water from rinsing. TIP: ahead of time, rinse the entire head and wrap it up in a clean kitchen towel, then place in the crisper or plastic bag (or waxed food storage bag). This will not only absorb any residual water but will keep the cauliflower fresh for a long time.
- Meanwhile, in large pot, over medium-high, heat olive oil and add the onions and potatoes. Cook until soft, stirring frequently. Stir in curry powder, ½ of the roasted cauliflower and enough broth to just cover the cauliflower: reserve any leftover broth.
- Turn heat to high, reducing to medium-low once the soup has reached high boil. Cover and let simmer until the vegetables are tender.
- Once the vegetable are soft, purée until smooth using a hand held immersion blender or transfer to a traditional blender. Add the yogurt (or sour cream); if the soup is too thick, add some of the reserved stock or add a bit of milk if there is no stock left. Blend the yogurt in using the blender until smooth. Add the saved roasted cauliflower to the soup. Add parsley and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Serving suggestion: ladle in a soup bowl and drop a small dollop of yogurt (or cream) in the middle of the soup. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and sumac. Sumac is popular in Middle-Eastern cuisine: it has a mild citrus flavour and adds a colourful shower of red confetti.
And all across the Kingdom, those who ate this soup rejoiced and live happily ever after… THE END