the easiest cauliflower, bean soup.

It was a toss-up.  I couldn't decide whether I wanted to make soup with the huge butternut squash that I got in last week's food box OR use the lovely cauliflower that came as well.  The cauliflower won.
I like cauliflower.  There is something homely and comforting about it.  It's very good for you but it's so unassuming.  Not like broccoli.  Broccoli is big and loud and green.   If I wanted to go in a slightly different direction with this I would have used bacon in it.  Honestly though, it kinda tasted like it had bacon in it anyway and I wanted to keep it vegetarian.  I'm feeling super simple these days.

I think, for Canadians at least, that by the time we get through January and into February we're just in survival mode.  I'm so not concerned with fashion right now.  I'm sick and tired of my winter clothes.  I'm ready to shed these ever present layers and get on with the regular movement of life.  Reality is though that in February we are still hibernating under layers of cloth, running from warm place to warm place and keeping the distance in between as short as possible.  Who's got the energy or wherewithal to get creative with din-din at the moment?  Having said that, I'm not done with this recipe yet.  In fact, I wasn't going to post it but just got kinda distracted into doing it anyway... if that makes any sense.  I want to fool around with the flava flav's here.  I'm not even sure what direction to take it in yet but when I do you'll be the first to know.

In my opinion, there are very few soups out there that look spectacular and this sure ain't one of 'em.  I thought that some of my other soups looking boring but this one just looks like bad porridge crap mush.  Not a shred of colour in this boring boy... but I didn't care.  It tasted good, really good.  And, as I curled up to watch the Sunday afternoon Bollywood offering on the tube, it was a perfect 'curl-up-and-eat-while-you-watch-a-movie-without-feeling-guilty' snack.In the meantime... if you have ingredients that read remotely like the ones listed below and are craving a warm, soothing bowl of boring looking simplicity, then this is the crap for you.

Stupid Easy Cauliflower, White Bean Soup
serves 4

1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 small onion, sliced
1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
2 med potato, cut into small chunks
1 can white cannelini beans
2 - 3 tbsp butter or oil
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)

In a large soup pot, saute the butter, onion and celery for about 10 - 12 min. over low heat until the onion begins to carmelize and turn brown.
Add in the cauliflower and potato.  Mix and cook for another 10 min.
Add in the beans and stock.
Simmer together for about 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend until the soup is creamy.

Add salt (and pepper or pepper sauce ;-) to taste.

Carrot Cake Muffins with Icing

I love chocolate.  It's amazing.  My current fave chocolate is dark chocolate with fleur de sel.  I have a couple of squares of chocolate every night.  As much as I love chocolate though, I have to confess... I get kinda tired of baking with chocolate sometimes.
I don't know why?  Maybe it's the colour, maybe the texture... I don't know.  It's one of those things that I'm learning to accept about myself though.  I know that I can do it because I've gotten better about accepting weird things about myself over the last few years.  Some other things that I've totally accepted about myself now:
1.  I think that holding the pole on the subway without gloves on is totally disgusting.
2.  I always (I mean ALWAYS) read the last two pages of a book once I've finished the first chapter or so.
3.  I always read my books in the order that I've received them.
4.  When I'm out at the pub I always eat my chips first.
5.  I really don't like wearing heals at all... ever.
6.  I'm a size 8... no matter what.

That's just the start, I could write so much more.  But that's how I know that I'll come to terms with my chocolate malaise... or I'll just move on and next week I'll feel like baking with chocolate again.

In the meantime, I've adapted - well not really adapted because that implies that I changed something rather significant when the only thing that I did was change the baking tin - the carrot cake recipe that I've used ever since my University days.  I got the recipe from my first roomie in Montreal.  I don't know where she got it but it's a great recipe.  What I love about it is that it doesn't have coconut (the dessicated kind that makes me want to gag) or pineapple (the canned kind that looks more like pineapple porridge - gross).  The nuts you can take or leave.  I left them because Kid #1 is off of them right now and I've just gotten tired of picking up nuts pulled out of baking that have been left in places where you would never expect to find them.  I had some beautiful purple skinned carrots from my food box and used them in the cake.  Healthy cake... can't beat that!

Carrot Cake (Cupcakes)
makes about 16 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 unbleached all-purpose
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line about 16 cupcake tins with silicon or paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl together and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the oil and sugar until light and frothy (use a mixer if you have one).  Add the eggs in  and mix well.  Add in the carrots and nuts (optional).  Gently mix the flour mixture into the carrot mixture.  Mix until well blended.
Spoon into the cupcake liners just to the top (or just under).  Bake the cupcakes for about 23 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for a few minutes before removing from baking tin to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Icing:

1 pkg. cream cheese (about 4 oz), softened
3 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Mix together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Add in the icing sugar 1 cupful at a time and cream into the cheese mixture.  Make sure that the mixture is just creamy and don't over beat.  Spoon onto the cupcakes once the cupcakes have completely cooled.

Potato and Channa Croquettes

I know that it's still only just the middle of February.  I know, in fact, that it's the 14th of February and most people are posting sweet nothings on FB or posting lovely pink or red sweets on their food blog for their sweetie (doesn't everyone have a food blog?... or something chocolatey.  Me?
I'm posting Potato Channa Croquettes.  You see I'm already thinking about getting through this month.  Looking forward.  Missing the moment perhaps.  If the moment is kitchy cards with embarrassingly cloying sentiments inside then I'll let that moment pass.  I'm sticking with the savoury today.

Life in our house is a constant striving towards the practical.  The practical this week is that Kid #1, who eats her lunch at school, is beyond tired of sandwiches.  I can't blame her.  I've mentioned before that for an entire year, upon going back to work, I ate a sandwich at lunch.  I swear that in the 3 years the have gone by since then I haven't made myself  a sandwich.  It's hard to get creative with lunches though because Kid #1 also has a habit of permanently 'misplacing' lunch kits and everything inside then.  After it happened for a third time I gave up.  We lost the thermos and everything and I just couldn't bring myself to buy another whole set of everything.  So, Kid #1 has been forced to subsist on cold lunches.
When I made these croquettes I know that I had some kind of inspiration but I honestly can't remember what it was.  That's embarrassing.  Maybe it was my bean thing.

If you've been reading through my posts (and not just checking out the pictures - which is what I usually do) then you know that I'm looking to incorporate more bean crap in our diets (eww - no pun intended on that one).  Beans are good for you and pretty decent for the environment.  It's kinda win/win.  So yeah, maybe it was the bean thing.

Maybe it was the vegetarian thing... not sure.  I do know that Kid #1 feasted on these bad boys for lunch this week and it was just a little bit more interesting for her than the usual sandwich.

Potato and Channa (chickpea) Croquettes
makes about 12

1 can (about 1 1/2 cups) chickpeas, coarsely mashed
2 cups of leftover mashed potato (I use cream and butter and salt in my plain stuff)
1 1/2 carrots, shredded
1/2 onion, diced small
1 rib of celery, diced small
2 tsp salt (if you need some, if you salted the mashed potato then it might be fine)
3 tsp garam masala (or West Indian curry powder if you have)
2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
3 eggs (or egg whites if you prefer or if you used the yolks in something else - like ice cream)
oil for frying

Get a large frying pan (I have a big ole' caste iron one that I can barely lift) and start heating it over medium heat.
In a large bowl mix:
the chickpea mash
the mashed potato
the salt
the garam masala
the turmeric
the cumin
the ginger

Using a little bit of oil, saute the onion, carrot and celery until they are lightly browned and the onion is soft (about 4 - 5 minutes).
Add that to the bowl of potato stuff.
Using about a half cup of potato stuff, form patties.  Make them nice and thick.
Add oil to the frying pan and place patties in the pan.  Cook each side of the patty until it is well browned and can turn over without falling apart.
Cool and serve... and send them for lunches... and serve them as snacks... and eat them for breakfast too!

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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