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September 22, 2006
Gingery sweet potato soup

[bento bowl set with gingery sweet potato soup in one tier, salmon, broccolini, and brown rice in 2ns tier, fruit in a side bento]

Left: gingery sweet potato soup
Right: miso salmon, wok-fried broccolini, brown rice, tomato
Bottom: raspberries, plum slices

Holy cow, I have been MIA for over a week! Things have been so insane. I know I often complain about not having enough time to do all the things I need to, but this past week or so has been downright hellacious. How bad has it been? Let's see. This is the first time I've had enough time to post an update to the bento blog . . . which happens to be past midnight on a friggin' Friday night (so technically the wee hours of Saturday morning) and I'm at work! Ugh. I was up late last night too. Hopefully I can stay cogent enough to get the job done and head home to get some sleep.

Well, in the meantime I'll share with you the recipe for a most delicious and velvety soup. One of the main ingredients is cauliflower, which I personally think gets a bad rap. True that badly cooked cauliflower is horrendous, but cauliflower itself is quite light and absorbs flavor brilliantly. In this soup, it lightens the texture of what otherwise would be a very heavy soup. I can't distinguish a cauliflower flavor at all, but I like how it cuts the flavor of the sweet potato so that you don't have an overly sweet soup. Make big batches and freeze portions to heat up on a chilly evening -- the slightly spicy sweetness is oh so nice.

3 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and slivered
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 heaping cups of fresh cauliflower florets
5 cups chicken stock (vegetable is ok)
2/3 cup light coconut milk
salt, to taste
scallions for garnish (or chives)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and saute until vegetables soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Mix the spices in with the vegetables well.
  4. Add the sweet potato, cauliflower, and chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Blend the soup to remove any chunks. I use an immersion/hand blender that I can stick right in the pot, but you also can ladle the soup into a traditional blender - just be careful that you don't burn yourself. If you want an uber-smooth soup, strain the soup through a colander before returning it to the pot.
  6. Add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Bring the soup back to a boil in order to heat it through. Garnish with the scallions or chives and enjoy!

* Use gluten-free products
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