puréed roasted cauliflower soup with dukkah

soup season! finally! i seem to never tire of soup during the cooler months. they are simple, nourishing, comforting and the best left-over meal imaginable. i roast whole chickens on a regular basis, just so that i can make batches of homemade chicken stock... and enjoy the tasty chicken too. but the stock! oh my word! i've been saving every scrap of vegetable - carrot tops, celery stems butts, onion skins (which are highly concentrated with bionutrients!!) - and storing them in the freezer until the next batch of stock. it's a wonderful way to use the whole of every plant, and adds depth to your homemade stock. oh and don't throw away the rinds to parmesan cheese. save them in the freezer until your next batch of vegetable or chicken stock! 

eating on the wild side ... and a bowl of homemade spiced lentil soup inspired by sprouted kitchen 

this past week, i was fending off a cold. which for the first time in my life, i think i actually successfully fended off a cold. usually there is a valiant effort of resistance against getting sick, and then one day it takes hold and you are inevitably sick. not this time! this time, i saw the signs, and fought back with vegetables. seriously. i've been reading this wonderful book 'eating on the wild side' all week. it is fascinating and packed with valuable information about how to choose/store/prepare vegetables to retain the most nutritional and medicinal benefits. you think you know something about nutrition, and then this book blows your mind. 

for example, i learned that if you crush or chop garlic and then let it rest for 10 minutes before exposing it to heat, you will retain more valuable antibacterial and antioxidant properties. the book explains why smaller yellow onions have higher concentrations of nutrients and antioxidants than larger or sweeter onions. i learned about all the sexy cancer-fighting benefits of cauliflower, and that even white cauliflower is packed with nutrients (although other colors still rank higher)... so i put this all into practice when i noticed a stuffy nose and ate a lot of alliums, mushrooms and miso soup, and this delightful soup, and magically did not fall sick. instead, i went and kicked some butt at my first real climbing competition. plant powered and strong. 

puréed roasted cauliflower & parsnip soup with dukkah ~ serves 10
2 heads white or yellow cauliflower (about 2 1/2 lbs)
2 lbs parsnips
1 lb small yellow onions
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil, split
6 cloves garlic
3 quarts homemade or store bought stock of choice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
dukkah (see recipe below) 
chopped parsley for garnish
parsley oil for garnish (optional) 

note: this made a rather large batch, but the soup freezes well for wonderful leftovers. you could easily halve this recipe if you prefer

preheat oven to 425. cut cauliflower into evenly sized florets, and chop stems into 1 inch cubes. toss cauliflower in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. toss to coat and then spread cauliflower out onto two large baking sheets. spread out so the cauliflower is not mounded and there is space for them to roast, not steam. roast for 20-30 minutes until bottoms are browned. let cool. 

in the mean time, crush garlic and let rest in a bowl for 10 minutes. chop onions and sauté in 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot for about 5 minutes, until soft. clean but do not peel the parsnips (the skin has tons of nutrients!) chop parsnips into small cubes and add parsnips, garlic, salt and cumin to the pot and sauté for a few additional minutes. add just enough stock to completely submerge the parsnips. simmer covered, for about 15 minutes until parsnips are fork tender. add the roasted cauliflower (saving a few florets for garnishing soups) and add more broth to just submerge the cauliflower. return to a simmer, covered, and cook until cauliflower stars to fall apart - about 10 minutes. 

you could use a immersion blender, however i couldn't get quite the smooth consistency i was looking for with my immersion blender, so i processed the soup in smaller batches in my blender. return blended soup to pot and stir in additional broth if the consistency feels to thick for your liking. 

serve bowls of soup with a good tablespoon of dukkah sprinkled on top, the reserved roasted cauliflower florets, parsley and/or parsley oil. 

parsley oil ~ makes about 1 cup
1 bunch or 2 cups loosely packed parsley, stems removed
1 cup organic olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed

wash and dry parsley, then remove stems. place parsley into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped - alternatively you can hand chop parsley, it just takes longer than 5 seconds. place chopped parsley in a medium sauté pan with 1 clove crushed garlic and 1 cup olive oil. sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until parsley is a rich, deep green color and not fried brown. remove from heat and let sit for at least one hour. up to 8. use a fine-mesh cheesecloth to strain the parsley from the oil. squeeze out all the oil and store in an air tight jar or chef squeeze bottle. store in cool dark place with other oils. drizzle parsley oil over soups, salad, eggs, or mix into vinaigrettes or simple marinades. it adds beautiful color to any artful plating. 

dukkah egyptian nut & spice blend ~ makes about 1 cup 
recipe adapted from 'my new roots

1 cup raw hazelnuts
½ cup raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt

in a dry skillet over medium heat, roast coriander and cumin seeds together until fragrant, stirring often (about 2 minutes). place seeds in mortar (or spice grinder) along with the black peppercorns. return skillet to medium heat and roast hazelnuts until fragrant, stirring often (about 10 minutes). let hazelnuts cool on a plate. finally, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until fragrant, stirring often (3-5 minutes) then let cool. 
grind spices finely and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. rub hazelnuts together or in a cloth to remove skins. hand-chop or pulse hazelnuts in food processor until they resemble coarse bread crumbs. transfer hazelnuts to bowl with spice mixture. add salt and toasted sesame seeds. stir to combine. let cool completely then store in airtight jar for up to one month. serve dukkah over soups, salads, roasted vegetables, sautéed greens, fried eggs, or traditionally as a dip with bread and olive oil.