sweet potato soup with cauliflower croutons

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

With Thanksgiving around the corner, things start to get busy. It's the same theme every year, there's the excitement of the holiday and the food but the anxiousness of the impending crazy that might rear its ugly head. A good example of this is shopping during the holidays, it's drives me absolutely nuts, it tests my patience and I hope makes me a better person for weathering through it. Don't get me wrong, I love going to stores at this time of the year, they're all gorgeously decorated for Christmas (those ornaments keep popping up earlier and earlier, each year!) and there are a lot of fun things to try (new holiday flavored teas at one of my favorite tea stores) and the strollers, yes the strollers! Strollers make nervous, they keep getting wider and larger with time, they can even take up entire sidewalks but in a mall that's already packed they can become a tool of danger. While trying on a couple of pairs of sneakers, I had two encounters within a short span of time, the first involved a bump to the head and the second, my toes. I'm going to go with the notion that these could be considered "war wounds" of the holiday season and a reason why I prefer to shop online during the holidays! What do you prefer, online or in-store? 

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntableSweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

Let's talk about holiday meals and ingredients, though I love both of them, I love sweet potatoes a little more than pumpkins. They are simply perfect, I always get a slice of sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving and if I can manage, there'll even be a pie after the holiday. But sweet potatoes also make wonderful savory dishes and I can never have enough!  So when the folks at The Society asked me to share a Thanksgiving recipe at their site, I knew I'd be giving a shoutout to my favorite tuber with this simple and easy soup that's served with some Indian-inspired cauliflower croutons. The sweet potato soup is lightly flavored with coriander with a smooth and velvety texture. It helps take the craziness away and comforts and calms. So go ahead and make yourself some soup,  the recipe is available here!

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntableSweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable
Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

cauliflower crust pizza

cauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

I ticked something new off my to-do-list last weekend, I got to bike across the Golden Gate Park and it was fantastic. The weather was gorgeous, no fog and warm plenty of sunshine, in San Francisco that is a rare but cherished weather feature. After our bike ride we stopped by a Cuban restaurant called Cha Cha in the Haight-Ashbury district and got ourselves some sangrias and a cuban sandwich each. The food was perfect and so was the holiday weekend! What did you do?

Dan of A Blog Eats wrote an article on me, this little blog and fusion food, please do check it out if you have a moment. 

cauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstylingcauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstylingcauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

I've been wanting to try my own cauliflower based pizza crusts for a while, so this past weekend I did a lot of experimenting in the kitchen. I've had a lot of friends rave about this crust because it's paleo-friendly, gluten free and also, an easy way to get some veggies into the diet. My first attempt was not very good, the crust was way too soggy in the center and it kept falling apart. I had started with greek yogurt and an egg as binding agents but it just added way too much liquid to the pizza "dough". To prevent this, I ended up double baked the crust similar to the way we bake pie crusts and dropped the yogurt. Adding a little flaxmeal also helped with tying up any moisture in the "dough". I didn't use my pizza stone this time but I definitely want to give that a shot  when I make this crust again.

I'm only sharing the crust recipe here so top them with your favorite ingredients. I've adapted and modified the recipes from How Sweet Eats and Bakers Royale who give some great tips on cauliflower pizza making. I didn't microwave the cauliflower to release excess liquid, I might try this the next time. When it comes to pizza toppings I like to play around and go with whatever I'm craving that day. I ended up using two types of toppings, each had a little bit of marinara sauce, some with some thick slices of tomatoes and one with pepperoni for M. But each of them had a generous, okay a crazy amount of mozzarella cheese because I love cheese a lot! 

cauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstyling
ccauliflower pizza crust #glutenfree #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

cauliflower pizza crust

yields: 2 X 8 inch pizzas (they might slightly smaller or larger depending on how thick or thin you make them)

ingredients

4 cups cauliflower, raw, finely grated*  (should resemble the texture of bulgur)

1 large egg

2 teaspoons ground flax seeds or flaxmeal

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Place one wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add and mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or spatula until the shredded cauliflower is completely coated. (The mixture should be wet, if you feel that it needs more liquid I recommend adding a teaspoon of plain greek yogurt)

3. Take half of this mixture and place it in the center of one of the prepared baking pans. Spread and shape the mixture into a circular 8 inch disc on the parchment paper with your hands. Place the baking sheet with the cauliflower pizza (without any toppings) on the middle rack. Bake for about 20 minutes until the pizza begins to turn light golden on the edges and the center is slightly firm to touch. Immediately remove the pizza from the oven and layer with your favorite toppings and cheese. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes (time might change a little depending on the type of toppings)  until the toppings are cooked and slightly blistered. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before slicing. Repeat instructions to prepare the second pizza. 

Note: * I started with 1 lb of raw cauliflower and then grated it in a food processor but you can also do this manually with a cheese grater.  I didn't spray the parchment paper with cooking oil, the pizza came off the sheet easily once it was cooked.

cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar

cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar 1

Last weekend, I found out that I am a very good accidental gardener, it's true, I might not have plenty of luck when it comes to planned gardening but when it comes to unexpectedly growing stuff, I have a green thumb! I went to open up a bag of sweet potatoes that I remember picking up a week or two ago and lo and behold, they were growing shoots and leaves. This isn't the first time something like this has happened, I once grew a date tree in my backyard in D.C. after tossing a medjool date by mistake into my garden (we got a few palm leaves but it didn't make it through the first snow). I was tempted to pull the shoots of the sweet potatoes but I decided to give them a chance and I've planted them. Who knows maybe they will grow well and I might get to eat my own accidentally homegrown sweet potatoes.

If you asked me if I could remember my first taco, I'd sadly say, I couldn't but I will say this, they always make me happy every time. When it comes to talking about tacos, I get pretty excited because every taco is a bundle of joy waiting to be enjoyed with the promise of goodness. There are so many different and wonderful ways to eat tacos so I thought, I'd share one of my personal favorites! 

cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar 2
cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar

For these tacos, it all starts with a few splashes of color courtesy of these beautiful purple and yellow cauliflowers that get tossed and seasoned with some tasty spices. Cumin and za'atar push these florets to a whole new level of tastiness with an added depth of citrusy and herb flavors. Though I'm only sharing the recipe on how to make the filling here, you can dress the cauliflower tacos with any type of salsa or toppings you love. I did however, share my favorite way to eat these guys at the end of the recipe section but seriously take liberties, because that what makes a taco special, you can individualize to your heart's (tummy's) desires!

cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar 3
cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar 4

cauliflower tacos with cumin and za'atar 

yields: 4 -6 servings (depends on how many and how big your tacos are)

ingredients

1 small yellow cauliflower

1 small purple cauliflower

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground red chili powder

1 teaspoon za'atar

1 lime

1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F. 

2. Chop both cauliflowers into small florets. Rinse under cold water, drain excess liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, cumin, and chili and mix to coat the cauliflower. Spread this mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower florets are tender and slightly roasted.

3. Sprinkle the za'atar and squeeze the lime juice over the cauliflower. Serve immediately with your favorite taco fillings and tortillas. 

Note: I like to serve these with a few extra wedges of lime on the side, fresh avocado slices, some shredded purple cabbage, salsa and my cilantro mint chutney. You can also serve these anyway you love your tacos!