Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Bisque

Things have been a little quiet here on the food front here at Digital Dads so far this year. The biggest reason has been that I’ve been trying to figure some things out. 2012 was a stressful year for me and I didn’t do a very good job of taking care of my health. As we rolled into the new year I finally decided it was time to get my act together. Fortunately, my wife’s work has a living well program that rewards her with discounts on our health insurance premiums for meeting specific health metrics. And for 2013 they’ve also included metrics on spouses covered by the plan as a way to increase the discount. One of the challenges was to incorporate more meatless dishes into the weekly meal plan. For the first week we have to refrain from red meat. The second week we skip pork, the third poultry. By the fourth week we have to have a certain number of days where we are completely meat free. Preparing for this has been difficult because I am an avowed carnivore who has never had the best history with vegetables. In the last few years I’ve gotten better at eating them in order to set a good example for my kids. Still, the idea of making the jump to a meatless diet, even if only a few times a week, was something I never could imagine. Over the past two months I’ve done a lot of research and made a number of different dishes with varying degrees of success. One of the best, in my opinion, has been this roasted cauliflower coconut bisque that I made based off a recipe I found over on PBS’ Fresh Tastes blog. Cauliflower has been one of the things I’ve really come to enjoy in my efforts to incorporate more vegetables in my diet, and soups are always a great thing to have pre made for the nights you don’t have the time to (or, don’t really feel like) cooking. From the original recipe I decided to add a few more elements to the soup by adding some heat with ginger and jalapeño and some acidity with a splash of rice wine vinegar. Then I topped it off with some chopped chili spiced cashews, thinly sliced scallions, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of Malden sea salt. Throw in a chunk of crusty bread and this hearty soup is a great way to add some meatless meals into the mix. Do you have a favorite meatless meal?

Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Bisque

adapted from a recipe at the PBS Fresh Tastes blog

Software

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium leek, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped and seeded
  • 1 2″ chunk ginger root, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, halved and bruised
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock, unsalted
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • scallions, for garnish
  • chili spiced cashews, for garnish
  • Maldon sea salt, for garnish
  • olive oil, for garnish

Assemblage

  1. Break down the head of cauliflower, place in an oven safe roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, then place in 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, sauté onions in a heavy bottomed pan for 5 to 6 minutes, or until translucent
  3. Add leek, jalapeño, ginger and garlic, and continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes
  4. When cauliflower is finished roasting, add to the heavy bottomed pan along with the cilantro, lemongrass, lime zest and juice and two cups of the vegetable stock
  5. Bring soup base to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes
  6. Remove the bay leaf and lemongrass and discard
  7. Transfer the soup base to a blender in batches (you may need to add some of the remaining cup of veggie stock to thin things out).
  8. If desired, run through a fine mesh strainer
  9. Bring the blended and strained base back up to a low boil in the heavy bottomed pan and add the coconut milk and cook for 5 to 10 minutes
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary
  11. Ladle the finished bisque into bowls and garnish with thinly sliced scallions, crushed chili spiced cashews, a pinch of Maldon sea salt, and olive oil
  12. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy

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PJ Mullen is a stay at home dad, husband, amateur chef, craft beer enthusiast, prolific air drummer and the Stig in a minivan. Currently in between blogs, PJ has been littering the Internet with his drivel since 2006 when he started a wordpress.com account and blogged about a home renovation project. That proved to be a gateway drug to self-hosting where he went on to blog about football, his life as a stay at home dad and his culinary adventures. While he chooses a new domain to sully, he can be found here at Digital Dads writing about food and craft beer. He was a member of the Bumble Bee Foods "Bee Squad" from 2011 to 2012, contributed to Man of the House, was a member of the Shared Tastes Panel at Ready Set Eat, has worked with several brands including Sony, RedEnvelope, Conair, Lands End and Baby Brezza, and won the 2010 Perdue Verifiably Good Video Contest.

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