Roasted Poblano and Cauliflower “Cream” Soup

It’s January and it’s cold. Of course being winter, that’s not really surprising, but I’m always unpleasantly surprised whenever the temp drops below freezing. And with all of the chill, it has me thinking about soup – and why not a hot soup that is spicy as well. 🙂 Win, win?

When looking for more flavors of New Mexico to incorporate into cooking classes at work, I had an inspiration for a healthier poblano cream soup. When looking for an option for a cream base alternative, cauliflower immediately popped into my head. Maybe cauliflower is still a hit vegetable in 2017? It’s so versatile – everything from pizza crust to “rice” to cream soups. And you definitely won’t miss the full fat – the cauliflower puree is so creamy it still feels just as decadent with less than 200 calories for 2 cups – or about 1/8 of the recipe.

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They say you love things more if you’d put a lot of work into it or paid a high price. I went into a battle for this soup – while chopping the poblano peppers, some capsaicin sprayed into my eye and boy did it BURN. I flushed my eye out for a good 20 minutes until it felt even remotely back to normal. Blood, sweat, and so many tears.

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Roasted Poblano and Cauliflower “Cream” Soup

Makes about 8 – 2cup servings

Ingredients

  • 3-4 poblano chiles, roasted (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 large head of cauliflower (~8 cups), cut up
  • 4 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1-2 c additional water as needed
  • 1/2 c cream or half & half (optional)
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 4 c corn, I used frozen, but fresh is also great!
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. If roasting your own poblanos, there are a couple of options – you can grill them on an outdoor grill, under your oven broiler, or over the flame of a gas stove top. If using your gas range, the large burner works best – place 2 poblanos at a time over the flames, rotating when one side gets sightly charred with tongs. Set chiles aside to cool until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot with a bit of oil on the bottom, sauté the onions until translucent and soft.
  3. Add in the garlic and wine. Cook to reduce the wine until almost all has evaporated.
  4. Add in the cauliflower and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is very soft.
  5. While your cauliflower is cooking, in a separate pan, cook the celery until soft.
  6. While the celery cooks, remove the seeds from the chiles (use gloves and eye protection if you have it) and chop into whatever size pieces you like best. Set aside momentarily.
  7. To the celery pan, add the corn and dried spices. Cook until corn is soft, then add in the chopped/diced poblanos. Cook until warm or “cream” soup is done.
  8. Moving back to your large pot, once the cauliflower is soft it’s time to puree.
  9. In three batches, blend all of the large pot contents – adding additional water to make it the consistency you want. Depending on the power of your blender, you may need to add even more additional water or other liquid in order to puree.
  10. Once the contents is all pureed, dump everything back into the large pot and add you cream or half & half.
  11. Add the corn and poblano mixture to the cauliflower cream base, stir to combine and bring the temperature back up to almost boiling.
  12. Garnish with green onion, parsley, or any other large pieces of the roasted poblano.

Nutrition Based on 1/8 of recipe with Half & Half (~2 cup serving)
Calories 174, Total Fat 3g, Sodium 233mg, Cholesterol 6mg, Carbs 32g, Fiber 6g, Protein 7g

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I also love, love, love this new patterned tray I found at World Market – not sure why I hadn’t been there in so long, but it took all my restraint not to walk out with an entire cart of items. But I did practice restraint and managed to make it out with just this tray and the ottoman it’s sitting on.

Stay warm out there!


Lemon Lavender Energy Bites

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July! And after a little over indulging, it’s time to go looking for a healthier snack alternative.

I love, love, love my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bites, but when looking to expand a little for an upcoming Health Fair I’m demoing at for work, I wanted to see what else might be out there in the the wide world of bite sized energy morsels. While scrolling through Lindsay’s Healthy Bites recipes at Cotter Crunch, I found her Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Bites. These were so outside the box from the usual energy bite recipe I see with dates, chia seeds, etc., I just had to try them. After looking at the recipe closer, I knew I’d have to make some modifications for a smaller batch, so I decided to branch out further and incorporate some lavender… because I just love the lavender and lemon combo. And by sticking with almond butter, the other flavors could really shine through.

I bought my culinary lavender from Los Poblanos Farms which is a local business, but their lavender products are featured in posh hotels around the country and you can buy most all of the lavender products online – yep even their culinary lavender, all organic. In addition to their lavender farm, they also have a historic inn and restaurant (all locally sourced or onsite farm raised ingredients) on the property. C and I had our first valentine’s dinner there – I loved the atmosphere, the size and style made me feel like I was in some old Spanish town and definitely not in Albuquerque anymore. Oh, and the food was also fabulous. 🙂

Lemon Lavender Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c raw, unsalted, pistachios (meats, shelled)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut flour
  • 1 T turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c creamy almond butter (do not use peanut butter – it will overpower the other flavors)
  • 1 tsp whole culinary lavender (you can add an additional 1/2 tsp based on strength of lavender flavor)
  • 1/4 c honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place nuts and flour in the food processor first. I used a 2 cup food processor or small option if using a larger processor. Pulse until nuts resemble a course meal.
  2. Add in sugar, salt, lavender, and extracts. Process for another 3-5 second or until well combined.
  3. Lastly, blend in almond butter and your choice of honey or maple syrup. Pulse until well combined and the mixture holds its shape when pressed together. Add additional syrup 1 T at a time until mixture hold a shape without crumbling.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop mixture and form into round balls.
  5. Place balls in the freezer to set and hold their shape. After frozen, they can be left to be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.

I think this is my new favorite hiking snack or maybe just for work. 🙂

What are your favorite snack flavor combinations?