Now that we are all back to school I can get back to my element of being on a schedule. None of this flopping around between camp and school. (3 week break? Who's idea is that anyway??) I'm one of these people who thrives on organization and structure. And with this organization comes planning out my meal schedule.
I love feeling like I can make some dishes that will keep for a while in the fridge or in the freezer. Soup is one of them. Every Friday I make a vegetable soup of sorts that will get my family through the week. I try to make something that at least half of us will eat. (2 out of 4 ain't bad!) Soup in the fridge will last for a full week and in the freezer for 8-12 weeks- depending on the temperature of your freezer.
I have been thinking a lot of about nutrition and children lately. Many people ask me how to get their kids to eat better. Many times I think it is helpful to look at the overall picture of what you are serving. It's really about balance- do not strive for perfection in any one given meal. I also firmly believe in not cooking more than one family meal. Everyone is getting the same meal plan. After all, I am not a short order cook. But when I am menu planning I obviously do this with my family's tastes in mind. Now you want people to try new things, right? Do this in a safe way. I am always conscious about only having up to half of my menu options in any given meal as new or "risky" food options and the rest are "safe" choices that are sure to please.
Take a look at this extremely simple but creamy (from sweet potato!) cauliflower soup that has deep rooted flavors from roasted garlic and vidallia onions. I used white sweet potatoes to keep the white color of the cauliflower but it really doesn't matter. I also never told my eldest child that it was cauliflower. We called it potato soup. I thought that would help him make the choice to eat it. That didn't work. The next time I served it I gave it to him and called it sweet potato soup. That didn't work either. Then the third time I gave it to him I told him his grandmother made him sweet potato soup and I gave it to him before I added the kale. Yup. That work. He said it was fantastic. Much better than mine. Thanks my love. You're too kind.
Be patient. Keep reintroducing food and get creative in your marketing skills.
Cauliflower and Kale Soup
1 large head of garlic
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large spanish onion, chopped large
1 large head of cauliflower, greens removed, chopped and washed
2 white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1/2 cup oats (not quick cooking)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch lacinato kale (dinosaur kale), washed and medium chop
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take your garlic head and cut off the top portion to expose some of the cloves below. Place the head of garlic in some aluminum foil and place the foil in an oven safe baking dish. Then drizzle 1 tablespoon of your olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt over the exposed garlic cloves. Close your foil and bake in the oven for 50 min.
Then take your large soup pot and set over a medium high flame on your stove. Add your remaining tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of your salt and your chopped onion. Sweat your onion in the oil for 3 minutes. Then take your roasted garlic to add it to the pot. Do this by opening the foil, removing the garlic head and squeezing out the soft roasted garlic directly into the pan with onions. Try to get as much as the roasted garlic paste out as you can. I usually wear disposable gloves for this process. Cook the garlic with the onions for an additional 1 minute.
Then add your cauliflower, sweet potatoes, water, thyme, oats, your last teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Bring up to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour. Check your sweet potatoes with a fork for tenderness. Once they are nice and soft you can take your immersion blender and puree your soup to a smooth and creamy consistency. Then add your kale and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Once this soup is made it stays fresh in the fridge for 1 week. Alternatively, it can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure you store it in air tight containers.