If the spirit of the holidays is to relax, rejuvenate, shut your laptop, reconnect with what’s really important, and get back to the basics – family, friends, togetherness – then all of that is reversed when applied to holiday eating.
When it comes to your stomach, the holidays are a marathon. How much can I stuff into myself in a limited amount of time, and how much of it can be refined sugars? How over-the-top can I make this? How many steps can I add to these recipes? How many people can I feed at once? How much can I eat when I haven’t been hungry in days??
I’m not trying to talk smack. There’s something about pushing your digestion to its limits that just feels right during the holidays. A time for not worrying about repercussions and reveling in plenty, if you’re lucky enough to have it.
But for me, sometimes the end of holiday eating comes as a relief. No more waking up at 6 to proof the dough for the cinnamon rolls or demolishing the kitchen night after night, switching to your stretchy pants, and falling asleep to a Netflix- and salt-induced coma for as many days as you can stand, just because you are supposed to indulge like Louis XVI.
It’s December 26, and it’s time for soup. Root vegetable soup that makes you feel warm and cozy and just right. Soup that fills the house with the smell of roasting garlic, but doesn’t leave you wondering if you overdid it. Soup that doesn’t require lots of planning ahead. Soup that feeds 4-6, not 14-16. Soup that isn’t flashy or cheesy or over-the-top. Soup that doesn’t make you afraid of your jogging shorts. Just soup that goes straight to your middle and makes you feel like you can (probably) handle 2015.
Garlicky Cauliflower and Japanese Turnip Soup
Adapted from the recipe for Creamy Cauliflower and Celery Root Soup in At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen [http://amychaplin.com/book/]
1 whole bulb garlic
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups white onion, chopped (1 medium or 2 small)
1 lb. Japanese turnips, peeled and diced in ½-inch cubes
1 lb. cauliflower (about 1 small), chopped in about ½-inch pieces
6 cups water
¼ – ½ cup freshly-squeezed lemon (from 2-4 lemons)
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
Fresh-cracked black pepper
Fruity olive oil
- To roast garlic, trim the top off the entire bulb, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and wrap in foil. In a 400º F oven, roast garlic bulb for 1 hour, or until soft and golden. When cooled, squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of the their skins.
- Meanwhile, add cooking oil to a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot and bring to medium heat. Sauté onion with ⅛ teaspoon of salt until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add turnips, cauliflower, and water to the pot, put the lid on, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables are very soft.
- Remove soup from heat, add the roasted garlic in, and purée with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool to lukewarm and purée it in batches in a blender. Return to pot.
- Season soup with 1 teaspoon + of soy sauce.
- When ready to serve, mix 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice into each bowl, or serve with lemon wedges. Drizzle each bowl with strong, fruity olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley, some cracked black pepper, and extra lemon and soy sauce on the side.