January. A new year and a fresh new chance. Even with the difficulties of the past 21 months, I can’t help but be optimistic. Naive? No. Hopeful? Absolutely.
I’m not a resolution kind of person, really. Sure, I set a Goodreads goal for how many books I want to read and I have plans to continue my Peloton streak, but that’s about the extent my so-called resolutions. I do set an intention for the year, though. Some years it’s a word, some year’s it’s a phrase or quote that stands out to me. I usually spend a couple weeks at the end of the year thinking about it before I decide.
For 2022, my word is “connect.” Due to circumstances far beyond anyone’s control, we lost so much of our ability to connect with one another in March of 2020. We seemed to find our way back to each other for a while, but time and exhaustion and politics and distance made maintaining meaningful connection even more challenging. Even before the pandemic, I was dealing with anxiety brought upon by a marriage filled with narcissistic abuse. That anxiety made it difficult to keep my plans and enjoy gatherings I would’ve otherwise loved. Even once I’d identified that and worked through it with therapy, reflection, and a whole lot of inner work (which I’m so grateful for!), the anxiety, retreat to solitude, and feelings of missing those I love most remained.
This year, I want to focus on who I connect with and how I connect with them. I want to place value on the people and relationships who have been there for me, who are honest with me, who help me grow, and who help me feel good about myself. I want to nurture meaningful connections and change habits that have lead me pull back from people, friendships, and situations that I truly do want to be part of.
Small gathering are still my main source of connection, especially as Omicron and winter colds and flu abound. Getting together with cherished friends and sharing a comforting meal like this cream of roasted cauliflower soup, a loaf of freshly-baked bread, and lots of laughter is exactly the type of connection I’m after.
Happy 2022, friends. May it be gentle, beautiful, and full of meaningful connection for all of us.
Roasted cauliflower, herbs, beans, and the milk of your choice combine in this easy cream of roasted cauliflower soup that will bring comfort and coziness to your winter table in a pinch.
Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup
an Apple a Day original
2 heads cauliflower
1/4 c. plus 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 small sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsap. sumac
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 c. vegetable broth
1 c. whole milk (canned coconut milk for vegan soup)
zest and juice of half a lemon
Place two rimmed baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425° F. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and toss with 1/4 c. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. When oven comes to temperature, spread cauliflower on heated baking sheets and roast 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
With ten minutes left in the roasting time, heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add remaining 2 TBSP oil and bring to temperature. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and dried spices and cook 1 minute more or until fragrant. Add beans and broth and increase heat to bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer 5-7 minutes.
When cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and put 3/4 of the florets into the broth, reserving the smaller 1/4 of florets to stir in later. If you want a completely smooth soup, put all of the cauliflower in at this time.
- Turn off the burner. Using an immersion blender, blend soup to a smooth consistency. Stir in milk of choice, then stir in lemon juice and reserved cauliflower florets (or save them to float on top of soup). Taste and adjust seasoning.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with cauliflower florets, green onion, crushed red pepper flakes, additional lemon juice, or any other toppings you desire.
yield: 4 large or 6 side servings