January 19, 2011

a new lease on life

January started with so much promise. We began the year with a joyful evening spent with close friends; we made promises to ourselves and to each other to start fresh, eat right, exercise, and do the Earth a favor or two.

And I'm pleased to say that January is delivering.

My husband came home with great news yesterday, news that means his unbelievably strong willpower and unwavering efforts in all aspects of health are paying off. I couldn't be prouder of him! I have found a new passion—one that makes me feel alive and vibrant and want to share it with the world—in yoga. Together, we're making choices that make us look and feel and act better. Healthy minds, healthy bodies, healthy spirits.

We have joined a new CSA and got a box of lovely winter veggies from Johnson Backyard Garden. I haven't turned to butter once for these perfect vegetables, and not a thing has gone to waste! We ate kohlrabi for the first time. We've been cooking beans in the pressure cooker (more on that when I get my first shipment of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans) and have been cooking more whole grains than ever before.

Did I mention that, at the moment, there are no dirty dishes in the sink? I'm on a roll, folks!

So! There you have it. A January success story. And with it, the success of our hyper-local dinner from last night. We've got sprouts growing in our raised bed, but they had to be thinned out. I harvested some of the rejects and dubbed them "micro-greens;" we pretended to be in a five-star restaurant and downed a beautiful salad with red and green baby romaine (from JBG), micro-greens from our own garden (turnip, radish, parsley, lettuce, and cilantro thinnings to be exact), a greenhouse tomato grown in Marfa, and homemade balsalmic vinaigrette.

Yes, it was amazing, but the tomato? Definitely a summer crop, not a winter one.

For the main course, we had a surprisingly satisfying soup, adapted from this white bean soup from Whole Living. In that same CSA box we got the most beautiful head of green cauliflower. I was quite resourceful and even used the leaves for this recipe! It's delectable, creamy, high in protein and nutrients, and low in fat. The leftovers are just as good if not better, and the tiny bit of parmesan? It's divine. You must not skip the parmesan.

Cauliflower, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup

1 small head green cauliflower (including leaves), chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup broccoli florets (I used frozen)
2 1/2 cups water
1 15-ounce can canneli beans, drained
1 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
shaved parmesan (for garnish)

In a 3.5-quart pot or saucepan, bring the water to boil. With a steamer basket, steam the cauliflower and broccoli just until bright and lively. Drain—reserve the water—and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and stir. Saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the beans and the reserved 2 1/2 cups steaming water, and bring to a simmer. Taste and season accordingly. Carefully add the cauliflower and broccoli. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, carefully puree the soup in batches. Return to pot, bring to a low simmer, and season to taste.

Just before serving, shave a few bits of parmesan on top of each bowl. Enjoy!