Gorgeous color. Gorgeous taste.
Here in the pin drop quiet of my empty nest, I am struck dumb by the restless silence of the desert, finding it difficult to steady my post-maternal footing. It's not the letting go thing. Letting go of your children is the easy part. Their beauty is astonishing and too big to keep for yourself.
You miss them, yes.
But the space between you is precious, too.
It is their gift to you. Free space. A second chance to define yourself, reinvent yourself. Since the infamous hip incident, when I re-imagine my own future, I am editing small details. A Panatone 7487C Vespa, hot air balloon ride and Power Yoga are off the list (I am sorriest about the Vespa). Hiking Tibet with Robert Thurman? Probably not. A day spent walking (or more accurately, tilting between pauses and lurches and perching on the car seat) in Santa Fe last week deftly humbled my sense of reality. I've decided to get myself a cane- purple, if possible. Or a silver handled walking stick worthy of Downton Abbey. I'd rather be mobile with a vengeance and a cane than not.
Temporarily stuck in the rural junipered hills an hour north of Santa Fe I am imagining a future with a well stocked studio. Nearby bookstores. An arthouse movie theater. A gluten-free friendly cafe. A year-round Farmer's Market. Galleries to haunt.
In the meantime, as I ponder, dream, and make lists, I hope you'll forgive me reprising an old peanut butter soup recipe- a redux with tweaks, if you will. It's pure comfort food.
And totally NOT boring.
Purple Cabbage and Nutbutter Soup
Love peanut butter based soups but have a peanut-free angel? Sunflower seed butter is delicious in peanutty recipes. This soup can be as mild or as spicy as you like. We threw in a lot of spicy green chiles for heat, and holy mother of mamacita- it cured all ills.
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild Thai Kitchen GF curry paste, to taste
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled, diced
1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup roasted green chiles- hot or mild- chopped- or use chopped yellow pepper
3 cups light vegetable broth
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (aka Sunbutter) melted in a half cup of boiled water or broth
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk- or plain hemp milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for heat, to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 fresh lime
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar, or organic light brown sugar, if it needs it
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the olive oil in large soup pot. Add the curry paste and stir for a minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, cabbage, chiles or yellow pepper.
Stir and cook the veggies for 5 -7 minutes, until softened.
Add the broth, sunflower seed butter, coconut milk, red pepper flakes and cilantro.
Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat; keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and taste test for seasoning adjustments. Add a little agave or organic brown sugar, if needed, to balance the heat. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Taste again. Warm through.
Serve piping hot with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
This soup works well in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Combine the ingredients in your cooker and follow the manufacturer's guidance for cooking vegetable soup. Terrific with my Sweet Banana Polenta Cake.