Flavour Pairing: Cauliflower Cashew Soup with Curry Yogurt Sauce + Leaving the Road Less Travelled

Cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce

I always struggle to answer when asked where I’m from. Do I answer the place I was born? The place I’ve been most recently? Where I grew up? The place I’ve spent most of my life? The place my family lives? Where I’m most comfortable? Any of these could be the actual question behind the posed inquiry and my head swims with possible responses. For me, each would get a different reply.

Shiny
Shiny

The past decade or so of my life has been spent in a relatively nomadic state. I’ve lived and worked overseas, studied abroad and traveled like a maniac. The idea of ‘home’ has been stretched and expanded to mean more than I’ve ever thought possible. Home is where the heart is, yes, but home is so much more, too. I felt at home when I finally stepped on Icelandic soil after having dreams about the place for many years. Montreal is the home of my mum’s side of the family, as well as many of my closest friends, and though I only lived there for my university years, it feels like home. I lived in Seoul (and have now just returned) for 3 ½ years, and it too has a place in my heart and feels like home. I can’t tell my life story to every person who asks me where I’m from, so I usually come up with one short answer or another.

 Cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce 2

After a few rushed weeks of fevered packing, random fits of tears and goodbye kisses, I left my home by my mother’s side at The Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York to return to Korea. The Abode is the place I was born, rebelled against and returned to. It is the place I lost my father and found a new meaning to the importance of family. It is the place I found love, lost it, and found it again. Eight peaceful months were spent cooking, eating, writing, photographing, running, loving, breathing, blissing out on nature, watching out for bears, catching up with old loved ones and meeting new loved ones. 

 Cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce mixed 2

As I was staying with my mother for the first time in 10 years, there were a few challenges to overcome. Mainly involving myself not acting like an entitled 12 year old. This is a tough challenge for anyone reorganizing their lives to be closer to their mum. I took it as an opportunity to better my relationship with her. I didn’t always succeed… with the whole not being a grumpy, misunderstood teenager thing, but I tried.

 

When it came down to saying goodbye, even though I’ve done it countless times before (both to The Abode and to my mum), I found I was only able to remember the good things, the best things. Our connection fills me so much that my eyes start to leak. Home.

 

So, let the reign of debauchery and hilarity in Korea begin.

misspelled English sign in KoreaWelcome to SamcheongdongThe new Seoul City Hall building 

By the way, this cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce is perfectly balanced and really pretty. Also, preparing a sauce for a soup makes you feel like you’re on top of things and you know what you’re doing.

 

Besides, it’s so easy.

Cauliflower cashew soup with curry yogurt sauce mixed

Cauliflower Cashew Soup with Curry Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 7-10 cups chopped roughly)
  • 2 ½ cups cashew pieces
  • 1 cup chopped potato
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of paprika
  • cooking oil
  • water

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp Indian curry powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

Add some cooking oil, the onions and garlic to a large pot on medium high heat. Let brown for 4-5 minutes. Stir intermittently.

Add cauliflower, leek and potato. Cook for 10 minutes.

Pour water in until all vegetables are just covered. Do not put in too much or the soup will be watery. Add cashews and spices.

Let the soup boil for 20-25 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat. Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, salt and curry powder until well incorporated.

Place a dollop of yogurt on top of the soup when ready to serve.

Serves 4-6

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Molecular Gastronomy: Layered Grapefruit Screwdriver Cocktails and Gainful Employment

 

 

Nice stems
Nice stems

I know its been a while. It has been a non-stop hair pulling fest around here. For the past month I’ve been in a whirlwind of resumes, preparations for interviews, interviews, random panic attacks brought on by said interviews and finally: Employment. Got me a job. What what! Of course, while all of this was going on, I went on a few previously scheduled trips, not knowing just how busy and insane I’d be feeling. A week in the California to visit my awesome sister, her awesome wife and their awesome cats, Christmas in D.C. to visit my awesome brother, his awesome wife and their awesome baby and New Years in the Eastern Townships of Quebec to visit a group of about 30 of the awesomest friends possible. Tequila, maple syrup and merguez sausages (not combined…although that really wouldn’t be so bad). What a party.

So, I’ll be back in Seoul by the end of February of 2013 to teach English to little kindergarteners. From my interview with the director and my contact with a Canadian girl who is currently working there, my new place of employment seems like a relaxed and supportive environment. Teachers seem to feel respected, happy and appreciative of the management. AND they get paid on time. Though I’ve never experienced it personally, it is not so uncommon to hear of  hagwon (private academies) paying their teachers late (or not at all), holding passports and/or diplomas hostage, finding absurd reasons to fire someone in the 11th month of their year long contract so they could avoid severance payment and a return flight and other such practices of a horrible work environment. Luckily for teachers looking for work in Korea, there is the Hagwon Blacklist. There, unhappy teachers can post their woes and warn others about their shitty school. Before accepting the job at EPA, I checked the Blacklist and found nothing. To my delight, a google search uncovered POSITIVE feedback about the school.

molecular gastronomy screwdriver 3

Wanting to celebrate all of this positivity, I made some gelatin grapefruit screwdrivers with a touch of molecular gastronomy. They turned out to be like large, fancy Jello cocktails. They were visually stunning and quite tasty.

Also, they were very bizarre. Gelatin always is. If I were to make gelatin screwdrivers again, I would make each individual drink a bit smaller and therefore less intimidating. While I went for a second glass, some of my friends (A.K.A. guinea pigs) could only manage a few bites.

molecular gastronomy screwdriver 2

I added some licorice powder to some of the top layers, which, as you can see, caused the gelatin to bleed into other layers and set in less appealing forms. Still, they tasted great, were fun to make and successfully got the drinker closer to being drunk.

Grapefruit Jello Screwdrivers

Ingredients

  • 8 ½ oz (250 ml) of vodka
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 tbsp cold water soluble gelatin

Directions

Mix 1 tbsp of sugar with 1 tbsp of gelatin and the vodka. Blend until dissolved. Divide evenly into as many cups as you like. This could be up to 20, depending on what size you plan on making your Jello cocktail. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Next, mix 1 tbsp of gelatin with 1 tbsp of sugar and the grapefruit juice. Blend until dissolved. Pour a juice layer on top of the vodka layer. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Repeat until you have 6 alternating layers of vodka and juice.

Scoop into mouth.

Here are video instructions.