If in conversation, I mention "LooneySpoons" or the Podleski Sisters (Greta and Janet), I admit to being surprised if I get no sign of recognition. To me, they are National Treasures. Their first book - called Looneyspoons - was published 20 years ago (1996) and since then I have bought all of their books - the 2012 TLC "best of" Collection being my favourite.
Their story (click on the link they provide to the full story) may be just what people need to read in January as new resolutions begin to cave under the assault of daily living. These days we hear so much about Brooklyn hipsters working hard and achieving entrepreneurial success. Canadians need to celebrate our own inspiring entrepreneurs and innovators. Did you know that when their bank account hit $1.17 they got support from David Chilton (of Wealthy Barber fame - and for a time a CBC Dragon). They came back from the brink, and their first book sold 850,000 copies, and seemingly they never looked back.
Greta is a Registered Nutritionist so all recipes outline nutritional details. TLC is full colour, with photos of every recipe - and they are super healthy. In their own words "Better carbs, Better fats, Less sugar, Less salt, More fibre... Diabetic? Vegetarian? Counting WW points? Cooking for finicky kids or a meat-and-potatoes husband? Never cooked a meal in your life? The Looneyspoons Collection makes healthy eating delicious and fun for everyone!" The book is "peppered" with tips and if you read every page, you'd deserve an honorary certificate in nutrition! Most important IMHO is that every single recipe I have ever made has turned out to be great - and I cannot say that about every cookbook i own - no matter how famous the author...
Part of the Podleski Brand is a divine sense of humour. Technically, they call this recipe "Melancauli Baby". Their "nutrition nugget" is that sweet potatoes may help you look younger. If that's true - their entire diet must consist of sweet potatoes. Greta attended FBC 2015 and looked not a day older than she did 20 years ago!
As I write this, the cost of cauliflower is through the roof(!) but if you splurge and buy one, you can make this fabulous soup (8 servings, 142 calories each). You won't regret it. Note: cooked rice is added at the end, so it may be best to cook that first.
1 TB butter or olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about two large)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups small cauliflower florettes
1 1/2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked brown / wild rice blend
1 cup 2% evaporated milk
1/2 cup packed shredded light Swiss cheese
Heat butter in large pot over medium heat. Add leaks and garlic. (This step smells great!) Cook and stir until they begin to soften. Recipe suggests about three minutes, but I usually let this go a bit longer.
Stir in curry and cumin. Cook and stir for one minute - this lets the spices "bloom".
Then add the cauliflower and sweet potato and stir again.
Add broth, salt and pepper. (Don't add additional salt if the broth is not sodium reduced.)
Bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
They suggest to carefully transfer half the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. (see my Tips below) Stir in cooked rice, evaporated milk and Swiss cheese. Heat soup for one more minute.
Notes and Tips...
- Lots of Prep Ahead Possible - the leeks, cauliflower and sweet potatoes can be prepped up to a day ahead. The sweet potato may become "pale", but in a soup they will work out fine. Even prepping one of these ingredients will make the cooking process easier and less stressful. The rice needs to be cooked before adding - this too can be done ahead of time, or while the soup is simmering. The Swiss cheese can also be shredded ahead of time.
- Curry Powder - consider making a batch of curry using my recipe.
- Cumin - it's possible to go all authentic with Indian spices, but when they are not easily accessible, try McCormick's Roasted Ground Cumin; I recently did a class with Smita Chandra, a published cookbook author, who gave that product a positive review.
- Broth - I often use "Better Than Bouillon" - but if you cannot find their sodium-reduced product then take care about adding additional salt.
- Rice Blend - these are now easily sourced at local grocery stores - for example - PC Brand.
- Evaporated milk - they specify 1 cup (250 ml) but since this comes in a 354 ml can - what am I supposed to do with the extra 100 or so ml? I just dump it all in - which technically means the calorie count will be off a bit. It is possible to buy 2% evaporated milk if that's a big concern. (But don't forget - new research is telling us fat is good.)
- Purée - this is another soup where the Podleski Sisters advise using a blender to purée half the soup. I just use my immersion blender to partially puree the soup right in the pot.
- Modify - they suggest making this a full meal by adding cooked chicken or turkey.
<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!