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I originally made this soup for 300 people and with loads of butter. The curry flavor was subtle yet present enough to make people wonder why this soup was different from the previous version. Wanting to adapt this recipe to make it vegan and guiltless–yet still rich and satisfying–I swapped the butter for extra-virgin olive oil. By emulsifying it in at the end of the cooking process, the soup thickened and became creamy–much like a vinaigrette behaves once the oil has been added.

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, curry powder, and coriander and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, pour in 3 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Puree soup until smooth, while gradually pouring in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
6. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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Notes: Could use a bit more coriander, and perhaps some cumin for some smokiness.

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The first time I made Curried Cauliflower over Lentils, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Here, I’ve made only a few minor tweaks, but it was even better than attempt number one: brighter, bolder, cleaner–a bit more refined. The cauliflower is roasted with curry powder until it just caramelizes, creating a texture contrast to the bed of creamy lentils underneath. Pomegranate seeds add another pop of color, texture, and acidity, and a garnish of lemon juice and olive oil pushes the flavors just over the edge.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1 cup brown lentils
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (can substitute fresh parsley)
1 pomegranate, seeded
Lemon juice, for garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish

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1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Toss cauliflower florets with 1/2 Tbsp canola oil, curry powder, salt, and black pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crispy.
3. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp canola oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Sweat the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until tender, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often to prevent browning. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add broth (or water) and lentils to the pot. Bring to a rapid simmer and then reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Stir in the cilantro and adjust seasoning to taste.
5. To plate, spoon lentils onto plate or into bowl. Top with curried cauliflower, garnish with pomegranate seeds, and drizzle with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

This is attempt #2 at testing this recipe. I think this newer version is better than this previous attempt.

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 avocados, sliced or diced, for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)
Lime juice, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes, or until dark brown and tender.
3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the carrots to the pot and cover by 1 inch with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir in coconut milk.
6. Garnish soup with avocado and freshly squeezed lime juice (optional). Fresh chopped cilantro would also be a great garnish.

Serves 4 (entree)-6 (appetizer)

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Originally created as a garnish for a vegan mango mousse experiment for work (still perfecting that recipe), this brittle stands alone as a delicious vegan dessert. No need for a candy thermometer–just keep a close eye as the caramel cooks.

1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 cups cashews, raw or lightly toasted

1. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a heavy bottomed pot.
2. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and allow the sugar to take on a caramel color. Do not stir or shake the pan while the sugar cooks.
3. Toast the cashews, if desired, and then spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
4. Once caramel reaches desired color, quickly stir in the salt and curry powder.
5. Pour the sugar mixture evenly over the cashews.
6. Cool to room temperature, and then break apart with your hands.

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Store in an airtight container for, I dunno, a while.

My boss had a bunch of tomatoes that he didn’t want. Frankly, I didn’t really want them either, but I’m lazy and cheap and grew up in a house that was on the board of the Clean Your Plate Club. So, like the good Brooklyn bag lady I am, I threw them in the tote bag and escorted them to their destiny.

Destiny, as it so happened, involved low-and-slow oven action and a healthy sprinkling of seasoning. Two and a half to three hours later, you get something that looks like this:

Aw nuts. Forgot to take a picture.  Well, I guess you’ll just have to make it to see for yourself.

6 tomatoes (I had a combination of plum and vine-ripe), quartered
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Drizzle tomatoes with the oil. Add seasoning and toss to combine. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 250-degree oven for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until most of the moisture has evaporated. (Note: the tomatoes can be roasted at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time, or even longer at a lower temperature. Just depends on the texture and level of moisture you’re shooting for.)

I’m sure there are plenty of fancy techniques to enhance this dish, but for me, the slop-together approach does wonders to elevate this alabaster veggie into a colorful side full of flavor.

Toss cauliflower florets with a generous amount of curry power, S & P and a bit of canola oil. Roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh torn cilantro and eat. Now.