Monday, November 3, 2014

Cauliflower-Leek Soup for The 52 New Foods Challenge

I've been reading The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, the creator of Crunch a Color. I received a pre-release copy. It's hitting the shelves this week and it's a thoughtful guide for getting more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your family's diet. The recipes are simple for each of the 52 foods featured in the book. If you are introducing a new food into your diet, one you've never tried before, do you really want to spend a lot of time on a dish you may not love? The important thing thing is to try it, and the recipe shouldn't become a barrier to that.

One of the chapter titles, "Keep Trying, Together," really resonated with me . Sometimes, it takes time for children (and adults too!) to like a new food. That means trying it more than once. The book has great tips for how to make this work:

  • Use a reliable favorite like a stir fry or frittata. It's amazing how many new foods can work in a frittata!
  • Experiment with tastes and textures. My daughter refused to eat the florets of broccoli but loved the stems. 
  • Walk the Talk. I'm surprised when I hear about parents trying to get their kids to eat something new, and they don't want to eat it themselves. This is a learning process for everyone and the adults have to take part too.
There are lots of other creative tips for getting the 52 new foods into your family's diet. I think that's what makes this book so wonderful. Trying new foods can be intimidating and we all need ideas on how to make it work. The suggestions are positive and take the drama out of the situation. Who wants to battle with the kids (or maybe your spouse?) over eating some bok choy? Wouldn't you rather have some tools that help you and your kids through the process of trying a new food? This book has them. 

In the spirit of the book, I created a super-simple soup. Soup is another tasty way to add new foods to your diet. This recipe doesn't hide the cauliflower and the leeks, but they don't look like themselves. Their flavors shine through, however. The potato helps to thicken the soup without any cream. 

Cauliflower-Leek Soup
(serves 6)

4 medium leeks, white and light green part only
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
about 4 cups cauliflower florets
5 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock
1 medium red potato, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

some possible garnishes: grated nutmeg, chopped chives, chopped parsley, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, grated lemon zest

To clean the leeks, make a cut lengthwise through each leek. Wash them well by immersing them in a bowl of water and swishing them around so that you loosen up any sand in between the layers. Leeks are infamous for hiding dirt between the layers. Thinly slice them crosswise.

Heat up butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks. Cook, stirring, until leeks are limp, about 4 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock, potato, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes until cauliflower is very tender. Puree soup in a blender or in the pot using an immersion blender. Return to the heat and add the lemon juice. Check for salt and add more if needed. To serve, ladle into a bowl, and garnish with one of the possible garnishes, or none of them, if you prefer.

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