MND – Welcome to 2014

January 16, 2014

sauteing leeks

First Dinner of 2014 – Dinner January 7th
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Sweet Potato Biscuits
With leftover baked ham & peach jam

I baked a big spiral cut ham for New Years Eve – as a side note, I love baking hams for parties like that because it looks crazily impressive, but in reality requires nothing more of you than removing the ham from the packing and putting in a pan and then sitting back and letting the oven do its thing for several hours.  Also, you get lots of lovely leftovers.  I bought a 10lb spiral cut ham – I fed 10 at New Years, 6 at Dinner the next week with leftovers, froze the ham hock and enough ham to make a hearty split pea soup later this winter, plus have enough ham leftover to tuck into barley stuffed apples, and soups for my roommate and I for the rest of the season.

I knew as soon as I decided to bake a ham for New Years that Dinner the next week would involve ham biscuits, and I had my heart set on sweet potato biscuits.  The challenge then became to find a soup that would pair well with the biscuits and ham.  A tomato soup seemed like the wrong kind of flavor, and a squash soup seemed like starch overkill.  I pondered for a while whether I thought curry and coconut milk would complement the sweet potato biscuits or whether the flavors would fight with each other.  I came down on the side of complimentary, and I think was proved right.

Curried Cauliflower Soup
(serves 10)

garnished soup

olive oil/butter
6 leeks, sliced
1 apple, peeled & roughly chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed & roughly chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 ½ Tbsp mild curry powder
2 large cauliflower, cut into florets
8 cups liquid (I used half stock/half water)
juice of 1 lemon
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite, but full fat would obviously be excellent too)
1-2 Tbsp honey (to taste)
juice of ½ an orange (if you have one to hand)

Sweat the leeks and apples in a little olive oil & butter until they are tender.  Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and saute until fragrant.

Add the cauliflower, the stock/water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fall apart tender.  Puree until very smooth.  Whisk in the coconut milk.  Season to taste with honey, orange juice, salt/pepper and additional lemon juice.

½ large head or one small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (colored cauliflower is pretty for this)
1 large apple, peeled & cut into a ½” dice
olive oil
mild vinegar
unsweetened coconut, toasted

Toss the cauliflower and apple with a little olive oil, a splash of a mild vinegar, a drizzle of honey, and a little salt & pepper.

Roast in a 375/400 oven for about 20-25 minutes, tossing once, or until tender and caramelized.

Serve the soup with a generous sprinkling of the roasted cauliflower and apples, and a sprinkle of the toasted coconut.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Recipe previously given: Obvious Answers, Optimism & Guinea Pigs

biscuits & ham

Baked Potato Bar – Dinner January 14th

baked potato

Baked Potatoes

The Classic Additions
– sour cream
– butter
– chives
– salt/pepper

The Fanciful Embellishments
– Black Bean & Espresso Chili
– Bacon
– Smoked Sausage
– Cheese (mozzarella & cheddar)
– Diced Onion

The (non-token) Vegetable Accompaniments
– Broccoli
– Salad


Baked Potatoes
Just in case anyone needs a primer on how to bake a potato.

1 baking (russet/Idaho) potato/person

Scrub the potatoes and then towel them dry.  Stab them all over with a fork, and then rub them with some vegetable oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put in a 425 oven for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of your potato), flipping them over half way through just to make sure they cook evenly.  I just put my potatoes directly on the rack, but you can also put them on a baking sheet (although I find this tends to make the skin burn a little – but that could also be the fault of my oven).

They’re done when a knife slides easily all the way through the potato.

Black Bean & Espresso Chili

Recipe previously given: Espresso + Chili = Love

Minor edits & alterations:
– I omitted the corn, but added a diced red pepper
– I used half espresso powder, and half cocoa powder
– I made ¾ of the recipe using 5 cans of beans / all the crushed tomatoes + 3-4 Tbsp tomato paste / 1 cup water
(even ¾ of the recipe makes an enormous quantity of chili – I had enough to serve at least 10-12 people – fortunately chili is the kind of thing that freezes well and makes for excellent leftovers)



  1. […] MND – Last Dinner of 2013 MND – Welcome to 2014 […]

  2. This soup is wonderful. It will now become my standard Cauliflower Soup recipe. I would never have thought of adding roasted bits to sprinkle on top. Great addition.

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