I gotta admit that I was feeling a little blue last week. On Saturday, I worked with a group of parents and children and part of the nutrition workshop included a trip to the farmers' market. I thought, for sure, that excursion and the class would snap me from blue to orange (my fave color) in a jif.
Not so...I was shocked and further dismayed at how little was in our local farmers' market due to the brutal heat. Hardly anything. Realizing that I have come from a bountiful region with markets on every corner bursting at the seams, I was still caught off-guard. Some eggs, some cheese and a very few greens and squashes. That was it.
I felt myself sinking.
Until...I saw the sweet potatoes. Glory be!! I love sweet potatoes. My favorites are the dry yellow ones that go by several names: "Alabama White", "Jersey Sweet" or "Hannah". They are delicious, slightly sweet and deeply nutty. But, the ones Saturday were the prettiest sweet potatoes I have ever seen. Their blemish-free, gorgeous skins and deep, pumpkin-colored flesh beamed me up from blue to orange at first sight. They are from a farmer near Pine Bluff...here is his flyer and here is a big The Red White and Food shout-out to his farm and sweet 'taters. Truly life saveurs! The phone number is: 501-912-3372. Ask for Cassandra Green. The price is .50 a pound or $15.00 for a 45 pound box.
Here is a recipe that combines the kings of both markets, cauliflower from Long Island's farms and sweet potatoes from farms 'round the corner. Fortunately, both veggies are available wherever you live. They are an unusual and perfectly de-lish partnership for cool, chowder-y days.
Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Chowder
4 cups low sodium veggie broth (I use Pacific Natural Foods)
3-4 shallots, minced
1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 medium to large sweet potato, cubed
1 red bell pepper, veined, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup unsweetened nut milk (I used coconut milk because that is what I had. Soy or almond would be fine here or regular milk.)
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (a must, don't omit)
sea salt and fresh pepper
Heat 1/4 cup of veggie broth in a soup pot over medium heat and add in shallots. Saute about 5 minutes. Add rest of broth and bring to a boil. Add in cauliflower, bell pepper, sweet potato and bay leaf and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and add milk. Puree soup in blender (be careful to do this in small batches with a towel over the lid). You can also just puree about half the soup and leave the rest a little chunky. Add fresh basil and season with sea salt and pepper. Serves 5-6.
You may not be able to tell how gorgeous this cauliflower is. In real life, it is a deep gold tinged with purple and nestled in a crown of silver gray leaves. A real stunner!