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Purple Cabbage & Sunbutter Soup

Alexander Allrich in New Mexico
Alex in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

The visit with Alex and his girlfriend was thick with conversation, food for the eyes, and dreams for the soul. As always, in the wake of my son's absence I am struck dumb by the restless silence of the desert, finding it difficult to steady my post-maternal footing. It's not the letting go thing. Letting go of your children is the easy part. Their beauty is astonishing and too big to keep for yourself. You miss them, yes.

But the space between you is precious, too.

It is their gift to you. Free space. A second chance to define yourself, reinvent yourself. Since the infamous hip incident, when I re-imagine my own future, I am editing small details. A Panatone 7487C Vespa, hot air balloon ride and Power Yoga are off the list (I am sorriest about the Vespa).

Hiking Tibet with Robert Thurman? Probably not. A day spent walking (or more accurately, tilting between pauses and lurches and perching on the car seat) in Santa Fe last week deftly humbled my sense of reality. I've decided to get myself a cane- purple, if possible. Or Panatone 7487C. I'd rather be mobile with a vengeance and a cane than not.

Temporarily stuck in the rural junipered hills north of Santa Fe I am imagining California. An oceanside studio. Bookstores. Movie theaters. A gluten-free cafe. A year-round Farmer's Market. Venice would work. Santa Monica. Well, yeah.

In the meantime, as I ponder and make lists, I hope you'll forgive me reprising an old recipe favorite- a redux with tweaks, if you will.




Purple Cabbage and Sunbutter Soup

Love peanut butter based soups but have a peanut-free angel? Sunflower seed butter is delicious in peanutty recipes. This soup can be as mild or as spicy as you like. We threw in a lot of spicy green chiles for heat, and holy mother of mamacita- it cured all ills.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild Thai Kitchen curry paste, to taste
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled, diced
1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup roasted green chiles- hot or mild- chopped- or use chopped yellow pepper
3 cups light vegetable broth
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (aka Sunbutter) melted in a half cup of boiled water or broth
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk- or plain hemp milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for heat, to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 fresh lime
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar, or organic light brown sugar, if it needs it
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For garnish:

Chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in large soup pot. Add the curry paste and stir for a minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, cabbage, chiles or yellow pepper.

Stir and cook the veggies for 5 -7 minutes, until softened.

Add the broth, sunflower seed butter, coconut milk, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat; keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and taste test for seasoning adjustments. Add a little agave or organic brown sugar, if needed, to balance the heat. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Taste again. Warm through.

Serve piping hot with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.


Karina's Notes:

This soup works well in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Combine the ingredients in your cooker and follow the manufacturer's guidance for cooking vegetable soup. Terrific with my Sweet Banana Polenta Cake.