Oh my, it’s that time of year again. It’s one of my two least favorite months – November. (The other is April by the way.) Also known as Blahvember because, well, look outside. All those brightly colored leaves, the ones that bring fame and tourists to northern New England, they’re lying in soggy piles on the side of the road. Day in and day out, it’s one gray, drizzly day after another. Hmph, I feel like one of those hapless kids stuck in a Dr. Seuss tale.
There doesn’t seem to be a whole heck of a lot to do or even look forward to. Halloween is in the rearview mirror and Thanksgiving doesn’t come until the very end of the month. To top it off, if you missed the time change, well, for the past few days, you’ve been early to work or the gym or wherever you spend your mornings. Think of it; just when we need it most, we’re no longer saving daylight. Then again, once bedtime and waketime rearrange themselves, the change doesn’t seem so bad. Afterall, it’s light or almost light when the alarm goes off.
As an early morning walker, I appreciate the earlier sunrise. Then something happens. Once a week, twice a week, I wake to a deluge or have an early morning appointment. No big deal. These little inconveniences can’t keep me from my daily tour of the lake. I simply postpone until afternoon. That’s when, heading into the homestretch, it becomes miserably apparent that it’s dark at 4:30. Yes … dark, as in dark as night … at 4:30 … in the afternoon. Ugh!
So, what can you do about it? There’s always sulking or a Hallmark Channel movie marathon. Then again, how about that list of chores that never seem to get done? If your list is anything like mine, it’s not very motivating.
It might be more productive, make that more fun, to get a jump on holidays. You know, get out the knitting needles or your favorite crafty supplies and make stuff. An afternoon in the kitchen is always a pleasure or at least it is for me. Stir up a pot of soup or marinara sauce. Speaking of holidays, my butternut squash soup is perfect for Thanksgiving and freezes beautifully. Or you could bake some Christmas cookies and tuck them into the freezer. Cooking is a lot more fun than cleaning the garage; warmer too.
Skiers, snowshoers and other outdoor types can bring it in and out of the rain. Think about signing up for one of those super-duper fitness classes. It will help you get your abs, gluts and quads in shape. (If that sounds like I know what I’m talking about, don’t be fooled.) Oh, and by the way, signing up is fine but to make it work; you actually have to go to the class and participate.
Alternatively, November might be a good time to take up tai chi or yoga. While not as hardcore as boot camp or whatever those high-powered conditioning classes are called, both will build flexibility, strength and balance. Keeping your balance on an icy sidewalk is always a good thing. An added bonus, meditative exercise is a great stress reliever.
Wishing you a happy and boredom-free November. Bon appétit!
Cold, gray, drizzly November, is the perfect time to stir up a kettle of soup – or two. Get an early start on Thanksgiving preparations with my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and/or try something new with a little spice. Either way or both – enjoy!
Makes about 4 quarts
- 1/2 cup or to taste curry paste (recipe follows or use your favorite store bought)
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2-3 pounds cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
- 1-2 Yukon gold potatoes, about 8 ounces, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large onion, cut in eighths
- About 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock or broth
- About 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 bay leaf
- Cilantro-Lime Chutney (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Put the curry paste in a small bowl, add the vinegar and oil and whisk with a fork to combine. Put the vegetables in a large roasting pan, add with the curry paste mixture and toss to coat.
Stirring and tossing once or twice, roast the vegetables at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Add 4 cups of stock, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and return to the oven for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and cool for about 30 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the vegetables with a little stock and/or coconut milk in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Put the cauliflower puree into a soup pot, add the remaining stock and coconut milk and the bay leaf and place on the stovetop. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
If you have the time, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Reheat on medium low.
To serve: ladle the soup into bowls or mugs, swirl a dollop of Cilantro-Lime Chutney into the soup and serve.
Makes about 1 cup
- 4 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon or to taste chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- About 1/4 cup olive oil
Put the spices in a small food processor and pulse to combine. Add the garlic and ginger and pulse to chop and combine. Add the olive oil and process until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Can be made ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Cover and store leftover curry paste in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 cup
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1/2 or to taste jalapeno pepper
- 2-3 cups roughly chopped cilantro – leaves and tender stems
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup or to taste extra-virgin olive oil
Put the vinegar and lime zest and juice in the bowl of a small food processor, add the scallions, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro, season with salt and pepper and pulse to chop and combine. Add the olive oil and process until smooth.
Let the chutney sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Can be made ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
Cover and store leftover chutney in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
Print-friendly version of this recipe.
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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
How do you chase away November blahs? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019