Today I woke up to Friday Feeling deluxe, with clear blue sky, warm spring sun and lots of fun things planned for the day. To me it doesn’t matter much which day of the week it actually is. I happily grab hold onto the Friday feeling and make the most of it, even if it’s an ordinary Tuesday or Thursday :-)
I realize now when the light is returning and people are waking up from hibernation that I’ve actually had a pretty rough winter. I usually manage well and I’ve never really experienced seasonal affective disorder, but this time the darkness and isolation really got to me. Perhaps because it’s the first time I’ve lived outside of the city during winter. It’s much easier to forget about the cold and darkness when you’re hiding inside your warm apartment with your friends and workplace within walking distance.
In two weeks time I’ll be a city gal again. Our contract for the house is running out come April, and I’ve rented out my apartment in town for way too long. I’m facing the decision of either selling it or moving back in. As for now, I chose to move back for a while and figure out what the next step is. I’ve had this apartment for almost 7 years now. It’s been with me through career changes, several romantic relationships, countless of parties and many many late nights of artistic explorations.
I’ve always worked within the same neighborhood as well, and I know the café, bar & restaurant culture here like the inside of my pocket. I’m saying here because at the moment I’m sitting just blocks away.
When I first got the statement from the board that it’s either selling or moving back in, I felt so frustrated! Like, will I ever get out of that apartment?! I can’t afford to sell it and buy a new one for quite some time probably. But now I’ve settled into the change and I’m actually quite looking forward to the move.
I always thought that moving out to the forest or countryside was my “calling” (or well, at least since I was like 24). That I would end up there eventually and live happily ever after. But I’ve come to realize that I’m much more of a city person than I thought. Partly because I’m comfortable and dislike commuting or things taking up a lot of time in general. I prefer to arrange my life so that I hardly have to move outside of my neighborhood. I enjoy the community that forms around a city block, that is both connective but also anonymous in a way. I can choose to be a part of, but I can also choose to live my life completely separate from it.
I have mixed feelings when it comes to this though.
On the one hand I love that it takes me 10 minutes to walk to the office from my apartment, and that my brother’s workplace is located literally 30 feet further up the street. I like to recognize the people on the streets and in the grocery store, and to know the waitress at this restaurant or the barista in that café. It brings me a sense of comfort, familiarity and belonging. Even though most of us live our lives separately, and frankly aren’t paying much attention to each other.
On the other hand I crave challenges and to be picked up and placed outside of my comfort zone. I guess it depends on where you are in life. Right now, things are quite shaky, which means that I’m in greater need of something familiar to hold on to while I figure out some other stuff.
The need of familiarity and comfort is reflected in the food I cook as well (nice transition, huh? :). I intuitively reach for whole grains, sautéed greens, roasted vegs and umami flavors, paired up with early spring vibes from fresh herb, citrus and green smoothies.
This brown rice, cauliflower and broccoli bowl with a cheesy, savory cashew cream sauce surely hits that comfort food spot, but it does so with lightness and plenty of fresh greens (I only want green food right now! A reflection of the season or my inner state of being? Maybe both). You could say this bowl’s got one foot in winter and the other one in spring. The garam masala spiced cauliflower & broccoli warms my still winter tired body. Brown rice nourishes and ground me after a harsh and windy day. Fresh basil reminds me of the summer ahead. And the cheesy, savory and lemony cashew & tomato sauce goes into everything that needs a solid foundation. Which is a lot, in this turbulent time of transition.
Find the recipe after the jump <3
Notes: 1) For this recipe I’m using the dried kind of tomatoes, not the ones preserved in oil. If you’re using the canned, oily ones, you can skip the soaking step. 2) If you’re in a hurry you can also skip soaking the cashews, but then you really need a powerful blender to break them down. You might also need a little extra water.
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Cheesy Vegan Cashew Sauce
prep time: 10 min (+ overnight soaking)
cook time: 30 min
total time: 40 min
equipment: high-speed blender, oven
250g broccoli (roughly one head)
400g cauliflower (roughly 1/2 head)
1 brown onion
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin or garam masala
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
10 sun-dried tomato halves, divided (I used the dried kind)
1,2 dl / 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 lemon, juice
3/4 tbsp tamari
3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave syrup
1-2 tsp nutritional yeast
a good pinch cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
fresh basil & oregano
arugula or greens of choice
Soak the raw cashew nuts in plenty of water overnight or for 6-8 hours.
Heat oven to 200’C / 390’F.
If you wanna serve this dish with brown rice like I did – Rinse the rice and place in a sauce pan with water and salt. Cook according to the instructions on the package.
Fill up a small sauce pan with water and bring to boiling. When the water is boiling, remove from the stove and add the sun-dried tomatoes to soak and soften up.
Clean and trim the broccoli and cauliflower. Break into florets. Peel the onion and cut roughly into 6-8 pieces. Place every thing in an oven dish and toss with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and spices. Use your hands to combine everything ;-)
Roast in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until slightly browned and tender.
Drain the cashews and the sun-dried tomatoes and discard the water. Add cashews & half of the tomatoes to a high-speed blender, along with the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Start with one tsp nutritional yeast and add more if you like. Mix on high-speed until completely smooth. Transfer to a jar or small pitcher and set aside.
Cut the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes into pieces and place on top of the broccoli & cauliflower once it’s done roasting. Drizzle with a generous amount of cashew sauce and garnish with fresh basil & oregano (or thyme).
Serve the broccoli & cauliflower roast in bowls with brown rice, arugula or other greens and perhaps some white beans for an even more substantial meal. Some extra cashew sauce is also always a good idea ;-) Enjoy!
What kind of food are you craving right now? Do you also feel split between winter on the one hand and spring on the other?
Until next time :*
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