Cold Weather, Warm Meals: A Bright Spot on Cloudy, Chilly Days

We knew it was going to have to happen sometime.

snowy-forecast-iowa-oct-27After a very mild September, and quite a few seventy-degree days in October, cold, wintry weather has returned to Iowa, with temps swooping down below freezing, and stiff winds blowing the autumn leaves right off the trees.

There’s even talk of snow across the state overnight on Friday!

When the weather turns chilly, our thoughts turn to making cozy evening meals at home, and warm weekend brunches with friends. If the thought of venturing out for supper in the freezing weather literally leaves you cold, here are five recipes that make staying in a real treat:

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup

Roasted-cauliflower-1As the weather turns colder, this hearty soup/stew made with roasted vegetables really hits the spot. This vegan recipe is spicy without being hot.  Best of all, it will make your kitchen smell fantastic!


1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
5 medium-sized bulk carrots, peeled, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 x 14-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 28-oz can diced tomatoes


Preheat the oven to 475°F. Break the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, and peel and slice the carrots as well. Arrange the cauliflower and carrots, in a single layer, on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (or just oil the baking sheet with vegetable oil). Season vegetables lightly with salt and pepper.

Make a spice blend by mixing together the turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne and cardamom so that they are thoroughly combined. Sprinkle about half of the spice mixture onto the vegetables. Drizzle seasoned veg generously with olive oil, and gently toss the carrots and cauliflower so that all pieces are seasoned and oiled.

Roasted-cauliflower-3Bake the vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes. Ingredients will be lightly browned but still firm. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté for 3 minutes, before adding the garlic and the rest of the spice mixture. Continue to saute the mixture, on medium-high, for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Roasted-cauliflower-6Add the chickpeas and canned tomatoes to the soup pot, and add salt and pepper to taste. Raise the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer. Cover and allow mixture to bubble for 5-10 minutes.

Carefully add the roasted cauliflower and carrots to the pot, and bring to a boil again. Once the mixture boils again, quickly reduce the heat to medium-low and let the soup pot simmer, covered, for another 15-20 minutes. Check the soup intermittently, and add water or vegetable broth if necessary.

Serve in soup bowls, while piping hot. Tastes great with pita, crusty French bread or roti / naan on the side.









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Upcoming East Village Events: Spooky Paws and Holiday Promenade

Mark your calendars! Some of our favorite East Village neighborhood traditions are happening over the next several weeks:


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AllSpice Seventh Anniversary Party Friday, October 6

Join Rory, Andy, and the whole Allspice Crew this Friday, October 6, as we celebrate seven wonderful years of AllSpice!

From 5 pm – 8 pm, there will be plenty of laughs and good food – catered by Allspice’s own Jocelyn Stanton. (Menu and recipe links, after the jump).


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Passion Fruit Balsamic Vinegar

Passion-fruit-balsamicThe national flower of Paraguay, the passion flower plant is native to tropical areas of South America, and is grown for its sweet, seedy passion fruit. Passion fruit juice often is added to mixed-fruit juice blends (to add aroma) and to cocktails, and used in sauces and salads, and in desserts.

We take that delicious passion fruit a step further to produce Passion Fruit White Balsamic. Aromatic with a sweet and tart flavor, Passion Fruit White Balsamic makes a delicious dressing or marinade, and reduces to produce an outstanding finishing glaze for salmon, halibut or shrimp.

Whisk together a little Passion Fruit Balsamic ($14.75/bottle) with Roasted Sesame Oil as an excellent marinade for chicken or kebabs of any kind.

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