Cooking with heart. It’s one of the most beautiful ways to express your love for someone & captured so poignantly with this quote…
“I think preparing food & feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies, but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness & fragility.” ~ Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace & Learning the Hard Way.
A dear friend recently lost her Mother. Without question, it’s been a very difficult time for her. As a Mother herself to two beautiful children, it’s really made her take pause & look very mindfully at her own future & how she wishes to set forward. She’s been turning within, withdrawing, & taking the time she needs to heal. I believe in honoring the space that you are in. I also believe that the only way out is through. In order to fully heal, we must face the realities, & feel all the feels, no matter how heavy or painful. I also believe in asking for what you need ~ be it silence & space, a good hearty cry, laughter & wine with friends, or a bit of all of it in between.
I am not a “Mother” to biological children, but I am a nurturer by nature. I work with children with special needs, I teach yoga, I am a dog mom, I practice self-love & care, & I deeply care for my loved ones ~ friends, family, partners, etc. After a few weeks of allowing my beloved friend some silence & space, I extended a no-pressure, casual invitation into my home & offered to cook for her. She graciously accepted.
In her honor, I prepared a beautifully vibrant, yet, nourishing & grounding bisque. One of the stars of the show was the magical, mystical sweet potato. My yoga teacher, Ayurvedic mentor, Laura Plumb, considers sweet potatoes one of her “10 Power Foods”, & with good reason…. it’s a “little packet of Ojas.“ In Ayurveda, “ojas” is “strength.” Laura says ojas gives “vigor, peace, patience, contentment, a steady mind in a strong body, well-lubricated joints, a healthy immune system, and longevity. Ojas is kisses.”
The sweet potato is a “Vata’s” perfect food. In Ayurveda, autumn is also considered “Vata” season. Vata relates to the air element, which is windy & can make us restless, scattered, spacey. Laura advises that “to balance the light, mobile, dry, cool qualities of Vata, we want to favor foods that are substantial, nourishing, wet & warm (either by lightly cooking and/or spicing). It’s almost like we are looking for foods we can sink into, foods we know will love and take care of us, foods we can trust.” When feeling imbalanced, whether “Vata” or not, the sweet potato was just what we needed for restoration. (If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda & your ‘dosha’ here.)
Since sweet potatoes are incredibly grounding & nourishing, when I was planning the menu for our nourishing feast I decided to add sweet potato to one of my favorite recipes from another beloved teacher & mentor, Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Living. With a few other adjustments & fine tuning, this wonderful bisque was born …
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
- 1.5 cups of cubed, roasted sweet potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ bulb fennel, sliced
- 1.5 pounds carrots, trimmed & sliced
- 4 Tbsp. harissa paste
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 3-4 cups water or vegetable stock
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 tsp. himalayan pink sea salt
- Preheat the 425 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes & dice into ½-inch cubes. Toss in coconut oil & sea salt. Bake at 425 for approximately 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
- While roasting the potatoes, heat coconut in a medium pot. Add the onion & fennel, cook until lightly golden. Stir in the harissa, cumin & salt. Next add the sliced carrots & stir to coat with oil & spices.
- Cover the mixture with water & allow to simmer until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat & transfer the carrot mixture, roasted sweet potato, & lemon juice to a high-speed blender, puree until creamy.
- Season with extra lemon, harissa or salt, if desired. Transfer back to the pot & keep warm until ready to serve.
This lovely bisque was accompanied by a start of beet hummus & crackers, a salad of arugula, sliced pear, pomegranate, & sweet & salty pecans with an orange muscat champagne vinaigrette, & gently washed down with a beautiful bottle of French Rosé. We surely shared laughter, tears, & a whole lotta love over this meal. I love you my sweet Heather. In time your tender heart will heal.
Be nourished & well. Hold tightly to the ones you love.