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This soup really hits the spot on a crisp fall day. I’m glad I overstuffed my bike bag at the coop to get in that head of cauliflower. The lemon zest adds just the right contrast to this smooth and creamy (but vegan) dish. Pair with a chunk of sourdough bread or salad to round out the meal.

(If I make this again I’d like to add some finely grated fresh ginger, at the same point as when you add the lemon zest and juice.)

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
adapted from Melissa Clark

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
1 large white onion, peeled and diced (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 medium carrots (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
6 c low-sodium vegetable stock or water (I used water + a vegetable bouillon cube)
3 tablespoons white miso
1 small (or half of a large) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
Smoky chile powder, for serving
Coarse sea salt, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for serving

In a large, dry pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds until fragrant and dark golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush.

Return the pot to medium heat. Add the oil and heat until warm. Stir in onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add carrots, crushed coriander, salt and 6 cups water (or stock) to the pot. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. (You can also use a regular blender, just let the soup cool.) If necessary, return the puréed soup to the heat to warm through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice just before serving. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chile, sea salt and cilantro leaves.

Serves 6.

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Below are some pics from the past week. A butterfly outside my local coffee shop this weekend; below that one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms at David Zwirner; and below that, two photos from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I’m working with them on a book so got to spend the day and night in the new wing of their museum, designed by Renzo Piano. Check out those orchids in their greenhouse!

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