Part instructional cookbook and part lifestyle guide, Beautiful Living, the new cookbook from Cal-a-Vie Health Spa is a stunningly photographed hardbound book featuring 304 pages filled with Cal-a-Vie’s most popular recipes.
The coffee table-style cookbook reveals the technique and flavors behind the Cal-a-Vie kitchen, along with advice for living a healthy lifestyle to nourish the mind, body, and soul. Executive Chef Curtis Cooke shares more than 100 healthy recipes created for Cal-a-Vie guests, from Carrot Coconut Soup (below) to Blueberry Lemon Muffins and Seared Bronzini with Chanterelle Mushrooms Puree and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Each recipe in Beautiful Living was written, developed and tested in Cal-a-Vie’s renowned kitchen, empowering home cooks with the confidence to the spa’s delectable cuisine to the table for family and friends.
Enjoy these three comforting and flavorful soups from Beautiful Living: Cooking the Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Way.
Carrot Coconut Soup
Many guests compliment us on this classic Cal-a-Vie soup, which is often on the menu during a typical week’s stay. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make! Don’t be afraid to use full-fat coconut milk; it helps to add to the richness of this deeply satisfying soup. Coconut milk is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are easy to digest, especially for anyone who has a sluggish liver or issues with their gallbladder.
1 tsp grapeseed oil
2 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into 4-inch pieces
4 C trimmed, peeled, and chopped carrots
1 ¼ C unsweetened coconut milk
4 C vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the grapeseed oil and sweat the shallots, garlic, and lemongrass, stirring often until they become soft but not brown.
Add the carrots, coconut milk, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes until the carrots are soft. Remove the lemongrass stalks. Strain the solids over a bowl to reserve the liquid. Using a blender or a Vitamix® machine, transfer in batches some of the carrot mixture and the liquid and puree until smooth. Add additional liquid to create a soup consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Tip: Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It will store in the freezer for about a month.
Golden Lentil Soup
This soup is packed with spices that deliver nutrition as well as a ton of flavor. Mustard, cumin, and coriander seeds are good for everything from aiding your digestive and bronchial systems to purifying your blood. Garlic, ginger, and turmeric are all known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 C diced onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 C yellow lentils
6 C vegetable stock
kosher salt, to taste
chopped fresh chives for garnish
Place a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds and shake the pan for 1-2 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Wrap the toasted spices in cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.
In a medium pot over medium heat, add the grapeseed oil. Once warm, add the onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onions are translucent in color, about 3 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and turmeric and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lentils, cheesecloth with toasted spices, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the lentils are completely softened and the soup is a thick consistency, about 45 minutes.
Allow to simmer longer or add more stock if necessary until desired consistency is achieved. Add salt to taste. Top with chopped chives. Serve immediately.
Tip: Most store-bought vegetable stock is dark in and will produce a darker soup; however, you can often find clear vegetable stock in the international section of the grocery store.
Yellow lentils come in many sizes and from all parts of the globe. Any yellow lentil will work in this recipe, but it may take longer for the lentils to soften depending on their size and variety.
The trick to giving this soup its creamy texture is to let the lentils get extra soft, to the point that they blend together.
Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Crisps
We love to serve broccoli at Cal-a-Vie because it’s part of the brassica family, a cancer-fighting group of plants. Rich in Vitamins A and C, broccoli is also a great source of sulfur (which explains that less-than-pleasant smell that comes with cooking it). Odor aside, sulfur is critical for the production of glutathione—the most important detoxifying antioxidant in your body.
4 broccoli stalks (save the florets for the soup)
½ yellow onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
4 C water
In a large stock pot, add all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, preserving all the liquid stock and discarding the solids. Set the Broccoli Stock aside.
8 C broccoli florets
2 tsp sea salt
In a large stock pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath with 60 percent ice and 40 percent water. Working in small batches, add one-third of the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 2–3 minutes. Remove broccoli from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve its deep, bright-green hue. The goal is to keep the broccoli as soft and green as possible. Continue until all of the broccoli is cooked and completely chilled in the ice bath.
In a high-speed blender, also working in batches, add the broccoli florets and ¼ cup of Broccoli Stock. Puree on high until completely smooth. Additional stock may be needed to achieve the desired consistency each time you add broccoli and stock to the blender. Return the soup to a stock pot, and gently bring it up to serving temperature over medium heat. Season with salt.
1 C grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the grated Parmesan on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat and pat down. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the Parmesan is bubbly and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes until cool. Break into 8 large pieces and use for garnish on top of the soup.
Tip: You can start this recipe earlier in the day by preparing the Broccoli Stock and broccoli florets and storing them separately in the refrigerator in covered, airtight containers. Add them to the blender shortly before heating and serving.
But remember: The key to a vibrant broccoli soup is to make sure not to overcook your florets and to use an ice bath. If you cook the broccoli for too long, it will lose its beautiful green color.
Editor’s Note: Copies of Beautiful Living: Cooking the Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Way may be ordered here.