Showing posts with label cauliflower soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cauliflower soup. Show all posts

28 February 2014

Warm Meals for Cold Winters

Boeuf en daube a la Camargue, from the south of France

Pipes freeze. Cars don't start. Joints stiffen. Sidewalks are icy. Furnaces run overtime.

It's winter in Wisconsin. Will we see some relief in March?

03 February 2014

Cauliflower Soup with Lime

I am in the process of reviewing all posts on my blog for relevancy and repetition. A blog that is about to mark its 8th birthday (June 11) simply needs updating, no matter how many minor facelifts it has had. I pondered throwing in the towel completely but could not bear to do so. I have put too much into this project, which started as an attempt to educate myself about blogging so I could teach my students - college freshmen and sophomores - how to write a news blog. Besides, I no longer have a real job, and I can now give this blog the time and thought I think it deserves. In reviewing early posts, I found a few that merited reposting or updating. This is one of them. From early 2007:

When I was four years old I refused to eat white food.

I drank milk if I could not see it, which meant I had a covered cup with a cartoon character's face on top. The straw was inserted in its mouth.

Mashed potatoes? Only if I could not see them. Bread had to be toasted golden brown and slathered with peanut butter or cinnamon so no trace of white could be seen. I am not certain if my parents resorted to blindfolding me for meals, but they may well have done that.

Today I eat white foods in moderation. I've learned, like everyone else, that brightly colored foods are higher in nutrients. You can imagine how delighted I was to discover that colored cauliflower has finally made it northern Wisconsin. Of course, I had to buy some. What a great way to get kids to eat!

The first thing I made was a purple-and-green cauliflower salad with carrots and red peppers. I topped it with my Honey Dijon Dressing (see Jan. 13 post) and sprinkled a few bacon bits and some chopped cashews on top. Pretty good for a slapdash sort of thing.

Then I went upmarket, stumbling across this Lime-y Cauliflower Soup on Epicurious.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Roast the cumin seed in a small dry skillet over medium heat until it is fragrant. Once it has been roasted, place it in a mortar and pestle or in a wax paper bag and crush it until in becomes a coarse powder. Note: I could not find cumin seed, so I roasted cumin powder.

Cook the onion in butter in a small but sturdy saucepan over medium heat until the onion is softened, but not caramelized. Add cauliflower, broth and water and simmer until cauliflower is tender. (Watch it carefully as adding more water than the recipe calls for will result in a thin soup. )

Next, puree small batches of the mixture in a blender, until the contents of the pan are liquid and creamy. Add the half and half and lime juice; stir. (At this point, I added just a dash of fleur de sel.) Sprinkle on cumin.

Note: This is a delicate soup well suited to a cold winter day in Wisconsin when thoughts of spring are inevitable. It would pair well with an equally delicate white table wine and a light meal of chicken and rice. It is also a perfect lunch soup.

To my palate, cumin has citrus-y undertones and is a good mate for lime.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

09 December 2007

Fast and Frugal: Rustic Cauliflower Soup

Rustic Cauliflower Soup with St. Paulin Cheese

Across from Square George Cain, a lovely little park tucked behind Musee Carnavalet, is the Swedish Cafe, part of the Swedish Cultural Center on Rue Payenne.

At mid afternoon, when we visited the museum and the park, the little cafe was deserted and this captivated me, and fired my imagination. I saw the buggy and imagined a young Swedish mother, the wife of a minor diplomat perhaps, visiting with her child. The daily special, said the menu board, was cauliflower soup and I longed for a cup, and a rest in this little sanctuary. But we had shopping and packing to do, and thus a bus to catch. I shot a hasty photo.

The cafe at the Swedish Cultural Center, Paris
It is is cold in Wisconsin today, and I am inside with my own bowl of cauliflower soup, this one made with St. Paulin cheese, which I find easily in France and sometimes locally.

Rustic Cauliflower Soup
  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock*
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup St. Paulin cheese, in chunks
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • pinch fleur de sel

*I make chicken stock using the carcass of a rotisserie chicken, some onion skins and peels, some thyme, and one garlic clove.

Using a large sauce pan or smaller stock pot, cook the cauliflower in 1 cup of the chicken stock until tender. Allow it to cool, drain and then reserve the liquid. Run it through a blender to get a slight puree.

In another saucepan, soften the onion in butter. Add the cauliflower puree, then add flour and milk. Allow the mix to boil and thicken. Then, turning the heat down, add the cheese until the cheese melts. Taste before adding seasoning.

Cauliflower soup does not need much embellishment to satisfy and provide a sense of comfort. I often add a dash of fresh thyme, or even a tiny pinch of orange rind.

This was fine and comforting as it was, with just a few small garlic croutons floating on top.