Tag Archives: vegetable soup

Good Morning, Cauliflower Cheese Soup!


Mollie Katzen, Mollie Katzen. Is there anything you can’t make delicious?

Some of you out there might know of my current quest to conquer cauliflower. I’ve long held the albino broccoli in disregard. Its pure whiteness, its bland nothing flavor, its weird not-quite-crunchy-enough texture… All I’ve ever known of cauliflower is that people tend to avoid it on vegetable trays. While their fellow tray-mates, the robustly orange carrots, the crunchy, stringy celery, the vibrant and tree-like broccoli, find better homes on small plates and napkins (to eventually be devoured and rest inside various digestive tracts), the cauliflower is left to an uncertain fate.

All that changed with a little dish from Tamarind Savoring India: Gobi Manchurian, dry, fried, crunchy, a little spicy. The cauliflower was more like Korean spareribs than that pale, lonely little vegetable left alone on the party tray. This cauliflower was savory, vibrantly colored, and extremely flavorful. I was completely turned around.

So I’ve made a little mission of coming to terms with  cauliflower. Considering the benefits of the vegetable itself – low in fat, high in fiber and Vitamin C – and the expanding possibilities of its taste capabilities, this seems like a fairly easy challenge.

But one cannot subsist on Gobi Manchurian and only Gobi Manchurian. So it’s up to other cooks to show me how to best utilize this former enemy. Enter lover of all things veggie and culinary genius, Mollie Katzen, whose Moosewood Cookbook has become a formidable weapon in this delectable battle of will, wit, and tastebuds.

My pal, Jackie, had a great recent find at Beyond Bedtime Books on Potomac Avenue. Seemingly moments after saying that she needed to pick up the Moosewood at some point, she found a used copy right there on the shelf. Flash to weeks later and she’s cooking us up a version of Katzen’s “Cauliflower and Cheese Soup.”

Recommended for this recipe: Do not over puree. A little texture keeps the soup from being to gruel-like. We also threw in some steamed asparagus, optional, of course, but it was the perfect crunchy counterpart to the creamy, mildly cheesy soup.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Ingredients
– 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
– 1 medium to large cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 to 3 tsp salt
– 4 cups water
– 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1 cup shredded Colby Jack
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1 tbsp fresh dill
– Black pepper to taste

– Set the water to boil and add the potato, cauliflower, garlic, onion, dill, and salt. Bring to boil, then simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Add milk.

– Puree about half of the mixture in a blender or food processor, then transfer back into the pot. Keeping on low heat, add cheese, then stir until cheese has melted completely. Season with black pepper to taste.

Optional: Take a pound of asparagus and chop off about two inches of the stem from the bottom. Steam asparagus and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, but still crunchy. Add a few stalks to the soup as a delicious garnish.

(Recipe adapted from “Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

Brrr…. Must…. Make…. SOUP!!!

From the Post-Gazette.com

I love the snow, but commuting in this weather is a bitch. Commuting via public transportation sucks enough in the winter: Walking in the cold, waiting in the cold, sitting on the bus or trolley still feeling cold, then getting off into the cold once more. But add a layer of snow on the ground and things get exponentially worse. Slogging through the snow, trying not to slip and fall, feeling colder, waiting longer, and once you’re on, dreading that eventual plunge back into the winter weather even more.

Curried Lentil Soup from Vegetarian Mama

Commuting back and forth in this kind of weather, it’s no wonder that what I most want to eat is soup. Bowls and bowls and bowls of soup. Warm, hearty, creamy, tantalizing soups. I want to make a giant tank of soup and submerge entirely within it. If I had my way, my crockpot would be going 24/7, always filled with some delicious soup or another. I would eat miso soup as part of my breakfast, some kind of creamy bisque for lunch, and end the day with a giant helping of vegetable soup. You’d look in my fridge and all you would see is Tupperware containers filled with the week’s soups. Then you’d open the freezer and find enough frozen soup for a month. Then you’d probably try to get me some kind of psychiatric help.

 Anyway, because I’m suffering a mild (okay, maybe not so mild) soup fixation, I’ve pulled a couple of tempting recipes for perusal. And if you happen to be strolling down the street with a boiling pot of soup, I happily take soup submissions.
 
– I don’t know what looks better from this post on Marci Gilbert’s Blog: The Vegetable Tortellini Soup or homemade Parmesan Rosemary Crackers to go along with it. Why has it not occurred to me to make homemade crackers? The prep and cooking process seem simple enough, yet I always opt for store-bought. More importantly, why don’t more restaurants offer homemade crackers? It seems like a special feature that would offer that oh-so-important something extra to a dining experience. Anyway, you’ve got me thinking about something beyond soup, Marci, and that’s an achievement in of itself.
 
– Ah, lentils. Delicious, nutritious, cheap, and a favorite of poor Neil on The Young Ones . Neil would probably love the Curried Lentil Soup over at Vegetarian Mama, provided it didn’t end up on the floor. I used to have a problem with lentil soup, because I disliked how the texture made the dish very lumpy and oatmeal-y, but I later learned it all depends on how much stock is used. This recipe seems rather dry, but I don’t think a cup of vegetable stock would ruin the taste. It looks too good to pass up a trial run.
 
– Naomi, I don’t know what it is about your soup, but it’s so… cute. Lovely Little Life serves up a Parsnip Soup with Coconut and Ginger that is both dainty and appetizing. Never had parsnip soup before? Definitely give this recipe a try, as it seems to be a bit more flavorful than the average recipe. Plus, if you use vegan margarine instead of butter, it’s vegan.
 
– Roasted squash, sweet potatoes, shallots, and garlic… Being Suzy Homemaker offers winter refuge in the form of a bowl of creamy soup. The worn out winter commuter couldn’t ask for an easier soup – just roast the veggies, throw in with the other ingredients, blend a bit, and serve hot. Yet another reason to buy an immersion blender.
 
– Okay, so maybe this recipe for Vegan Pho from Kitchen M isn’t something you’re just going to throw together from stuff you already have in your kitchen. Maybe you have no interest in pho that didn’t come from a Vietnamese restaurant. Maybe the thought of toiling for an hour plus over just a soup is enough for you to reach for the nearest take-out menu. But the beautiful photographs alone are worth looking at, and who knows, you might someday have a desire to try something different and a little challenging.