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Monday, November 10, 2008

What do you do with cauliflower?

Cauliflower is one of these autumn vegetables that I always buy with excitement - "Oh, look, it's cauliflower season again!". But then I bring it home and I can never quite figure out what to do with it. So the poor things sits in the fridge until it gets completely black and only a curry can save it. But curries are not happening very often these days. My family makes awesome pickled cauliflower but that's just Too Much Work for me these day. Some day. May be.

The same scenario played out this week again and I was stuck with a head of cauliflower. But then I came across this recipe for a cauliflower soup on Smitten Kitchen and I was saved!

Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower, broken into florettes
3 C vegetarian chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
1 Tbs butter
1/4 - 1/3 cup shredded cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Notes on the ingredients: The vegetarian chicken broth was recommended to me by a friend who found it in the bulk bins at Sunflower. It has a mild flavor and is low in sodium. I used 1 Tbs of broth powder per cup of water. I am guessing vegetable broth would work as well. Also, the original recipe asked for Parmesan cheese, but I only had monterey jack. I guess Parmesan might work better as it is more flavorfull but I still liked the result.

Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes. Add the cauliflower and the broth and bring to boil. Simmer for ~15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and falling apart. Let the soup cool for a while. Take out some (1/5 to 1/4) of the cauliflower in a bowl and blend the remaining soup until smooth. Return the whole cauliflower to the soup, add the butter and the cheese, and heat up again. The complicated cauliflower juggling is because I like to have something chewable in my soup, so if you'd rather just pure the whole thing, I say do it. Add more water if the soup ends up too thick for your taste. Finally, add salt and a little bit of black pepper. Makes...kind of a lot. I served it sprinkled with shredded cheese and a bit of parsley.

I have been dishing out soup after soup but in all honesty it really isn't all that cold in Arizona yet. I just wish it was cold. Come November I really miss the rustle of dry leaves and the foggy autumn nights. I pull out my coat and scarf, start wearing sweaters and cooking soups. Yet, the cold refuses to come. Oh, well.

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