Originally posted on 4/19/2010
Chopping, sauteing, simmering, and pureeing. I love making a big pot of soup when there's a chill in the air. For me, it's a meditative process, and it's something I do when I feel a deep-down rumbling to reconnect with my home and myself. Sure, it usually starts as an attempted rescue of veggies on the verge, but in no time at all, becomes something altogether more meaningful.
This is the beginnings of my Crisper Soup....all the odds and ends that need eating up...
But today it was a head of cauliflower that had been lurking in the fridge, stirring in me more guilt than is probably normal. But every time I opened the door, there it was, and there I went, listing how much it cost, this out of season, California cauli, with its size 13 carbon foodprint. With each passing day, little spots of brown began to taint its perfect whiteness, until, finally, I could take it no more!
When I purchased it, visions of fantastically healthy snacking - raw cauli dipped in Tzatziki - was the main motivator. Then along came thoughts of Aloo Gobi, only to be pushed aside for oven-roasted and buttery notions. But there were deadlines, phone calls, emails, meetings, and errands. Lunches and dinners, if not spent in restaurants in the name of work, ended up being toast and cheese al desko.
Ultimately the pretty white cauli was doomed to soupdom.
But, a pretty fine soup if I do say so. So yummy and simple that I want to share the recipe with you, thing is, I don't cook with recipes often, and I don't measure when I'm cooking from the hip. So, it'll be more of a guideline. If you want to make it, just have fun with it, play with it, and use ingredients you like better.
I store my soups in big old mason jars.
Cauliflower Rescue Soup
1 head of sad cauliflower
2 potatoes, great big, growing eyes lopped off
1 large purple onion, coarsely chopped
6 droopy celery stocks with leaves, coarsely chopped
black pepper to taste
dried thyme to taste
garlic fresh or powder if like me you are too tired to bloody to peel and chop fresh, to taste
a goodly splash of medium dry sherry, let your conscience be your guide
olive oil or butter or a combo of the two, about 3 Tbsp or more, if you just don't give a damn
1 900ml tetra pack of organic chicken (or veg) broth
about 1 cup of Natura (or other brand) un-sweetened soy milk or real dairy, should you be into milk
1/3 grated cheese of what ever kind you like; at times like this, I might use the moldy kind. The kind that's too moldy to eat with toast, but not moldy enough to give to the raccoons.
In a big, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil/butter over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the spices and sherry, stir.
Add the broth, and, if like me, you collect old Parmesan rinds, toss one in now. Remember to fish it out before you puree.
Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until everything is soft enough to mush with a fork. Remove from heat, add cheese and milk, and blend to puree. I use an immersion blender but a food processor or blender will work, just don't burn yourself! The pressure can really build up in there if the soup goes in hot.
Did you remember to fish out the hard rind?
Taste and adjust for seasoning. I doubt you will need to add salt, unless you use a low-sodium broth. Enjoy!
Now, please reheat one serving at a time, as constant heating and re-heating does bad things to soy milk, and all the lovely cheese will eventually stick to the bottom of the pot.
And speaking of soup. Have you ever saved and roasted up lobster shells for soup?