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Monday, October 1, 2007

Soup Of The Evening, Beautiful Soup!

I made a pot of creamy cauliflower soup yesterday. It was delicious. Bill will not agree but he will eat a small bowlful and he may even eat a little the next day.

We had been to Barnes & Noble where I bought a book called The Soup Bible. Bill loves soup so I figured this would be a good investment. I would have 200 soup recipes in one place and could fix a different one every day.

This book is beautiful enough to be a coffee table book, with color photos on every page. Most of the recipes look fairly simple and don't call for esoteric ingredients. Even so there are recipes for Thai hot and sour soup, cold soups, fruit soups and every kind of bean soup you could imagine.

But the recipe I used for my cauliflower soup was one that came out of my head and out of the ingredients on hand. I did check the book and found a recipe that was close and included flageolets, whatever those are. From the illustration they appear to be pale green kidney beans.

To make my soup I dice some onion and saute it in olive oil with a little minced garlic, salt and pepper. If I had carrots and celery I might dice those and saute them too. A little thyme, savory, marjoram and crushed red pepper flakes are added, as well as some Goya Sazon or Adobo seasoning. Not too much or it gets too salty.

While the onions are going I trim a head of cauliflower and cut it into chunks or slices. Add these to the pot and saute a few minutes, then add a couple of cans of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. If you think it needs more liquid add about a half a can of water and a spoonful or two of chicken or vegetable bullion. Again not too much (salty). You can also use your own homemade soup stock.

Simmer about 20 minutes or so until the cauliflower is very tender, then remove from the heat for a few minutes. You can puree this in a blender or food processor but it's easier (and more fun) to use an immersion blender. If you don't know what that is, it's a long stick with a motor and cord at one end and a mini blender blade at the other. Stick the business end in the pot of soup, plug it in and press the button. The soup will swirl around and become a smooth puree. Careful - it will also splash a little and it's still hot!

When smooth and creamy, remove the blender and wash it right away. I do this by filling a cup with hot water and a drop of dish soap and running the blender in it for a minute, then I rinse under hot water. Easy cleaning!

To finish the soup reheat and add a little cream, milk or half & half. Also add some shredded cheddar, Swiss or other cheese, say about a half a cup or so, and some grated Parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning first and don't add the Parmesan if it's already salty enough. Add a little pepper if necessary.

This is good served with croutons or cheese crackers like Cheez-its or Goldfish crackers. It's also good with those refrigerator dinner rolls made with ham and cheese.

Open a package of refrigerator dinner rolls and separate into individual rolls. Place a small slice of ham and a bit of Swiss or cheddar cheese on each and roll up crescent roll style (it's okay if the ham and cheese poke out the sides). Brush with melted butter or cheat and spray on some vegetable oil spray. Sprinkle with Lawry's seasoned salt or Old Bay seasoning and bake according to package directions, about 13 minutes at 350 or 375. These and a bowl of soup make a good lunch or dinner.

If you're so inspired, check out The Soup Bible at or, at the very least, read the chapter in Alice In Wonderland where the Mock Turtle sings the song about "beautiful soup, beautiful soup, soup of the evening, beautiful soup."

Quotable Quotes; in the category He Must Have Been Talking About Me!

"Only the pure of heart can make good soup."

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