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February 14, 2009

Soup's On! Vegi-Bean and Cauliflower-Cheddar

It's been very cold lately for Los Angeles--winter has definitely arrived, and in L.A. that means Rain. Capitialized Rain. Of the Torrential Downpour variety. And since living costs are such a huge issue here, it's not unusual to rent a structure less well kept up than if it were your own (read: no insulation and seeping cracks beneath doors and windows). So, soup's on at my house this week.

I just replaced my old peeling celphalon pots with all cast iron enamel. Since I'm not used to cast iron, I'm experimenting with everything lately.

Vegi Bean Soup with Seaweed and Fresh Ground Nutmeg

Okay, so I kind of cheated with the first one. I used Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix
as a starter, but I gussied it up with a little kelp and some fresh ground nutmeg. The mix instructed a one-t0-four ratio of soup mix to liquid, so I used a cup of the dry mix, which I added into four cups of vegetable broth. I let it simmer for about an hour, mixing every once in a while to make sure nothing stuck to the enamel surface of my cast iron pot.

When it began to smell really good, I added in about a teaspoon of dried ground kelp, and took a fresh nutmeg and ground it generously over the pot. The nutmeg was a gift from a chef-friend, and this was the first time I've freshly ground my own, rather than pulling out the Schilling's. Wow! It was instantly fragrant and definitely added to the recipe.

I have to add that I was really being adventurous in even trying this mix because I hate beans. Hate Them. They have an icky texture and the taste does nothing to endear them to me. That is, from what I remember from childhood, because since the age at which I've been allowed to make my own food choices I've used this knowledge to simply steer away from beans in all forms (minus soy). I am the Vegetarian who Does Not Eat Vegetables. But, as an adult I know I need to widen my palate. So I thought I start in my own home, where I could influence the outcome of the recipe.

Here's what I ended up with.
It was really edible. I tend to eat the same thing meal after meal until I run out of it, and this is not the dish I will choose for that, but I did eat all that I'd taken for that meal. It did have a bit of texture squeamishness as it reached the back of my throat, but when I first tasted it to my tounge each bite I actually enjoyed it.

Homemade Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
My dry mix experiment with the Lentil Bean Soup earlier in the week gave me the confidence to try something from scratch today. I got a head of cauliflower at the Burbank farmers market and searched the web for a cauliflower cheddar soup. The one I ended up improvising from was from Rachel Ray. The hint of mustard really gave it body, without being overwhelming.

1 Head Cauliflower
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Milk
3 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard
1/4 Tsp Fresh Grated Nutmeg

First, clean and trim head of cauliflower into florets. Bring a couple inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower, salt, and cook until tender, about five minutes. Drain, mash, and reserve.

In a large Stockpot (I used my 5 qt. cast iron), place the olive oil and butter. Heat over medium high heat until butter is melted, then add garlic and

One onion, finely chopped.

Cook until tender, 4-5 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the stock and milk, bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

To finish, whisk the cheese into the liquid, stirring until all has melted. Stir in cauliflower mash then remove from heat. Stir in mustard and nutmeg.

1 comment:

  1. hi, thanks for stopping by my blog! the recipr sounds great, i think i just might have to try it!


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