Cauliflower, Potato and Leek Soup

September 27th, 2016

Cauliflower Soup 1

Although the weather is still quite hot, Fall is in the air.  The leaves are starting to drop even though the colors have not changed much.  This time of year I start thinking about soup.  I was in the village of Saluda last week with a friend.  Saluda is a quaint town with an excellent bakery, unique eateries and two old fashioned grocery and hardware stores.Saluda 1

On one of the side streets we found this garden maintained by the local garden club with an antique shop at the bottom of the steps.

Saluda 2

Beyond the garden is the outdoor eating area of The Purple Onion where we had lunch.

Cauliflower Soup 1

I had their cauliflower soup with a half of BLT sandwich on whole wheat bread from Wildflower Bakery.  Both were delicious and I decided I needed to make some cauliflower soup at home.  My only regret is that I did not come home with a loaf of that delicious bread.

Cauliflower Soup 2V

 

 

I was very happy with the soup recipe that I came up with.  It is a combination of leeks sauteed in butter, cooked cauliflower, chicken broth or vegetable broth, and potatoes.  It is similar to the classic potato leek soup but is heavier on the cauliflower.  It has only two potatoes in it.  I used my emulsion blender to emulsify it and flavored it with herbs and lots of cracked black pepper.  If you prefer you can add some sauteed sausages or bacon to make it heartier.  We enjoyed it on a rainy evening this week.  Welcome Fall!

CAULIFLOWER, POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced and washed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 32 ounce box of chicken or vegetable broth
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Bouquet Garni of thyme, basil, bay leaves and peppercorns
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets.  Stems removed
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Cooked bacon or sausage (Optional)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large stock pot.  Dry washed leek slices and add to butter.  Saute over medium heat until soft.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Pour the stock into the pot.  Wrap the herbs and pepper in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine.  Place in pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the diced potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower and add to a large saucepan with water to cover.  Cook over medium heat until tender.  Save water and scoop the cauliflower into the stock pot with potatoes and leeks.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Emulsify the soup either with an emulsion blender or in a blender.  If using blender, divide soup into several batches.  Return to stock pot.  If soup is too thick add some of the cauliflower water until you reach the desired consistency.  Season to taste with lots of pepper and salt as needed.  Add optional bacon or sausage.

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Crock Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup

January 7th, 2016

Crock Pot White Beans 2

Guess what I got for Christmas?  Yes, I broke down and asked for a new crock pot.  I thought long and hard about it.  I own two; one in Lake Lure and one in Florida.  The one in Lake Lure died this year and the one in Florida was on its last legs.  Both were very, very old.  My hesitation came because I don’t use a crock pot all that often and I thought maybe I could do without one.  But there are times when they come in handy and this new one has some features that my old ones did not have, including a meat temperature probe and a programmable set and forget cooking mode.

Crock Pot White Beans 1

 

A warming soup sounded like the best first recipe to try in the new slow cooker.  It has been rainy and cool in Florida since the holidays, so while I dismantled the Christmas decorations I set the crock pot up to take care of our dinner.  I soaked the dried cannellini beans overnight to give them a head start.  To the pot I also added sauteed turkey kielbasa, sauteed red peppers, celery and onions with garlic and tomato paste.  The liquid ingredients were a mixture of chicken broth and water.  Near the end of cooking I added diced canned tomatoes and Tuscan kale.

Crock Pot White beans 4

Top this lovely soup with toasted bread crumbs and you will feel warm and happy.  I am happy that I have a new crock pot.

CROCK POT WHITE BEAN AND SAUSAGE SOUP (Adapted from William Sonoma)

    • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 lb. kielbasa sausages, cut into rounds
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
    • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 fresh thyme sprig
    • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
    • 1 fresh sage sprig
    • 1  lb. dried cannellini beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
    • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 bunch Tuscan or regular kale, washed, stemmed and chopped, about 3 cups

    Drain soaked cannellini beans and add to crock pot.  In a large skillet saute kielbasa rounds until lightly browned.  Add to crock pot.  In same skillet saute onion, celery and red bell peppers until wilted.  Add the tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and stir together until mixture is fragrant.  Add the mixture to the crock pot along with the chicken broth and water.  Place the bay leaf and a tied bundle of the herbs, plus the salt and pepper to the pot.  Stir to combine.

    Cook the soup on low for 8 hours.  1/2 hour before soup is done, add the drained diced tomatoes and the kale.  Stir into soup.  Return lid to crock pot and continue to cook until kale is wilted, about 1/2 hour.  In a small pan melt butter, add bread crumbs and cook until bread is golden brown.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with bread crumbs.

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Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread and Warming Soup

November 3rd, 2015

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Taking a break from detailing our Italy trip, I wanted to share with you a tasty combination that I made on a recent cold and blustery day.  With thoughts of Thanksgiving in my mind, the idea of a cornbread with the addition of pumpkin sounded like a good combination. As it turned out, it was a good idea; moist, golden and lightly sweetened with honey.  The soup that I made with it came from one of my favorite blogs, Manger.  It is a combination of French lentils, farro and lots of vegetables.

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The feeling I am trying to express in this post is that of warmth and comfort.  The food is the starting point, of course.  But I would like to give you a few more visuals to explain how I am feeling. Perhaps, because I am still dealing with the aftermath of surgery, I need to concentrate on what makes me happy and secure.

Tuscan Villa 1

This Tuscan kitchen made me happy.  There were logs in the fireplace ready for an evening fire on a cool night. ( Wide angle lens tends to make people appear wider).  The gas stove was a dream to cook on and I could have spent an entire vacation in this charming villa.  I wanted to forego the motorcycle touring and just hang out here.

Tuscan Villa 2 View

This was the view from the window.  The church bell rang on the hour all day and all night.  Who needs a watch?

Dream room

This picture is small.  I saw it on Pinterest.  Although it is not necessarily my style these days, it is just like the house that I have seen in my dreams.  I don’t know about you, but I dream about houses.  In my dreams I always have this other house that I have neglected, but that I am very proud of.  I encourage my dream guests to make themselves at home, even though it is cluttered and dusty.  And I wonder to myself in my dream why I do not live there.  It is cozy and comfortable but a little bizarre.  This room lacks that bizarre element, but it is close to my vision.

I am on the mend.  Stitches taken out today.  Life is returning to normal and I am back in the kitchen.  If you are in the mood for some comfort food you will love this cornbread and Mimi’s Soup.

HONEY-PUMPKIN CORNBREAD

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square-baking pan.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, honey, buttermilk and orange zest in a separate bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until moistened; transfer to the prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake until the cornbread pulls away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cook on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

January 19th, 2015

Sweet Potato Soup 1

It has been quite a week.  Even with a simple kitchen remodel, daily tasks can revert to chaos.  We were able to use our kitchen during the facelift, but because of a leak under the sink, washing dishes was a problem.  I ended up washing dishes in the sink in the garage.  We have eaten simple soups, grilled steaks with baked potatoes and homemade pizza.  This sweet potato soup was one of my favorites.  Not only was it easy, but it was delicious.  When you are in the middle of a project, cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is a blessing.  Add them to some chicken broth, seasonings, and a quick whir in the immersion blender and dinner is ready.  The bacon, shaved parmesan and parsley is just an added bonus if you have the time.

Florida Kitchen New

Here is a sneak peek of the kitchen remodel.  I will show you more later because not everything is finished.  The contractors were one door short on  the order.  The cabinet to the right of the stove is missing a door.  We also need the contractors to come back to re-adjust shelf heights in one cabinet.  Other than that, we are very pleased with the results.  The cabinets are a shaker style with a subtle bead board panel inset in each door.  To break things up, I requested glass doors in the cabinet over the dishwasher.  I store all of my glassware and cream colored dishes there.   Because we still have soffits over the cabinets, I decided to get creative on top.  I bought inexpensive corrugated metal letters spelling out “Dinner” to add an industrial element to the design.  I already had a “Bon Appetit” sign and black and cream plates on the other wall above the stove.  More later.

Sweet Potato Soup 2

This creamy sweet potato soup came together so quickly, that I thought to myself,” I need to have these ingredients on hand at all times for a quick and easy meal”.  David is not always a fan of sweet potatoes, but this soup convinced him otherwise.  It is thick and hearty.  The crisp bacon and Parmesan shavings complement the whole bowl to perfection.

On another note, hold all of your family and friends close.  We have just lost a dear friend from our college years to cancer.  John will be missed.  My, where have the years gone and why do we have to start dealing with the lose of friends?  I am not ready.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

CREAMY SWEET POTATO SOUP ( Cooking Light )

2 pounds sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt ( I added more )
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves

Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave safe baking dish.  Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Cool slightly; discard potato skins.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; saute 1 minute or until translucent.  Stir in cumin and red pepper.  Add stock to pan; bring to a boil.  Add sweet potatoes and gently mix in breaking them up slightly.  I used an immersion blender to puree the mixture.  If you do not have an immersion blender,  mix half of the mixture at a time in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Return to pan to reheat.

Divide soup evenly among 4 to 6 bowls; sprinkle cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top.  Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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Venetian Fish Soup

December 3rd, 2014

Venetian Fish Soup 1

I don’t know about you, but after the Thanksgiving holidays I crave food that is totally different from that table of white carbs and sweet desserts.  Also, for health reasons, David is trying to eat better.  So he has been on a seafood soup kick lately.  He spends his mornings at the gym and then comes home and throws something together like this Venetian fish soup.  Similar to bouillabaisse or cioppino, this fragrant fish soup is vibrant and alive with flavor.

Venetian Fish Soup 2V

Shrimp and fish fillets are the protein in this soup.  Combined with vegetables, clam juice, crushed tomatoes and white wine, you have a relatively light bowl of goodness.  If you wanted to add some carbs to the mix you could add a piece of garlic infused toasted baguette to the bowl before you add the soup.  But for lunch we liked it just the way that it was.

Venetian Fish Soup 3

The recipe came from Food and Wine Magazine.  David adapted it slightly.  But I am showing it here as it was written.  I am fortunate to have him in the kitchen doing his healthy cooking.  Maybe it will offset all of the cookies I am getting ready to make.

VENETIAN FISH SOUP

1/2 pound large shrimp, shells removed and reserved
2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in puree (from a 28-ounce can)
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt or more, depending on the saltiness of the clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 pounds moderately firm white fish fillets such as cod, halibut, ocean perch, orange roughy, or pollack (cut in pieces)
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the shrimp shells and the water in a small pot; bring the water to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Strain the shrimp stock into a bowl.  Discard the shells.

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat.  Add the carrots, onions, fennel, celery and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine; cook until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the shrimp stock, clam juice, tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the thyme, salt and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.  Taste for salt and, if needed, add more,  Remove the bay leaves.

Add the fish, shrimp, the remaining tablespoon parsley and the pepper to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until the fish and shrimp are just done, about 2 minutes.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.