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~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~

IMG_7914January is National Soup Month, and, the cauliflower in my grocery stores is gorgeous right now. Do the math:  soup + cauliflower = cauliflower soup -- more specifically, a savory, smooth, satisfying soup that can be made in about thirty minutes.  I simply stop there, and so should you because it's full-of-flavor and fantastic as is, with a humble parsley garnish floating on top, so, oh-my-sigh, no cheese please, and, believe it or not, not everything tastes better with bits of bacon.  

How much is in a head of cauliflower?  How much should I buy?

IMG_7818 2Mother Nature did not have OCD.  If she did, there would be more symmetry in the world.  It would be a pretty boring place, but, at least all our vegetables would be the same size, which brings me to this point: How much is in a head of cauliflower?  The most frustrating thing about most cauliflower recipes is their lack of specificity regarding precisely how much cauliflower to buy to get the necessary yield.

IMG_7826Generic measurements for volume (2 cups-, 4 cups-florets) or a vague product description (1 large head, 2 medium heads), are meaningless to the average cooker-of-cauliflower, and, are the biggest causes of recipe failure -- stop recipe failure, use a scale.  Authors and bloggers: write your recipes accordingly.  

Weight (1, 2-pound head, 1 pound florets) is the first and only measurement worth a damn.

IMG_7830Measuring cauliflower requires a scale, both in the grocery store when purchasing this vegetable, and, in the kitchen when cooking it. For my demonstration, I bought two medium heads of cauliflower. Untrimmed, the one on the left weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces, and,  the right one weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces.  After trimming, here is how it all weighed out:

The typical, medium-sized head weighs about 2 pounds.

IMG_7835 2After trimming and removing florets where each meets the core -- a 1-quart measure full-to-the top (6 cups) of florets.

Roughly speaking, a medium-sized head will yield 1-1 1/4 total pounds florets.

If florets are to be chopped or diced, depending on the size required, this will affect volume measurement (number of cups).  Don't play, weigh it first!

When you're craving a steamy-creamy bowl of soup...

IMG_7911... six cups cream-of-cauliflower soup coming right up:  

IMG_78641, 2-pound head cauliflower, trimmed, florets removed, 1-1 1/4 pounds florets, florets rough-chopped (about 4 cups)

1 1/2  cups medium-diced yellow or sweet onion

3/4  cup small-diced celery

2  teaspoons herbes de Provence 

1  teaspoon garlic powder

1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg

2  teaspoons  sea salt

1  teaspoon white pepper

3  cups Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock

1  cups heavy or whipping cream

freshly-ground black pepper, for garnish

minced, fresh parsley, for garnish

IMG_7849 IMG_7849 IMG_7867~ Step 1.  Using a large chef's knife, rough chop 1 pound of florets from 1, medium-sized, 2-pound head of cauliflower.  Set aside.  There will be a generous 4 cups.  Dice the onion and celery as directed and set aside.

IMG_7868 IMG_7868 IMG_7868 IMG_7868~Step 2.  In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add the onion, celery, herbes de Provence, garlic powder, sea salt and white pepper.  Adjust heat to gently sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and celery is softened, 4-5 minutes.

IMG_7878 IMG_7878 IMG_7878 IMG_7878 IMG_7878 IMG_7878~Step 3.  Add the vegetable stock and the chopped cauliflower.  Adjust heat to a steady simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, overcooked actually, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes.  Turn the heat off and add the cream.

IMG_7889 IMG_7889 IMG_7889 IMG_7889~Step 4.  The cream will have lowered the temperature of the soup, making it safe to blend immediately.  Give the mixture a thorough stir, then get out the immersion blender.  Blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes -- less if you want more texture, longer if you want a smoother texture. Adjust heat to medium- medium-low.  Stirring constantly, heat the soup to steaming, not simmering or boiling, about 3-4 minutes.  Garnish and serve immediately with bread or crackers.

Savory, smooth and satisfying cream-of-cauliflower soup:

IMG_7917Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup:  Recipe yields 6 cups soup/6 servings.  Reheat leftovers gently on the stovetop or in microwave.  Does not freeze well.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; large spoon or spatula; immersion blender; 2-quart stockpot; colander

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1e35f01970cCook's Note:  Celery.  It's the swizzle stick in my Bloody Mary, a must in my egg, tuna and potato salad, and, send back those Buffalo wings if they don't come with a crudité of celery and blue cheese dip.  That said, in the food world, celery isn't considered an exciting vegetable. No one ever remarks, "my Bloody Mary had the best stalk of celery in it", "the celery in her tuna salad was divine", or, "the celery that came with his chicken wings was outstanding". Try my ~ Rich & Cream Celery Soup (It isn't Ho-Hum at All) ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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