Hey everyone! I hope you're all having a great weekend. I had the perfect Saturday. Sure, a day of cleaning and laundry might not sound perfect to some people, but that's what I did today. I needed a day to re-group. After being away for over a week and then returning to one activity after another around here this week, things had really piled up. I'm one of those people that can't stand piles of laundry, dirty floors, an empty fridge, and toys everywhere. It makes me feel out of control. I'm SO "Type A", I know. So today, I stayed in my p.j.'s and worked at restoring order. Sure, a day of rest is great too...but these days a day to re-group is more valuable to me. And honestly, I find that if I rest, the mess just keeps growing. So today, I finally posted my entry for Paula Deen's Real Women of Philadelphia contest (you can check it out HERE), played with my girls, then I picked up, put away, sorted some mail, did all of the laundry (it's clean, just not folded...yet), made a big pot of soup, and took the kiddos for a bike ride. In our absence the trees here have flowered and daffodils and hyacinths are sprouting in the flower beds and around mail boxes. It was gorgeous outside tonight. When all was said and done we returned to a clean house, pulled off our muddy tennis shoes and sat down to steaming bowls of this cauliflower soup. Ahhhhh.
After nearly a month without going to the grocery, I really stocked up yesterday. Cauliflower was on sale,$1.99 for a big bunch. I grabbed a head and said out loud, "Oooh. Soup." An older gentleman looked at me funny and my toddler repeated over and over again, "Soup! Soup!" as we weaved through the apples, oranges, and onions in the produce section. I was sure that I'd seen a cauliflower soup recipe on one of the blogs that I read. I couldn't remember which one, so I Googled "Cauliflower Soup" and The Pioneer Woman's Recipe came up. "That's it!" I thought.
You begin this soup with sauteing half of a diced onion in butter. I cut the amount of butter in PW's recipe in half. (1 month until I'm supposed to shimmy into my tankini in Florida.) Then add in a diced carrot and a stalk of diced celery.
While the veggies sauteed, I attended to this giant head of cauliflower.
I really like cauliflower for the reason that you can make it relatively inconspicuous and get your kids to eat a vegetable. I chopped up the cauliflower and...
added it to the other veggies with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley (I only had dried parsley). Stir it around and then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Add in 2 quarts of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
While the soup boils, mix together the flour and milk.
Melt half a stick of butter in a saucepan.
Then add in the flour and milk mixture. Cook until it thickens, then remove from the heat and add in a cup of half and half.
Add the milk mixture to the broth/veggie mixture.
Whisk it all together.
Toss in a couple of bay leaves. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
I decided to try serving this the Ree's (The Pioneer Woman) way first. Put a dollop of sour cream in your bowl...
Then ladle the soup over the top. Give it a little stir to incorporate the sour cream into the soup.
This was pretty darn good, but I decided to take it in another direction. First of all, because I have a child that suffers from an aversion to chunky soups. I knew that she would definitely eat this soup if A) it were "smoother" and B) if it were "cheesy".
Here's what I did: I enlisted my Cuisinart CSB-76 Smart Stick Hand Blender and I blended.
Then, I blended a little more. Umm, be sure to remove the bay leaves before this step. I totally blended them...again (I did it with this Spicy Black Bean Soup too). Why can't I ever remember to take out those bay leaves!?
Then I stirred in some cheese. I had an assortment of opened cheese in my fridge. I think that I ended up with shredded Colby Jack and a couple slices of American. My recommendation for this recipe is 1-2 cups, depending on how cheesy you like your soup. Following this step, I covered the pot and kept it warm while we took an evening bike tour of our blossoming neighborhood.
When we arrived home, I turned the kids loose on our backyard playset and made some BLT's to go along with the soup. You can read about my BLT secret ingredient HERE. Now that my kiddos have had BLT Wraps, they actually requested them. Half of us had sandwiches and the other half ate wraps. I have to say that the soup was a big hit with everyone...even the picky kiddo! Ha ha. I got her to eat cauliflower, onion, carrot, and celery without a complaint! Sneaky, sneaky, aren't I?
Here's the recipe, based on The Pioneer Woman's Cauliflower Soup and adapted by me.
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes Servings: 6 Difficulty: Easy
6 tablespoons butter, divided
½ whole onion, finely diced
1 whole carrot finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 whole cauliflower Head, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh Or dried parsley (chopped)
2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
rounded 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 cups shredded or cut up cheese (colby, jack, colby jack, cheddar, American)
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a blender or immersion blender to reach desired consistency. Stir in cheese until melted. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.