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Snow Day & Creamy Cauliflower Soup

If you watched the news at over the last few days, you’re probably aware of the snow storm that hit the north east yesterday.  We were projected to get 10-18″, so schools were closed and people were racing to the grocery store and buying generators.  Why does everyone act like they won’t be able to open their front doors for a week after a foot of snow?  I’m always baffled by that.  Anyway, so it was a snow day.  It was me and the boys all day.

Playing games…

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 …watching the snow, eating Popsicles and wearing jammies all day…


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…building Legos…

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…getting a car ready for the Awana Grand Prix…

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 …and making some creamy cauliflower soup.   I make this soup a lot.  Well, I make soup in general a lot during the winter.  I can make a huge pot and eat it for lunch and/or dinner for several days, which saves time.  I’ve been thinking about starting a Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen page, so I thought I would make a recipe tutorial for this soup on a whim and share it to put my toe in the water of food blogging.  (Don’t worry.  This will always be a DIY/Home Decor blog, but I love cooking, too…)

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If you’re someone who needs recipes with very precise measurements, my recipe tutorials are going to drive you bonkers.  I rarely measure, except when I’m baking.  I just eyeball everything.  I just wanted to give you a head’s up.

I usually start this soup with one medium sweet onion and about four stalks of celery.  (Preheat the oven to 425 at this point if you’re going to roast your cauliflower.  It’s optional.)

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Chop them all up.  Everything’s going to get blended, so they can be chunky.  Cut up the celery leaves, too.  There’s some good flavor in there.

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Heat up some extra virgin olive oil and a pat of butter in a heavy soup pot.  I bought this enamel-coated cast iron one at Kohl’s years ago and use it often.  It’s like a LeCreuset, but was only about $30 vs. a couple hundred.

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Drop the veggies (these are known as aromatics) in the hot oil.

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Let them get soft and lightly browned over medium heat.  While that’s happening, break open a head of cauliflower.

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Chop it up, so it cooks faster.  (Smaller pieces = faster cooking time.)

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At this point, you can drop the cauliflower into the pot once the liquid is added, but I decided to roast it today.  Roasted vegetables = more flavor.  More flavor = better soup.  Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet.  (I line mine with foil for easy cleanup.)  Drizzle a little olive oil on top.  

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…add a clove of chopped garlic…

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(I use the stuff in the jar mostly.)

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…and while you’re adding it to the cauliflower, throw some into the onions and celery.  Just make sure to keep an eye on it, so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Burnt garlic = not tasty.

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…add a pinch of coarse kosher salt to the pot and cauliflower.  As an aside, I always use low sodium/unsalted broth and butter, so I have full control over the amount of sodium in the soup.  I would also suggest just lightly salting the ingredients in the early stages of making soup, because it will thicken as it cooks and the salt will concentrate.  If you add too much, it can sneak up on you and become over salted.  Also, I always use kosher salt when cooking.  I keep it in a cute little crock by the stove and add pinches of it with my (clean) fingers.

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…add some ground pepper to the pot and cauliflower.  Yes, ground pepper is much, MUCH better than regular table pepper.  It’s worth buying a grinder and peppercorns.  (I also suggest trying freshly ground nutmeg sometimes.  It will change the way you see nutmeg forever.  I promise.)

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…mix up the cauliflower with your hands to spread the ingredients around and coat the cauliflower.

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…throw it in the oven.  Mine was set at 425, because I was making a pizza for my boys.

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At this point, the onions, celery and garlic should be soft and a little brown.  Add some flour, probably about 2 Tbs.

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Stir it around and let the flour cook a little to take away the raw flour taste.  Then add about 1/2 cup white wine.  Use the kind of wine one would actually want to drink, not cooking wine.

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Stir it into the flour/veggies.  It’ll make a bit of a chunky paste.  Add a box of low sodium vegetable broth.  I also add some milk.  Probably about a cup.  (Skip the milk, evaporated milk and butter to make this recipe vegan.  It’ll still be really yummy and creamy from the pureed cauliflower)

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…toss in a bay leaf.  I love bay in soups.

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Keep an eye on the cauliflower and take it out when it looks like this…

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…slightly browned and a little tender.  It’ll cook the rest of the way in the soup.  Another reason I use tin foil is so I can roll in up in a U shape and slide everything into the soup.  Make sure to get all of those brown bits off the foil.  There’s some great flavor in those little nuggets.

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Let the soup come to a bubble over medium heat.  Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat to high.  It might curdle the milk.  If you’re scared of that happening, just use broth and bring it to a rolling boil.  Allow the cauliflower to finish cooking until it’s fork tender.

And this is my secret weapon for creamy soups…evaporated milk.  Open a can and pour it in.

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Bring the soup back up to temperature.

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Fish out the bay leaf…

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Puree the soup.  I like to use an immersion blender/stick blender for this.  Trying to puree an entire pot of soup in a traditional blender is a mess.  With a stick blender, you can just drop it in the soup and give it a whirl.  If you like chunky soup, skip this step.

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Salt and pepper to taste.  Top with chopped flat leaf/Italian parsley.  If you haven’t tried flat leaf parsley on soups…DO IT!  It’s not just a garnish, but adds a fresh flavor to soup.  I’m a big fan of raw greens on cooked foods.

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After shooting this tutorial, I had to step back and show how I achieved the soup beauty shots…

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…and a little look at the rest of the kitchen/family room while the soup making was going on…

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Just keeping it real.  Anyway, this soup is so creamy and yummy.  I hope you’ll give it a try.  By the way, about the recipes I’ll share here…like this soup, they will always be my recipes (or versions of recipes) and family recipes.

Now, if you saw the news today, you might have heard that this snow storm that got everyone in a tizzy was actually a bit of a dud (in my area, anyway.)  We got about 6-7″, but it got very slushy and a lot of the snow was washed away by the afternoon.  It stopped around 2 pm, so I was able to sneak down to the basement and apply the third coat of finish on my counters.

Yes.  In my plaid flannel jammie pants.

It was a snow day, after all.







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Comments

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE that you’re sharing the “behind the scenes” shots and keeping it real! It certainly helps us fellow antiquers/diyers/stay-at-home moms relate! I too love to cook and can completely relate to having a piece I’ve got a first coat on and running into the kitchen to check on the homemade pizza in the oven! Thanks so much for sharing all that you do and for being such an amazing inspiration! :)

    • Clementine says:

      Marion,

      I love how you show us how your house really looks, not just when it’s photo ready. There’s hope for me yet. I’m definitely going to try this soup. It looks deeeelicious.

  2. Hi:

    Yummy soup, but we had 14″ of snow, wind, ice, black ice, and its impossible to go out.
    I live 10 blocks from the ocean, and believe me,, it is bad here. You are lucky you don’t get all the snow, but please be sensitive to the rest Northeasterners that suffer through storm after stom, including one week without lights, heat, or phones, its very cold, and everything is closed. All of our food is ruined and the only restaurant open is a chinese one with long lines.
    Sorry but our snow storms are very real in Ct, Ma. and other places, I guess over in PA
    is not that bad.
    Our kids and families are in their PJ’s also but its not fun to loose your electricity and just seat for hours in front of a fireplace.

    Kate

    • Sorry to hear you are having such a tough time. I was just writing about my own day and certainly didn’t mean any offense.

    • Clementine says:

      Kate, don’t be so sensitive girlfriend. Marion would never deliberately offend anyone. Come to Eastern Canada where I live. We get that kind of snowfall every other week. Blessings to you and all your snowbound friends.

  3. Robin says:

    i love to serve soups over a bed of fresh spinach!

  4. Sierra says:

    question: will my husband and i like this if #1: we don’t like celery and #2: we don’t know if we like cauliflower?
    lol! thanks! would love to see recipes from you! i love cooking and baking and trying out new recipes. also love your behind the scenes photo. our apartment only looks perfect when company is coming over. the rest of the time, it looks like that. ;)
    -sierra

    • Sierra,Before you go all out for the soup maybe you could boil some cauliflower, mash it like potatoes with olive oil and salt to see if you actually like it. ;) I think you’ll love it. It’s yummy!! And Marion, I can’t wait to try this soup. I’m only allowed to make soup if my husband has no warning first. lol He usually loves them though and I am pretty sure he will love this one! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Dianne says:

    Keeping it real. I love it. Thanks for sharing . . . Our snow days have often included power outages, so that means pioneer days (cooking on our woodstove) board games and evenings by candle light. Different but fun . . . for a short time!

  6. Wow! I tried this soup last night. I did roast the cauliflower. It was delicious, and my husband loved it! Many thanks for a great recipe.

  7. Catching up on your blog posts and had to share that we bought a pot like that (enamelized cast iron) for one very specific dish…true chicken and sausage gumbo. Cast iron is one of the best vessels to make a dark roux and we go so dark it’s a blink before burning (dark chocolate). lol! Anyway, just thought to share in the event you hadn’t tried it before and were so inclined.

  8. I finally got around to making this and in is truly delicious! Ok I will have to be honest…. I did not follow the recipe to a “T”.. I used it “more as a guideline” (can you tell we watch pirates of a carribean?) Didn’t have wine or celery so a touch of bacon fat was added plus homemade chicken stock and celery seed. CAN NOT STOP EATING IT!

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Marian: Thank you for sharing this hearty yet health conscious recipe. I look forward to making it, and YES, YES, YES, please continue with the food blogging- we love it!

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