So it’s winter. How the hell did that happen? Seriously, the last thing I remember I was roasting on a back porch in North Carolina waiting for seven layer nacho dip to be ready. I hate winter. Josh is looking forward to the snow, and I’m sure I’ll have much more fun when I’ve got his enthusiasm to get me out of the house and out to some of the awesome Toronto winter fun there is to be had. It’s just that on my own I’d far rather stay in and complain.
One good thing that comes out of cold weather is that I’m less motivated to go outside and spend all my money on Thai food and sangrias. I’m more likely to stay inside and start cooking up some feel good soups that I can freeze and heat up again easily for my lazy, bitchy days.
Cauliflower is one of my favourite soups to make, because it’s easy to make it thick without adding potatoes (I do try to keep starch to a minimum). But it can get kind of bland, so I spruced up an impromptu recipe with a fun twist.
First I started with your basic Bechamel sauce.
You start by melting a stick of butter (1/2 cup) in a large pot, and heating it until it browns slightly.
When it’s bubbling, turn the heat low and whisk in a half cup of flour.
Whisk away any lumps.
Add one cup of milk.
Continue whisking until evenly heated and blended. Allow to thicken but not curdle. Remove from heat if necessary.
And thus you have your basic white sauce, your base for most thick soups or sauces. From this point you can pretty much wing it and have fun with different variations of what you like. I often throw in whatever is in my fridge. What I had this time was cauliflower, onions, celery and garlic.
Onions are a great way to thicken up a soup without adding a ton of flour or starchy potatoes. If you don’t want too strong an onion flavour, add them thinly sliced right at the beginning. For a more prominent flavour, add them later in the recipe or try sauteeing them first, depending on what kind of texture you’re going for. Personally I like my soups thick enough to lay bricks with, but that’s just me.
I added one cup of water and four cups of vegetable stock for the broth. You can adjust this to your preferences. I also added two cubes of frozen basil, equivalent to about two teaspoons of chopped fresh basil.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about half an hour or until veggies are tender.
Now this is where I have the electronic advantage, because this is the point where you’d ordinarily have to ladle the soup into a blender and whir it smooth bit by bit. I’m far too lazy for that, and so I have a hand held blender that I just plug in, turn on, and stir around until I’m happy with the result.
If you don’t have one of these, I highly recommend them. Who wants to wash a blender? Not me, I value my fingers greatly.
Anyways, if you’re anything like me, a delicious thick soup is simply not enough without a ton of cheese.
When all is nice and melted, spoon into your favourite cold-weather feel good bowl.
And now for my favourite soup twist as of late:
Delicious, delicious pesto!!! Yay pesto! Stir a spoonfull into your soup, top with an extra bit of shredded cheese and voila!
It is totally delicious and you have my permission to hit people who want you to ‘share’.
In other news, I am having better luck with my lace knitting. It’s fuzzy lace knitting, but still going well. Peep the begginings of a fuzzy winter stole.
It will be much more exciting when it’s finished and blocked, but that’s how it looks for now.
As for right now, I think I’m going to start chipping away at the bottle of Southern Comfort that Talea got me for my birthday (among other, less alcoholic things). I’ll be back…at some point this week.