It's one of those soup kind of days. Snowing, with a cold cold wind and low temperatures. A great day for staying inside, baking bread, spoiling the pets and making soup.
Even the dogs are in today. With the temperature not even reaching 20 and the wind howling like a banshee, these tough boys cried uncle. I don't think Jeb could get closer to the heat if he tried.
I wonder how many of you work like this: I was making bread and realized that the eggs needed to be put in the fridge. When I went to put the eggs away, I saw that there was a head of cauliflower starting to go bad. Cauliflower is dear enough these days without wasting it, so in my usual one-thing-leads-to-another style, I decided to make cheesy cauliflower soup. I've never made it before but I've eaten it and it seemed like it would be easy enough to make.
It was. I cleaned up the cauliflower and cooked it in a cup or so of water until it was soft. Then I dumped it in the blender (with the cooking liquid) and whirled it on pulse for about 15 seconds. The cauliflower was pureed, but still a little chunky, which was what I wanted. I ended up with about two cups.
To make the soup base, I melted 5 tablespoons of butter in a 2-quart saucepan, and added a chopped clove of garlic. When the butter was melted, I added a few tablespoons of corn starch (I seldom measure so giving precise amounts is really hard for me) to the butter, enough to make a smooth paste, and cooked that until it was bubbling. I added milk, a little at a time at first and stirring it in so that there were no lumps. I continued adding milk until I had added between 3 and 4 cups.
I stirred this mixture almost constantly, adding about a teaspoon each of dried parsley and celery leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a half teaspoon of salt while it was cooking. When the soup began to bubble, I cooked and stirred for a few minutes longer, then turned off the heat and added cheese.
Now I thought I had a package of grated cheese, but I had only a quarter of a cup or so. That led to more rummaging in the fridge; I found some sliced American cheese and some sliced Jalapeno Jack cheese. So I used the grated cheese, 3 slices of the American and 2 of the Jack and stirred it all in until it was melted. The cauliflower was added last and stirred in well. And then? The soup was done! It was delicious, exactly as I remembered it tasting when I've had it in restaurants.
Of course, while rummaging in the cabinet for a pot to cook the soup, I realized that a cleanout of the pots and pans was needed because I couldn't open the cabinet without things falling out. So after lunch, I sorted out the pots and pans. A few are heading to Goodwill and several are not boxed up to be listed on eBay one day. And lids! I had so many lids that had no pots! How does that happen? The cabinet is now sorted, I found many missing things which makes me happy.
And that soup, oh, that made me happy too. And there is enough left for lunch tomorrow. Yum!