Warm Winter Lunch


photo-44I am finally back home in London and prepared to spend my first full week at home in over a month.  It will be the first week I’ve spent at home with my darling husband since November (can you believe it?).  So yesterday, I made a list, checked it twice and headed out in the cold to stock our fridge for a cozy week a deux.   For my birthday, my parents gave me the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook and I picked several dishes that look absolutely mouth-watering: a wild mushroom tart, beer braised short-ribs with parsnip puree, fried chicken milanese with arugula and fennel salad.  But I needed a couple of items that would keep in the fridge, easy to pull out for lunch or a snack as we adjust to normal life (or as normal as our lives ever get).

Cauliflower is a little bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. I happen to love it, raw, roasted, baked with cheese, and in this case, pureed for soup.  This time of year I love having a big container of creamy soup in the fridge that I can take out and microwave in an instant as my stomach begins to rumble. This recipe is so simple to make and infinitely satisfying no matter my mood.  Today I paired it with sourdough toasts topped with slices of prosciutto and the tail end of some taleggio cheese I had in the fridge.  Placed under the broiler for 4-5 minutes I had salty, crunchy crostini.  A great idea for using up scraps of meat and cheese you’ve got left over.  Give this one a try!

Delicious Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 large head of cauliflower, separated into florets
1 large baking potato, peeled and rough chopped
1 onion rough chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped chives for garnish

In a large soup pot, sautee the cauliflower, onion and potato in the butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes, until starting to brown.  Add stock, milk and season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables of soft.  Use a blender or stick blender to completely puree the soup (the potato will make it a lovely silky, thick texture).  Add the cream and taste for seasoning. Garnish with the chives.

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