Sunday, November 14, 2010
One of my favorite stores in Berkeley is Monterey Market. Its on Hopkins Street in the tidy little bundle of shops, butchers, fishmongers, bakers, and pizza at the corner of Monterey Avenue in North Berkeley. Monterey Market is basically a huge produce market, as well as grocery store, featuring some of the best local, seasonal fruits and veggies you can find outside of a farmer's market. It is not stylized, nor trendy, like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. It is simple, never insults your intellect or senses, and only begs of you to be adventurous and open minded when thinking about whats for dinner.
When I was pondering just this the other day, walking through the overflowing aisles, I was immediately drawn to the box boasting organic, fresh yellow "cheddar cauliflower" from Full Belly Farms. The color could be described as nothing short of cheddar, I agree. I love cauliflower, steam it, sautee it, add it to soup, its delicious and so good for you. Since I've discovered these crisp, yellow beauties a few years ago, I have been hooked. The yellow ones, especially if they are super fresh, are so much more tender, mild, and dare I say, almost cheesy?
So into the soup pot it went, and with the help of a little cream fraiche, onions, garlic, butter, chicken stock, and a hand held blender it became the most lovely and creamy cauliflower soup. There is no cheddar in it, and I swear you would never know.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 head of yellow cheddar cauliflower
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
3 to 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 C cream fraiche or sour cream, more to taste/garnish
1 bay leaf
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne (optional)
Salt and pepper
1. Chop onion, garlic, and cauliflower into medium sized pieces.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a soup pot. Add onion, garlic, cauliflower, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne, and about a tsp. of salt and pepper. Sautee on medium heat until tender and golden.
3. Stir in enough chicken stock to cover vegetables by an inch or so.
4. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes until cauliflower breaks apart easily.
5. Add cream fraiche or sour cream, stirring until blended.
6. Remove from heat and with a blender, puree soup to desired consistency.
Note: If you don't have a hand held/immersion blender yet, I highly recommend getting one – they revolutionize soup making and are really easy to clean. And not too expensive either, worth every penny.
7. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, and always feel free to adjust seasonings as you like, I am pretty moderate with recommended amounts of spice in recipes, but will always be adding a pinch or two more of spices to taste as I go. You should too.