Cauliflower and Aged Cheddar Soup

This soup is amazing. I’ve made it twice, and this last time is perfection; I’ll never make it another way.  Rosemary instead of the original recipe’s thyme is just the best.  Use a good cheddar, but this soup is really good even without it (and without, it’s vegan!)

Adapted from Closet Cooking.

  • small head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 5 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 t. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 16oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 C.  chicken stock (I like Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 1/2 C. aged white cheddar, shredded

First, roast the cauliflower and garlic:
Rub garlic cloves with a bit of the oil and seal up in a small foil packet. Toss florets with oil then sprinkle with salt and spread in single layer on baking sheet.  Put the foil packet of garlic on the sheet along with the cauliflower. Roast for about 35 min around 375*-400*, tossing florets a couple of times, until cauliflower is turning golden brown with some darker brown spots.

Saute the chopped onions in a soup pot over medium heat until translucent – about 5-7 minutes.  Add rosemary.  When cauliflower and garlic are done, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the onion mix and mash with the back of a spoon. Stir to incorporate garlic.  Add in the beans, the cauliflower, and the stock.  Add salt (1/2 t. or so.) Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.

With an immersion blender, puree soup to a smooth consistency, then stir in shredded cheese.

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

I’m ready to declare this my favorite pumpkin bread.  Especially after defrosting a 2.5 year old loaf from the deep freeze and finding it to be as delicious as if I had pulled it out of the oven that day.

Recipe from the delightful Joy the Baker.

Makes 2 loaves.

  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree, or just under two cups
  • 1 C.  vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C. maple syrup
  • 1/3 C. water
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 2 loaf pans (8″x4″)

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients listed, through the cloves. In medium bowl, mix wet ingredients.   Add wet to dry, fold with spatula until combined.  Mix in walnuts, reserving some to sprinkle on the tops of the loaves.   Pour into two prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, testing for doneness with a skewer.  Let cool in pans for 20 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Notes:

  • My frozen loaf was noted “nearly vegan”  but I have no idea what modification I made.  Maybe I used part butter, part oil?
  • To freeze, I wrapped in saran wrap and then foil, and then stored in a freezer ziploc bag.
  • The flavor and texture of this loaf are awesome.  Moist, dense, leans gingerbread-ish with the listed amount of spices.
  • I’m usually inclined to try reducing the sugar, but don’t know if I did that before or not.  2 1/3 cups + maple syrup is a lot of sugar, even for 2 loaves.  The one-third cup of white sugar seems especially extraneous.
  • Next time: review comments on Joy’s site — people have tried various methods of reducing both oil and sugar.

Vegetable Lentil Soup

A slight adaption of a much beloved Spicy Lentil soup recipe given to me by a friend:

Warning: this is a giant batch of soup. Makes about 6 qts.  Halve for more reasonable amount. Freezes well.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups of lentils (I used a 16 oz bag of french green lentils and a 16 oz bag of split red lentils. Any mix is fine.)
  • 3 or 4 celery ribs, with leaves for extra flavor
  • 2 medium Spanish or Red onions
  • [addition:  8 oz. package of cremini mushrooms, chopped]
  • 4 or 5 carrots
  • 1 shallot
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 qts of chicken or vegetable stock  (I used chicken base)
  • 2-3 T. red wine  vinegar
  • 1 clamshell or bag of baby spinach (I bet baby kale would be good here too.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • [2 jalapenos or other chile of choice, or a few tbsp of horseradish mustard for less spicy  – optional.  I opted out.]

In 8-qt pot heat olive oil. Add coarsely chopped veggies (not spinach), sprinkle with kosher salt, and saute until onions are soft but not brown and the mushrooms release their water (~ 10 mins). Add lentils and continue to saute about 2 more mins. Add stock and simmer until lentils are soft. Right before lentils seem done add spinach, red wine  vinegar, salt and pepper and horseradish mustard if you are using them.

Verdict: 

This soup is FANTASTIC.  The red split lentils basically dissolved, giving the soup some body, and the french green lentils stayed perfectly tender but not falling apart. Great texture.  I was skeptical about having no herbs or other flavorings, but it really doesn’t need a thing.  Will definitely make again. Once we eat all the quarts we froze from this batch!