the “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soupthe “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soup

I’m exhausted. I had one week off and am now launching myself in 5 assignments during the next 5 weeks before my next one week off happens again. I obviously didn’t rest. I’m doing stuff around the house. Not regular everyday cleaning and tidying up but more electrical stuff. “LIGHTING” can be everything, adding shine. In the same way that the perfect balance of flavors in a dish can make it “SHINE”. 

I’ve gotten used to a dimly-lit apartment, but that’s because it’s all floor to ceiling and wall to wall windows in each room, except for the bathroom and entrance hall. They have daylight and moonlight every day but no overhead lighting, just “accents, here and there. Dimly-lit is great for a party but more difficult for work and chores early in the morning and later in the evening.

Obviously, I plan to rip out the kitchen and bathroom in a few years and install built-in closets in every room, either floor to ceiling or “floating” cabinets. But like I said, that’s in 2 years.

For the time being or phase 1, I decided to increase the lighting with new fixtures (mostly LED’s) and to reorganize the older ones, and I installed everything yesterday, almost invisibly, where the installations could hardly be seen but where with a flip of a switch or a voice command, the work areas can be gently or brightly flooded with light. I’m so happy every time I do this type of handy stuff around the house. But I’m obsessive and need to stop and get back to preparing my work-related files. It’s going to be abnormally very busy this March and April. This is “good news”.

A simple tasting soup is not always as simple in its ingredients and assembly. You think you’re tasting 1 main ingredient but other ingredients and preparations were necessary to make that main flavor shine through. The cauliflower has the STAR ROLEand not just a GUEST STAR APPEARANCE, but many supporting actors and technicians need to work together to make all of that happen.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED HERE …

I balanced out the ratio of different vegetables and not just cauliflower, to increase that cream of cauliflower taste, that can be so comforting in these end of the winter months. The vegetables are not roasted though, they’re gently oven-baked but well-covered and sealed to almost steam them too. All the extra vegetable remains and cuttings and cores and leaves and stalks are used to make the broth, that the cooked and tender vegetables are later added to, then blended and combined with those buttery milk and cream flavors and textures.

I also add something most of you are unfamiliar with. It’s called MIZITHRA cheese. It’s a Greek cheese, originally from Mystra near Sparta and exists in a soft form like ricotta or a salt-dried version, making it firmer and finally the version I make by letting some smaller pieces dry out completely for grating or for using to flavor soups (in the same way that parmesan rind is used but this isn’t a rind, just hard & dry piece of heaven, after a few weeks in the fridge. And it’s delicious, quite salty and milky but mild too.

This creamy soup will be a comfort after a long but pleasant weekday of work or a busy chore-filled weekend.

And so this is how I make my almost perfect (I’m trying to be modest) “crème de la crème” end of the winter & waiting for spring cream of cauliflower soup . . . :)

the “crème de la crème” cream of cauliflower soup

02.03.2019

6-8

ingredients

vegetables : 

  • 1,25 kg (5 cups) cauliflower florets 
  • 250 grams (1 ½ cups) sliced white potato
  • 125 grams (1 ½ cups) sliced green onions (white parts, or use shallots or sweet onion)
  • 125 grams (1 ½ cups) sliced leek (white parts)
  • 125 grams (1 cup) corn kernels
  • 25 grams (2 ½ tbsp) sliced garlic
  • 25 grams (3 tbsp) sliced celery
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) melted butter
  • 21 grams (1 ½ tbsp) fine sea saltvegetable broth :
  • 1,5 liters (6 cups) water
  • 500-750 grams (3-4 cups) chopped vegetable remains (from the cauliflower leaves and core, green parts of the leek, potato peel, celery leaves, corn stalks, the ends of the onions and garlic cloves)
  • 2 grams (2) fresh bay leaves
  • 10-15 grams (2 stalks each) fresh flat-leaf parsley, thyme, dill, sage
  • 22 grams (1 ½ tbsp) coarse sea salt 
  • 22 ml (1 ½ tbsp) apple cider vinegar 
  • 35 grams (¼ slice) lemon 
  • 1 gram (½ tsp) whole white peppercorns 
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) whole coriander seeds 
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) whole fennel seeds 
  • 25 grams (1 small piece the size of a walnut) dried greek mizithra cheese (or mild parmesan rind)

assembly :

  • 1,5 kg (7 cups) pre-cooked vegetables
  • 1,25 liters (5 cups) homemade vegetable broth
  • 250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
  • 250 ml (1 cup) whole milk  (or evaporated milk)
  • 15 grams (1 tbsp) fine sea salt

garnish :

  • 100 grams sliced cauliflower florets (about 6-8 pieces 4 mm thick)
  • 15 grams (1 tbsp) melted butter
  • 2,5 grams (½ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 0,5 gram (¼ tsp) ground white pepper
  • optional : 0,25 gram (1/8 tsp or a pinch) ground cumin
  • 30 grams (4 tbsp) grated salt-dried mizithra (or mild parmesan)

instructions

  • preheat oven to 180°C
  • slice the vegetables in medium pieces (reserve all extra vegetable cuttings and remains separately) 
  • reserve 2-3 cauliflower florets and thickly slice (3-4 mm thick) for the garnish and set aside
  • toss the sliced vegetables with melted butter and fine sea salt and transfer to a large baking dish, cover with a sheet of baking paper and then seal the baking dish very well with aluminum foil and bake for 60-90 minutes
  • combine all ingredients for the broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and let simmer for 60-90 minutes
  • strain the broth, let the vegetable cuttings and remains cool down and press to extract all the liquid and keep the broth warm in a large casserole
  • prepare the garnish in advance by either frying or by placing the sliced cauliflower florets on a piece of baking paper, drizzle with some melted butter, sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin and place on top of the aluminum foil of the baking dish with the vegetables inside for 5 minutes (before the end of the 90 minutes of oven-baking time for the sealed vegetables) or up to 10 minutes for a darker more roasted flavor
  • remove the baking dish of vegetables and the garnish from the oven
  • transfer the garnishes to a plate (you can also oven-bake some croutons tossed with melted butter at the same time as you roast the cauliflower florets)
  • remove the foil and baking paper, transfer all the soft and tender cooked vegetables and all the juices to the casserole containing the broth
  • bring to a simmer and use an immersion blender and mix until very smooth, add the milk and cream and some grated “mizithra” cheese and blend until smooth, adjust to your taste with more salt and pepper
  • serve hot, garnished with some roasted cauliflower florets, croutons, some more grated cheese and some ground white pepper and or ground cumin.