Monthly Archives: November 2009

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

Get ready to die, as in “this is to die for!”  A BIG thank you to Béatrice Peltre, the author of La Tartine Gourmande.  I am not even going to post the recipe ingredients or procedure here,  just the link to the details.  If you love to cook, you should check out her blog!

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup.  Just click the name to go to the recipe.

This soup is exquisite enough for company or a very special romantic dinner for two.  It is also quite suitable as the main course or vegetable of a quick weekday meal.  Truly a winner.

The total prep and cooking time is not much over an hour,  with more cooking than prep going on, leaving plenty of time to prepare and/or cook  the rest of the meal, whether it be something along the line of the rosemary chicken leg quarters I paired with my first batch, or perhaps just some substantial  crusty bread and a light dessert.

Here are a few pictures of my first time making this soup, followed by the results of my 2nd go-round when I used a homemade but not recipe-specific vegetable broth and a combination, about 1/2 each, of broccoli and cauliflower.

The ingredients for the broth.

This made a most wonderful broth or stock.  And, even for those who think they don’t like fennel, you won’t dislike this.  The fennel adds depth without contributing a specifically “fennel” taste.

Main Soup Ingredients

Just a picture showing the amounts/proportions.  Of  course, for soups, casseroles, and the like, proportions are not as crucial as they are when baking.

1st saute

Shallots add such a nice color to things, along with a smoother texture than most types of  onions provide.

2nd batch of ingredients done!

It is time to add the broth when the bottom is getting a bit browned.

Ready to simmer for a bit.

This is the last picture I took when making this soup for the first time.  I am hoping to remember to take a picture after finishing up my second batch, which I have been making as I FINALLY write up and post this recipe on my blog!  Of course, it will look different, since I used half broccoli…

Well, here is the picture:

the 2nd time - broccoli and cauliflower with standard broth base

Well, it looks pretty and all, but…no way as good as when I followed the original recipe.  FYI, I had lots of both leftover broccoli and cauliflower florets from the veggie tray we did for the Wakefield UU Church auction last week, which is why I used both veggies.  Here is my take:

I added the requisite chopped fresh parsley (about a HEAPING tablespoon) salt (1 tsp) black pepper (1/2 tsp freshly ground) after adding a tsp of salt, and “dash” of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp freshly grated) PLUS a tsp of coriander power to make up for not using the original vegetable broth recipe and…certainly pleasant and edible, but NOT to die for.  To live forso as  to enjoy, yes, but NOT the great shakes of the original recipe.    …  Okay, I am letting it stay at just below a simmer on the stove for a bit.  Then I will see if I can fix it up a bit….  1/2 an hour or so later…

Hey!  It’s very good after some low temp simmering, beyond the just “pleasant” flavor.  Yes, the broccoli is too strong for this recipe as to getting the exquisite results obtained from the original version using just cauliflower. But, I really like that this is a “creamy” soup that does not use dairy for that special texture.  Nothing against dairy from me, but it is nice to have a way to prepare a veggie dish or soup that has a comfort food taste and texture without the usual comfort food fat and calories – or lactose tolerance issues.

Anyway – this recipe is a keeper for me, in both the original and experimental formats.

Vegetarian Chili – quick and easy!

A thank you to Emeril Lagasse for this one. I’ve never watched TV all that much, but my impression is that, beyond Julia, he is one of the first to have realized that a cooking show can be entertainment and thus helped get the whole Food Network thing going.  Or, maybe I am wrong – but he does have some good recipes.

Anyway – I needed a vegetarian chili recipe to test for our church auction.  I didn’t include the words “quick” and “easy” in my search terms, but I might as well had.  Here is what I used as the basis: (My adjustments follow)

Vegetarian Chili


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespooon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
  • Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
  • Diced avocado, garnish
  • Essence, recipe follows, garnish
  • Chopped green onions, garnish


In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.


For the seranno peppers, I used what the tags says are “salsa chili” peppers that we have, still producing fruits in November after having brought them in before the first frost last month!

You’ll see them in this picture:

Veg chilie ingedients

The fresh veggies for the chili

I also used only 1 Tbsp chili powder (for those around Wakefield, the dark kind from Farmland) and two teaspoons of the cumin powder.  BUT, I used a trick that I learned from Lorna Sass and toasted a tablespoon of cumin seeds in the oil for about a minute before adding the first ingredients at the beginning of the process.  I also added a heaping  tablespoon of  cocoa powder when the other powered spices were added.

I made two batches.  One with one 15 oz can of black beans and one 15 oz can of red beans (like pinto) and the other with same sized cans – one each pinto and garbanzo.  I think I like the second combination better, but that is a matter of taste.  I used three chili peppers in the first batch but only two in the second.  I like my chili pretty spicy, but these batches are for the public so I didn’t want to blow anyone away!  And, frankly, this chili is so flavorful, it doesn’t need to blow your socks off.

I will probably add some dried oregano to the final version, also.

I’ll end with pictures of the chili cooking process – great colors!


Toasting the seeds - the scent is fabulous!


First batch of veggies: onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and chilis

more veggies

More veggies - this is after the liquid has sweated out


final spices added and ready to simmer and thicken!

Anyway – that’s it.  I still have three or four more recipes from the past month to post… One is for a cauliflower soup to die for!  Soon, soon….