Friday, April 17, 2015

Curried Cauliflower Soup and Immersion Blenders

How have you been? How was your week?

It has been gloriously spring here in the Mitten. I am so excited about that fact. The warmth. The sunshine. I took myself and a book outside a couple of afternoons to just soak up the rays. It's been forever. Winter always feels forever long here. Always winter-never Christmas...

The daffodils bloomed. Sunday they were still plump green pods. Monday morning, there were fields of yellow and yellow & white flowers stretching their heads to the sunshine. The trees are getting fuzzier and fuzzier looking, and the bushes have tiny leaves.

All the spring green is abounding.

Windows are open. Doors are open. We are letting the outside-in and the inside-out. 

Four more weeks of school! Yes! I am as excited as the kids. Probably more so. The days are flying, not dragging. But, I can't wait to be out on my bicycle feeling the wind on my face, without necessary time limits in order to get my kids educated.

The girls are totally digging the Mama Mia soundtrack. They listen to it every day during quiet time. No, it really isn't quiet, but it works. Meres knows most of the lyrics. Not sure if that makes me proud or if it makes me cringe...

I was reminded this week of how much I love visual order. Clean lines. No clutter. Since I've thoroughly cleaned our upstairs, I've been so happy walking up the stairs. I love how the view of the boys' room that greets me is orderly and picked up. It is no longer toys scattered amongst piles of junk. Literal junk! Same with the girls' room. I look in their room, and the corner that used to be a pile of stuff is now empty. It just looks better. What else can I say? Clean lines equals less stress. Way less stress.

Now to do the living room and dining room and kitchen...

Well, this is probably the last soup recipe I will share with you until the fall. But, I think it is still worth a share. Soup will still hit the spot on these in between, rainy days. 

I took a major gamble on this soup. I am not a fan of cauliflower. That could actually be read: I never cook/eat cauliflower unless it is in California Blend casserole, and smothered with Velveeta and cream soups and buttery cracker crumbs.

Though the same will never be said of Brussel Sprouts. I will never eat them. I will never cook them. I will never serve them in my house. Ever. If my kids want them, they can find someone else to serve them those disgusting orbs of yucky-ness. 

Just sayin'.

But, back to this soup. It was very good. My kids even liked it. Look at all those vegetables! Besides the cauliflower, there is celery, onion, spinach and tomatoes. The garbanzo beans provide a bit of texture after the blending, which is a good thing.

I used sweet curry powder. I guess, if you wanted a real kick, you could use hot curry powder, or a combination of the two.

I bought an immersion blender for this soup. It is the third soup recipe I make that is creamed, and the convenience and price of the blender I purchased made it a good buy. Do you realize the time and effort you save by sticking a blender in the soup, instead of having to blend multiple batches. It's crazy time saving!

Curried Cauliflower Soup w/Melted Spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
4 stalks celery
2 carrots
4 cloves garlic
4 tsp grated ginger
4 Tbsp sweet curry powder
2 heads cauliflower
kosher salt
6 cups skim milk
4 oz (1/2 cup) nonfat cream cheese
3 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
6 cups baby spinach
black pepper
2 cups (1 pint) cherry tomatoes

-Prepare vegetables. Chop onion and celery. Peel and dice carrot. Mince garlic. Grate ginger.
-In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and ginger. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
-Cut cauliflower into florets.
-Add the curry powder, reduce heat to low, and cook until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
-Add the cauliflower florets, salt to taste, and 1 cup of water. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and raise the heat to medium high. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.
-In a blender, combine the milk with the cream cheese and vegetable mixture. (May have to do a couple batches depending on the size of your blender. Divide ingredients accordingly.) Alternately, use an immersion blender and puree soup right in the pot.
-Return the pureed soup to the pot and warm it gently over low heat. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add the chickpeas and baby spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Spoon into bowls and garnish with halved cherry tomatoes. For a complete meal, serve with salad and crusty bread.

Have a fantastic weekend! And make sure to check back Monday! There is a great surprise coming!