It occurred to me the other day that I could make a low-calorie base for a broccoli cheddar soup. When I make a creamy broccoli cheddar soup, I can’t skimp on the cheese but I learned I can skimp on the cream and butter. To make the base for my soup I boiled two cups of cauliflower in two cups of low-sodium chicken broth. Once cooked, I took the cauliflower off of the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Next, I blended the mixture with about a cup of 1% milk and set aside. Next, I cooked some diced onion in a little bit of butter until translucent and added the cauliflower mixture, about 4 cups of frozen broccoli, a splash of beer, and a few cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Once the broccoli was cooked, I removed about 1/3 of the total soup mixture and blended it, making sure to leave some nice big chunks of broccoli behind in the pot. Finally, the blended portion is returned to the rest of the soup mixture and I let the whole thing simmer for a bit before serving up a bowl with some extra cheddar on top. I added salt to taste at the end but I did season the onion with salt and pepper while it cooked. This soup did not disappoint in the least. I look forward to continue to work on making variations on healthier soup bases. I think next time I’ll try adding some barley or brown rice to the blender.
I had great food in Vegas but did not eat nearly the amount of vegetables I’m used to so one of the first dinners I made when I got home was all veggies. I tossed my asparagus in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and stuck them in the broiler for about 5 minutes. I boiled cauliflower and turnips (shout out to les, your comment inspired the turnip addition) and stuck them in the food processor with a little parmesan and seasoning. I cut a beautiful portabello in half and marinated it in a little Worcestershire, beer, and spicy montreal seasoning before pan-frying. This dinner is guilt-free and SO satisfying. It really feels like eating a hearty steak dinner.
I used to be wary of cauliflower. I think the overall appearance seemed bland and boring so I avoided it. Also, I feel like it is more likely than not to come across cauliflower that is ill-prepared and that doesn’t help the case for cauliflower either. I feel like that could be said for a lot of veggies. However, give cauliflower a chance. I did and now I can’t stop eating it. I’ll roast it in the oven. I’ll blanch it. I’ll cut center cross sections, marinate, and grill it. It really does make a good pseudo mashed potato (especially blended with parmesan and some garlic roasted in olive oil). I’ve even blended it to thicken and enhance a vegetable soup.
One of the bigger local farms around here has had amazing cauliflower the past month. I’ve tried their regular, orange, and purple cauliflower along with their broccoflower. The purple cauliflower and broccoflower are definitley good but they do not have a very distinct flavor. They both taste somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower but they have beautiful color and are a feast for the eyes prepared properly. The orange cauliflower is my favorite. Not only is it interesting to look at, it has a very subtle sweetness that is somewhat similar to the sweetness of a carrot or bell pepper. My favorite way to eat any cauliflower is roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. When Gar ate the orange cauliflower prepared this way for the first time he said it reminded him of something grilled with a little bit of BBQ sauce. It was not something that had crossed my mind but I could see why he would say that.