A cauliflower by any other name

Sometimes it’s just mentioning the name of the food that can turn up the nose of my kids.  But change it a bit, don’t mention the name and wham, they like it.  Totally by accident I again found this out.  I didn’t purposefully omit “cauliflower” when I had my middle son try the soup I’d just made, because he of all my sons loves cauliflower. I just said, “Here try this.” It’s the other two who profess to “hate it”.  That is until I made the soup.  They saw it cooking and my youngest one asked what the smell in the kitchen was, so I showed him the cauliflower soup still in it’s adolescence.  He looked and said, “Yuck! I Hate Cauliflower!”  and walked away.  Well, after I puréed the soup, and it no longer looked the same, I approached my cauliflower-loving middle with a spoonful.  He ate it and requested another spoonful immediately, so my youngest sitting next to him and not wanting to be left out, said, “Hey I want some!”  “Ok!”, I gave him a taste.  And another, and another.  And so on and so on. Well then my eldest wanted a taste.  And another… so much for cauliflower hating.  They all had more.  I think the spices and appearance were just camouflaging enough that they were open to sample.

I adapted Spicy Cauliflower Soup from The Art of Simple Food byAlice Waters

Curried Cauliflower Soup

2/3 lg head cauliflower, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion diced

1 sm carrot, peeled and diced

3/4 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

3/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1/2 tsp hot chili powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped or 1 cube frozen cilantro

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup water

Sauté onion and carrot in olive oil. Stir in spices and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes.  Purée with immersion blender. Optional garnish- – plain yogurt, mint and lime juice

A Winter’s Soup

A snowy Winter’s day seems like the perfect day to make soup.  The boys were home because of a “snow day” but they would have been home anyway since they had strep throat. We were expecting 7-11 inches and got somewhere on the higher side. I had wanted to make a curried cauliflower soup for the first time but since I had less than a complete head, I figured I’d add some carrots, potatoes and a couple of parsnips to the pot. Make it more of a curried vegetable soup. 


Curried Winter Vegetable Soup

1 small onion, minced

1 head (or there about) cauliflower, cut into pieces

3 potatoes, diced

4 carrots (use fewer for a more rounded flavor)., sliced

2 small parsnips, sliced

3 cups vegetable stock

1 Tbsp oil- vegetable, canola, peanut, safflower

Water—enough to cover vegetables after stock is added

Sea salt to taste (add towards the end)

Curry spice mix— I used 2 tsp Penzy’s Singapore Spice blend (black pepper, lemon peel, garlic, onion, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, cloves, cayenne) with some extra:

            ¼ tsp garlic powder

            ¼ tsp turmeric

            ¼ tsp cumin

            ¼ tsp ginger

Cream (optional)

Saute the onions in the oil.  Add the curry spices.  Mix in the cauliflower so it’s well coated. Add stock, rest of vegetables and any needed water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer until all the vegetables are tender.  Add salt to taste (Important to add salt towards the end, because as the water/stock boils away the salt becomes more concentrated and you can’t undo it). Blend with an immersion blender.  Add cream if you’d like… or not.

I really liked it but will make it with fewer carrots next time; they were the predominant flavor.  As far as the kids: my middle son said he didn’t like it even though he tried it and ate half of it without any fuss.  Actually, he was quite keen to try it.  My youngest refused and the eldest wasn’t interested at the time (he wasn’t feeling well).  We’ll see if I can get any of them to like it. It might just be a my kids really won’t eat this one! Or maybe I can blame it on the strep.  I’ll try again with the leftovers tomorrow.

At least my middle son had a little bit of energy to play in the snow.

Soup– stealthy vegetable vehicle

A way of sneaking in those pesky vegetables that some picky eaters refuse to eat on their own is to put them in soup.  My kids are pretty good at eating most vegetables so I don’t need to puree the veggies but anyone with ultra picky kids can choose to do that.  Even without pureeing it, since the vegetables get cooked in the broth they’ll get many of the nutrients even if they’re not eating the actual vegetable from the soup.   And with all the wonderful organic stocks and broths readily available to buy, making soups can be fast and painless.  It’s quick, easy, tasty and healthful— what more can you ask for?  And, don’t have enough of something for a full meal or want to use up left-overs; soup is a great medium. 

Here’s one soup I made in less than a half hour last night.  I decided last minute to make it a dinner and movie night, but not with pizza.  I had a little of this and that.  I mixed vegetable and chicken broth to give it a rich flavor.  I had some left over chicken breast (but not enough for much, so I thawed some tenders too). I decided to add some small meatballs (frozen, from IKEA— yes, Ikea, the furniture-in-box place) that made it into a sort of Italian Wedding Soup. I didn’t feel the need to add onions or celery since I used the prepared broths.  The chicken is very tender not only because of the cut, but also since it’s poached in the broth.


Chicken, Kale, Bean and Meatball Soup

1 quart organic chicken broth

1 quart organic vegetable broth

4 chicken tenders, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

2-3 organic carrots, sliced

3/4 pound mini star-shaped pasta

1 can beans (pinto, cannellini, kidney)

2 tsp dried oregano

10-15 small meatballs

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a stock pot pour the two broths and bring to a low boil.  Add kale, carrots and chicken.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes before adding pasta, meatballs, oregano and beans.  Cook 10 minutes then add cilantro and cook one more minute. Adjust seasoning (salt and pepper). My two eldest sons loved the soup and my youngest ate it but didn’t want the kale, even though he likes kale on its own.  I didn’t push and just let him try to eat it without (a tough task!).  I loved it too and both my eldest son and I had it for lunch today.