May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Waking up in the dark is no fun! I don’t know about you, but it’s getting harder and harder to get out of bed each day to greet the frigid morning. I’m already desperately missing the warmer weather, despite the world turning into a gorgeous array of crimson, orange and mustard yellow. Leaves crunching underfoot, and everything you can possibly think of comes in a pumpkin spice flavor. What is that all about? Although pumpkin as a vegetable is healthy and is wonderful…pumpkin-spiced latte, pumpkin-flavored Oreos, pumpkin pie yogurt… It’s just plain weird. Not everything should be pumpkin flavor just because it’s autumn. And actually, if you think about it, pumpkin doesn’t even really have a flavor. It’s the spices that flavor a pumpkin pie, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves that smell of spicy, comforting warmth. Now that I can understand!

Speaking of comfort and warmth, nothing screams cooler weather like a nice bowl of steaming hot soup! Any kind of soup will do. And before you even think about it, I’m not going to talk about pumpkin soup! (Although it is very delicious!) I have a delicious hearty minestrone soup that I make once a winter, chock full of beans and vegetables; it really hits the spot! Why do I make it once a year, you might ask? (Did you ask?) Well, all those vegetables require a bit of prep work, and while I have found a way to streamline it, and use canned, frozen and pre-cut ingredients…well, it’s still too much sometimes. (The recipe is available on my blog, if you want to take a look!)

Making a soup is a great way to consume a ton of vegetables, especially for people who don’t like eating vegetables, as I wrote in my last column. You can cook almost any vegetable into a soup until it’s unrecognizable and someone will eat it. Case in point: This past September, I made a silky white vegetable soup to serve on a cold night in the sukkah. As I was about to serve it, my sister-in-law asked what it was. I explained that it was a yummy cauliflower soup. She raised an eyebrow, and said she wasn’t sure if her kids would eat cauliflower. So we decided to simply tell them it was ‘potato’ soup. So we did, and it worked! Everyone, including all the children, ate it and even asked for seconds!

Call it anything you want, but this wonderfully rich and filling cauliflower soup certainly hits the spot. With just two main ingredients, it’s a cinch to prepare, and definitely satisfying. And yes, there is one potato in there. Oh, and be sure to serve it with a nice slice of pumpkin bread! (Oops, did I just say that?!)

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

(adapted from Yocheved Hirsch)

1 large cauliflower

3 leeks, white part only, cleaned well and sliced

4 Tbsp. butter, margarine or oil

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

½ tsp. thyme

1 bay leaf

3 C. stock

2 C. milk, or stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of nutmeg

2 Tbsp. vermouth, or dry sherry

Garnish with chopped parsley or chives

Cut cauliflower into florets and set aside. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add two of the sliced leeks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and stir another minute. Add cauliflower, potato, thyme, bay leaf. Cover and cook for five minutes. Add stock to just cover ingredients, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Cauliflower should be very soft. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes.

Remove bay leaf and discard. Process the mixture with an immersion blender. Add milk, or more stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper and bring to a boil once again. Stir in vermouth or sherry. Optional: Saute the remaining leek in a pan with a little oil until crispy and use as a garnish. Enjoy and stay warm!

Rachel is a Real Estate attorney, currently enjoying a Hershey Kiss Pumpkin Spice Candy. You can find The Kosher Dinner Lady on Facebook and Instagram. You can contact her at [email protected].

By Rachel Berger

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