TND – Seasonal Inspite of Myself

June 8, 2011

That high pitched noise of glee you heard around 1pm on Monday?  That was me.  Specifically that was me stopping by my first farmer’s market of the season and discovering barquettes of ruby red strawberries just waiting to be bought, taken home and sliced up for salad.

In other news, cauliflower is a spring vegetable?  Really?  I mean, to be fair, I’m not sure that I could have identified when cauliflower came into season prior to about 5 minutes ago when epicurious’s seasonal ingredient map informed me that Spring is cauliflower season.  But, really?  It seems like such a Fall/Winter ingredient somehow.  On the other hand, this makes this week’s Dinner entirely seasonal when I was fully prepared to feel guilty about the wildly unseasonal soup (I have such 1st world problems).

Further internet research suggests that while epicurious is not wrong per se they are marginally crazy.  Cauliflower is, apparently, a cool climate crop so one can theoretically have a Spring and Fall harvesting season (and heaven knows, our Spring was certainly cold enough).  That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen cauliflower at a farmer’s market in the Spring.  Spring farmer’s markets around these parts are generally dominated by lettuces, the occasional bunch of early radishes and for about four glorious weeks all the strawberries you can manage to eat.  That was certainly what I saw on Monday and Tuesday, and will probably see again tomorrow – it’s early in the season I haven’t gotten over the sheer joy of the farmer’s market yet, plus I need more strawberries, we ate all the ones I bought earlier this week.

Not that this in any way stopped me from making the cauliflower soup.  This is both because I really like this soup, and because it’s one of the easiest things I can think of to make.  I spent the weekend in Virginia  enjoying the company of my family (aunt/uncle + mother/father, but sadly, very little in the way of salacious family gossip) + sun, hush puppies and peel & eat shrimp, which was lovely but did get me back to Boston too late on Sunday to go to the grocery store.  This meant the grocery run got done on Monday night after work, and anything that needed to happen for Dinner was going to be quick and painless.

How easy is this soup?  I walked through my front door at 8:05pm with five bags of groceries.  I started cooking at 8:20pm, and washed the last spoon at 9:26pm and that included making and eating dinner for myself (pan roasted asparagus over arugula salad with a fried egg and an English muffin).  The only way could have been easier would have been if I’d made the soup last week and frozen it, and I just wasn’t even close to that organized.

Cauliflower Soup
Seasonal Salad
– roasted rhubarb
– roasted asparagus
– fennel
– strawberries (!)

Cauliflower Soup (by way of Smitten Kitchen and David Lieberman)
(serves 4 for dinner/6 for lunch)

This is one of my favorite soup recipes and I’m surprised that I haven’t made/inflicted it on Dinner before now.  It’s crazy simple, shockingly good for you, and so tasty.

The only thing to watch for is your chicken stock to water ratio, because if you use too much chicken stock your soup will end up brownish rather than a delicate ecru color.  It’ll still taste good, but it won’t be quite as aesthetically pleasing.

1 medium head cauliflower, leaves & core removed, remainder roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
½ cup parmesan
Nutmeg (optional)

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the cauliflower, stock and water and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the cauliflower is cooked through and falling apart (about 15 minutes).  Puree until smooth.  Stir in the parmesan and season with salt/pepper/nutmeg.  Thin with a little water as needed to reach the consistency you desire (it’ll depend on the size of your head of cauliflower).

Serve with a dusting of nutmeg (or black pepper – or both).

Seasonal Salad

Roasted Rhubarb
Recipe previously given: CSI Boston

I added the zest of an orange this time to go with the orange citrus vinaigrette I made to dress the salad, and that was an inspired addition.

Roasted Asparagus
I tend to cook asparagus on whatever surface I already have hot – if the oven’s on, I roast it; if I have the grill pan going, I grill it; if I have a frying pan out, I’ll pan roast it; as a last resort I’ll even boil it, but only as a last resort.

Toss with a little salt/pepper and olive oil (I’m partial to Penzy’s lemon pepper combo for this) and roast in a 400 oven for max 8 minutes, turning once.

There was a wild over abundance of food at Dinner this week because I went shopping after work.  It wasn’t exactly shopping while hungry, but it was definitely a case of shopping while scatterbrained.  We did not need four kinds of cheese, and two kinds of sausage, plus pickled beets, radishes, figs and dates, but I was feeling indecisive and really, can you ever have too much cheese?

Oude Gouda with radishes
Goat Cheese with black pepper rhubarb jam
Amish Blue & Pyrenees Cheese with figs
Pinot Grigio Marinated Sausage with pickled beets
Chianti Marinated Sausage with dates



  1. […] I make soup that can be sipped out of a mug at my desk – basil-zucchini, curried coconut carrot, cauliflower, sweet potato & pear, roasted butternut squash & apple. For dinner I tend to go a slightly […]

  2. […] Recipe previously given: Seasonal In Spite of Myself […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given:  Seasonal In Spite of Myself […]

  4. […] yet) – ricotta (insanely good ricotta from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont) – roasted asparagus – instructions previously cited – chopped pistachios – rhubarb vinaigrette – leftover from a couple of weeks […]

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