January 4, 2009

Curried Cauliflower Soup

This meal was slotted for last night; however, it got pushed back since we went out to eat. I really am not very excited about this dish, because we have been having a lot of soup lately...I am getting kinda bored with soup. The last new soup recipe that I tried did not deliver, so I am a little hesitant to try another new one. Alas, I have everything on hand for it, and my pork tenderloin that I originally had planned for tonight is not fully thawed. Well then, soup it is! I just rearranged this week's menu plan to accommodate the changes.

Speaking of my menu plan, I am trying to do a "pantry challenge" this week. That means I am not buying a whole lot of "new" groceries, and planning all my meals from stuff I already have on hand. That means no new pantry or protein ingredients. I am challenging myself to use strictly what I have on hand, or make what I need from scratch (like fresh bread and fresh corn tortillas). I got tired of opening up my freezer and pantry and seeing old stuff hanging around. I hate throwing things away, so I am hoping to clear out some of the ancient foodstuffs before they expire. Also, I am always buying specialty ingredients for this recipe or that recipe, so I am trying to avoid that this week. Hopefully, I will save some grocery money and free up some valuable pantry/freezer space in the process. (I think I only spent about $48 on food staples this week...things like milk, coffee, eggs, produce, etc.). Curried Cauliflower Soup fits the bill for a vegetarian dish that I can make with stuff I have on hand. Also, I love curry!

I still have a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks checked out from the library, so I am slowly but surely trying new recipes from those books. Menu planning does get a little tricky when you try to 1) work only out of your pantry 2) try to eat healthy 3) only eat beef once a week 4)try not to duplicate too much from past dishes 5)space out the vegetarian choices so we don't get burnt out. You get the idea...it gets complicated.

Okay, enough typing...on to my recipe. This recipe is from Regina's International Vegetarian Favorites by Regina Campbell. Wish me luck!

Curried Cauliflower Soup

1 medium onion, diced
6 to 8 slices of fresh ginger (yes, I have fresh ginger stored in my freezer)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped (I think I will drain some diced canned tomato)
water or vegetable broth
pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of sea salt (I have kosher salt...it is similar)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of curry powder
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

1) Add onion, ginger, garlic, and tomato to a large sauce pan. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
2) Add the cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and curry powder, and cook for 1 minute.
3) Add the 4 cups of broth, 1 cup of water, and cauliflower. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft.
4) Place the mixture in a blender. Add the oil (if using) and puree until smooth. Serve hot. Alternative Method: Instead of putting mixture in a blender. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture in the cooking pot until smooth.

The Result:
My instincts were right about this dish...it was not very good. I don't think I will be making this again. It was okay...but boring. Overall, I would give it the "eh" rating. The soup itself was thin and there was no textural elements in the dish. I even put some coconut milk and garnished it with green onions for a little oomph. The added ingredients definitely helped some, but not enough for this dish to be considered again. The flavor was all right, but just not noteworthy. Definitely disappointing. I actually had no desire to even keep leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which is very rare in our house. Oh well...this dish was a swing and a miss, for sure.

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