Since starting BGSK in November 2008, I’ve purchased a surprisingly small number of cookbooks. Yet, I was forced to buy a second, identical, bookshelf to house all of the books I seemed to accumulate. And when it finally came time in May to move out of my apartment, I found that new bookshelf had to be packed up in five large storage boxes full of big, beautiful, clunky cookbooks.
How did this happen? Well, when you become a food writer, there seems to be two go-to presents: cookbooks and aprons. I now have a more diverse and colorful wardrobe of aprons than party dresses. On top of the gifts, every time Cara and I would go in to HarperCollins, we’d end up coming home with our tote bags full of books. There were some gems among them, but with all of the free hard covers coming our way, somehow we never really ended up getting that one cookbook that we’d been pining for.
In this case, that cookbook was Super Natural Everyday.
We’ve been big fans of 101 Cookbooks cooking for years—it was one of those permanent fixtures in the blogosphere, along with Orangette and Smitten Kitchen, that inspired us to start a site of our own. Heidi has such remarkable tastes that really suit one type of mood of mine: healthy, veggie-centric, but still comforting and ever so slightly indulgent. With the kale and mung beans comes a handful of Parmesan or a dollop of crème fraiche—just the kind of tweak that makes reluctant non-vegetarians feel full after eating one of her meals.
So a few weeks ago, after eyeing the cookbook at our signing at Posmans, and nearly buying it then, I finally broke down, whipped out my credit card, and made the deal. I’ve since post-it-ed many a recipe, as I have the tendency to do, and used many of her pages to inspire my cooking. My favorite creation thus far was this Cauliflower Soup with Sharp Cheddar. It’s just the kind of clean vegetarian cooking that I describe above—made thick by potatoes instead of cream, but then made decadent and dreamy by stirring in a little too much sharp cheddar cheese. I tweaked the recipe slightly, adding some fresh thyme and omitting the Dijon croutons. Those of you who are not gluten-free should definitely give in to this extra indulgence.
The last thing I need is another cookbook on my shelf. But I couldn’t be happier to have this one for the time being, until Cara comes by to borrow it, like I’ve borrowed her books in the past.
From my kitchen, testing recipes from Heidi’s kitchen, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Cauliflower Soup with Sharp Cheddar and Thyme
Makes 4 servings
Loosely adapted from Super Natural Everyday. In the book, Heidi has an additional part of the recipe for mustard croutons. I’m sure these are delicious, so if you want that extra crunch, it’s worth trying.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for garnishing)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken or veggie stock
2 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower florets (should be the same size as the potatoes)
2/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
In a medium Dutch oven or lidded saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over a medium flame. Cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover, and cook until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Uncover, stir in the salt, garlic, thyme and broth. Bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes, then check the potatoes to make sure they are tender. If so, add the cauliflower, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion or standing blender. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese and the mustard. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Serve in individual bowls, topped with the remaining cheese and a good drizzle of olive oil.
This post is participating in Food Network’s Fall Fest. See all the other cauliflower posts here:
The Sensitive Epicure: Cauliflower Souffle
Haute Apple Pie: Cauliflower and Chicken Gratin
CIA Dropout: Cauliflower Squash Soup With Creme Fraiche
Daily*Dishin: Tender Roasted Cauliflower
Virtually Homemade: Cumin Crusted Beef Tenderloin With Cauliflower Puree
What’s Gaby Cooking: Cumin Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday Night Dinner: Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower
Cooking Channel: 4 Ways to Cook Cauliflower
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Painted Cauliflower
FN Dish: Roasted Cauliflower 5 Ways