Hello, hello! It’s been a minute, lovely friends! How are you? No really, how are you? I ask this question with broad strokes, all the while knowing you are probably somewhere in the realm of okay. Likely not great or wonderful, potentially even downright overwhelmed, but hopefully hanging in there and flowing with all that this year has tossed our way. Because what a year. It feels like the longest shortest few months of my life, and how we are in October I don’t even know. Alas, here we are and I have a recipe for you!
Food aside for a moment, I myself am still processing things that happened back in March and April. Since we’ve spoken last, a few small things have transpired in my life. Kidding. Everything is different now. I am now a mom to four! We welcomed Matilda Rosemary Watters earlier than expected this spring in March, and she has been an absolute light and joy. And on this very day she is seven whole months old! We both spent some time in the NICU – twice actually – but we are home now and together.
And right around the time we had Millie, adoringly called Tilly by her dad and big brother Alfie, I had another baby in the form of an old, creaky building that got transformed into my shop’s brick and mortar. Homesong Market has been open here in Kansas City since June and it’s been one busy, fulfilling, wild ride! I had plans to open my new shop during this time way back in December, but did not plan on COVID-19 devastating the world at the same time. So I’ve been taking each day as is comes, bird by birding me way through life (thank you Anne Lamott), if you will, leaning into the good that these two new blessings have given us during a time when even the smallest things are worth celebrating. I hope you find something worth celebrating today, even if it’s a hot cup of coffee or a slice of time to read a few pages from a new book. All of it matters, especially now.
Then there’s homeschooling, because I’m doing that too. It was a difficult decision for us, but we are thankful for the opportunity and privilege to follow such a path. I would love to share resources and books and projects and lessons with you all, but one step at a time. Because both Andrew and I got the coronavirus a few weeks ago in September, the first month of our homeschooling journey, of which I am still recovering from, and it’s an election year and, and, and, and. Oy.
But for now…soup.
Why soup, when there’s so much we must catch up on? Because it’s soup season and that’s enough for me. The air is crisp and the leaves are turning, reminding me the importance of turning inward during this time of year, so why not hop back into Blogland and share some comfort in a bowl? It is also my favorite time to chop and stir, and with everything going on, sometimes making soup is the precise meditation I need to sort and sift through life’s messy piles. Have you ever chopped a pile of onions when stressed? It helps you cry, gets those emotions right out there on the table, and you end up with the beginnings of a humble yet tasty meal.
This past weekend I went to the store for the first time in a month, which felt both awkward and refreshing, and as soon as I got home I used my receipt to create a long list of October meals I could make out of both what we already had in the pantry plus the new items I got. What fun! Meaning planning helps me out tremendously, especially now with all that is going on, and now for the rest of the month I know we have all we need to make tasty suppers without having to run to the store last minute, or spending an exorbitant amount of time staring blankly into the frosty fridge at 5 PM. Planning is not for everyone, but it is for me, albeit a loosey goosey plan like such.
Now, the only fly in the ointment is that I really can’t taste much yet because of COVID. Talk about miserable. I have been taking zinc and other vitamins to try and get my senses (and energy) back, but it’s taking time. As is the difficulty breathing if I do too much physically, as is staying awake past 8 PM. BUT! There’s no more intense pain like I was having for a little over a week, and I am out of bed able to do most things. For that I am grateful, because this virus is awful and serious and unpredictable and scary. If you have been affected by it one way or another my heart is with you. I am so, so sorry.
Dulled senses aside, I promise you these soups are not too salty or sweet. Stella helped me as my sous chef taster, and I certainly trust her (sometimes far too honest, if I am being honest) critique of my cooking. She had two bowls of the cauliflower soup, which we drizzled with warm curry oil, and she tasted the French onion declaring we must make baguette grilled cheeses to dip, so that’s what’s on the menu for tomorrow night. Both soups are simple, delicious, and require little to no skill in the kitchen. And if you’re vegan, you’re in luck. Both soups can easily be made so! Today I’ll share my fool-proof recipe for cauliflower thyme soup and tomorrow, French onion! Soup week? Sure, why not.
Cauliflower Thyme Soup Ingredients
- 1 large head of cauliflower roughly chopped into florets
- 1 sweet or yellow onion roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh thyme (dried works, too…but use fresh if you have it!)
- 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of good butter (use ghee if vegan)
- 6-8 cups of vegetable stock (chicken works as well)
- fresh cracked pepper
- sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (omit and add more stock if vegan)
To prepare, gather ingredients and chop accordingly. Heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. I like to use the combination of the two for both flavor and intensity of heat when sautéing vegetables. Ina Garten taught me this. Add the chopped cauliflower and onion, and sauté until the vegetables have slightly caramelized, roughly 20 minutes or so. Once they have cooked down but have not burned, add the garlic and thyme, then stir well for a minute to release the aroma. Add stock and bay leaf, and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 30 minutes to tenderize the cauliflower. Reduce heat, remove the bay, and use a hand-held immersion blender like this one – a wedding gift we got ten years ago that I still use all the time – and puree the soup. You could also transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Once smooth, pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper, I like a fair amount of each, but taste as you go, then finish with curry oil. See recipe for that below.
- 1 tablespoon spicy curry powder
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
To prepare, add the curry powder and smashed garlic clove to the olive oil in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Slowly simmer while you prepare your soup, letting the oil slowly heat up and infuse. This process should take around 30 minutes, but make sure the oil never boils! You will burn your spices and it will not taste good. Once the oil is infused, strain in a cheesecloth and store in a lidded jar. Drizzle on the soup and serve!
If you aren’t a cauliflower fan, but do fancy soup season, here are some recipes below I’ve posted in the past to help you out with meal planning. You can also head over to the CHOP + STIR series and find more recipes there! xx
- Instant Pot Garden Vegetable Soup
- Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup
- Turmeric Ginger Noodle Soup
- Bone Broth
- Roasted Tomato Fennel Soup
- White Cheddar Pale Ale Potato Soup
And thank you for reading, friends. It feels really good to be back in this space. xx