This week’s seasonal veggie is cauliflower.
The preface to this recipe is our CSA delivery. One gift that my brothers-in-law gave my husband and I this Christmas was a mixed fruit and vegetable CSA (Community Supportable Agriculture) box from Capay Organic delivered to our home. We’ve been dying to try a local CSA delivery service and this gift just set the wheels in motion.
The Farm Fresh to You box arrived on our doorstep and was literally busting at the seams with seasonal produce.
So, here’s the box…
…overflowing with produce, this week’s delivery included:
- butternut squash
- green leaf lettuce
- swiss chard
If anyone can recommend a home delivery CSA service in Marin County from a Marin County farm PLEASE share with us here.
Cauliflower comes from the Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower. This is unusual because most veggies in the Brassicaceae family produce leafy greens for eating, unlike the flowery cauliflower where the head is eaten and the stalk and stems are often discarded.
According to wikipedia, cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which may be beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, a compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed which may protect against cancer. Boiling reduces the levels of these compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.
This is why we decided to roast our cauliflower in this recipe to give the soup a little more rustic and robust flavor while retaining all those cancer fighting nutrients. Soups have become my new “thing” this winter as they are easy to whip up – throw in all your favorite seasonal produce while disguising some of your least favorites as well…
What you’ll need for your quick and easy cauliflower soup:
- One giant head of cauliflower
- 2 slices of bacon
- 2 T of butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 cups water
- 2 t Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base*
- 1 c milk
- green onions and freshly grated Parmesan for garnish
*I love this stuff – great alternative to basic chicken broth.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Cut, separate and tear your cauliflower head into smaller segments. Take out a baking sheet and line with aluminum foil. Sprinkle the cauliflower with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
In a cast iron french oven (ie. Le Creuset) start your base with two slices of bacon. Cook until done – about 5 minutes. Set bacon aside (leave grease inside). Add butter, chopped onion, shallots and garlic to bacon grease. Sauté until caramelized over medium heat. Add 6 cups of water and bouillon to your base. Remove your cauliflower from oven and add to your french oven. Add milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to finish (blend) your creative cauliflower creation. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a brightly colored bowl (nice contrast to the unattractive color of the soup) and garnish with Parmesan, green onions and diced bacon. We added a large, rustic sourdough crouton and a dollop of sour cream to finish.
What I love about this CSA is their service. I followed directions to leave my box on my doorstep for the next delivery/box swap and a very friendly delivery guy by the name of Brandon (I think?) greeted me with a kind smile and asked me how I liked my first delivery. ”It was great!” I replied without hesitation. He then let me know that if there was any vegetable to which I was partial that I could alert those in charge and I won’t have to see that veggie again – seems so sad to be prejudice against a helpless vegetable but nonetheless – a great setup. A box FULL of this season’s bounty and fresh from our Northern California region delivered to my door. This may be dangerous as a new mom – but I promise to keep up my weekly visit to my local farmer’s market if only to stroll the aisles with my baby in tow, sipping on some Blackbird coffee.