20 October 2008

Cold creeping in

Saturday night saw the first "killing frost" of the year in Bostonland, with Sunday clear and cold. Monday much the same, especially in the morning. Soup weather. This was dinner tonight, thrown together with my usual approach. I have a pressure cooker, a stovetop machine I highly recommend, and that makes this a 20 minute affair, no lie.

Velvet Potato & Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Garlic
serves two for dinner with planovers; certainly serves four for dinner with a salad or sammich
~1 TB olive oil + 1 TB butter (omit for vegans)
~medium onion, diced
~2 cloves raw garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
~3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" dice or so
~small head of cauliflower, florets and stems, cut into medium chunks
~5-6 c. water
~vegetable bullion cube
~1/8 tsp. dried thyme
~white pepper
~salt to taste
~1 large head of roasted garlic*
~chopped chives for garnish, optional

Heat oil (and melt butter) in the bottom of your pressure cooker or soup pot. Add diced onions and cook over medium-low until very soft and translucent. Throw in raw garlic, potatoes, and cauliflower, and toss to coat in fat. Add thyme, pepper, bullion cube, and water, and...

a. ...lock the pressure cooker down. Crank the heat to high and let it be until the vent releases a strong stream of steam, then turn down to medium-low. Ensure that a modest, quiet stream of steam continues to issue from the vent and hold at pressure for 5-7 minutes. Then, remove from heat and loose the steam release valve. When all pressure is released, crack open the cooker and proceed to the next step.
b. ...bring to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce to a simmer and simmer until vegetables are completely soft, however long that takes in a soup pot. Proceed to the next step.

Remove all cloves from the roasted head of garlic and add to the hot pot, stirring in. Then, puree soup until completely smooth in batches in a blender (I have not graduated to an immersion blender, no). Return soup to the cooker/pot and bring back to steaming hot. Serve with crusty bread and a late season salad of spinach, beets, carrot, and apple.

*What, you don't just roast a ton of garlic on the weekends in the fall? That's odd. Here's how: lay a head of garlic on its side--still in its paper--and cut off the tops of all/most of the cloves, setting this cap of cloves aside. Repeat with two other heads. Place opened heads, roots down, in any shallow oven-proof receptacle (I use a glass pie dish). Drizzle slowly and liberally with olive oil, letting oil permeate and soak in. Sprinkle with salt, dried thyme, dried rosemary, black pepper. Place clove caps back on and drizzle those tops with more olive oil. Cover the receptacle with foil, tightly crimped shut at the edges. Roast at 375 degrees until the heads of garlic yield to light pressure on their sides and the cloves are caramel-colored, about 40 minutes give or take.

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I didn't mean for this to become a food blog, honest. What I'm not telling you, here, is The Disaster of the Spaetzle. Let us never speak of it again.

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Halloween is coming up. It's pretty much my favorite holiday, though in recent years I've been disappointed in my observation thereof. I am at fault entirely on this, because I have failed to actually live in Boston since we moved here: I've failed to make friends, I've declined to learn about the social life, I don't know anything about clubs, groups, venues, events, etc. So it comes Halloween and I experience a little regret. Why didn't I make a life here, so I could celebrate my favorite holiday with friends? Why wasn't I able to do like I did in Chicago, and get through the first, difficult months of reaching out and building a social circle? And there's the answer: I already did that; I built a life in Chicago and that's where my life was. And also: Boston's only been a stopover for me, drawing even now to its close and taking any shame I feel for being aloof and unsocial with it. Next stop, New York City, which is something I can say on the record now that I've made the announcement to my uppers at work. Shuh-BOOM.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York?!? Yay! I'm so happy for you (and for your publishing career)! When does this joyous move occur?

5:34 PM  
Blogger Nora Rocket said...

Hi Sara! It's set to happen in mid-Jan to Feb, depending on when I get a job. Jo is done with school in mid-December, and we're out of here! I'm really excited about it, and ready for interviews and new possibilities. I'll have to bring you up to speed in email soon...

11:06 PM  
Blogger jacket said...

Thanks for the soup recipe. I'm having a dinner party when I get back to WA and I think I'll try it out. And congrats on your plans to blow boston for NYC.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Mozzadrella said...

Nora Rocket-Mozzadrella joint ventures COMMENCE!

11:58 AM  

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