Yesterday, I may have given the impression that I’ve been eating nothing other than toast.
This isn’t entirely true. I’ve gone to a few nice restaurant meals, which have been moderately well balanced (ie there has been the omnipresent arugula salad). But for the most part, I’ve been eating wheat and not much else. Like, I have felt proud of myself the few times I’ve managed to wrench open a jar of Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce to pour on my pasta because of how it contains vegetables. Fortunately, I am one of the few gluten-tolerant people left in America today. But that’s no excuse.
So last night, I decided to make soup with some odds and ends. And here’s the thing: This might be the most impressive thing I’ve ever invented. (That’s my objective analysis.) I’m really proud of it, possibly because I didn’t start out to cook something so intensely delicious. It’s creamy, white and unexpectedly lemony. Also? It doesn’t have wheat. Or dairy products. And it’s nutritious and filling and easy. And unlike almost everything else I’ve ever cooked in my life, it’s not the least bit spicy.
So here it is friends, the vegan, gluten-free
Winter White Soup-er Bowl
- A third of a cup of olive oil
- A white onion, chopped
- A leek, chopped (just the white part, and you really can’t clean a leek too much)
- Two potatoes, carefully peeled and chopped
- Two celery stalks, chopped
- One medium-sized head of cauliflower, just the florets
- Four garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- Several tablespoons of fresh thyme and tarragon
- Water or vegetable stock
- The juice and zest of three lemons
- Lots of salt
- Finally chopped chives, if you like a little garnish
(I would also be interested in trying this again with a parsnip, or maybe even a turnip, in place of one of the potatoes. It would change the flavor, but would probably be delicious, as well as in keeping with the theme of white winter vegetables.)
Here’s what I did
I heated the olive oil (you could use some butter too) in a large pot and added the onion, cooking it on medium-low while I chopped the other things. Then I added the potatoes, celery and leeks and let them cook on medium for about ten minutes, before adding the cauliflower and garlic. After about five minutes, I added the herbs, quite a bit of salt (several tablespoons) and water (you can use stock if you really want, but it’s totally not necessary). Just fill the pot until the water covers everything by about an inch and a half. Cover and simmer for about twenty-five minutes, until everything is pretty tender, but not squishy.
Meanwhile, put about a third of the lemon juice and zest in a blender or food processor. When the veggies are cooked, add a portion of the broth and chunks to the blender and puree thoroughly. Be careful when you take the lid off; there might be a boiling hot splatter! Take a little taste. Does it need more salt? (It probably does.) Finish pureeing the rest, adding salt if need be. Is it really thick and gloopy? Add more water. Reheat everything on the stove and serve with some chives on top, which mostly just make the creamy white soup look more luscious.
With our soup, we drank bottles of Full Sail IPA, which I was shocked to find in my crappy corner grocery store. There is nothing like the surprise of seeing a friendly familiar beer label from 3000 miles away. So comforting.
If you enjoy pureeing soup and other things and also have a little one, I highly recommend that you visit Living Outside the Jar, a blog that was just started by a high school buddy who makes delicious and nutritious grub for her baby. There are a lot of good inspirations here, even for grown-up palates.