Thursday has become “soup for dinner night”, in part because I can make a pot of soup on a Wednesday while the big girl is at preschool. I set up my no knead bread — fortunately it’s a forgiving recipe as I sometimes let the rise go on longer than 18 hours — using a half-half mix of whole wheat pastry and bread flours. Thursday later afternoon I’ll bake off the loaf and pull the soup from the fridge and dinner is ready, easy peasy. (I perform these little tricks to help myself have more down time after bedtime has been accomplished and the counters wiped down and the dishes washed and stowed away. I am a big fan of the downtime.)
This week’s soup was pretty stellar if I do say so myself, and the littlest one definitely enjoyed it as evidenced above. She’s started to use a spoon and a fork; meals are now even more messy but I let her have at it as she loves experimenting I’m all for empowering kids as much as possible from a young age. It’s just cauliflower and carrots cooked down, gently salted, and pureed, with a hit of creaminess from the addition of white beans. A bowl of this soup is a fairly complete meal but I’ve been baking bread to go along with it as well. Nothing fancy — the classic no knead recipe from the New York Times gets the job down and now that I’ve mostly figured out the settings on my odd oven, fairly simple to accomplish. I played around with a sourdough starter in hopes of regularly baking sourdough bread but OH MAN the amount of time you need to let the dough rest, rise, knead, take it out for lunch and swaddle it in organic cotton — unfortunately this is not the time in my life to bake sourdough. I should probably look into a more simple, kneadable loaf so Sierra can help me (also a more classic whole grain sandwich bread; we eat a lot of sandwiches and toasts here) but we’ll get there eventually. I do find baking bread so … satisfying … on a rather soul-deep level and it’s so! easy! for the most part plus who doesn’t love a slice of freshly baked bread?
Back to soup night, which in our part of the hemisphere was last night. We dipped bits of crusty bread into our bowls and listened to the kookaburras cackle away in the eucalyptus trees and tried to remember it’s spring here (if still a bit chilly at times; it’s rather lovely). It helps with my meal planning to know that I can count and plan on Thursday being our soup day, though I find I don’t want make each night of the week a specific night, e.g. “pasta night” “stir fry” etc. I’m attempting to cut down on both material and financial waste, thus the meal planning, but I hesitate at making things too rigid. For now soup (and bread) night stands alone, and we’re all pretty happy about it.
My husband suggested incorporating a bit of ginger into the soup but I like it as-is seasoned just with salt and pepper. Next week will try a gingery carrot-potato soup and will report back if worthy enough.
Makes 6 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 carrots, diced
1 head cauliflower broken into florets
1 cup cooked white beans
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large heavy bottom pot over low heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sautee for a minute, then add the carrots and sautee about 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. I like to salt a bit at this stage, maybe about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Stir and add the cauliflower, and about 3 cups of water, just enough to cover the vegetables. I like a thick soup so err on the side of less water rather than more. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and, partly covered, simmer the pot until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the white beans and remove from heat. In a blender or using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.