Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cauliflower and Politics

I don't often speak of politics. In fact, this may be the only slightly political submission that I will ever make to this record of my menus with a little life thrown in. Take it; leave it. Agree; disagree. As always, in the United States of America, the choice is up to you.

Yesterday's inauguration of our 44th president was a historic event that seems to have unleashed a new stream of hatred among those not in favor of Barack Obama's political platform. The nature of this great land is to allow us all our own points of view and the right to express them. We don't have to agree, but we do have to work together. From the statements of many, I think that the work together part is forgotten. I hear much venom. All believe that they have sound reasoning behind their belittling and degrading statements. However, venom is venom. It doesn't matter on which side of the issues you stand, how wrong you may think your opponent is, or what power you feel is behind you, ugliness is ugliness. A good leader will listen to the people, but what value can come from venom? As I see it, if you want to help the country, you don't do it by being ugly. Take it; leave it. Agree; disagree. The choice and more importantly, the action is up to you.

Now, since the main purpose of my blog is to share the food that I have enjoyed, here is a recipe for a very simple, but good Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup. I found it while flipping through an issue of Fine Cooking, and immediately knew that with my love of sharp cheddar, and my Hubby's love of cauliflower, it would be a satisfying meal for us. By the way, I should point out that I believe cauliflower to be a lacking vegetable while Hubby can't stop singing its praises, but we have chosen to agree to disagree about this. No need for venom and ugliness.

Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup

Kosher salt
1/2 head cauliflower (about 1 lb.), cut into 1-1/2-inch florets
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 14 oz.)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Boil the cauliflower until tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
Trim the stems from 18 of the cauliflower pieces and cut the crowns into mini florets about 1/2 inch wide; set aside.
Reserve the trimmed stems with the remaining larger pieces.
Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft.
Add the garlic and cook until the aroma subsides.
Increase the heat to medium, add the flour, nutmeg, and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Whisk in the broth, cream, and 2 cups water.
Add the thyme and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the cheese until melted and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
Remove and discard the thyme stems and stir in the larger cauliflower pieces and reserved stems.
Purée the soup, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Add the mini cauliflower florets and reheat gently before serving.(Serves 6-8)

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