One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy,
but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend Blog Showcase: Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Apple Chips

Welcome to the first edition of the Weekend Blog Showcase.  The purpose of the WBS is to show a little love to our fellow bloggers and the dishes they so generously share with us on their blogs.  Guidelines to participate in WBS can be found at the bottom of this post. Ann (Thibeault's Table) and I will take turns each week hosting and welcome all of you as we look forward to being introduced to some new blogs as well as revisiting old favorites!

My first Weekend Blog Showcase bow is actually to someone many of you are already well acquainted with, I'm sure!  Monique is a beautiful soul whose talented photography, beautiful posts, and love for her family and friends is brilliantly displayed on her blog, La Table De Nana. It is always a joy to visit her blog everyday, a calming moment I look forward to each morning.  While Monique has many, many wonderful recipes to choose from, one that I had bookmarked for several months now, is her Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Pear Chips.

Monique mentions a couple of alterations she made to the recipe at the end of her post.  I had a whole head of cauliflower and decided to go ahead and follow the recipe as written.  However, one little tweak I did make to the recipe was to make Spiced Apple Chips as I have a Lodi (I think) apple tree in my backyard, currently overrun with ripe fruit.  So apple chips it was.  Instead of slicing them vertically, I sliced them horizontally, hoping to get a glimpse of the little 'star' shape in the middle.  The chips were easy to slice on my Japanese-style plastic mandoline, and their spicy scent was heady as they were baking.

The soup itself was extremely easy to make and not at all out of the ordinary... until just before serving.  A bit of orange zest and some fresh orange juice really added a freshness to the soup while still maintaining it's 'comfort' quality.  Delicious!  I'm having a hard time stopping at my SECOND bowlful!  Thank you, Monique!

Cauliflower Soup with Spiced Pear Chips
"Dressed up with a touch of orange and snappy, spiced pear chips, cauliflower becomes fit for company in this easy soup. Make it a day or two ahead of time and you only need to reheat and finish it with a fresh burst of orange just before serving. The pear chips can be made days ahead of time and stored in a cookie tin but you might need to hide them so they don’t disappear before it’s time to serve the soup."

2 tablespoons (25 mL) butter or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 all-purpose potato, peeled and diced
4 cups (1 L) vegetable or chicken stock (approximately)
2 cups (500 mL) water
7 cups (1.75 L) chopped cauliflower (approximately 1 head)
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) grated orange zest
1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice

1 firm ripe Bartlett or Bosc pear
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 mL) cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For soup, melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) pepper and sauté for 1 minute or until garlic is softened and fragrant.

Add potato, stock and water; bring to a boil, scraping up bits stuck to pot. Stir in cauliflower. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and boil gently for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower and potatoes are soft. Remove from heat.

Discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender in pot or, transferring soup in batches to an upright blender, purée soup until very smooth. Soup can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

For spiced pear chips, preheat oven to 275°F (140° C).

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pear lengthwise into paper-thin slices. Combine paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Lightly sprinkle over both sides of pear slices. Place on baking sheet in a single layer. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and set another baking sheet on top of paper to keep pears flat.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pears are very soft and starting to dry around the edges. Remove top baking sheet and carefully peel off top piece of parchment. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes longer, checking often, until pears are dry and firm. They will crisp more upon cooling. Carefully peel pears from parchment while still warm and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve, return soup to pot if necessary and reheat over medium heat until steaming, stirring often. Stir in orange zest and juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warmed bowls and float a pear chip on top of each. Serve extra pear chips on the side.

*I made apple chips, slicing the apple horizontally.  Continue with recipe as written.

Serves 8

Source:  Holiday 2008 Food And Drink Magazine/LCBO via Monique/La Table De Nana

* * * * * * * * * *

To participate in Weekend Blog Showcase:

  1. Make a recipe from a fellow blogger's website and share the recipe on your blog with a link back to the blog where you found the recipe. (It's always a nice touch to comment on the blog recipe you've borrowed from.)
  2. Add the Weekend Blog Showcase logo to your post.
  3. Link your post to Mr. Linky.
That's it.  Leave a comment if you'd like.  We always love comments!  Thanks for joining in on the fun!


    chow and chatter said...

    wow this is an amazing soup thanks for sharing I made a cauliflower soup today but this is better

    theUngourmet said...

    I just picked up some beautiful cauliflower at farmer's market and I was contemplating soup. This looks like such a nice one with the lovely apple for garnish.

    Thibeault's Table said...

    I think I'll be picking up a cauliflower this week too. Looks and sounds amazing. I wouldn't mind just snacking on your apple chips.


    Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

    I'd love to join you on the Weekend Blog Showcase! What fun!

    La Table De Nana said...

    You made my heart sing~
    I am honored you chose it and made it even nicer and better.You're so sweet .

    a quiet life said...

    oh lori this looks soooooooo good, i would love someone to dazzle me in the kitchen like this! hope you are doing well, things are looking gorgeous here!

    SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

    A soup and blog after my own heart :) What a lovely recreation of Monique's post.

    This is a wonderful way to recreate and share recipes that catch your eyes!

    Linda said...

    Oh this looks so good...I had this bookmarked as well...I must try it really soon. Once i start some "real" cooking again...when all my chicks and the rooster are back in the coop!

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