Soup Season

It’s cold!

Time for soup.

This is one of my favorite soups, not least because it’s one that my children are sure to eat. Plus, it is creamy and cheesy and full of wonderful vegetables. I was twelve or so the first time I had it, and it was served to me in beautiful pumpernickel bread bowls. I’ve never made bread bowls, but croûtes are just as good, if not better.(Simply slice a baguette on the diagonal, brush with olive oil, and put under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn!)

Cauliflower-Cheese Soup

~adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook~

Place the following in a pot and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 15 minutes:

2 cups potato chunks

2 cups cauliflower, chopped

1 cup chopped carrot

3 cloves garlic

1 large yellow onion, chopped,

1.5 tsp. salt

4 cups water

Allow to cool, then blend in a blender (or with an immersion blender if you are lucky enough to own one) and return to pot.

Meanwhile, steam 1.5 more cups cauliflowerets. Drain and reserve.

Whisk in over low heat:

1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp. dill weed

1/4 tsp. ground caraway seed

black pepper to taste

reserved cauliflowerets

You can thin it with a bit more milk if it’s too thick. You can also use leftover mashed potatoes in place of the potatoes–just whisk them in with the second group of ingredients.Delicious!

How We Make Pizza Dough

We love our NY pizzeria pizza, but homemade pizza makes all kinds of sense. First, it’s inexpensive. Second, you can top it just the way you like it. Third, it’s fun.

I’ve used various recipes for pizza doughs over the years, and many have worked well, but my favorite way to make pizza is with the recipe for pita bread from the Moosewood Cookbook.

This is how to make it:

Dissolve in 1 cup warm (about 110 degrees F) water:

1 and 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 Tablespoon honey

Sift together separately:

1 teaspoon salt

about 3 1/2 cups of flour (or 3 and 1/4 c. flour + 1/4 c. vital wheat gluten)

Gradually add flour mixture to the wet mixture, and knead well until very smooth. (I let this ancient MixMaster fitted with kneading hooks do the work, but, sadly, it died shortly after.)

{Don’t be fooled by the bottle of olive oil in the background. This recipe doesn’t call for oil.}

Divide the well-kneaded and smooth dough into two smooth balls, cover bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled.

When the dough has nearly doubled, preheat your oven as high as it goes. (Mine goes to 500F.) Put a baking stone on the lowest oven rack to preheat as well.

Cut each half into three roughly equal pieces (6 pieces total) and roll each piece gently into a ball. Cover gently with a wet cloth and let rest 10 minutes.

Gently, working with one ball at a time, roll each into an approximate 10″ round, using additional flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking. Place on a flat smooth surface well-dusted with cornmeal or flour–you’re going to slip it off THAT surface onto the hot baking stone. (Yes, it’s a pain in the neck, but it’s doable.)

Top however you like; and slip onto hot stone. Bake 7-10 minutes–or until it looks done, and allow to cool a bit on a wire rack. Repeat with each dough ball. (You can freeze some of the dough for another time.)

Dollops of fresh pesto, fresh ricotta, and halved cherry tomatoes with a bit of mozzarella (no sauce). Yum! Done right (and I do not always do it right, alas) this is THE closest a homemade pizza comes to tasting like a real NY slice.

Enjoy the weekend!