Cauliflower and Watercress Soup
Ok, I admit, there are bigger world problems than this. However, it is worth nothing that cauliflower consumption is down 30% in the United States in 2011 versus the same time of the year in 2010. With terrible things dominating the news, is not it gratifying to have a less threatening matter about which to consider? Cauliflower, granted, is a stinky vegetable to cook. However, it is quite beneficial for the eater, packed with vitamins, and possessing few calories. What could be the problem with the decline in consumption? Some might say the taste. Smile at that thought but read on.
Maybe the issue of being white is part of the problem. Any cooking-show-chef worth his apron pontificates that a person eats with his or her eyes first. Boring white might be an issue here. Now, I have seen brown versions of this flowery-looking edible. That just typically meant that the cauliflower was old and needed tossing from my vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. I digress.
The food engineers solved the problem of the boring white vegetable. The saavy food buyer first saw the snowy white head show up in a green variety in terms of a color transformation. I honestly thought those guys just were not quite mature or something when I first spotted them. An engineering feat made these babies green! Do not worry. No food colorings came into play. Some engineer was just completing his mission. I love white cauliflower, so I did not buy the green guys. Then, I noticed a few months later that a sunny yellow edition had arrived. Again, the golden head did not score a place in my basket. Then, just this morning, I heard on a satellite radio talk show of a new purple cauliflower now available on the market. Now purple, I might just go for that.
My thoughts on the colorization of vegetables are this. I already love vegetables of all sizes, shapes, and hues. I will take them for their original color and adore them. For the person who does not feel such admiration for veggies, like potentially the children in the family, this color trend might be a terrific thing. I do believe that adults who love vegetables most likely had the excellent fortune of being introduced to that attitude in childhood. My mother taught home economics way back when that meant teaching sewing and cooking to junior high students who desired to do neither. As this was her profession, she introduced us to every vegetable known to humanity. What was the result? Her children as adults love vegetables of all sorts. Take that one step further, so do her grand children. Why is that? Her now grown daughters introduced them to vegetables from their toddler years forward.
Have fun with vegetable introductions. Assign each child in your family a color. Let them choose a fruit or vegetable of that color at the store to grace the dinner plate. Recipes are ubiquitous online for anything they choose. Of course, letting them help with the cooking is a terrific idea. The plan builds delicious, healthy meals and sets the stage for lifelong wholesome eating habits.
Now, I just can not resist telling about my favorite recipe for Cauliflower and Watercress Soup. I could eat this every day of the year. Preparation is a breeze. The health benefits are significant. The taste is sensational.
When cooking cauliflower, add just a bit of white vinegar to the water to help cut the smell. That tip alone will be worth the time it took to read this article. The only ingredients needed for this soup are; one head of cauliflower (broken down into florets), one bunch of watercress (washed and leafy part chopped), one onion (chopped), two garlic cloves (chopped) two tablespoons olive oil, four cups water, four cups chicken broth, 4 tablespoons white vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Bring the water to a boil. Add white vinegar and cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower until tender but still a bit firm. That should take about eight minutes depending on the size of the florets. Drain the water. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and cook the chopped onions and garlic in the oil for about ten minutes on low, just until the onions are translucent. Put the chicken stock, half the cooked cauliflower, the sautéed onions, and the garlic into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, the thickness of creamed soup. Put the mixture back into a pan on the stove. Roughly chop the rest of the cooked cauliflower and add to the soup mixture. Add the chopped watercress and heat just until heated throughout. The watercress will wilt and integrate into the hot liquid immediately. Add salt and pepper to taste. This incredibly great soup has next to no calories and tastes like a decadent creamed soup. Hey, try it in a green, yellow, or purple form should those colorful heads express themselves in the produce aisle! A color wheel says that green and purple go well together. Purple cauliflower and green watercress dancing in a well-seasoned soup could be trendsetting!
Part of the charm of this fabulous soup is that it tastes and feels like a creamed soup but has no cream. For me, that is made possible thorugh the pureeing process completed in a high powered blender. Few applicances earn a spot on my kitchen countertops as I prefer a cleared-off look. My Vitamix Blender earned a prime real estate spot upon its arrival. Making any creamed soup is as easy as just putting in the vegetables and setting the speed on high. The friction actually steams the soup without cooking on many varieties of recipes!
Now, let me go back to looking for an issue that might influence world peace. Enjoy!