Monday, May 21, 2012

Two Soups in One: Radish Top and Cauliflower Soup

How Two Soups Came Together

Today I'm sharing the blogging stage with my food-obsessed Cooking Assistant  (aka the dog picker).   Could be a mistake but he's got kitchen privileges, while I make and adapt recipes from Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Every Day, a cookbook that's been getting a lot of use lately in my kitchen.

I often discuss recieps and I'd wanted to make Cauliflower Soup, but there was no way I could make it  with local produce. This season's cauliflower is still weeks away, and just last week I heard it was the last call for the overwintered cauliflower at Nash's Organic produce.  Pricey but good for end-of-the-season cauliflower.

I wanted to make this soup so badly, I'd practically decided to bag the seasons, for one week, and when I went to the market this past Saturday, I saw perfect radishes at Let Us Farm.  My first thought: why not use the radish tops and make two kinds of soup?

I love the tender sweet lettuce from Let Us Farm!  They are greenhouse grown right now, but once they harvest the lettuce from the fields it will be even more vibrant and tasty.

The radishes tempt me.  Radish top soup has been on my must-make list for a long time.  For one thing, I'm tired of  adding radish tops to my compost heap and last summer I'd heard how many other market shoppers used these greens--from green smoothies, to stir fries to sauces.  So why not use a simple turnip greens soup from my cookbook and substitute radish greens?  

But I still wanted cauliflower soup.  I wasn't exactly thinking about putting the two soups together in the same bowl, not yet anyway. But that's what I love about cooking.  Like a good story, things can change course quickly when it comes to soup.

Which brings me to my Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant, who sometimes embellishes his stories.

Kitchen Priviliges by Finn the Cooking Assistant

Though my garden priviliges were rudely revoked this weekend when I picked a few of radishes, my kitchen priviliges remain intact. What happened to "what's mine is yours?"  The radishes were delicious and I'd been moving on to sample the lettuce when I was interrupted and shown the gate.  I cried but the only asnwer I got was "Quiet!" hissed by the lady. The garden remains my dream, especially since I know where the radishes and strawberries grow.

In the kitchen, my favorite place is directly behind the lady.  I  touch her ankles as we share little strip of carpet, and if anything should fall I'd sense it in her movement.  Also if I fall asleep, the lady's movements wake me.

Mostly she doesn't mind but one day she stepped on my ear.  I cried out as the lady fell over me, landing with a thud on the kitchen floor.  But instead of concern and "Are you okay Finn?" there was much yelling and hand waving as if the incident was my fault. I was ushered out of the kitchen, pronto.  

I'd like to point out I was not the one doing the stepping.  Also I don't have the advantage of height so I can supposedly see everything underneath me. I think humans like to blame others, it comes easily to many of them, but this is not the first time the lady has fallen over me, and each time she has the gall to blame it on me.  Seriously, I'm sorry for her but is her clumsiness my fault? 

It all has to do with the roles of leaders and followers. A follower should pay attention to the leader at all times.  The lady won't ever learn how to be a good follower. She sticks tiny plugs in her ears and hums songs like she's on another planet.  Following and observing isn't really a hard task, unless you don't pay attention. The number of times the lady has gotten it wrong makes me question how long humans will last on this planet.

One thing she does get right is cooking.


I love vegetable soups but they often need a little thickener--a roux with oil, flour and water blended together, or cornstarch, arrowroot, potato starch, rice flour, and even corn tortillas torn into bits, for starters. You can also use a cooked potato, puree in and that's the way this soup is thickened.  However,  don't make the mistake of getting a purple or red potato because it will seriously alter your soup's color.

The lady and man planted potatoes from Olson farms in our garden.   They did this last year too, and  ended up with a bumper crop of potatoes in the fall.  But this early in the season, most of our produce comes from the market not our garden.

Since we are also on a buget the lady writes lists on Fridays, yet always manages to come home with more than the things on the "list." 

Sister Chloe and I did a thorough bag check when the lady returned.   

And guess  what I found?

Those little red bulbs fascinate me.  And the sweet, spicy scent lures me.  I'd eat the entire bunch if I wasn't on such a short leash around the produce.

Brilliant idea to swirl the soups together.

Radish Top Soup 
(Serves 1, or use it to swirl into another soup)

1 spring onion, 1/2 cup chopped shallots or garlic greens (use garlic greens only for canines)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Radish tops fro 1 bunch of radishes, washed and chopped
1 cups vegetable broth, water or half broth/or water and half milk (soy, rice, almond, cashew or dairy)
Dash of garlic powder
1 tablespoon green salsa
2 tablespoons almond butter
Generous pinch of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 or two radishes, finely chopped for garnish

1. Saute the onion or shallots in a medium saucepan, in olive oil.  Add radish tops and vegetable broth.  Cook until greens soften.  

2. Puree with an immersion or regular blender, adding green salsa, almond butter. smoked paprika, and lemon to taste.  Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle radishes over the top.

Back to the book for the second act . . .

This book is filled with great ideas like these crispy mustard croutons.

If you ask me, these croutons push this soup into the spotlight.

Though the lady made this soup pretty much like the recipe specified, except for the cashew cream and smoked paprika, she says you can drop the butter and cheese and not miss them, unless of course, you wanted to share with your Cooking Assistant.  And seriously, who wouldn't if your assistant is so cute and loves everything you make?

Cauliflower Soup
Artisan Spring Cheese and Mustard Croutons
(Serves 4 to 6)

3 cups artisan bread, cut roughly into chunks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
Smoked paprika

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into bite size
3 to 4 cups cut fresh califlower, cut into bite size pieces
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup cashew cream*
2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2/3 cup grated cheese, use your favorite (optional)
Olive oil

1. Preheat oen to 350F.  Make croutons by tossing placing bread in a bowl and heating the butter, olive oil, mustard, and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan on low.  Stir in salt, blend, then toss mixture with bread.  Toss well, then spread the bread cubes on a baking pan.

2. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning them once with a spatula halfway through baking.

3. While croutons toast, make the soup.  Heat a soup pot over medium heat.  Add oil and garlic cloves.  Stir and cook until cloves soften, but not brown.  

4. Stir in the potato, ground pepper and water.  Cook on medium-low until potatoes and cauliflower are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Puree with an immersion or traditional blender, gradually adding the cashew cream, mustard, and half the cheese, if desired.

5. Serve with croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.  

Cashew Cream
(Make 1 cup)

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup water
Salt (optional)

1. Soak cashews in apple juice for at least 1 hour.  

2. Liquify in a blender, adding lemon juice to the desired degree of tartness.  If using for savory foods, you can also add a dash of salt.  (Note: A dash is approximately 1/8th teaspoon)

I'll take the croutons. . . .


Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra and Finn,
Your soups look delicious and I can't wait to give them a try. I just love fresh vegetables this time of the year.

Now Finn, you can come to my garden any time you want and you know I would give you whatever you want, you are such a cutie!!

Hope you have a very special week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

Funny how those 2 soups look like they were meant to be together! The cauliflower soup in particular sounds so good!

Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night! Sunday Night Soup Night is taking a break over summer and will return in the Fall. In the meantime, I'd love to see you at Summer Sunday Salads whenever you have a salad receipe to share!