I’m back! Things have been a wee bit crazy the last couple of days, but we’ll talk about that another time. Instead, let’s talk about what everyone else is talking about: it’s cold! Sort of. In Atlanta, people are freaking out because highs are only in the 40’s. Back in Wisconsin, people annoyed that the temperature has been in the teens all week.
I love freaking people out with stores of winter weather in Wisconsin. What surprises people the most is that it’s the cold, not the snow, that generally caused problems. Snow can be removed. Snow can be prepared for. Snow melts. Snow is pretty. No amount of outerwear can prepare you for negative 12 degrees. It can not be shoveled aside. It is not pretty.
I clearly remember having more school cancellations because of freezing temperatures than snow. There was even a glorious day in fourth grade where we had two straight days of no school because it was so cold. Why, might you ask, do they cancel school when it’s cold? Do schools in Wisconsin not have heat? Well yes they do, but they also have a lot of kids that get to school via bus and if you can’t wait outside for the bus without getting frostbite within 40 seconds, then it’s difficult to get to school (even if your parents did build you a little shack at the end of your 1/2 mile long driveway).That and I’m pretty sure the teachers would have revolted at the thought of a full day of school without any recess.
Basically, growing up in those types of conditions (and ice fishing) is what prepares one to go to Green Bay Packer games at Lambeau Field shirtless.
If you’ve never had to wait for a bus in the arctic (or gone ice fishing), you can prepare for cold weather with soup. Warm, thick and creamy soup. Yes, this is a recipe for Cauliflower Soup, so there will be a full head of cauliflower involved, but please don’t be scared; cauliflower is your friend. Poor cauliflower is so undervalued. It can do most of the things a potato can do except it actually has nutrients instead of starchy carbs. You can make mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice and even cauliflower pizza crust. Since cauliflower is a vegetable, brimming with good things, it’s okay to use a little butter and cream to add some richness to this soup. I also suggest you add something to give it a flavor punch. In this case, the original author used crispy capers (they’re like tiny olives) and that was yummy. I’ve also used shredded Parmesan and crushed tortilla chips. I have never actually made the chive oil, but I bet it would be lovely.
And no, I’ve never gone shirtless to a game at Lambeau.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Capers and Chive Oil
by How Sweet Eats
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup half and half or whole milk 1/4 cups capers, patted completely dry salt and pepper to taste
additional roasted cauliflower for topping
1/4 cup chopped chives
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, then add onions with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in chopped cauliflower and vegetable stock, then cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until softened. A few times during cooking, use your spoon to press down and break apart or mash the cauliflower.
While cauliflower is cooking, make the chive oil. Combine the chives and olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until totally smooth. If needed, you can strain the oil thru a very fine mesh strainer. To fry the capers, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add dry capers and shake the pan or stir, tossing for 1-2 minutes until crispy and fried. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.
Once the cauliflower is soft, scoop it and the broth into a large bowl. Add half of the mixture to a blender or food processor with half cup of water and puree until smooth. Once smooth, add back to the pot. Puree the remaining cauliflower mixture with the other half cup of water. Add to the rest in the pot.
Heat over low heat, stirring in milk or cream and remaining butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then garnish with additional roasted cauliflower (roasted at 425 with olive oil, salt + pepper for 40 minutes, tossing), capers and chive oil. Or parmesan. Or tortilla chips.