the kitchen >> cauliflower + leek soup >> winter salad




This entire series was based on the idea of teaching basic fundamentals and techniques to my dear friend Nicole, who is not so knowledgeable in the kitchen.  Recently, the idea of learning to how to cook came up in conversation.  Whether it was something that could be learned or some people were just born with an intuition about.  A natural predetermined talent which allows some to instinctively know how to choose produce or what flavors mix well.  While I do believe that some people may have an advantage in this department, I  think that if the desire exists, anybody can learn how to cook.  Nicole has proven this.

In my personal opinion, in this food crazed culture we live in, sometimes we need to ditch the fancy cookbooks and roll up our sleeves and cook.  Just cook. I will be the first to admit that I get caught up in it all sometimes, and then I have a meal like this.  Simple. Rudimentary. Delicious.  It's a reminder of why we cook in the first place.

cauliflower + leek soup

  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, sliced and cleaned
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt tt
  • pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add leeks and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes.  Add white wine and stock to the pan.  Bring to a simmer.  Add cauliflower and thyme.  Cover pan and reduce heat.

Cook until cauliflower is fork tender.  This should take 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool until you are able to puree it.  You can ladle it into a processor or blender, or use an immersion blender.  Process until completely smooth.

Return to pan and heat.  Season to taste. Serve alone or garnish with olive oil, thyme, chive, shaved parmesan and red pepper.

winter salad

  • radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • arugula
  • shaved parmesan
 Arrange ingredients on a platter.  Dress with simple vinaigrette.


simple vinaigrette

  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • handful of favorite herb (we used fennel frond)
In a jar fitted with a lid, combine all ingredients and shake until emulsified.  If making ahead of time, be sure you shake before serving.

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