Michelle had plenty of things to avoid around the house this weekend, among them income tax preparation and seemingly endless bouts of NCAA basketball (Steve says: “Go Cats!”). A shift in the weather made it uncomfortable to go outside, so Michelle took refuge in her alternate galaxy of cookbooks, choosing this time to travel to South Asia. A Sri Lankan coconut curry from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent perfumed the house wonderfully on Saturday, and, with basmati rice, made enough to fill tiffin boxes for lunches all week long. (There is no photo because, although quite tasty, the curry looked like cat yack.)
On Sunday, while Steve writhed in agonizing anticipation before tipoff, Michelle tackled an overabundance of cauliflower, chicken stock and cilantro in the refrigerator by visiting South Asia again—this time an Indian-style curried cauliflower soup from an old Patricia Yeo cookbook. While the soup was a bit subtle on its first outing (Steve could taste little but nervous bile, anyhow), the flavor deepened on Monday and made a good companion to our leftover curry.
Unfortunately for Michelle, Kentucky advanced to the Final Four (Steve says: “Go Jorts!”). This coming Saturday, as Gourmandistan succumbs to the last throes of March Madness, Michelle will very likely find herself in the kitchen again, searching for sanity in some exotic recipes.
CURRIED CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CILANTRO & CRÈME FRAÎCHE
(adapted from Patricia Yeo and Julia Moskin’s Cooking From A to Z: Big Asian-Inspired Flavors from the Acclaimed Chef at AZ) (serves 6)
- 1 TB canola or other unflavored oil
- 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into 2” pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 t. garam masala
- 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
- 6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- 1 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/4 c. crème fraîche
Heat oil in a soup pot. Add cauliflower, onion and ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until cauliflower is softened, about 15 minutes. Raise heat and add garam masala. Cook, stirring, until mixture is fragrant and cauliflower is lightly browned. Add potatoes and stock. Simmer until vegetables are tender, for about 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, put solids and some liquid into a blender and blend in batches until smooth. (Remove cap from lid of blender and cover with a towel so as not to have the soup explode. You know this, don’t you?) Place in a clean pot. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in cilantro and crème fraîche, and slowly reheat.