Cauliflower Soup and Caprese Salad for dinner the other night was perfect, although I think either one would have been enough for dinner with a little delicious bread.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)
serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
2 cups (200g) chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
7 cups (1.65l) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (35g) raw unsalted cashews or 1/4 cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked
3 tablespoons chopped chives or a grating of nutmeg (optional; choose one, not both), to garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, leeks, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the cauliflower and saute for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender. Stir the mix periodically and mash the cauliflower with a wooden spoon.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly; stir in the nuts. Pour the soup into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.) Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Stir in salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chopped chives or grated nutmeg.
This is a simple salad that I often make for dinner or for friends. I do make my own pesto and this one was pesto from my garden. Grab a handful of Basil (a few stems are ok), some toasted pine nuts, good EVOO, a few heads of garlic, Reggiano Parmesano to taste and throw it all in your blender. Add a little salt and/or pepper to taste. Just sample till it tastes great to you. Couldn’t be simpler. I had to laugh a few years ago on a Rick Steve’s trip to Italy that people thought the demo on how to make Pesto was impressive. I thought it was runny and not particularly tasteful.
Now, you’ve mastered making your own pesto, put it in layers with the Heirloom tomato (sliced 1/4″) with Burrato mozzarella (the good kind with the runny middle – YUM) and drizzle a little Balsamic Reduction over the top. Not only is it pretty, but it tastes delicious!
Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and you have the perfect summer dinner with hardly any cooking.