Soup-Er Bowl: White Bean, Sausage and Cauliflower Soup

superbowl football soup cauliflower

Soup-Er Superbowl Soup

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. If I read the Roman Numerals correctly, it’s Super Bowl 48..Not 49-er. And while, we, as New Yorkers, lament that our (or Jersey’s depending upon how you look at it) hometown team won’t be playing, we rejoice in the fact that at least one Manning will be there….Hopefully leading the Broncos to victory.

And, let’s be honest, we’re just happy it’s not the Patriots.

superbowl soup dinner recipe budweiser horses

Boozy Budweiser Clydesdales – not Colts

I know it’s almost Super Bowl Sunday because I saw the Budweiser Clydesdale horses outside of my apartment the other day. That’s right, a team of boozy Broncos led by some Cowboy towing a ton of beer. Right here on 67th St. Only in New York, Kids.

And, then there are all of the cooking tips on TV. Seem that no one eats like a Saint on SBS. Most chow down more like Cardinals – twice their weight in one day – and view Super Bowl Sunday as an excellent opportunity to consume 8million tons of guacamole – always seemed odd to me. Maybe those Texans started this tradition of guac. Americans pride themselves on creating 7-layer dips in the shapes of football stadiums, wrapping billions of cocktail weenies in crescent dough and consuming copious amounts of …beer.

I, on the other hand, prefer to provide my guests with Giant Soup-er Super Bowl soups. Last year, I made the Soup-Er simple Taco Soup…..this year, I’ll be mesmerizing Manning fans with a not as simple, but equally delicious, White Bean, Cauliflower, Chicken Sausage Soup. A soup that may even entice my Seahawk friends Jet-ing in from the west.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. If you don’t have a hand held blender – get one. They don’t take up a lot of space, aren’t that expensive, come in pretty colors (mine is pink) are dishwasher safe and make an easy job of pureeing your soup.
  2. Timing is everything – since you’re having people over, clean as you go – you don’t have counter space for all of those dirty pots & pans anyway and your kitchen probably doubles as your bar, coat rack, convening space for friends and Titans of Industry.
  3. If you don’t have a Viking range, no worries, yours will be just fine.

Soup-Er Super Bowl Soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • rachael ray sausage oscars smoke house super bowl soup

    Super Sausage from Somewhere Upstate – Well East of Buffalo, home of the Bills

    4 Chicken-Cheddar-Spinach Sausage links Sliced –  mine were from Oscar’s Smoke House upstate –  because Rachael Ray says so…PS, they ship to NYC

  • 2 Cans White Northern or Cannolini beans – the big white ones not the Redskin-ed ones – rinsed
  • 2 Cups Cut Cauliflower – don’t be an over Packer – just 2 loose cups will do
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion Diced
  • ½ Small Shallot diced
  • 2 Cups of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme – ok, mine are frozen – not in the refrig-e-Raider, but in the freezer
  • 4 Cups of Good Chicken Stock – like you’d ever use ‘bad’ chicken stock?
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Spread the cauliflower on a lined baking sheet (Reynolds Wrap pan-lining paper is my fave), sprinkle with EVOO and salt and gently mix

vegetable roasting cauliflower

Cauliflower Ready to Roast

3. Put Cauliflower in to oven and roast for :30mins

cauliflower roasted vegetarian

Brown(s) Food Is Good Food

4. Meanwhile…..In a large stock pot – Le Creuset, s’il vous plait – over medium heat, sauté the diced onion and shallot in about 2 tbsp of EVOO until well softened and sorta translucent – about :10 mins

soup onion shallot super bowl sunday dinner

The onion makes it onion-y the shallot makes it sweet…and it’s pretty

5. Toss in a Bay Leaf for flavoring….

soup recipe super bowl

Bay Leaf for seasoning

6. Add 4 Cups of Chicken Stock and 1 Cup of water

7. Add in the roasted cauliflower and the Thyme leaves

cauliflower soup dinner recipe

Stirring in roasted cauliflower goodness

8. BTB / RTS – bring to boil, return to simmer….but, you knew what I meant

9. Simmer for :25 minutes until the cauliflower is well softened. Keep an Eagle’s eye on your simmer – it’s an art, simmering.

While that’s simmering….

9. In a frying pan over medium/high heat, add 1 tbsp of EVOO and sauté the sausage slices until browned.

dinner sausage soup with white beans

Chicken Sausage with Cheddar and Spinach – Oscar’s Smoke House NY

10. Remove the sausage and set aside

oscars smoke house chicken sausage

Browned and Beautiful

——————————WAIT—————————————

ABOUT :10mins – read a book, call your mom, watch an episode of ‘That’s So Raven(s)’, whatever….

11. In the sausage-y pan, add the spinach and wilt – :04 mins ish

fresh spinach soup cauliflower recipe

Wonderfully Wilted Spinach

12. Remove the sautéed spinach and set aside

13. Back to the large stock pot….After :25 minutes Turn off heat on Stock Pot…….Remove the bay leaf

14. Stir in 1 15oz can of White Beans and simmer another :05 minutes

soup dinner recipe

Simmering Simmering Simmering

15. Add pepper to taste – about 4-5 turns of a mill

16. Puree mixture with pretty pink hand held blender until smooth – you may have to chase the chunks of cauliflower…Like a Lion, Panther or a Bengal Tiger might chase down its prey.

soup puree cauliflower

Pretty Pink Pureeing – chasing chunks of Cauliflower

dinner soup recipe cauliflower spinach sausag

Smooth, Sleek and Silky…Like a Jaguar

17. Stir in 1 Cup of Cannolini / Northern White beans and the cooked sausage and the spinach. I like a soup that eats like a meal…so, I add no more stock… you do what you want, you know what I’m doing…If your guests are hungry as Bears, Ram in another can of beans to make it more stew-ish. You can also stir in some cream, don’t need to, but can – whatever you want. You’re the Chief Chef here.

soup super bowl recipe find the teams

Do you have to add spinach? No, but it’s pretty and delish

Gindo's Spice of Life fresh and spicy pepper sauce

That’s Hot!

18. Have some spice-loving Buccaneers coming over? You can, at this point, stir in a few dashes of Gindo’s Fresh and Spicy Spice of Life…for an extra point or an onside kick!

19. Heat Through

20. Serve warm (just in a simple soup bowl, no need for the formality of fine china on gilded Chargers).

Add some yummy, crusty bread  – I paid just $1.19 for a baguette at Fairway today! At that price, I felt like a Steeler of breads!

dinner soup recipe super bowl

The Spinach Swims in the Soup like a Graceful Pod of Dolphins

So….the Giants didn’t make it to the big game. It’s fine. Truth be told, I’m more in to the commercials anyway…And the cooking. And, with this chicken sausage, white bean and cauliflower soup – it’s sure to be a Soup-er Super Bowl Sunday!

Go Peyton!

PS – Maybe you’d rather watch reruns of Falcon(s) Crest instead of the Big Game. Listen, if you need to be entertained, find the 32 NFL teams mentioned in this post.

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NOPCME And Other Vanity Plates: Peas and More Pea Soup

pea soup with bacon and creme fraiche

Pretty Pea Soup – With Homemade Creme Fraiche and Bacon Bits

I sorta love vanity plates. I was driving a ton for a job – with a colleague/friend – up and down the west coast training people to sell fragrance. The countless hours in the car led to some in depth conversations….But, by about week 2, we already knew pretty much everything about each other, each other’s families, lives, histories, first loves, last loves, secret loves etc.

So we needed another way to pass the time. And, we were in California – land of the vanity plate. Coming from NYC and without a car of my own at the time, I hadn’t had a lot of experience with deciphering vanity plates. So, this became one of our favorite driving games. It’s like figuring out what text abbreviations mean now.

On our journey, we ran into some great plates including:

LXN1RLND:  Owned by my friend, Alex, who lived on Wonderland Drive

NA HE DNT: no explanation needed

8MPG: A Hummer owner making no excuses

L8ASUSL: For the terminally tardy

4RCEBWU: For the Star Wars junkie

One of my favorites, though, read simply ‘NOPCME’. Nopcahmah? Nopchemey? We spotted this one in the parking lot of a hotel and struggled to determine what it meant. And, then we found out that the owner was a urologist….And, his license plate advertised his business: No Pee? See Me!

So I thought about making Pea Soup…and realized that I had a ton of other vegetables that needed using. And I made…

Peas and More Pea Soup (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • leeks

    Fresh and Dirty Leeks

    2 slices of Bacon cut into small pieces

  • 2 Cups Chopped Leeks – 2 leeks, whites and light green parts – they’re usually pretty gritty, so wash them well
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 Sweet Potato – peeled, chopped and roasted until soft (see below)
  • 2 10oz packages of Birdseye or 365 Brand Frozen Peas – I used a combo of both
  • 5 Cups of Chicken Stock- I use Whole Foods 365 brand, it’s very well priced, rich and delicious
  • 1 TSP fresh Thyme leaves
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • leeks soup pea recipe

    Submerge Leeks to Clean

    1 TSP Pepper

  • Olive Oil
  • A tad of Gindo’s Spice of Life Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce – to taste
  • Creme Fraiche for garnish

Sweet Potato Prep:

  • sweet potatoes super food

    Super Sweet Potatoes

    Preheat Oven to 425 degrees

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with Reynold’s Wrap Pan Lining paper – parchment side up
  • Spread the Sweet potato dices in a single layer on the parchment and gently sprinkle with Olive Oil – do not salt!
  • Bake for :08 mins, then toss and bake an additional :07-:08 mins until softened but not browned
  • Remove from the baking sheet and set aside

1. In the bottom of a large heavy bottomed pot (my 6qt Le Creuset, for example), heat 1 TBSP of Olive Oil over medium heat

2. Add the bacon pieces and render until crispy

smithfield farms bacon

BCN: Bacon Render Render Render….Crispy

3. Remove the bacon and set aside

4. To the bacon fat add a TBSP of olive oil and then add the carrots and stir – about :04 mins.

whole foods vegetable soup

KROTS: Carrots First

NOTE: You want to add the carrots first because they take longer to soften

5. Add the leeks and onion to the carrots and cook until softened – about :10-:12 mins stirring occasionally

pea soup recipe with sweet potatoes

OLC: Onions, Leeks and Carrots

6. Add the chicken stock, sweet potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil

pea soup chicken stock whole foods

CHXSTK: Chicken Stock

7. Reduce to a simmer and add the frozen peas

365 frozen peas birdseye

+PS: Stir in the Peas

8. Simmer until the peas are softened – about :04 mins

9. Turn the heat off and allow the soup to cool – while it’s cooling, you can wash all of the prep bowls, knives and cutting boards you may have used

10. Set up a Puree Station: In my case…A KitchenAid blender and a second empty heavy bottomed pot on low

all clad puree kitchen aid station

PUR A STN: Puree Station

11. Transfer a few ladles of the soup to the blender and puree

pea soup vegetables

<PUR A: Pre-Puree – Needs to Cool

12. Pour the pureed soup into the second pot and repeat until all of the soup is pureed

365 chicken stock whole foods

> PUR A: Post Puree

pea soup recipe

PP N ACP: Post Puree in Pretty AllClad Pot

13. Serve with a garnish of Creme Fraiche and Crispy Bacon Bits

NOTE: Making your own Creme Fraiche is super easy – mix equal parts heavy cream and sour cream in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out on a counter over night. In the morning, put it in the fridge and chill for about 4 hours. Done and done.

Years later, I do now have a car…But, no vanity plates. Instead, I allow the DMV to assign me a plate and then I make up a meaning for the letters I get. My first license plates read:

911 URE = Emergency! You Are Excellent.

My next was:

411 XPC = For Your Information. You’re Extra Pretty-Cute.

You can really interpret them anyway you want. Maybe, on my car NOPCME would mean: Numerous Organic Produce Creates More Elegance…in a Peas and More Pea Soup.

Souper Season: Vegan Butternut & Avocado Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup. Bowl by DG designs

At 10:48am this past Saturday, it began. Fall is officially upon us. Try as you may, you can’t stop the seasons from changing. All you can do is hope against a repeat of 2011’s Snow-Tober and embrace the cooler, darker mornings, the earlier sunsets, the changing leaves and all that comes with fall.

A few positives about the onset of autumn – The return of boots – wrestle them out of their summer hiding places – backs and tops of closets and wear them proudly! Sweaters, fashion tights, football, the NYC Marathon, season premieres of your favorite shows. Oh yes! Fall is filled with wonderful things.

The chill in the air also ignites a desire for sipping, savory soups.

Let me just be honest: a bowl of soup does not a meal make. Those girls in their Manolos and Pashminas who would smile as they popped a head into my office at lunchtime and say: ‘Hey, I’m going to get some soup, wanna come?’ drove me insane. Hot soup is a starter. Cold soup is a pallet cleanser. Neither is a meal.

I don’t care if it’s loaded with rice or pasta or jam packed with vegetables and infused with cream. Soup isn’t a meal. OK, yes when the proportion of protein – beef, chicken or turkey NOT tofu or egg – far outweighs the amount of liquid, it can be a meal. But that’s a stew or a chili – not a soup.

So, to celebrate the season of soup and kick off #SquashWeek….A Souper Starter:

Vegan Butternut & Avocado Squash Soup (serves 4-6)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

1. Cut a 3lb Butternut Squash in half and remove the seeds….The 3lbs is a guideline and unless you have a food scale, you may never know how heavy your squash is as under 5lbs generally won’t register on a regular scale. Because I was curious, I stood on my bathroom scale and weighed myself and then weighed myself with the squash – exactly 3lbs. Just lucked out on this.

OK, splitting the squash is the hardest part and requires patience, strength, courage and the right tools….sharp knife and knife resistant glove. These tools do look like murder weapons, but the only thing murdered was the squash I assure you….

Squash Splitting Tools. Not murder weapons…

Butternut Squash hacked in two and de-seeded

2. Drizzle the cut side of the Butternut squash with Olive Oil and a little salt and place cut side down on a rimmed baking dish lined with tin foil

3. Cut an Avocado Squash in half, drizzle the cut side with Olive Oil and salt and put cut side down on the baking dish with the butternut squash

Avocado Squash: purchased at local farmer’s market

NOTE: The avocado squash added another layer of flavor. It’s sweeter and a bit more delicate. The seeds are small, and since I was going to puree the soup, I left them in…

Butternut and Avocado Squash ready for the oven

4. After 30 – 35 minutes, remove the Avocado Squash from the oven and allow to cool.

Avocado Squash Roasted and Ready for Scooping

5. Once cooled scoop out the flesh from the squash and set aside

6. The Butternut squash will take longer to soften – closer to :60 minutes. You will know it’s done when you can easily pierce it with a fork. Remove from oven, allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh and set aside

Butternut Squash, roasted, softened and ready for scoopin

7. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of Olive Oil and then add in two diced shallots and saute until fragrant and softened – about :06 mins

Shallots Sauteing and Softening

8. Add the squash flesh, 1 qt of Vegetable Stock and 1 1/5 tsp of Curry Powder and bring to a boil – I used mild, but you can go as spicy as you like

Bringing the mixture to a boil

9. Reduce to a simmer and cover for :10mins until the squash flesh is broken down

10. Remove from heat and allow to cool for :05 – :10 minutes

11. Working in batches, transfer some of the mixture to a blender and puree. If you like a little chunk in your soup….just chop, don’t puree. Transfer post-blended soup to a new saucepan on the stove and keep over low heat. Repeat until all of the mixture is blended and soup-ified

BE CAREFUL! If the soup is too hot…it will blow the top off of the blender – seriously, let it cool!

Butternut and Avocado Squash Mix in Blender

Butternut and Avocado Mixture to Soup Staging Area

12. Once heated through, garnish with parsley and a drizzle of Olive Oil and serve hot.

NOTE: If you are not Vegan, you can add a dollop of Sour Cream

Fall is here. Celebrate it! And with the dawning of fall, Squashweek has officially begun. So, get some colorful squash from your farmer’s market, grab a sweater, put on those boots, tune in to football or the newest episodes of your favorite TV shows and start any fall meal with this Souper Squash Soup.