“So…what’s in here?” they all asked, not in the usual, “What weird thing are you hiding in our dinner?” but in a tone of awe and wonder and genuine curiosity.
I’m still not sure how Tess Masters’ Creamy Cauliflower Soup has such an interesting and non-cauliflower-y flavor with so few ingredients, no dairy, and a whole head of cauliflower! I do know that it was a huge hit with all three Kimball kids, the in-laws, and the husband, who is the one surprised there was so much cauliflower. “But it doesn’t taste all that much like cauliflower!”
Some of the children were hesitant at first, but adding straws to a meal will get a child to try anything!
I even had to bring the cookbook to the table to just let my mother-in-law read the recipe, which launched me into some tales from after the show when I interviewed Tess and two other cookbook authors. During the KS Connect *Plus* show (show notes and replay here; it’s kind of like a laid-back talk show), we got to hear about the photo shoots for Ricki Heller’s and Jenny McGruther’s new books, but somehow we missed the details of Tess’s shoot.
Let me tell you.
I think she made us all jealous!
Her photo shoot was not only with a super famous, uber talented photographer who just happened to be a reader of her blog and made time for her shoot in his busy schedule (!!!), but it took place in a rich celebrity’s home in Australia – for two weeks! A professional chef made all of her recipes, people styled the food (beautifully I might add), she had Hollywood makeup artists, and on and on.
I couldn’t get over thinking, “You got to eat healthy food on the job for two weeks and not worry a thing about what was in there – AND you didn’t have to cook or do dishes!” It sounds like a real food Heaven, doesn’t it?!
Looking for more soup recipes? You won’t want to miss the eBook Winter Soups, a compilation from over 50 real food bloggers. I truly enjoy having this book in my collection for all the great new ideas. Check it out here.
I’m super thrilled to have permission to post the Creamy Cauliflower Soup recipe for you all today – I heard about it on a Monday night on the show and made it the following day, which is a very rare occurrence. But between the fridge and freezer I had all the ingredients and wanted to make a soup the next day, so it was serendipitous.
Tess’s new book that just launched Tuesday, The Blender Girl (found on Amazon), is a vegan cookbook, so no meat, dairy, or eggs, but you won’t miss them. And as you’ll see in the recipe notes, I thoroughly un-veganized this soup and it was just lovely.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 tsp. chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
- 2 c. (200g) chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
- Natural salt
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 7 c. (1.65l) vegetable broth
- ¼ c. (35g) raw unsalted cashews or ¼ cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked*
- 3 Tbs. 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 ¼ 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.
* I tried using my immersion blender right in the pot, my go-to for most blended soups, but I quickly realized that with the nuts, it wasn't going to be a nice result. I was glad my cheap blender has a glass container since I don't love putting hot things in plastic. I poured right from the blender and it was perfect! I blended in 2 or 3 batches, about 1-2 minutes per batch.
* Substitutions I made: chicken stock for vegetable broth, butter for olive oil. ;)
* The book recommends serving with a "grain ball," i.e. leftover cooked grains like rice or quinoa, plopped into the center like the photo shows. I didn't do that part, but it's a neat idea to bulk it up a little as it's a very light soup.
* For kids, serve with straws!
We also have tried the tastes-like-ice-cream kale smoothie (twice) and my kids adore it. I was even able to make it with my normal (aka cheap) blender in spite of the nuts and dates in the recipe, since I let my parents borrow my Blendtec so my dad can get more greens during his cancer treatment.
And the only thing that would make the cauliflower soup better? I keep thinking about adding sausage…
More About the Book and Author from Ten Speed Press
Australian- born Tess Masters is a cook, writer, actor and voiceover artist. Tess’s lively, down-to-earth approach has attracted legions of fans looking for quick and easy ways to prepare healthy food. As a presenter and recipe developer, Tess collaborates with leading food, culinary and lifestyle brands and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Vegetarian Times, Glamour.com, Chow, Epicurious, and AllRecipes, among many others.
In The Blender Girl, Tess shares 100 whole-food recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, and rely on natural flavors and sweeteners. Smoothies, soups, and spreads are a given in a blender cookbook, but this surprisingly versatile collection also includes appetizers, salads, and main dishes with a blended component. Whether it’s the cream of cauliflower soup that has tasters insisting “there’s gotta be dairy in this,” the sneak-your-veggies-in tomato sauce that turns any pasta or pizza into nutritious family fun food, the potato salad whose blended dressing ensures no spud will be a dud, the apple pie smoothie that’s reminiscent of the perfect bite à la mode, the ten-minute chocolate torte that makes chocoholics weak at the knees, or the kale shake that tastes like pistachio ice cream Tess’s recipes are healthy and fun.
Details on the benefits of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating; proper food combining; and eating raw, probiotic-rich, and alkaline ingredients round out this nutrient-dense guide. Butyou don’t have to understand the science of good nutrition to run with The Blender Girl – all you need is a blender and a sense of adventure. So dust off your machine and get ready to find your perfect blend.
I became The Blender Girl by accident.
I felt constantly lethargic in my teens, and was eventually diagnosed with Epstein Barr. At the suggestion of a naturopath, I gave up gluten, dairy, and meat, and felt better almost overnight. I’d been brought up on a conventional meat-and-three-veg diet, and was, indeed, both gluten and dairy intolerant.
This was my awakening to food as medicine and a revolution in the way I ate. I was now an omnivore with a dilemma, but would have to wait years to read Michael Pollan’s eyeopening book. I pursued a keen interest in the relationship between food and health, studied nutrition science, and took cooking classes to develop my culinary skills.
In my early twenties, my friend Toni introduced me to macrobiotics, which became an important part of my ongoing journey of discovery. However, after following this regime religiously, I still didn’t feel as good as I knew I could.
She goes on to tell the tale of her many experiments with diets and healing regimens over the years, finally coming to a “perfect blend” of bits and pieces of all of them – and discovering a true love affair with her blender.
If you want to get to know Tess further, check out her website at The Blender Girl, listen to the Google Hangout, or just buy her book, The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks – 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! – which looks to be at #145 in all books already this week! I hope Tess can break the top 100; she deserves it!
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks–100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! by Tess Masters, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo Credit: Photo taken by Anson Smart © 2014
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