This past weekend we piled our girls in the car and headed north to visit three different families of friends. One of our excursions included the Oakdale Gouda Cheese Farm with the VanderMeulens. This place is the real deal with delectable cheeses handmade by Dutch immigrants. We came home with a 2-pound glorious wheel of basil gouda cheese.
My kids are cheese monsters. They would eat cheese all day long if I let them. I'm not sure if it's their Italian blood or if mama has modeled that one for them. That said, we are careful about too much cheese intake. We regard it as a special treat at our house for cost and health reasons.
I learned a good lesson during The New Year's Pantry Challenge that sometimes making the cheese a garnish is a great way to save money and show off the "special" ingredient. My Potato-Corn Chowder employs the same technique. I love easy soups when the weather is cold and you need something hearty to warm your insides.
This cauliflower soup was inspired by the beautiful heads of cauliflower at our local market, and, of course, the wheel of gouda cheese. Bon Appetit!
Cauliflower Potato Cheese Soup
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
-6 small potatoes
-2 carrots, chopped
-4 cups water or chicken stock
-1 tablespoon dried or fresh parsley, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon celery seed
-1/8 teaspoon pepper flakes, optional
-2 tablespoons flour
-2 cups milk or cream
-1 cup gouda cheese, shredded (You might use another hard cheese like parmesan.)
-4-5 stalks green onions, chopped for garnish
1. Add oil to a large stock pot. When oil is heated add, garlic and stir until fragrant.
2. Saute or sweat the cauliflower, potatoes and carrots in the oil until they are slightly brown and tender.
3. Add the water or chicken stock.
4. Add spices: parsley, sea salt, black pepper, celery seed, red pepper flakes.
5. Allow to simmer about 20 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Meanwhile, mix flour and milk in a separate measuring cup or bowl.
6. Add milk and flour mixture to soup. Continue cooking for about 10 more minutes until soup begins to thicken.
7. Serve in bowls with cheese grated on top as garnish. Another colorful garnish would be chopped green onions.