Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creamy, Chunky, Cauliflower-Bacon Soup!

I have to admit that I'm something of a "soupmeister". I love soup and I make great soup! It's one of my absolute favorite things to make (and eat!) Although I've had to retire some of my old favorite recipes, such as provençal chickpea and fennel stew or white bean and kale soup, it gives me a great excuse to come up with new recipes!

Tonight, I came up with a particularly winning and easy one: Cauliflower-Bacon with Italian Parsley.

As per usual, I didn't do anything in an exacting manner (I like "free-form" measurements) but here is the basic outline so that you can enjoy a nice bowl of creamy, chunky soup on a chilly autumn evening.

-1 large cauliflower, steamed
-1 small onion, minced and sautéed
-2 or more strips of good quality bacon, cooked and chopped
-liquid to thin the soup- cream, chicken stock, water or even coconut milk will do. If you use water or stock, I suggest adding a bit of butter to add more fat.
-chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (as much as you like- I like a lot!)
- salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
-optional but awesome: smoked paprika, to taste

Put half of the cauliflower in the blender with the onions and add enough of your chosen liquids to reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper. After the base is blended, add bacon, parsley and the other half of the cauliflower (chopped up) and season with the paprika to taste.

This soup is flexible. You could blend all the cauliflower to make it creamier. You could add a bit of sharp cheese like pecorino or parmigiano-reggiano. You could leave out the bacon and paprika and use caraway seeds. You could add broccoli and cheddar. Lots of fun possibilities, so pimp your soup!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

U.P. North

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water

I'm in the midst of an end-of-summer vacation to me and Rose's home state of Michigan. Rose and I both live in the South, but our hearts remain firmly planted in Northern Michigan.

My hubby and I try to take a trip up to Traverse City in the "little finger" of the Mitten State every summer to see friends and family and this little-known part of the country is a true paradise! Gorgeous beaches, lakes, woods, wine country, farmer's markets and locavore restaurants. It's also the "Cherry Capital of the World" and a great fruit growing region. Heck yeah.

This year we decided to take a trip up to the Upper Peninsula (or the "U.P." as we Michiganders call it) this time, as I had never really explored that far north. It's a sparsely populated wilderness and water wonderland. I have to say that eating Primally in the land of deep-fried whitefish and pasties was not so easy, so I did my best (and ended up with a much starchier diet than my usual- still strictly gluten-free, though!) but I'm glad to be back in civilization, where I can go to the farmer's market or the co-op and get "normal" food;-) They have great organic farms, meat markets and a local bison herd, so I feel right at home in Traverse City.

Some of the highlights of the U.P. trip were:
Taking a sunset cruise around the stunning Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on Lake Superior, in Munising. Although I grew up on Lake Michigan, I had never been to Lake Superior, the largest, deepest and coldest of the Great Lakes.
pictured rocks Pictures, Images and Photos

finally seeing the upper and lower Tahquemenon Falls, which are the second largest falls east of the Mississippi, and are featured in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha": "by the rushing Tahquamenaw" Hiawatha built his canoe.
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visiting the charming, historic town of Marquette and nearby Presque Isle Park. It was ridiculously windy on Lake Superior that day!

and floating on a little self guided platform on the otherworldly Kitch-iti-kipi Big Spring. It was out of our way but very much worth the trip! The water is jade green and super clear (not to mention freezing- only 45º! Brrr.)
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It really feels like the end of summer and I can already feel the change of seasons beginning up here in N. MI, but it will still be summer in TN when I get back home.