Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Of Cauliflower Soup and the Innocence of Tea Lite Globes

It all started innocently enough.



I brought home four tea-lite globes to place by everyone's supper plate in the dark December eves. I had the best of intentions - wishing to bring holiday cheer to the table.Then, Kirsten brought me two more bird globes from the Sprawl. They're sweet little baubles. Innocent Christmas tchotchkes. Or so I thought. They light up, turn different colors, shower glittery snow and cast spells.

Shortly after that, my family started watching the globes. Forgetting to eat. And cheering when the globes were "in synch" (all displaying the same color at the same time). Harmless, right?

This developed into everyone grabbing the globes at some inopportune time (when I was eating) and we all had to turn them on at the count of "three" to synchronize their colors. (They never did stay in synch.) Then, they had the nerve to accuse me of always having a snow globe changing color one beat after all the others.


Then... my husband started displaying unusual behavior. He started going to the dinner table early and corralling all the little globes around his plate. He shook them until the glittery light threw sparkles that danced on his plate and announced that clearly he was the most celebratory one in the family.  The gauntlet was thrown down. The competition began.


By Christmas morning, the innocent little globes were being used as pawns as they were stolen to circle one plate and then another. If you reached across the table to grab a pat of butter - Boom! - your snow globe was stolen. And placed in a spoon, on the butter, hobbling precariously on a bottle or just selfishly hoarded.


Later they morphed into puppets on a set. Adorning the Gingerbread House....


Or lining up to get inside the house.


The tea-lite-globes at my mother's home were greeted with joy. My poor mother and sister had no idea what mischief could ensue at the dinner table. Soon the tea-globes were perched on spoons.

And were part of a Coat of Arms display.


And of course graced a dessert tray.



And when 3-year-old Adam patiently explained to me that Santa might not make it to my home on Christmas Eve - because we were all grown-ups - I was sure that Santa knew better.

Unfortunately, making mischief with tea-lite-snow-globes does not burn a lot of calories. And so we are in Day 2 of Christmas Recovery. I saw this on the Food 52 Digest website. It reminded me of one of the endless variations of of the Italian Aquacotta (cooked water) without the eggs. It is basically a "cooked vegetable in water" soup - perfect for the calm before the next holiday storm that is on its way Saturday night. I jazzed it up with shallots and garlic - but it does have a purity that entices during the Season of Indulgence.

Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup (Serves 8 - but really 4 in my house)



Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil (I added a tablespoon of Earth Balance Butter but it's vegan without it)
1 medium onion - thinly sliced (I added 1 large shallot and 1 garlic clove also thinly sliced)
1 head cauliflower - about 1-1/2 pounds - coarsely chopped
salt to taste 5-1/2 cups water - divided
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
freshly grated pepper to taste (note: Julia Child would only use white pepper in this!)

Over low heat, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onions (and shallots) in it for fifteen minutes. Don't let them brown. If using, add the garlic during the last minute.

Add the cauliflower, salt to taste and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover and cook for about 15 minutes - until tender. Then add 4-1/2 cups water, bring to a simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.

Working in batches puree the soup in a blender. (I used an immersion blender - saves time and clean-up). Let stand for 20 minutes. It will thicken a bit.

Thin the soup with last 1/2 cup of hot water. (Adjust the amount of water to your liking.) Reheat.

To serve: ladle soup into bowls and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Add a little pepper and enjoy.

It's as white as the new-fallen snow that we don't have... yet. (Do you hear me chortling with joy?) And watch out, I will be visiting all of you for the New Year wishing you all good things.... but if you have a mini-tea-lite-snow-globe, the unexpected just may happen.

41 comments:

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking soup and pictures happy holidays to you and family

Rosemary said...

How absolutely delightful! Wonderful story . . . . the games we play! (And I'm a big fan of cauliflower soup and I love my immersion blender, too.)

Bo said...

Sounds like something my family would do...I have made soup out of most things...but no cauliflower...I bet it's delicious.

Rebecca Subbiah said...

this post made me smile love those little things and great soup Happy new year hugs

Gina said...

You have no idea how much I want some of those mini snow globes now! They are so cute and I could see how the big kids couldn't leave them alone. I need a pot of this soup for the next week. Happy New Year to you and your family.
-Gina-

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

These are so cute Claudia and who wouldn't love that delicious soup?
Sam

Tina said...

I have never seen any of these tiny tea light globes around here-I think they are adorable decorations.
That creamy cauliflower soup is definitely something that would hit the spot on a cold afternoon or evening. I really do need to expand on my soup variety and this is a great recipe to start with. Hope this comment finds you enjoying this holiday season!

Pegasuslegend said...

Everything looks marvelous. Looks like fun with those adorable tea lights. Lovely table setting. The soup would be a perfection selection around the holidays... so happy you had a wonderful time and enjoyed your gifts.... Happy New Year to you and yours, may you have the best 2012 to come blessed with every day a joyous one!

That Girl said...

These globes (and the story) are fantastic!

Mary said...

It sounds like a grand holiday, Claudia. The soup sounds like a cure-all for those of us who over-indulged. Was a winner in the globe competition ever declared :-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Lizzy Do said...

LOL...your family is so fun!!! I've never even seen these tea lights, but when and if I do, I will think of you!!! And, yes, this soup is perfect after all the holiday gluttony! Happy New Year, my friend!

Claudia said...

The snow globe merriment continues. They are currently on the breakfast table in a huddle - making plans. Maybe I shouldn't have bought extra batteries...

Francesca said...

I just found you now by chance, while commenting on my friend's pegasuslegend's blog. Those zucchini flowers make me hungry! You've got a great blog, I am following you immediately. Best wishes from Rome, Italy. I'm actually Sicilian but these days we are in Rome.

Fresh Local and Best said...

The Christmas tea globes remind me of the gnome mysteriously appearing everywhere on the Christmas table. What fun you guys must of had with them.

I've been seeing a lot of Cauliflower blends recently, and this one looks really good. Happy holidays Claudia!

Anne said...

Sounds like you had a joyous and fun time on Christmas. Your table was beautiful as was the desert!

Jeannie said...

I can see why everyone can't stop playing with the tealights, they are so beautiful! Nice healthy soup too!

The Mom Chef said...

I wanna have Christmas at your house! Of course, we did the same kind of thing at my parents' with her multitude of holiday salt and pepper shakers (five different sets no less on one table). I love these little snow globes though and may have to steal your idea. :)

The soup is beauitful. It sounds perfect after a couple days of gorging.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I have never seen the tea light globes...great story. I have some pumpkin seed oil that I think I will drizzle on top when I make this. It is similar to a soup that we had while visiting northern Italy.

Angie's Recipes said...

So cute is that gingerbread house surrounded with tea lite globes. The soup looks down to earth delicious!
I need to get a head of cauliflowers to make some roasted veggies and the soup!
Happy New Year 2012 with lots of hope, joy and happiness!
Angie

Lyndsey said...

Ha! I can just picture it now whith everyone sitting around the table...eyeing everyone elsr...waiting for their next move. Next thing you know...you'll wake up to a ransome note, then have to call in the relic hunters to help you search...or not! :)

I love cauliflowr so many ways...this sound so simple and delcious! Thanks for sharing how the holidays are celebrated at your house! and have a happy New year too!

Reeni said...

What fun with the snow globes! I have to get some for next year. Cauliflower is in abundance right now and this is one of my favorite ways to eat it! I heart soup.

Cucina49 said...

I'm snickering over the globes hijacking Christmas and taking the focus off the food. Hilarious!

Marcellina said...

I need some of that soup now! After two days of Christmas eating we are now preparing for another Christmas feast with my brother in law who was away for work and missed Christmas lunch! Too much food! Italians!

Kristen said...

That is just the kind of thing my brothers would do. What fun!

I am looking for lighter things to eat, too. That soup sounds perfect.

Amy said...

Lol @ the tea light globes! That is just the sort of thing that would happen in my family! Your soup sounds wonderful! I love when cauliflower is used in other ways besides simply raw and with dip ;)!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, It sounds like good fun!!
The soup sounds simple and delicious!
Wishing you and your family the very best for the rest of the Christmas season and the New Year. Lots of love and joy. Blessings my friend, Catherine xo

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Lovely food and wonderful soup!

Best wishes for 2012!

Cheers,

Rosa

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I love cauliflower and this soup looks amazingly delicious! Haha it's funny how the competition started - I love those cute tea light globes!

Francesca said...

Ovviamente scherzavo Claudia, non ci vado nemmeno vicino a quegli alberghi. Lo passeremo a casa anche noi, mia figlia forse uscirĂ  con gli amici ma io a quell'ora non vado fuori. Buon Anno!

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Yes, I can hear you chortling with joy, Claudia! Cauliflower is one of my favourite soups and so warming at this time of year. What a story with these tea lights - at least you didn't need to make up the party games! Have a wonderful New Year and look forward to many more fun stories of yours in 2012!

kyleen said...

Funny story and beautiful soup!

Erica said...

Nice post...thanks for sharing!Happy New Year!

Stephanie said...

How funny about the little globes! That is something my family would probably do too! And I love your cauliflower soup!

Island Vittles said...

Sounds like a fabulous family Christmas! And I love the simplicity of the soup -- must have been cauliflower in all it's glory! theresa

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I hadn't seen those little snow globe tealights anywhere, but they're delightful. Will be on the lookout for them for next year. The detox soup would be most welcome right now but I have to confess the cannoli has captured my attention the most.

Barbara Bakes said...

Now I'm thinking I need to find some tea-lite globes. So fun! Happy New Year!

Namitha said...

Those snow globes are so cute ! Wish I had some :-)
Wish you a wonderful 2012 !!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

The tiny snow globes are so cute! I did not decorate as much as usual this year as it was only three of us at home for Christmas Eve, and I missed it. I have to plan differently next year and buy soem snow globes!

Your Mom's cannolis look so scumptious!

I have made the Williams Sonoma Cheddar Cauiflower soup many times but this soup version sounds so much more diet frendly, and one I'd be better off using! I am back to the gym again next week as I've been indulging in too many holiday sweets..sigh!

A very happy & healthy 2012 to you and your family, Claudia!

Velva said...

You know, I have never seen a tea light Christmas globe. I can see why they would bring so much fun to the table. So very cool.

We are in Christmas recovery ourselves. Your soup is a good addition to the holiday recovery menu :-).

Happy New Year!

Velva

Magic of Spice said...

There so cute...I would have to play with them too :) Looks like such a beautiful Christmas!

Jeanette said...

What fun you all had with your snow globes. Love how simple and healthy this soup recipe is. Happy New Year to you!