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.
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)
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.