Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sugar & Salt (and jalapeno and cauliflower and cheddar)

Sugar & Salt: A Year at Home and at Sea is an interesting cookbook. Author Annie Mahle, spends half of her year at sea and half at her own home. At sea, she cooks for crowds, while her at-home cooking is for family and friends.

Must be an interesting way to live and to cook.

The book is divided by month, based on what recipes Mahle might be cooking at that time. You'd think I'd pick an August recipe, or at least a summer/early fall one, right?

But no, I decided to make a recipe that was at the front of the book. In January.

Yep, January. But really, it's perfect for this time of year, too. Sure it's soup, and you usually think of soup as being a winter dish, but right now fresh cauliflower and jalapenos are abundant at the farmer's market. And despite the cheese, this is actually a fairly light dish. There's lots of cauliflower in there.

If the idea of jalapenos in a soup scares you a little, don't worry about it. If you remove the seeds and ribs from the pepper, the heat isn't all that much. I've had soups with more heat from generous use of black pepper.

Of course, if you want a spicier soup, you could leave the seeds and ribs in, or you could use more pepper, or you could choose a hotter pepper. But really, I think this wag good just like it was - with a mild spiciness and just enough cheese to let you know it was there.

Cauliflower, Cheddar and Jalapeno Soup
adapted from Sugar & Salt by Annie Mahle

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions (about 1 large)
3 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
6 cups cauliflower, chopped coarsely (about 1 large head)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese (about 2 cups, lightly packed)

Heat a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the onion, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic and cauliflower and saute another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Add the flour and stir until it is completely incorporated, then add the broth and stir until the flour is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the milk and cheddar cheese, and stir until the cheese is fully melted. Do not bring to a boil (or close to it) after the cheese is added, or you risk "breaking" the soup.

Serve as is, or puree until the soup is smooth. (That's what I did, and I garnished it with additional shreds of cheddar cheese.)

Reheat any leftovers gently to avoid breaking the soup.

So, did I tease you enough about this book?

Want more? Some more of my Virtual Potluck friends also made recipes from this book, and you can see the whole list over at Shelby's site, Diabetic Foodie.

But wait! There's more!

Would you like to WIN your very own copy of Sugar & Salt?

I've got one to give away!

  • For the first and mandatory entry, leave a comment here telling me what your favorite soup is. Or your favorite cheese. Or your favorite vegetable. If you don't like soup, cheese or vegetables ... uh ... meat? Fruit? Just leave a comment. It's all random, anyway.
  • For a second entry, tweet a link to this contest and come back here and comment, telling me that you tweeted.
  • For a third entry, pin one of the photos from this post to Pinterest. Come back here and tell me that you pinned.

And that's it. Three possible ways to enter, one cookbook for you to win. Usual contest rules apply. Contest runs from the millisecond this posts until Midnight, Mountain time on Friday, August 31.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cookbook at no cost. The winner will receive a book directly from the author/publisher.
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