april: a foodie month (and, a recipe for cauliflower gorgonzola soup)

The last couples of weeks have been somewhat of a ‘foodie whirlwind’ for me.

First, there was my trip to Chicago. I ate like a Queen! I had a list of twenty places I wanted to eat, and only four nights (and rather non-existent lunch breaks)in which to try to fit in all the culinary wonders Chicago has to offer.

For those of you who care about such things, this is where I ended up (and what I ate):
Paul Kahan’s Publican – Striped Sea Bass with Pork Belly, Shaved Fennell and Hazelnuts
The Green Zebra (high-end vegetarian) – Roasted Beet Terrine with goat cheese, Cauliflower Pot De Creme with Brioche Toast, Creamed Asparagus Soup, and Sunchoke Ravioli with baby greens and medjool dates.
Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill –  Tamarind Margarita and the special seasonal mole with (local/sustainable) Pork Tenderloin, local fruits and cornbread. (For those of you not familiar with Rick Bayless, he won Top Chef Masters on Bravo last year, and he is a wonderful man with a knack for authentic Mexican cuisine and who is dedicated to championing the rights of the migrant worker, and championing the use of local and sustainable ingredients.)

So, there was all that deliciousness. And then I got home and felt like I hadn’t cooked a meal for myself (or others) in ages! I missed being in the kitchen. So, I promptly started cooking. I invited my friend Kari over for gourmet pizzas (with truffle oil, aged balsalmic and fresh mozzarella. I’ll admit, they didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, so I’m not posting them here). I had my friend Laura over two nights later and made Cauliflower and Gorgonzola soup with a Pear Relish (recipe to follow in this post). I made a cold thai peanut noodle salad for my weekly girls night (for the recipe, click HERE). Taylor and Brittany asked if Nich and I were up for another food challenge (of course we were!) and so we spent a night slaving in the kitchen over four new mystery ingredients.

That being said, after the cooking craziness of the past few weeks, I think I may lay low tonight. Its been a good run these past couple of weeks, but I think I need a night where I don’t end up with a sink full of dishes (and a really full stomach). So, tonight I shall fry up a veggie burger (Trader Joes Potato Masala burger…mmmm…) and it will be easy and tasty. And while I take the night off, maybe some of you are in the mood for culinary adventures. And if you are, this cauliflower soup is quite the palette-pleaser. It is delightfully rich and creamy, without being over-bearing. The pear relish adds a gentle sweetness that really balances the strong flavor of the gorgonzola in the soup.

Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola and Pickled Pear Relish
Adapted from Conscious Crumbs who adapted it from from Skye Gyngell’s A Year in My Kitchen.

1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets
1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme, plus extra to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Liter of vegetable stock (homemade is best, but alas I was all out so I used Trader Joes brand)
1/2 lb Gorgonzola crumbles
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
chopped parsely or fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Pear Relish
1 Tbl unsalted butter
3 Tbl dried cranberries, soaked for 10 minutes in water to soften
3 ripe pears peeled and chopped into a 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup of cider vinegar
2 T granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 sprigs thyme

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add cauliflower, thyme, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring now and then, for 2 minutes. Add the stock, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft.

Meanwhile, make the relish. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the pears and cook for 3-5 minutes until they soften. Add the other ingredients and cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes, until thick and glossy. Remove the thyme. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Fish out the thyme and bay leaves from the pot. Stir in the gorgonzola and cream. Pour into a blender and whiz until smooth. (Or use an immersion blender, which is what I use. The immersion blender is my favorite kitchen tool!) Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Spoon a generous tablespoon of relish into the center and sprinkle with thyme or parsely.

4 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    I hope that this is not peculiar that a complete stranger is posting a comment on your site, but I guess that is the beauty of the internet! I came across your site today while looking for a recipe for salmon rillettes and have spent the last hour reading every last post here – your blogs and recipes are absolutely wonderful – and the site itself is beautiful to look at!!

    My husband and I first had salmon rillettes last year at the resort restaurant at our golf club and it was love at first bite. We finished the first portion and immediately ordered another. We are foodies who both love to cook and we promised ourselves that we would find the perfect salmon rillettes recipe so that we could recreate it at home. We are going to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow and this is finally the perfect opportunity to share this wonderful appetizer. In my hours long search for the perfect salmon rillettes recipe today I came across your blog and your recipe looks by far the best of the dozens that I have read through today. I will let you know how I get on with your recipe!

    Thank you for a wonderful site, with wonderful recipes for clean, simple, beautiful food. What an absolute pleasure!

    • rosemarried says:

      Jennifer – thank you so much for your kind words! It does my heart good to hear about another foodie couple (who appreciate my blog! I’m blushing!), and I do hope the salmon rillettes turn out well!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Second post ! Your Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola and Pickled Pear Relish reminds me a beautiful soup that my husband and I make – Celery Root soup with clementine relish toasts – http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/celery-root-soup-with-clementine-relish-toasts. I came across the recipe in Food & Wine magazine and although it sounded different, even odd, my husband wanted to try it as he is very fond of ‘celeriac’ as they call it in the UK where he is from. What a hit! p.s. Going to the Hidden Kitchen Supper Club in Paris (where this recipe came from) which was started by some fellow Northwest foodies is one of my dreams – check it out, it may be one of yours too! http://www.hkmenus.com/

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