Shallots and thyme create an aromatic cauliflower soup that is just the right amount of creamy and indulgent with this easy recipe.
Warm mittens have been pulled over tiny fingers to protect from the winter wind under a star-filled sky. We’ve scurried across the frozen driveway and climbed in the car, which is now gliding down the driveway, backing out into the quiet blackness of a winter’s night.
“So, when everyone gets in their car and turns the music on, is it the same music in all the cars that are driving?” Her sweet, inquisitiveness comes from the third row seat, which faces backwards so she’s staring out the back window at what we’re leaving behind instead of what we’re heading towards.
“Well, no. There are different kinds of radio stations, local and satellite, and local stations are broadcast in a certain area. Think about when we drive to Grandma and Grandpa Olmanson’s or on the way to the cabin when the music suddenly gets fuzzy and starts jumping and blipping. There are quite a few radio stations: they play different types of music or they talk about current events or sports. All of the cars can pick what they want from the radio stations in the area. Then there are CDs and MP3 players and phones and everything else you can hook up and listen to, and finally, some people listen to nothing at all. Like how Grandma just drives in silence.”
“Grandma listens to the radio sometimes,” offers the small voice from the center seat.
“Mmm, I suppose, but it’s always talk radio turned down so low the words are imperceptible and it becomes noise. Everyone can choose what they listen to based on what they like and how they feel. Sometimes we listen to slow, quiet music, and other times we feel like turning it up really loud and singing along.”
“I like our music.”
“Never forget that life is more vibrant when you’re free to make your own choices and to sit as quiet or sing as loud as you want.” I reach for the stereo knob and crank the music up a bit to illustrate my point. The snow shines across the landscape in the moonlight, stark white under the black blanket. Our car becomes a moving beacon of lives being lived.
January tends to be a difficult one for me to get through. If I had to give it a color it would be grey. That light grey of nothingness that seems to stretch on for eternity, a cold color.
There’s this feeling just out of reach. I can imagine obtaining it. It’s bright from sunshine streaming in through the south-facing window and warming the space as easily as it provides light for the room, casting a sense of clarity across every surface, free from clutter and crumb. I’m searching for that feeling of weightlessness where things come together at the seams, clearing up all the uncertainty, washing away the grit and gravel that has collected along the edge of the snow bank.
Sometimes to find something you need to stop searching for it and just start living. That night in the car we headed to the bookstore and picked out stories to read in the comfort of our home, a home that is cluttered and chaotic, but comforting because of the people is contains.
The feeling I’m searching for can be found in our kitchen where kids scurry through setting the table, inquiring to the smells that waft from pots on the stove, and steal bits of bacon when my back is turned. It’s encased in the nightly routine of pausing and being together, of taking the time to stop even when there are piles to be dealt with all around.
Comfort comes in a bowl of simple soup, laid out in front of those you love. Cauliflower is a weird vegetable that seems to hover between broccoli and potato; admittedly, one that I’m not instantly drawn to, but adore nonetheless. It fills this soup with a natural creaminess. Keep this light and forgo the splash of cream at the end, or double the richness and stir in a bit of cheese and toss a few bits of bacon on top.
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup diced celery
6 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup half-and-half, optional
Infused oil for garnish
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the shallots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and add the cauliflower, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
Move the pan from the heat, and remove the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the half-and-half if desired, and serve warm. Drizzle a bit of oil over the bowls before serving as a garnish.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Music is a form of expression, just like writing or art. I once fought for the inclusion of an art program in a school my children don’t even attend because I simply cannot see how you live without those outlets. I view it as an essential part of life, and as such, I believe that it has a definite role in the education of my children. Yearly budget cuts often force out art and music programs first in schools. That’s where Art Room Aid can help! A program of Blick Art Materials, Art Room Aid is helping teachers across the country enlist the aid of parents, families, friends, and other art advocates to fund their art projects and keep creative learning going.
Join The Motherhood and Blick Art Materials Wednesday, January 16th at 2 p.m. ET to learn how you can support art education with Art Room Aid and ensure art continues to play a role in your children’s lives. Follow #BlickARA and RSVP on Twtvite.