Here in Beer Sheva winter can come suddenly, without much of an autumn to prepare us. In the morning, a balmy sand storm blanketed the city in dust. By afternoon it was cold and raining. (A rocket from Gaza came our way during this change of weather. Fortunately it was intercepted, though other southern towns haven’t been as lucky. We all pray for a rainy and quiet winter.)
I put away summer dresses, brought out
winter ones and dug out my fleece slippers. We drank the last of our cold green tea and brought out winter mugs. And we started taking “Soup Season” seriously.
During the hot summer, we eat a lot of main-course salads. And during the winter, we really enjoy our soup. Most of my soups are vegetarian. I use seasonal vegetables, grains, pasta and beans. We love Indian-spiced red lentil soup and Moroccan vegetable soup with chickpeas. I make Italian tomato soup with farro, French potato-leek soup, and soothing split pea soup. There’s black bean, lentil, miso soup and creamy sweet potato soup.
Along with winter came the first crop of organic cauliflower – big beautiful heads of it, ready for roasting, steaming or soup.
This recipe is one of our favorites – delicious, easy and quick. Just put everything into a pot and cook for half an hour. If you’re not a big cauliflower fan, this soup may just fool you into thinking it’s made with something else. It’s Indian-inspired, though not spicy hot unless you want it to be. If you have an extra minute, dry roast some pumpkin seeds in a small pan over low heat. Shake or stir until they start popping and sprinkle over each bowl of soup for garnish.
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP
1 large cauliflower (about a kilo or 2 pounds total), washed and cut into florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
¼ cup white basmati rice
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
¼ teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
7 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
Put all of the ingredients except the cilantro into a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Mix in the fresh cilantro and serve.
Approximately 6 servings