Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cold Night Comfort Food - Soup and Paninis

With a nor'easter on its way, we decided to stay in tonight and make some comfort food.

Tonight's menu: Cauliflower Soup and Turkey-Bacon Paninis

I had recently made my two favorite soups - corn chowder and roasted potato-onion-garlic soup - so I wanted to try something new. I came across
this recipe for Cauliflower Soup. I made a few small changes, noted below.

Cauliflower Soup


  • Coarse salt and coarse black pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, separated
  • 2 small heads cauliflower, or 1 large, cut into small bunches of florets
  • 3 ribs celery and leafy tops from the heart of stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used 1 tsp dried thyme and it was more than enough)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk (I used whole milk; I think light or heavy cream would have been better)
  • Hot sauce, optional 3 tablespoons (I didn't do this - I used 4 dashes cayenne during the cooking process instead)
  • chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, for passing at the table (I didn't add cheese - we both don't think it would go with the soup at all!)


  • In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter, over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cauliflower florets and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Add celery, onion and thyme and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Push the vegetables to 1 side of the pot. Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter on empty side of pot and add flour to the butter. Cook for 1 minute, stirring the flour in the butter.
  • Mix in chicken broth and half-and-half.
  • Bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Puree soup using an emersion blender, food processor or blender and return to pot.
  • Check seasoning and add a dash of hot sauce, if desired. (I really can't see the hot sauce working with this soup)

We both liked this soup, but agreed that we could make some changes next time. I think I'd add garlic, maybe a clove or two. I'd also use less thyme. The flavor of the thyme was a bit over-powering.


We used our panini maker to make turkey-bacon paninis.

Jon's sandwich: Marble rye bread, Swiss cheese, shaved turkey breast, bacon, and some mayo (we added the mayo after it cooked)

My sandwich: Marble rye bread, spreadable Laughing Cow cheese, shaved turkey breast, bacon, and tomatoes

Using the panini press was easy, but the sandwiches were SO flat. Jon said he would have just preferred a cold sandwich. I liked mine but think next time I'll use a different bread. I would also like to try spreading some of my homemade spinach-artichoke dip onto the bread with the turkey and bacon. I'll be making the dip for Christmas Eve so I'll post the recipe then.

I hope all my fellow North Easterners are keeping warm in this lovely storm we are having! It's a perfect weekend for some soup :)

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