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Southern (CA) Cooking

I’ve cooked a number of successful meals lately. Here are two recipes you might be interested in experimenting with.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1 cauliflower  –  2.5 cups 2% organic milk  – 1 cup plain organic goat yogurt  – 3 tsp ‘better ‘n’ bouillon’ chicken  – 4 tbs butter  –  1 onion  –  3 tbs flour  –  parsley and Parmesan cheese for garnish (I left both of these out.)

Steam a head of cauliflower and set aside. Chop up the onion and fry it up with 3 tablespoons of butter. Take your time. When the onion is cooked, add a fourth tablespoon of butter and blend it in. Add the flour and blend it evenly with the buttery cooked onions, then cook it for a while (3-5 minutes). I did this slowly too. Then blend in all of the milk, cook for a minute or two, and then blend in all of the goat yogurt and the bouillon. Once again, I worked slowly. My tendency is to rush white sauce, with disappointing results. When I say ‘blend’, I used a small metal spoon with a long handle, and the cooking surface was a fancy stainless steel skillet. Once the white sauce is smooth and hot, chop up the cauliflower and throw it in. Cook until cauliflower is hot and fully saturated, then throw into blender and blend to taste. I made it as smooth as possible, which took some patience – but it was worth it! Return to skillet and heat very warm to serve. This was an enormously popular soup and other than steaming the cauliflower I don’t think it took me much more than half an hour. Most of the recipes I consulted used about half a cup more milk and a little less yogurt and/or butter. I imagine a lot of people would make this soup a bit more thin than I did, but I figure my recipe is healthy enough to justify making it a little more rich. Yum.

Roasted Kale (stick with me on this for a minute)

Get a stove and a bunch of kale. Heat the oven to 400. Wash the kale thoroughly. Spread each big leaf out on the cutting board and separate the fluffy leaves from the stems. Get rid of the stems, they’re disgusting. Spin dry the leaves or shake them around in the air for a minute to get rid of the excess water. Then put the leaves in a plastic bag with some olive oil and shake them around to distribute the olive oil. Dump the oil-tainted leaves onto a oil-sprayed roasting pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Throw in the hot oven and roast about ten minutes. Take out the kale and flip the leaves. Add more salt. Throw them back into the hot oven for another eight or ten minutes. The goal is to get the leaves crisp but not burned. Elana, Alexis and I ate every bite of my first effort, even as we acknowledged I didn’t get all the leaves as crisp as would be ideal. Done properly, roasted kale leaves are like some kind of weird, demented ‘potato’ chip. Anyway, this was an idea Alexis found in the newspaper a while back and I decided to surprise her with it a couple of days ago, as a side dish for Pad Thai. (That was a nice success too, but it doesn’t count because I used jar sauce.)

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