This was a tough week. The mister-to-be suddenly left town on Tuesday to attend to family business on the left coast, leaving me to celebrate our five year anniversary all by lonesome. (I'm not bitter, really...). So what does one do alone on a Friday night in honor of five years of an awesome relationship? She takes out her brand new immersion blender and makes soup. And she gets kind of excited about it...
I've become a bit of a blender afficiando, you see. I have a high bar. So when a fancy new thang called an "immersion blender" comes out on the market, I'm not impressed. I'd heard mixed reviews on these little guys, so I never bothered getting one. But then, we were gifted one at Christmas, and I got a little curious. So, Friday night, rather than brave the cold and go out for drinks with friends, I decided to give Mr. immersion a whirl. And man, did he perform.
The Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender is well worth its $31-48 ($31 if you buy just the blender, without the whisk/chopper attachments) if you are a soup maker. Get thee one from Amazon! (If you use the link above, we'll get some pennies thrown to us from Amazon... every bit helps :)).
Blender excitement aside, this soup was mostly guilt-induced. See, I've been on a bit of a cooking hiatus the past few weeks, relying heavily on the mister-to-be to fix us whatever he fancied for dinner (some delicious herbed turkey meatballs with pasta, steak salad that was amazing, and less fancy late night chicken nachos). With him out of town this week, rather than cook up a storm and use up all the stuff in the fridge as I should have, I (gulp) relied mostly on mac' and cheese and quesadillas and watched as ingredient after ingredient spoiled. It was like an out of body experience...
But a giant head of cauliflower that I'd purchased stared me down all week, seemingly whispering, "if you let me rot, all my nutrients and deliciousness, you will pay." So, thanks to cauliflower's manipulative spirit, I finally was enticed to cook. And blend.
The immersion blender will not replace my Bella. I will still use Bella for my smoothies and chutneys and chimichurries and such. But there are things that Bella can't do. For instance, she can't have hot liquids inside her, or else she closes shut (because of steam) and refuses to open. She is small, so she cannot handle large quantities in one go. The immersion blender, on the other hand, can do both.
It couldn't have been easier. I cooked onions in olive oil in the dutch oven. In went the cauliflower, some water. Then more water. Some salt, pepper, and then, voila - when the cauliflower was tender, I took the immersion blender (a two piece gadget that easily screws together), turned it on, and went to town. It took about a minute and it was all blended to a nice consistency. I purposefully kept it a little chunky, but I think if I went high speed I could have gotten it pretty fine. I unscrewed the blender, washed the end that got dirty, and I was set. Easy, one-pot meal.
Welcome to my prized collection, Mr. Immersion.
Cauliflower Soup with Chili Oil - Recipe barely adapted from Food52
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
- Salt, to taste
- 5 1/2 cups water, divided
- Chili infused olive oil, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender to the desired consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly. Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.