While something called the Polar Vortex is taking over America, it isn’t too cold over here in Shanghai. I feel like low 40s is actually pretty lucky for early January, could be much worse. While it isn’t all that cold, it has been raining lately (which I loathe), so I was craving something warm and yummy for dinner. I wanted soup, but my crock pot doesn’t work here because of the voltage difference and my eternal laziness when it comes to buying a transformer. Finally I found one that I could make on the stove relatively quickly, realized I had most of the ingredients, and set out to make roasted cauliflower white cheddar soup.
It is times like this that I thank the expat gods that I have my trusty toaster oven. Even though it is quite small, I am so happy that I have a method to roast vegetables. I have roasted everything from chickpeas to cherry tomatoes to grapes (don’t knock it till you try it) in that thing. I never really realized how useful a toaster oven is until I moved to Shanghai. Yay for toaster ovens and rainy day soup!
Most people ask me, “Erin, why do you hate the rain so much”, and the answer is simple; I don’t hate the rain, I hate the rain in China. Fellow expats will know what I am talking about, rain turns the streets into rivers of flowing cigarette butts, garbage, and god knows what else. Unless you are lucky enough (or crazy enough) to own a car, you will have to walk quite a bit in this river, and you will ruin your shoes and your mood. So for me, rain in Shanghai means I am cooking dinner, the awesome restaurant scene will have to wait for a sunny day.
You don’t need much to whip this soup up, as you can see from the above picture, that’s pretty much it. You could be eating this cheesy soup in less than 45 minutes. I adopted this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I changed up some of the ingredients and amounts to suit my taste, and what I had in the pantry.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or however much you want)
- 5 cups water
- 1 vegetable bullion cube*
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 3/4 tsp rosemary
- olive oil
- salt & Pepper to taste
* You can use vegetable broth or Chicken broth instead of water and bullion cubes, this is just what I have on hand at the house
- Chop head of cauliflower into small pieces (I used about 3/4 of mine as it was quite large) and toss in some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes in a 400F oven, or until the pieces are just starting to brown and become tender.
- In a large pot, add some more olive oil over medium-low flame and cook chopped onion until tender
- Add chopped garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and cook for another minute or two
- Add water, bullion cube, and roasted cauliflower to the pot, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and ladle half of the soup into a blender to puree, and add back to the pot
- Add milk and cheese, stirring over a very low flame while cheese melts
- season with salt and pepper (I found I needed quite a bit, but I also love peppery soup)
- Chow down.