Written by Chef Alan Zox, email@example.com Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00
Growing up in Des Moines Iowa has left indelible memories such as summer baseball, swimming in sand pits with cold springs which made warm summer days bearable, drive-in movies and eating Eastern European specialties. It wasn’t Brooklyn but it wasn’t merely cornbread and BBQ either — dishes I also came to adore. Friends are often surprised about this biographical fact of my background suggesting I have changed since moving away from the cornfields of Iowa. Perhaps, but these memories are warm and comforting for every child. Of course many of my memories center around my grandmother’s culinary specialties. She didn’t speak English very well; in fact, she barely spoke at all. She was a very quiet woman from Lithuania. But we communicated well in the kitchen.
Gitle was her name. She helped take care of me, fed me and taught me many culinary lessons like how to make pickled Kirby cucumbers. Soups and meats she boiled way too long were an important part of her world and soon to become ours. Whenever I see crocks, that is ceramic jars at flea markets, I am reminded of her pickles with dill and vinegar, peppers, herbs and spices. The pickles were delicious and memorable. Her soup recipes were wonderful — especially her cold beet soup which I later discovered was a classic called Borscht throughout the Bylo-Russian region in which our family lived. When I added a tablespoon of sour cream I thought I had gone to heaven. Potato and Lentil soups were also enjoyed by everyone. Grandma liked to serve her borscht and potato soup cold.
Today I am featuring cold cauliflower soup with a spicy curry seasoning which is less traditional than cold potato soup the French call vichyssoise, but delicious nonetheless. And I think Gitle would enjoy and appreciate the nutritional advantages of cauliflower and the fewer calories we would be eating. Although her primary concern back in her generation was having enough to eat.
Cold Curry Cauliflower Soup With Greek Yogurt
• 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
• 1 container of 14 ounce coconut milk
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
• ½ teaspoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoons curry powder
• 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
• 2 cloves garlic, diced or if available
• 2 garlic scapes (Scapes are very delicious garlic tasting long, thin curvaceous stalks similar to scallions)
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
Cut the cauliflower florets into a large pot. Add remaining ingredients including coconut milk, olive oil, grated ginger, garlic or scapes, onions and curry. Lightly boil soup until nicely blended for about 30 minutes and cauliflower starts to disintegrate. Pour batches of soup into a blender until smooth. This will be safer and easier if you do this in batches. Finally, mix cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste. Stir this cornstarch paste into the hot soup until it has thickened, and then remove it from the heat. Let cool for a couple of hours in the refrigerator until time to serve. Garnish with Greek Yogurt. Bon Appetit.
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