Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Aw, Isn't That Sweet?

No, it's not sweet at all. It's a bowl of potato-cauliflower soup. I don't have much of a sweet tooth anyway, but I can't resist some pretty colors in food.
Deep greens and browns and vivid reds and oranges are all possible in an antioxidant-rich diet, but with the hint of spring on the horizon, I was hankering for some healthful pastels.
Still, this is no wimpy soup. It's based on rich turkey stock, flavored with salt and sautéed onions, and kicked into heaven with a healthy swirl of crème fraîche, making it deeply wintery in taste, and rib-stickingly hearty in texture.
Oh, the color? It comes from purple cauliflower and purple potatoes.
OK, roughly:
1 purple cauliflower, broken into florets, stems discarded
4 purple potatoes
2 cups turkey stock (or your choice; chicken or veggie would work)
1/4 cup chopped onion, maybe even a little less
A little olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (maybe the stock is already seasoned; taste it to see)
3 tablespoons crème fraîche (don't measure; just bloop some in)
A few drops of vinegar

Steam the cauliflower and potatoes, separately, until you can pierce them with a sharp knife. Set the potatoes aside to cool a bit, and shock the cauliflower in cold water to preserve color. The cooked cauliflower loses its precious lilac color and ends up more of a gray-blue-mauve. But once you've run it through the blender with half of the turkey stock, you can restore some of the lavender tone by judiciously adding drops of vinegar. Magic! (No, not magic. Science.)
Sauté the chopped onion in some oil until tender; if you are adding salt and pepper (taste the stock first), sprinkle it over the onions in the pan.
Put about half the stock with the onions and cauliflower into a blender. Purée to whichever level of smoothness turns you on.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them by scraping with a dull knife. Cut them into chunks and add to the cauliflower purée in the blender with the remaining stock. Purée. (The cooked potatoes feel sticky when you cut into them, but they will not turn gluey in the blender; fortunately they possess a russet-like grainy texture.)
Now: How do you like the color? Too bluish? Add a couple of drops of vinegar and blend. Still need more pinkiness? A couple more drops; blend. Remember, you are altering the taste as well as the color, and you've still got some mildly tangy crème fraîche to swirl in.
Taste for salt and pepper. Swirl in the crème fraîche.
Reheat gently in a saucepan and serve.
Oh, wait! Garnish with an extra sploosh of crème fraîche and tiny cubes of cooked beet if you're feeling frisky.
Serves two very generously; would easily make four nice small starters. Or, it could be smeared on black velvet for a cool Jimi Hendrix painting.


Cyndi said...

I would have to be blind to eat that. My mind would want grape flavor. Purple=grape. I do agree it's pretty, though!

John Thornton said...

Awesome. I must now go find unusually colored food.

cookiecrumb said...

cyndi: Funny!
john thornton: How nice to have you here, and I love "unusually colored food." Would you believe I used to be totally in love with white food? (Well, I still am.)

Passionate Eater said...

I think that foods of "non-traditional" colors need to become more widely incorporated into our mainstream menus. It'll still take some time for me to get over soup the color of "Prince," or "the artist formerly known as Prince," but the ingredients sound ultra-tasty!

ilva said...

Very pretty indeed!

Jamie said...

That color is beautiful, but somehow it reminds me of the incident in Bridget Jones' Diary. ;-)

Kevin said...


I nominate you for Most Stunning Food Creation of 2006. That's gorgeous!

mrs d said...

So, did the leftovers turn blue in the fridge like my purple mashed potatoes did?

It is quite a lovely color, but I'd have to opt for Hendrix painting over eating -- between the cauliflower (why is everyone blogging about cauliflower these days?) and the creme fraiche, I'd land in the emergency room in no time!

cookiecrumb said...

PE: (Oh, how's your hand?) If we weren't already so overstocked with food, I'd be at the farmers' market today eyeing the red carrots and white eggplants and stuff. (It was tasty.)
Mrs D: Lactose-intolerant I understand, but cauliflower-intolerant? Never heard of that one. (My previous batch of purple taters definitely turned blue in the fridge; the leftover soup is a tad bluer now.)

mrs d said...

It's cauliflower and broccoli. Both have this incredibly evil knack to turn me into a giant, excruciatingly painful floatation device.

I'm sure a quart of Beano would probably cure me of this problem, but if it doesn't work? Well, let's just say I'd rather avoid the evil, cruciferous creatures, despite how healthy they might be. I don't want to go into how sick I was last time I ate broccoli. No sirree, bob.

Passionate Eater said...

Thank you for asking Cookie Crumb! It is doing better, despite the fact that I took off the gauze stuff before I was supposed to, and I accidentally keep getting it wet. I have to help my man with his Super Bowl party though, so it is going to take a beating this weekend. :( Are you doing anything special for the Supe? And I meant to post on your "Alioto" post. "Warming the seat" huh? That sounds nasty. I have a 5-second rule, that when someone leaves a freshly warmed MUNI or BART seat, I hover over it for 5 seconds so as not to feel the warmth. Thus, that quote is another reason why Alioto will suck as a Supreme Court Justice.

cookiecrumb said...

Mrs D: Did you say flatulation device?! Oh. Heh. Man, stay away from that stuff.
PE: Please don't get your finger infected. Loose rubber gloves for party prep, maybe? (Don't want to choke off the air circulation.) Did you know that in Japan, when a man rises to offer his seat to a lady, etiquette requires that he stand and engage her in pleasantries for a few seconds to allow the seat to cool off? That's nice.

lisa--In a Nutshell said...

Love it! It seems like it'd be tailor-made for some sort of wacky food blogging event. IMBB with a theme of pink and purple, or some such?

cookiecrumb said...

Absolutely, Lisa. In fact I'm working on a pink theme right now. Just had a glorious disaster I will have to write about. :P

Sam said...

boo hoo - you lost my comment about "fanny's doughnuts".

(this is a double entendre that a Brit over a certain age would find absolutely hilarious)