Monday, February 8, 2010

Recipe: Roasted Tomato And Cauliflower Soup

Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to write down this recipe immediately after I made it because I cannot for the life of me remember making this soup. I mean, I remember roasting the tomatoes and eating it's deliciousness, but I don't remember the specifics. Heck, I forgot all about the cauliflower until I was uploading the photo to flickr! It's not that the soup wasn't wonderful. It was. I just have a problem with my memory. It's a hereditary thing. You should see my dad. I'm afraid it doesn't look good for me. But the first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have one, right? I do. So I always write things down when I really want to remember them. So obviously, since I wrote this soup recipe down, I must have loved it! Which I did. I remember that.

I also remember that I am super proud of myself because I came up with this recipe all on my own! Ok, I am not the first person to roast a tomato before making a soup out of it. And I definitely read about doing just that eons ago. But I chose each ingredient myself and decided what to do with each ingredient myself. There was no recipe this was based on. It's 100% from me. Yay!

I love tomato soup. If the acidity from the tomatoes didn't send my heart into a burning rage I would eat it all the time, were it also not for that little thing called heavy cream. It's what makes tomato soup creamy and delicious. Without it, tomato soup is just not the same. Except I had this idea. What if I could make it thick and creamy without cream? Milk wouldn't do, too watery. Starchy potatoes are traditionally used to thicken soups, but I didn't want to replace cream with starch, and also, that would make it a totally different soup. And also, that just sounds weird. Then I remembered a few weeks prior I had roasted some cauliflower and pureed some of it so it was kind of a mashed potato consistency, but with a light as a feather and creamy taste. And I had an aha! moment. And my roasted tomato and cauliflower soup was born!

Don't do what I did and overdo it on the cayenne. It was all good because my husband loves spicy foods, and I do pretty well with them myself, but in the future I would make sure to add it in small amounts. A little goes a long way. The same goes for the garlic. I love garlic. Can't get enough. Husband loves it so much he can't even taste it in food anymore unless it's so overpowering it'll make your eyes water. Seriously, he's crazy. Anyway, I put the whole head of roasted garlic in. A head sounds like a lot but when you roast the garlic, the flavor actually mellows out and sweetens, so it's ok to add more than you would raw. That said, you still might not want the whole head. Maybe try just half and add more if you think you can handle it. And if you're like me, roast 2 heads, put one in the soup, and use the second to spread over some toast to eat while you're making the soup. Nom nom nom! Garrrrrrlic!

Roasted Tomato and Cauliflower Soup


3lb roma tomatoes
1 small head cauliflower
1 head garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (start with 1/8 tsp if you're very sensitive to heat)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
2 cups white wine (or broth)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Half the tomatoes, lengthwise. Chop the cauliflower into florets. Arrange tomatoes, halved side up, and cauliflower in a roasting pan (I split the tomatoes into one roasting pan and the cauliflower in another, as the tomatoes hog all the room). Drizzle the tops of the tomatoes with olive oil, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over each one. Do the same with the cauliflower, then toss to coat. Chop the top off of the garlic head, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. When the oven is ready, put the tomatoes, cauliflower, and garlic into the oven. Let them roast and do their thing for about an hour. After 30-40 minutes, give the cauliflower a toss for even browning. They might need to come out before the hour is up if they look done before then (I say they're done when they have a nice brown to them, but before they start to burn, obviously). Once the tomatoes are done and cooled, remove the peels (they should come right off, or at least, come off in just a few pieces), but be careful not to squeeze out their juices. We want those!
  3. Once the stuff in the oven is finished, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or big soup pot over medium-high heat (I used medium, but my stove runs very hot). Add the onion and shallots and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, cayenne, paprika, coriander, and salt and pepper. Stir and let cook for about 2 minutes. Clear a spot on the bottom of the pot and add the butter. When it is melted, add the flour, and gently combine them into a paste. Let this cook for a minute, then mix it all together. Add the roasted garlic by squeezing each clove to release the soft roasted goodness (only add as much garlic as you can handle). Add the wine (or stock if you're not a total lout like me) and deglaze (use a spoon to break up the cooked on delicious bits), let this mixture cook down for a few minutes.
  4. Once mixture has simmered a bit, add the roasted tomatoes and cauliflower. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes and bit and let this simmer together for a few more minutes. Then turn off the heat.
  5. Using a blender, food processor, or my weapon of choice, an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it has reached your desired consistency. If you want a thinner soup, you could add some more broth to thin it out. I like it thicker, myself.

I served the soup with some cracked wheat sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches. It tasted like gourmet comfort food. My favorite.

See, this is the problem with posting my food when I've already finished eating it. Now I want some of this soup and I have none! I might have to make more this weekend...

PS: If you've noticed how awesome my pictures have been looking lately. Err...well the lighting of them, anyway. It's because of my new light box! My sister gave it to me for Christmas/Chanukah this year and I was so excited when I opened it! Ask Husband. Well, he was out of town at the time, but I was completely ridiculous over the phone when I told him all about it. It's one of those things that I have wanted ever since I knew what I light box was (so like 6 months ago, heh), but that I figured I would never own because it was far to frivolous to buy for myself. And this is why my sister is awesome. Because she is so thoughtful with her presents. It makes me feel like she really knows me. Love you, sis!

Anyway, enough with the gushy stuff, this light box is portable, and it comes with a fold-able translucent white screen with a backdrop in grey or blue (it's reversible). It also comes with the two lights you see, and a tripod. The tripod is one meant for a table top, so I haven't had a chance to use it much. I think the next step here is going to be a full sized tripod because man do my arms shake! Hehe. I couldn't tell you what the brand is because I was too busy ripping it open, and I've since thrown away the box, but I would guess you could just do a google search for portable light box and come up with something similar. I really like the screens because you can set the lights outside the box and it defuses the light nicely so you don't end up with weird looking shiny dishes. Ya know?

You know the best thing about it? I can take pictures when it's dark out without my pictures looking all yellow and icky! That's partly thanks to my learning a few things about my camera (you can set the white balance, who knew?), and partly because I have this great light box! Hooray!