As soon as the temperature drops below freezing, my shoulders scrunch, my eyes squint, my fingers turn into icicles, and my toes lose circulation. Not exactly my idea of a good time, but I’m a born-and-raised New Yorker, so I’ve dealt with this my whole life, and have devised methods for thawing swiftly. The first option to get rid of this frigid posture is to jump right into a steaming, hot shower. Lovely, but not possible until the end of the day. The second method is to horseshoe my hands around a mug of hot tea, and keep doing that until May.
But recently, I find my hands horseshoeing around a bowl of soup I typically make in the summer: I call it "constellation cauliflower soup." The base of cauliflower and onions creates a pretty pale palette that is excellent for swirling in sour cream, black pepper, chili flakes, or the herbs of your choosing, making it look like a cluster of stars or a distant planet. While the canvas may look bland, it carries a great depth of flavor from having been cooked in chicken or vegetable broth. You could also play with the recipe and cook the soup with coconut milk and curry, or if you feel the need for a kick, throw in a jalapeño, a couple cloves of garlic, and a big splash of sherry.
All you need to do is caramelize an onion, brown some cauliflower and then let it soften in a warm, flavorful bath. Afterwards, you throw the whole thing in a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix, and buzz buzz buzz away. It takes $10 and 30 minutes for a huge pot of creamy soup that’s not only perfect for dinner, but also for warming up in the daytime, in between checking emails at work.