simple and stress-free…and a cookbook giveaway! December 3, 2009


I can't believe it's been over a week since we last spoke. I've been missing all of you and missing being in my happy place here at this blog. After a truly wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Louisiana – it really was – it's been a little, shall we say, stressful back home in Atlanta. We rushed back to care for this little guy that was a mess of hair and bones when we arrived. The news wasn't all too great but I can happily say he is now eating everything in sight, including dirt off the floor and anything he thinks is on my fingers/dining room table/corner of the laptop screen.

In times of stress and chaos, I turn to soup. It's just in my nature. My mom was the soup champion and I have, thankfully, gotten the good soup mojo passed down to me. There have been many a soup recipe post here at RWT and today is no exception. It's a kitchen miracle that you can take the simplest of ingredients, throw in some seasoning on hand, and make a meal out of it. Chunky or smooth. Warm or cold. It's always there to suit a mood and soothe you. 

Blissfully, there was a batch of this cauliflower velouté in the freezer that I had made before the holidays. I've made versions of this soup before with celery root and it's the most versatile recipe in my repertoire, I think. A little leek or onion, some herbs, and a whiz in the blender…and you've got a soup with the most heavenly texture imaginable. You can apply this technique to almost any veggie you have. Really. The other benefit? It can be as simple or as fancy as you'd like. You can turn this into dinner party food with a little truffle oil (or shaved truffles if you're fancy-pantsy) or keep it rustic with bread crumbs and olive oil.

51exG70SwCL._SS500_-1 So where does the giveaway come in? I recently bought a copy of Martha Stewart's Cooking School. I was so impressed with it as an all-in-one kitchen guide that I bought another copy to give away. It was published last year but I feel it's one of those essential texts I want everyone to have. The chapter on soups and stocks is tremendous! If you want to win this copy for yourself (or win it and pass it along to someone who needs the information more than you!), leave a comment and tell me what your favorite soup is. That's it! Please leave an email address so I can contact the winner. I will pick a random winner on Monday, December 7th at 12 PM EST!

Cauliflower Velouté – serves 6 to 8 as a main course

  • 1 large leek – cut up to the green parts, washed and drained
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head white cauliflower – tough stems removed and roughly but evenly chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (this depends on size of cauliflower – you want enough stock to just cover the cauliflower)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

– In a large stock pot, melt butter but do not allow it to brown. Add leeks and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped cauliflower and stir to combine with leeks for 1-2 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf, and stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer until cauliflower is tender – this should take about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme stem. Allow to cool to room temperature.

– Once cool, puree the cauliflower and its cooking liquid in batches in a blender (my Vita-Mix does this in a nanosecond – swoon-worthy!) until smooth. Return to pot and fold in heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Reheat mixture and serve immediately.

– If you refrigerate this soup or freeze it, it's my opinion that it's well served by a freshening-up whiz in the blender before you reheat it. I think it helps revive the lightness and texture of it.

– Garnish ideas: toasted bread crumbs, parsley, good quality olive oil, fresh thyme leaves, large toasty croutons, shaved truffles, truffle salt or oil


Patti Davis Dec 3, 2009 01:12 pm

Split pea soup is my favorite!

Emily R Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

Oooh, I absolutely adore the corn soup at Dogwood. I could eat vats of that stuff. My favorite to cook at home is chicken corn chowder with lots of thyme.

christagirl Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

French onion with lots of cheese on top!

Palila Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

I’m a huge fan of potato-leek soup. Husband hates it, even the smell of it cooking, so I only get to make it when he’s out of town, and then- I always overindulge.

doreen Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

my favorite will always be chicken noodle w/ homemade chunky egg noodles. YUM! *fingers crossed*

Susy Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

Your mom’s chicken & wild rice is still one of my all time favorites… short of that, the french onion that Martin and I occasionally crack out from scratch.

Sean Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

I hope Charlie is doing better! Is this the photograph you were talking about when you said it was difficult to shoot? It turned out fantastic!
I’ve been enjoying my medley of squash/pumpkin soups while they’re still available. My favorite soups tend to from season to season.

Jen Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

Any form of tomato. Even Campbell’s from a can if I’m desperate! Can’t wait to try this one.

iamchanelle Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

GORGEOUS pic of that soup!!! was that the first out of the 60 that you took? ;)
so hard to narrow it down to one favourite soup, but i do really love a hearty and simple vegetable soup with a little pasta thrown in and topped with fresh parmesan for good measure.

tamih Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

It was #2 – can you believe it!?! Thanks for the nice words about the photo. Means a lot coming from you! :)
– t*

Greta Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

Right now my favorite is turkey soup. I found a recipe from a Taste of Home magazine last year and tried it out. I think I can honestly say that it’s the best soup I’ve ever had. So delicious!

MNgirl Dec 3, 2009 02:12 pm

Chicken and Wild rice soup with just a little half and half to give it a creamy texture.

ben frank from I Ate That! Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

great photo of a delicious sounding soup! i have a question about it, what is the purpose for cooling the soup before blending and then reheating?
my favourite soup is a three-way tie between vietnamese pho, clam chowder and french onion. i love em! like you, i love the fact that at their core soups are so easy to make and are a great way to use what is on hand.

shutterboo Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

I’d kill for a heaping bowl of broccoli/cheese soup right now – it is so cold outside!!

Parker Cross Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

Great blog.
I love most soups. Lately I’ve been making a chicken soup with loads of vegetables inspired by a recipe of that name on epicurious. It involves all the usual vegetable suspects plus kohlrabi and rutabaga, neither of which I usually buy.
I like a turkey carcass soup after roasting a turkey, and I made a not-bad beef barley soup out of leftovers from a meal at Parker’s on Ponce not too long ago. Brought the price-per-meal way down.

Katie Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

I’m so glad that your little guy is doing better! I had to say goodbye to my dog over Thanksgiving, and I understand how rough it can be to see them sick. Soup is incredibly comforting to me, too, and I’ve been craving it over the past week. I love any kind of potato soup, but I really like the idea of using cauliflower instead.

Rebecca V Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

My mom’s classic chicken noodle soup. I have tried to make it a zillion times and not once have I come close!

Paula - bell'alimento Dec 3, 2009 03:12 pm

Beautiful pic Tami! Glad to hear little Charlie is eating everything in sight ; ) My favorite soup would be Zuppa ai Funghi {Mushroom Soup} Warms you up inside & out! <3 it!

tamih Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

if you blend hot soup (or anything hot, for that matter) in the blender, you risk a hot food pressure explosion the likes of which you’ve never seen. I’ve seen people have to repaint their kitchens because of it. More for safety than process or recipe-wise :)

tamih Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

Did you ever get to eat at The Magic Pan that used to be in Lenox where Neiman Marcus is now? They had the absolute BEST split pea soup I’ve ever had. I love it, too!
– t*

tamih Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

Yeah…that’s the one. Tough making a bowl of white stuff look pretty! All about the garnishes :)
Thanks for stopping by the blog :)
– t*

tamih Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

I think tomato based soups are my fave too. I was flipping through my recipes and I’d say half of them are tomato based. (with you on the soup in a can, too, fyi :)
– t*

Laura Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

Really, I love most any soup, but I think Potato Leek or Cream of Tomato is probably my favorite…. I think if I couldn’t make desserts anymore, I’d be perfectly happy making soup instead :)
And that Martha Stewart Cooking School book is AMAZING! I currently have it checked out from my public library (used it for my Thanksgiving turkey) and would love to win a copy instead of buying it myself!

Lindsay C Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

Glad to hear Charlie is eating again! My favorite soup would have to be a creamy tomato soup…with grilled cheese of course! Reminds me of winter snow falls back home, making snowmen then coming inside for a warm cup of soup. Yum!

Angela R Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

I can’t wait to try this. My favorite soup right now is acorn squash.

Vicki Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

I’m not sure I can pick a favorite soup. May split pea with the leftover holiday ham bone. But then there’s siete mares. And albondigas. And pho. And good old chicken noodle.

Erika Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

Looks amazing!
I love to make Ina Garten’s cheddar/corn/potato chowder – garnished with bacon!

Margaret Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

That soup looks delish! I always turn to soup in yucky, cold weather. My favorite soup is a roasted corn and creamy potato soup that my mom makes. I’ve never tried to make it myself, but I’ve got a hunger for it now so I might have to give it a whirl!

Erika Kerekes Dec 3, 2009 04:12 pm

My favorite soup is good old-fashioned cream of tomato – although black bean comes in a close second. And right now in my refrigerator I have chicken soup with dill and matzoh balls, and artichoke soup. It’s just that time of year!

Scorpio Woman Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

My favorite soup is onion soup. I’ve made almost 4 recipes in the last 2 months. I love it with the grilled bread and cheese on top yummy. It’s been 2 weeks since I made that and I may do another one on Saturday :)
You have beautiful eyes. They are so blue. I have blue eyes but not blue like yours.
Thanks for posting the recipe. I also love cauliflower soup :)

Rebecca Martin Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

Barbara Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

My favorite soup is hot-and-sour the way the Chinese Garden makes it here in Columbus, Ohio. Many different kinds of mushrooms seem to add the best flavor. Sometimes I go to the buffet and just get bowl after bowl of it, and nothing else.
Hope hot-and-sour is in that cookbook. Alternatively, do you yourself make a good version?
Thanks for the giveaway. Your blog is one of the best.

tamih Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

You know what…I’VE NEVER MADE IT! I always defer to take-out for it when I want it. You’ve inspired me to investigate and find an at-home recipe. Stay tuned!
– t*

tamih Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

This soup is FASCINATING! I may just have to try it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing the recipe!
– t*

Carrie Dec 3, 2009 05:12 pm

Coconut curried soup! Or tomato soup!

Cheryl R Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

My favorite soup is Lentil, Split Pea and Ham, yum!!

Brittany Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

My all-time favorite soup is Macaroni and Cheese soup. It certainly doesn’t win any health awards, but oh MAN is it worth it.

Jeremy Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

Vegetable beef with barley.

The Teacher Cooks Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

Broccoli Raab! It is the comfort food (soup) Very healthy and soooo flavorful. I love soup and this is the best ever! Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

Oh at the moment I think its the lobster bisque at Steamhouse Lounge. At least its the one I’m craving right now from 5 states away.

tamih Dec 3, 2009 06:12 pm

Wow. That soup at Steamhouse Lounge is INCREDIBLE! Another recipe for me to look for on the internet! Thanks for stopping by, long-distance Atlantan!
– t*

Shawnas Kitchen Dec 3, 2009 07:12 pm

split pea..with potatoes. yum!

Jess Dec 3, 2009 07:12 pm

I love minestrone soup!

heather Dec 3, 2009 08:12 pm

Vietnamese pho, hands down. Greatest. Soup. Ever. And what could be better than the idea that ‘the louder you slurp, the more you like it’?!!
*Heather* Dec 3, 2009 08:12 pm

Favorite soup? Hard to pick just one. I’m eating on turkey chowder in the post-Thanksgiving period, but the soup I’ve been making most often is Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, from 101 Cookbooks. Being a good Georgia girl, I make it with collards. And smoked paprika. Oh, it’s good…

Britney Dec 3, 2009 09:12 pm

I love a good bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup stocked with tons of veggies. This soup looks terrific, especially with this chilly Atlanta weather upon us! going to have to try this!

Caitlin Dec 4, 2009 12:12 am

I’m so glad he’s better now – what a scary thing to have to deal with! And I really need to get on the cauliflower bandwagon; I’ve always enjoyed it, but constantly forget how much.
My favorite soup would have to be beef carbonnade from the Silver Palate cookbook. It makes the apartment smell INCREDIBLE, and is super simple. And how can you go wrong with beef, beer, bacon, and onions? Dec 4, 2009 03:12 am

I love the look of this recipe. I will try it tonight!!

saundra Dec 4, 2009 03:12 am

Favorite soup…so hard to choose…I’ll go with Chicken with dumplings

julie Dec 4, 2009 06:12 am

So hard to decide! I think my favorite is minestrone, because my mom made big pots of it when I was young.

sharon Dec 4, 2009 06:12 am

Last week my favorite soup was turkey with wild rice and vegetables
this week I hope to cook something from Love Soup by Anna Thompson

SarahD Dec 4, 2009 06:12 am

Butternut squash soup… but I love them all! :)

Heather Byrne Dec 4, 2009 06:12 am

I love corn chowder or potato soup depending on who makes it and what they call it!

bettyjoan Dec 4, 2009 06:12 am

That soup looks delicious! I love cauliflower soup (even though I don’t LOVE cauliflower), so I definitely want to try this one. My favorite soup would probably have to be this Minorcan clam chowder that we get at a great shrimp shack in St. Augustine, Florida. NOM. Even in 100+ degree summer weather, I scarf it down by the bowlful.

Jessica Dec 4, 2009 07:12 am

My Hungarian goulash with sweet AND hot paprika. It took me alomst 5 hours to make it last Sunday, and it was all gone by Sunday night. I could keep on eating that stuff and never ever stop. (I know it’s really more of a stew, but it makes me just as happy as any soup I’ve ever eaten!)

Sarah Dec 4, 2009 07:12 am

Roasted butternut squash soup!

Megan Dec 4, 2009 08:12 am

My personal favorite soup is curried butternut squash soup… YUM

Alison Law Dec 4, 2009 09:12 am

I love the she-crab soup at South City Kitchen in Atlanta. Have to order it every time I’m there. My husband also introduced me to Thai chicken coconut soup. I love the coconut and lime.

Leslie Dec 4, 2009 09:12 am

my favorite soup is from my “Your Organic Kitchen” cook book by Jesse Ziff Cool. It’s the creamy autumn soup with potatoes, celery root and onion. And, you top it with chopped apple and cheddar cheese.

Julia C Dec 4, 2009 09:12 am

depends… love a good gazpacho in the summer but clam chowder is my favorite “winter” soup!

Katie @ goodLife {eats} Dec 4, 2009 10:12 am

I love thai chicken curry soup!

Claire Dec 4, 2009 10:12 am

classic tomato! Yum!

Christine Dec 4, 2009 11:12 am

Beer and Cheddar soup is the best..a close second is gramma’s chicken soup!

Olive Oil Dec 4, 2009 11:12 am

French onion soup is so completely yummy, particularly at this time of the year, when everything is chilly, and many days you are feeling bone tired. It’s great for the soul as well as the body, and I particularly love it when my husband prepares it :)

Laurel Dec 4, 2009 11:12 am

Butternut squash . . . heavenly

Lynnette Dec 4, 2009 11:12 am

I just love Butternut Squash soup. Could probably survive on it without a complaint!!!!

Francine Dec 4, 2009 01:12 pm

My fave is Split Pea with Dill

Kat Dec 4, 2009 01:12 pm

German Tomato Basil Soup – I stress the german b/c they don’t make their’s sweet like so many tomato soups tend to be. I have yet to find or create my ideal recipe, but I’m working on it. :)

katy Dec 4, 2009 02:12 pm

No question: Rebar Modern Food Cookbook’s Roasted Yam and Garlic Soup. Has roasted yams & 3 bulbs (!!) garlic, along with red peppers & tomatoes, a dab of chipotle, maple syrup and lime makes this soup both healthy and divine! Check it out here:

shannon Dec 4, 2009 08:12 pm

I adore soup and it’s hard to pick just one….but probably butternut squash soup with a creamy dollop of mascarpone or sour cream.

katie Dec 5, 2009 08:12 am

So many to choose from but I love lobster bisque and she crap soup. I prefer them from restaurants like 82 Queen and SNOB in Charleston, but oh who am I kidding, I’m really not that picky…I’ll take them anywhere!

Callie Dec 5, 2009 11:12 am

I love sherried tomato soup with a touch of cream. So comforting. This soup looks delicious!

tamih Dec 5, 2009 02:12 pm

I’m very, very fascinated by the idea of Macaroni and Cheese soup. Do you have a recipe you could share? :)
– t*

tamih Dec 5, 2009 02:12 pm

Pho is one of my faves, too. Its one of my comfort/stress food go-tos.

kara Dec 5, 2009 06:12 pm

Tortilla soup almost never disappoints.

Amy J in SC Dec 5, 2009 07:12 pm

Can’t say that I’ve ever thought of making cauliflower soup but that photo makes me want to. Looks totally like a great comfort food to me.

katie Dec 6, 2009 05:12 am

My favorite, sounds silly with the canned ingredient, is Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup, served with a mound of cottage cheese in the center of the bowl and with buttered and warm baked saltines on the side. When I was a kid in suburban Chicago and we’d walk home from school every day for lunch, this was something my mother would sometimes serve on cold winter days. I think of it whenever I eat the warm buttered saltines at a couple of places that serve them in downtown Atlanta.

Carla Dec 6, 2009 06:12 am

I’m a traditionalist and love French Onion Soup

tamih Dec 6, 2009 06:12 am

wow. your mention of warm, buttered saltines just caused a big ol’ culinary flashback. my mom used to make them at home, too. she used to love them at a restaurant called Bernard’s, a little french place that served them. thanks for taking me back :)

leah last Dec 6, 2009 12:12 pm

ahh – my favorite soup is my peanut soup!
a spicy/hot tomato base with lots of veggies pureed…
then peanut butter is added…
it’s delicious!

Yuri Dec 6, 2009 02:12 pm

My grandma’s miso soup. With lots of wakame!!

Chris M. Dec 6, 2009 02:12 pm

My favorite is minestrone with chicken

Trudy Dec 6, 2009 04:12 pm

Denfintely my beef and vegetable soup!

K. Rock Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

I love baked potato soup. And black bean soup.

Cat W. Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

My mother makes a recipe called Wonderful Soup, and it is. It’s a great dump-it-all-in-the-crockpot meal, and very hearty with a little bit of a kick. I love it!

Leigh Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

My absolute favorite soup is my version of Zuppa Toscana – thickened with white beans, potatoes, kale, lots of cream, translucent onions, leeks, thyme. It is truly lovely. :)

Bonnie Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

My favorite is potatoe, leek soup with kale and a beet chip on top.

Tartelette Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

This soup could well become my new favorite! Sounds incredible and looks fantastic!
For an awesome hot and sour soup, go to Jen’s blog. I make hers about every month!!

Benny Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

This recipe is so yummy!
By the way, my fav soup is… well, it’s a difficult question because I love soups in general, but should I choose one single fav soup that would probably be pumpikin+potato soup, with a hint of cinnamon on top…

Katie Cunningham Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

My favorite is potato leek. For me there is nothing more comforting.

Stephanie Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

OMG! Katie, I’ve never heard anyone else that’s had tomato soup the same way!! I grew up in Oklahoma and my mom made it just like that, except she also had a slice of white bread with a slice of american cheese on top, broiled.

Ken Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

My favorite soup to date is Silky Butternut Squash Soup that I raved about on my blog recently.

irene Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

i love clam chowder.

Stephanie Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

It’s really not fair to pick just one…but I can narrow it down to my homemade French Onion, Lobster Bisque, and a nice creamy Wild Mushroom Bisque.

Brittany Dec 7, 2009 06:12 am

I love mushroom soup. It’s absolutely amazing!

Christy Dec 7, 2009 07:12 am

My favorite is leek and potato.

Bethany Dec 7, 2009 07:12 am

My favorite soups are those that eat like a meal. Hearty chowders, white bean etc. Yum! I also really enjoy eating them in breadbowls. So delicious. :]

Mélanie Dec 7, 2009 08:12 am

My favorite soup is the one my mom used to make on Sunday evenings. Chicken stock, large pieces of vegetables (carrots, turnips and leeks), and some noodles for my brother and I! The best was the melted gruyere on top of it…

Lindsay Dec 7, 2009 08:12 am

My husband makes an amazing garlic soup. Creamy and good!

Hélène Dec 7, 2009 06:12 pm

Great giveaway. My fav soup is vegetable soup prepared by my mom.

Guin Dec 20, 2013 06:12 am

I have a butternut soup recipe which uses fresh ginger, curry, cumin and paprika, as well as a tin of coconut milk. It is served with fresh coriander and is my whole family’s favourite soup