I felt satisfied with my first cooking experiment from Wegman's Fall Menu cookbook when I made their Late Harvest Veggie Pasta. I was impressed with both the recipe itself and my own innate culinary abilities when it came to this recipe. Although I have very little cooking experience, I felt as though the veggie pasta had shown that I had some skill in the kitchen. After all, a good recipe needs a good cook for it to be transformed into a good meal, and that Late Harvest Veggie Pasta was definitely a good meal.
So I gave myself a pat on the back and headed to Wegman's to pick up the ingredients for the second recipe that Wegman's Regional Executive Chef Don Woods had suggested to me: the seasonal Cauliflower Soup. This recipe can be found on Wegman's website, or on page 54 of the Fall Menu cookbook. Don Woods suggested this soup to me because I asked him to point out some meals that involved local produce, and he told that the cauliflower was in season and locally grown. When I got to the store, all the cauliflower looked great; they were all white with no brown spots. The ingredients cost me $18 and some change, and then I went to work.
I should start by saying that this soup is definitely an appetizer. It's not very filling, but in my opinion it makes for a good appetizer because it is both tasty and very easy to make. This would make a really good appetizer for Thanksgiving, because it is so quick and easy to make and would give an overworked cook extra time to spend on the turkey and stuffing, and entertaining guests.
I had a little trouble in making the Late Harvest Veggie Pasta according to the recipe, but the Cauliflower Soup went exactly according to plan. I added a little more cream of wheat than the recipe called for because I was worried that the broth might come out too thin. I used a whole extra packet of the cream of wheat, and it gave the soup a good consistency, not too thin or too thick. I didn't bother counting how long the cauliflower was boiling for, I just waited a few minutes and then would take out a piece of cauliflower every minute or so and cut it to see how soft it was. The important thing was to make sure that the cauliflower was soft, but not soft to the point that it was soggy. I am proud to say I succeeded in this, and the cauliflower was cooked just right.
My other worry with this recipe was that it might be too salty, because it calls for both regular salt and also the Herbamare Herb Seasoning Salt. This, however, was not the case and the soup came out really well. The soup and cauliflower were both a good consistency, and the salt wasn't too much for this recipe. This isn't a soup that's packed with tons of flavor that's going to knock out your taste buds, but it is a very simple and very well balanced recipe.
I think the big advantage of being a simple recipe is that there are a lot of extras that could be added to this soup to make it more interesting. I would say that carrots, celery, and mushrooms would all be a good addition to this soup. The Wegman's website suggests adding croutons, which I agree with, or serving this with bread. I think this soup with seasonal bread, like pumpkin bread or something, would make an excellent Thanksgiving appetizer.
As a side note, someone commented on my last recipe post that Wegman's mails the seasonal cookbooks to its shopping club members. I confirmed this to in fact be true, and now regret that I am not Wegman's shopping club member and had to buy one of these, even though I think this is an excellent cookbook.