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I recently spent a glorious five days with my daughter in Washington, D.C. She lives in southern California and was in D.C. for a conference.
While she worked, I read, worked on my food series, and watched a little basketball in our AirBnB. The night I arrived, we had for dinner the lunch I made for my train trip, roast chicken sandwiches, grapes, cookies, and a few jelly beans. But other than that, most evenings we ate out. There was an adorable place called Match Stick (pizza and seafood) across the street from a Belgian restaurant called Belga. The next night we dined there and ate mussels frites and profiteroles. The last night went to Hank’s and ate oysters and oysters and oysters. And, as much fun as we had, I was left thinking about all of the zillions of restaurants we didn’t get a chance to go to, including the ones owned by Ari Gejdenson, the son of our former federal congressman, Sam Gejdenson. I feel another long weekend in D.C. on the horizon.
Still, when I got home, I was a bit tired of eating out. It was time to cook at home, and I have friends coming for dinner in a couple of weeks. Of the two couples who will be here, Jill does not eat meat, so, as a starter, I am making a yummy soup I made years ago, then baked scampi, a big salad, and some homemade bread. Dessert? Maybe crème brulee.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cream of Cauliflower and Stilton Soup
From Gourmet, a long time ago
Yield: Serves 4
1 large head cauliflower, about 1 pound, cut into florets
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped*
¾ cups chopped celery
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups canned vegetable broth
1 cup (or more) milk (2 percent will do fine)
3 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled
Ground white pepper
Blanch 1 cup cauliflower florets in medium pot of boiling water until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, leek, celery and remaining cauliflower. Cover and cook until onions are tender but not brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually stir in broth. Add 1 cup of milk. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cover partially and simmer until vegetables are very tender and soup thickens, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Purée soup in blender in batches until smooth. Return to same saucepan. (Cauliflower and soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Bring cauliflower to room temperature before using.)
Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more milk, if desired. Gradually add Stilton, stirring until melted. Season to taste with white pepper and salt.
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with reserved cauliflower and serve.
*Leeks can be sandy. Cut the leeks, and rinse them a few times in fresh cold water.
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