Although I grew up loving soup, it's definitely due for a change. Anything in life is what you make of it. In this case, my trick- use colorful garnishes. Take this delicious cauliflower soup, shot for my column, "Life At Lulu's" for House Beautiful, which I topped with lightly roasted vegetables and bright chive and carrot oils, then added a grilled taleggio, mortadella and fig sandwich. Soup can be a full on meal, and just a tip- it's great if you want to slim down quickly!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head cauliflower, leaves and core removed, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt and white pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is soft, 15 to 18 minutes, then puree the mixture off the heat.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with roasted cherry tomatoes, zucchini slivers, sugar snap peas, sliced radishes, and infused oils.
GRILLED TALEGGIO, MORTADELLA, AND FIG SANDWICH
1 loaf bread, preferably ciabatta
1 pound thinly-sliced mortadella
1 1/2 pounds taleggio
Fig jam (optional)
Good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Cut the bread into even slices. Spread a good layer of taleggio on one side. Add a couple slices of mortadella on top. Spread a thin layer of fig jam on another piece of bread and close the sandwich. Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
2. Test the pan by sprinkling a little water in it; if the water sizzles, the pan is ready. Place the sandwich in the pan. Cook on one side until it's lightly browned and crisp, pressing down slightly with a spatula, then turn it over and brown the other side. Serve.