Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin and Curry

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin Cauliflower

Healthy, quick to prepare, and satisfying on cold winter days, this soup is a winner. And you heard it here first: cauliflower is the new kale—get ready. For this Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin you need:

One cauliflower, trimmed into florets
One onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry
Grapeseed oil (or, shhh!, butter)
1 quart of water
3/4 cup of fat-free milk

Mix the cauliflower florets with cumin and curry and a splash of oil. Roast at 370 degrees until nicely browned (see photo: I like the roasting job I did on these). Set aside some of the most beautiful roasted florets for your final garnish. While roasting, sauté the chopped onions slowly in some oil (I cheated here and used and tablespoon of butter, but the health-focused among you can instead use a small amount of grapeseed oil). After the onions have softened, add the quart of water and the roasted cauliflower. You will now become surrounded by a fabulous perfume cloud of cumin and curry. Yellow drops may stain your counter permanently—I’m not even sure I mind. Cook for 15 mins. Now blend into a creamy steamy delight and return to the cleaned pot. Add the milk, season with salt and pepper, and reheat to a simmer. Do a final taste; adjust seasoning accordingly. The soup might need a few drops of lemon to make it really burst with flavor.

This one pleases the crowds: I don’t believe I’ve ever gotten a no-comment on this soup.

Guten Appetit!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup Roasted Cauliflower Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Cumin



Sunchoke Soup with Watercress Puree and Pickled Radishes

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Watercress Puree and Pickled Radishes

Sunchoke Soup

Pouring delicious sunchoke soup at the dinner table

This Sunchoke Soup (or, if you like, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup) is an elegant opening course for a festive Winter Dinner with your friends. The overall dish with its three components requires a little planning and diligent execution in order to achieve the desired outcome. In other words: this is not a last-minute endeavor and does not qualify for semi-homemade. Preparing and cooking the soup is pretty straight-forward.  The Pickled Radishes are prepared using a technique called Sous Vide. This is a fancy term for simmering food in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag at a pretty precise temperature. I think you will enjoy this little sous vide experiment as an excellent entry to this popular cooking technique. And finally: The Watercress Puree is also  a pretty simple fare. All together this is quite a few components to juggle. To achieve success it is best to divide and conquer. Start with the pickled radishes, then prepare the soup, and finally create the puree. You can keep the components warm for a little while—say, up to an hour. At dinner time it is good fun to assemble the course and I can assure you that the results are very elegant and rewarding.

The acclaimed chef Thomas Keller created a version of this recipe in his beautiful book, Under pressure: Cooking Sous Vide. His cooking is very sophisticated and a great inspiration that pushes my own aspirations. The Sunchoke Soup is the simplest recipe in the book. A good place at which to start on your ‘sous vide adventure.’

When it comes to serving the soup, I pour the heated soup from a carafe into the soup plate at the dinner table. All three components together really form a trifetta of flavors that work beautifully together. The richness of the sunchoke soup, the slight sharpness of the watercress puree and the wonderfully light sweet-sourness of the pickled radish make this soup a special event, one that your guests will not forget.

Let’s get started with the Pickled Radishes:

Pickled Radishes Vacuum sealed radishes

Pickled Radishes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Your easy starter dish cooking sous vide
Serves: 8
  • one bunch of beautiful, fresh radishes
  • ½ cup of regular vinegar
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  1. Start combining sugar, vinegar, and water in a pan. Bring to a simmer and dissolve the sugar. This mixture will form your pickling liquid.
  2. We will quick-pickle our radishes under vacuum in a hot water bath. This cooking method is called sous vide. It allows for a very careful cooking of the food in a controlled environment. I like the results very much.
  3. You cut the radishes to your liking. I cut the big ones in quarters, some in slices. If you would like to be fancy you use a mellon baller for perfect little drops of radish.
  4. In they go to a plastic bag, then add some pickling liquid. Avoid the urge to use too much liquid; just a modest amount is needed.
  5. Suck the air out of your plastic bag with a vacuum sealer and seal the bag. Cook the radishes in a 185-degree hot water bath for, let's say 40 minutes. I used my sous vide hot water bath, which holds its temperature very precisely. But I would venture to guess that these radishes are pretty hardy and so, if you keep an eye on the thermometer, you pretty much can do it also in a good old pot.
  6. Once they're done, pour the bag into a bowl and let cool.

Sunchoke Soup

I discovered Sunchokes only recently. Their flavor is quite subtle, but very unique. It is easy to find them at the supermarket, living the final moments of their life in an under-appreciated corner of the veggie isle. Try to find the ones that are looking fresh and plump, pieces of good size and not the shriveled up ones seeming to be on their last breath. Peeling these morsels is a little pain in the you-know-what, but with a vegetable peeler this will be done in no time.


Sunchoke Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This soup recipes allows to create a wonderfully velvety soup that highlights the unique flavor of the sunchoke.
Serves: 8
  • Half a stick of butter
  • One medium yellow or Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • One pound of sunchokes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • Half a cup of heavy cream (yes, we must!)
  • Salt
  1. In a heavy-bottom pot melt the butter and sauté the sliced onion without allowing any sign of browning. The sliced onions should be shiny and soft. I challenge you to avoid browning them! Medium heat is best.
  2. Add the sunchokes, chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 min. The sunchokes should be completely soft. The chicken stock will reduce a little bit.
  3. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  4. Puree the whole thing in your trusty VitaMix.
  5. Back into the cleaned pot. Season with salt.
  6. You can keep the soup refrigerated for a while, reheating at dinner time.


The Watercress Puree

In his original recipe, Keller pairs the soup with an Arugula Puree. I modified the puree by using watercress. Watercress has a nice bitter aroma that provides contrast to the richness of the sunchoke soup. You need:

Watercress Puree
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You need a total of approximately 300 grams of green leaves, which is a little less then a pound.
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 2 sprigs of thyme leaves, stems removed
  • 2 bunches of watercress, cleaned, no stems
  • 1 bunch of spinach, cleaned, no stems
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Half a cup of chicken stock
  • Half a cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, kneaded together to 2 tablespoons of Beurre Manié
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Blanch the greens in a big pot of salted and boiling water for about 30 to 40 seconds. Dump the leaves in an ice bath and then drain on a towel, removing as much water as you can. Wringing out that water keeps your puree from being too saucy.
  2. Put the hot watercress and spinach into the VitaMix with 3 ice cubes and puree. This will stop the cooking and preserve the beautiful green color of the mixture. Set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan gently sauté the shallots with a tablespoon of grape seed oil until soft. Again, no browning. It should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the thyme leaves and cook for another few minutes. Still no browning, please!
  5. Add the chicken stock; cook for another 3 minutes. The shallots are now very soft.
  6. Add the cream and season with salt. What you've created should look somewhat like a white sauce. Strain and put aside.
  7. To assemble, mix the white sauce with a tablespoon of Beurre Manié and bring to a simmer, cook for 10 mins to remove any flour taste. This should now look like a think white sauce.
  8. Take off the heat and whisk in the egg yolk. Now you have a slightly more yellow think sauce.
  9. --Take a breather, we're almost there.--
  10. Mix two parts green puree with one part yellowish white sauce and reheat carefully over a small flame. Season again with salt and maybe a touch of pepper. This completes our puree. You can compare the consistency of the puree with the one in the photo. In my early attempts I created more of a green soup. If this happens, don't despair: it will still taste really good.

The assembly of this dish is fun: I line up all my plates in a row. Place the radishes, and then a spoonful of puree into each plate. Then, once the plates are set at the dinner table, I pour the beautiful, velvelty soup carefully into each.


Pea Soup with Fresh Mint

Pea Soup with Mint Ingredients for Pea Soup with Fresh Mintimageimageimage

This soup is a staple in our home. Mint and peas are classic companions and this soup is easy to cook. You need only three ingredients: Leeks, peas (I always use frozen ones), and a bundle of fresh mint. And I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s good for you—healthy and light with only a small amount of butter. This one offers a pleasingly big burst of flavor.

Sometimes for a cocktail party I will serve the soup in cups (see pictures below). This offers my guests a welcomed break from the very expected snacks (still not a doctor here, but I believe these may not be as good for you) and crudité.

Pea Soup with Fresh Mint
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 2 standard packages of frozen petit peas
  • 3 leeks, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Over medium heat melt the butter and sauté the chopped leeks until soft, right before they start to brown. Medium heat works much better than high heat, as this allows the leeks to soften slowly and develop their sugars. This step should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Season as you go with salt and pepper.
  2. Now add a quart of water and bring to a boil. Cook at a lazy bubble for 15 to 20 minutes. (This soup actually tastes better when cooked with water instead of adding chicken or vegetable stock. You will better taste the intense pea and mint flavors—a very clean flavor profile.)
  3. Now turn the heat to high and dump the peas into the pot. The frozen peas will drop the temperature in the pot dramatically. On high head, bring the soup to a boil as fast as possible. Once it’s boiling, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, and continue to season. Preserve the appealing bright green color of the soup by not overcooking. You may want to add a little more water if the soup feels too thick.
  4. The whole thing now goes into the blender. Drop a handful of mint leaves into the mix. Carefully blend until super smooth, then return to the cleaned pot. Bring to a boil one more time. This step will cook the starch out of the pulverized peas, bonding all the flavors in this super creamy delight together in the process. And make sure you notice: there’s not a single drop of cream responsible for this soup’s super creaminess.


My favorite way to garnish the soup is with a chiffonade of mint leaves. Simply roll up a bunch of mint leaves like a cigar and slice it into very thin strips. But as you can see, this soup looks delicious even without any garnish.

You can find a similar recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Health Cooking.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thank you for the kind and encouraging feedback I received over the last couple of days.  The recipe for the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup could not be easier.

You need:

1 medium-sized Butternut Squash
5 to 7 garlic gloves, peeled
pinch of red pepper flakes
a few springs of thyme, destemed

Roast everything with a few splashes of olive oil in a 350 degree oven until the edges start browning (like in the photo below)


When done every think goes in the blender with a quart of chicken stock. I blend it until smooth.  Sometimes a bit more stock or water is required to get to the right consistency.   I put every in a pot and heat, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sometimes I feel that half a teaspoon of lemon juice helps to brighten the flavor.

For some elegance I often sprinkle the delishes Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with some herbs like parsley or chives. You also could float a parmesan crisp (wait for future posts) for a very yummy combo. But last week we had the plain soup for just a regular week night dinner.


Jean George Vongerichten inspired me for this soup. You can find the unaltered recipe in his book ‘Simple to Spectacular’.