Now and Then (French Fridays with Dorie: Creamy Cauliflower Soup sans Cream, Gougeres, Hachis Parmentier)

We were out college hunting this past weekend for the Culinary Kid.

Deep (high up) in the mountains.

Growing up in the southern Adirondacks, you are kind of left feeling like you are living on the verge of something wild - but driving a couple hours due North leaves you realizing that you don't know wild from a hill of beans.

There might have been an abominable snowman sighting along the way.

Just sayin'


I don't know where this journey is going to take us all, but I am sure we will find out in due time. Going through the "what's next after high school" process with child #2 has been very different than the path for child #1.
I often wonder how two children - just over a year apart in age - brought up in pretty much the same environment can be so stinkin' different.
It's a life mystery.
Anyhoo, after spending a day in the North Country, getting in to the mood to make soup wasn't all that difficult.

Making the soup itself wasn't that difficult either... Saute vegetables. Add broth (I used both chicken and beef, since I had two partials in the fridge and didn't want to break into a new carton) and cauliflower. Cook until everything is tender. Run the immersion blender through it to puree. Season to taste. Spoon into a bowl and top it with a healthy dose of bacon. (Ei's suggestions of cheeze-it-ish crackers and Diane's use of truffle oil are pretty clever and I totally wish I had thought of them).

To complicate things, I went for a FFwD rewind and made a couple of the recipes that I missed from the beginning of the group: Gougeres & Hachis Parmentier.

Some people might say that I tried making too many new to me recipes in one shot.

They are probably right - but I'll never admit it.

The gougeres were like tasty pâte à choux puffs. They made me happy.
I was kind of scared of the hachis parmentier. It reminded me of Shepherd's pie - which is not a huge favorite. And it was a bit of a pain in the butt to make. But it turns out that I liked it.
The hachis parmentier was good the first day, but I liked it even better as leftovers. Although, after having it the night I made it and then having it for lunch four days in a row, I was ready to be done with it.
That leaves me with the faux pho and Gerard's mustard tart (which I have made before, but seem to have lost all photographic evidence) and I will be caught up. Woot!
In other news, Runner Girl is winding down her first semester and is in final exam stressed out to the max mode. I had to make her a study timeline - of course, I pulled out Excel and whipped one up. Nothing centers this girl's world like organizing! It's too bad that I am so far off center right now.
Christmas is just over two weeks away and I still have done nothing to prepare - unless watching all the Christmas specials on TV counts as preparing. The Nightmare Before Christmas is probably my favorite - Tim Burton films are always a hit in this house. The Grinch is a very close second. The Polar Express is on deck tonight.
Have a great weekend all.
Peace out.
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie - where a group of home cooks is making their way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. The recipe for this dairy free soup can be found here.


  1. Yummy..Cauliflower soup is one of my favorite things!

  2. Cauliflower soup's idea sounds awesome :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. So many things Cher, and holiday season to top it off! I have that feeling all the time. I like all the recipes you made, you really did go back! Have a great weekend!

  4. Great menu there Cher - those would be two of my faves from way back when we started!! Love the bacon on your soup too!

  5. You were a busy bee catching up! And your soup looks marvelous topped with bacon :) Nick's finals start Monday...maybe I should send him a study spreadsheet, too!!!!

  6. Sounds like a busy time in the kitchen! Your soup looks great! My husband wanted a bacon garnish, but I had to get fancy. I'll make it up to him somehow!

  7. I was thinking about those delish gougeres for today too, they would be great with this soup! Glad you made are motivating me.

  8. By the did your girls get so grown up? We've been growing up along with them and are anticipating many more stories over the next years.

  9. Sounds like a tasty week! I loved both of your catch up recipes. And bacon is never a bad idea.

  10. Good for you on catching up. Not easy! Soup and all others look just perfect.

    Good luck with the college hunting. Whew! Also not easy.

  11. Yes, you have done've sent your handmade Christmas cards, impressive in and of itself. Has Culinary Girl always had that name - I thought she was the Karate Kid - maybe you have another daughter in hiding and just don't know it. Or, I have given you a virtual daughter that you can send back, if desired. I didn't even get to your two last recipes because I was contemplating having two girls in college at the same time. Been there, done that......$$$$$$$. Also the difference in kids. My Melissa is "grits & ganola" and her younger sister, Lindsay, is "glitz". There is noooooo similarity between the two. Loved that you made three recipes this week --- I need to catch up also but that seems beyond me at the moment. 18 more days to Christmas - yuo've got time.

  12. Cher, you prepared so many different wonderful things and they all look wonderful - I love the addition of bacon to your soup, sounds wonderful and bacon does go wonderfully well with cauliflower!
    P.S.: I should let you know that your very pretty and lovingly hand-crafted Christmas card was the first one to arrive and it is gracing my living room wall!!! Hopefully my card will arrive soon.

  13. You were so busy and you did all these recipes as well? Kudos! Everything looks great.

  14. Your card was lovely, thank you. I have been doing up this months recipes so I can
    get on with the Feast of Seven fishes. I will say they are all good ones. Your
    soup turned out well and thanks for the suggestion of bacon.

  15. You have been busy cooking all sorts of goodies. Everything looks wonderfully delicious. The Cauliflower soup was one of my favorites.

  16. Love the bacon on top - though I think my soup was beyond saving. Have a great weekend.

  17. Cher, have I told you lately that you rock? Yes I think I have, oh God I'm repeating myself and running out of ideas and cheesie phrases :0. Thank you so much for the Xmas card. It is so cute and is actually food-themed, mine is not - you'll see... I also used bacon and I think it was a really good addition :) Have a great weekend!!!!

  18. Wow, Cher! You are truly a French culinary wizard! I'll be this was the perfect meal after being out in the snow. I'm still wearing sandals & my denim jacket!

    Sorry I've been MIA from FFWD - I'm dealing with a cat with bone cancer and have just been consumed by it. We've decided to have his leg amputated next Friday. I'm sure we'll be completely involved in making sure he has a safe recovery, too.

    But, we'll forge ahead, cooking and posting as time allows.

    My brother & I chose totally different paths in life, too.

  19. I think the parmentier was one of the first dishes I skipped. It was a double-whammy of "ew." First, I confused the "hachis" with "haggis" (tummy flip). But then, after straightening out that little misunderstanding, I realized it was a meat pie (tummy flop). Me and meat pies are not sympatico. :) But cauliflower soup, now, that's one of my favorites!

  20. Great job with all those recipes! We had bacon in our soup and liked it very much, too. Watching movies totally counts as preparing for Christmas.

  21. Cher, I was also very impressed with your hand crafted Christmas cards…Thank you! This was a very big catch up and very impressive! Perfect looking meal…everything looks wonderful! Your soup looks creamy and delicious!

  22. I enjoyed this soup, but your catch-up recipes reminded me how much I LOVED the hachis parmentier. I'll have to make that again soon. Good luck with the college search. And enjoy having everyone home once Runner Girl gets through exams. Have a great week!

  23. This post made me laugh for several reasons - the first being that in a sort of recent episode of 30 Rock, the only way Liz Lemon can get "excited" is by scheduling her life. hahaha and the second reason was because I am so with you on doing nothing yet for the holidays. I bought presents for my husband and that is it. Everyone else is kind of hanging out in limbo present-wise. I have no ideas. I am very impressed with you for making three dishes in one go. I should probably go back and start making some of the ones I've missed as well.

  24. Bacon would have been a welcome addition to this soup. Good luck with the college-hunting!


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