Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Maggie's Ruse" by Anne Leigh Parrish, Served with Gnocchi & Cauliflower Casserole

Another week is winding down and I am happy to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for Maggie's Ruse, a novel by Anne Leigh Parrish. Served with my review is an easy and delicious comfort food dish of Gnocchi and Cauliflower Casserole.


Publisher's Blurb:

Maggie and Marta Dugan, twenty-seven-year-old identical twins, live the good life in New York City on their stepfather’s money. Each has a glamorous calling. Maggie paints; Marta appears onstage. Success, though, eludes them. Marta’s roles are few and far between. Maggie’s endorsements are infrequent at best. When gallery after gallery passes on her work, she begins to doubt her talent. Home alone one afternoon, fueled by frustration, she is seized by a sudden, wild impulse to masquerade as Marta when a friend of hers drops by. The ruse is quickly discovered when Marta returns from another shopping spree, a rift between the sisters ensues, and they go their separate ways. But living apart proves harder than either thought at first. Each carries the other firmly within her, making any true independence nearly impossible. As the weeks pass, the weight of absence sometimes becomes difficult to bear. Both find a surprising degree of success in their respective efforts, due perhaps to their newfound freedom, yet the bond between them remains firm. Can they come back together, and under what circumstances would a reunion be viable? Has the time come for an open discussion of their issues with each other? Unable to fully answer these questions, each knows only that she needs the other to feel whole.

Paperback: 272 Pages
Publisher: Unsolicited Press (October 1, 2019)


My Review:

I struggled a bit with this book. I was acquainted with the Dugan family after reading and reviewing the author's Our Love Could Light the World, a set of connected short stories about them back in 2014 (see my review & recipe for it here). At the time I said "The Dugans however are that family--the glaringly dysfunctional one we know and tend to sit in judgment of--way too many kids and issues, way too little money and care for those around them." In that book, Maggie and Marta are young twins while in Maggie's Ruse they are twenty-seven, living in New York City and supported by their stepfather's money. They are not pleasant girls and have maintained my observation that they have little care for those around them is fully ingrained. Maggie is an artist, struggling to find her rhythm in painting and Marta is an actress with two small roles as her body of professional work. They are selfish and do what they please, manipulating people that cross their path. The premise of the book is that when the man Marta likes stops by, Maggie pretends to be her and is soon making out with him. Marta walks in and is not amused. This puts them on a path to separating their lives when Maggie moves away from the city and both sisters struggle with being apart. Can I like a book where I actively dislike both main characters and feel no connection to them? It is difficult. I didn't like how manipulative they both were and the lack of feeling and responsibility they posses. I tried to be sympathetic because of the way they were raised (mostly left alone) and their family being a hot mess in the earlier book--but at the end of the day, I wasn't that caring of whether either sister succeeded. I think that the short story format made the Dugan's more tolerable while in this novel the relatively short 272 pages felt longer and gave me more opportunities to be irritated at the twins as I waited for the conclusion. 

As much as I disliked Maggie and Marta, Anne Leigh Parrish is a talented writer and I did find the book tough to put down for too long as I wanted to know how things would play out. Both twins grow, but just slightly, and begin to find themselves and that was interesting to observe, as is twin relationships and behavior in general as I find it fascinating. It was also intriguing to look in on the Dugan family and see what they were up to and to learn that Parrish has written or is writing about other Dugan family members and told their stories and I am interesting in taking a look. A bit like a train wreck that you can't turn away from, they do manage to make me think and appreciate my own family. ;-)

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Author Notes: Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of five previously published books of fiction: Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By The Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories, (Press 53, 2011). She is the author of over forty-five published short stories, and numerous essays on the art and craft of writing. 

Learn more by visiting her website at www.anneleighparrish.com.

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There was food and drink mentioned in Maggie's Ruse, although not a lot. Mentions included champagne, roast chicken with rosemary, a salad or pre-washed lettuce and ranch dressing, white and red wine, Maker's Mark (straight up), potato chips, baked ham, peach yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, pizza, deviled eggs, tea, chocolate layer cake, Chinese food, a carton of fried chicken, a plastic tub of pasta salad, spaghetti with meatballs, a non-fat latte, a grilled cheese sandwich with both goat cheese and cheddar with a cup of homemade tomato soup, breadsticks and Italian food, Chianti, sherry, Italian hoagies, Oreos, a roast beef sandwich, Americanos, Mexican food with guacamole and margaritas, canned soup, a dinner of salty pork chops, brown lettuce with bottled dressing and frozen macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with garlic and red pepper flakes, Pop Tarts, chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and olives, and salad with bleu cheese dressing.


For my book-inspired dish, I had a bit of trouble getting inspired by the food. I ended up stretching things a bit and making a dish involving baked cauliflower and cheese, a nod to the character Josh's asking about the dinner he is invited to at Marta and Maggies apartment. 

'"What are you making?" he asked. Seafood wasn't his thing. Nor any kind of gross vegetable like artichokes or eggplant. Cauliflower he could stand, but only if it were baked and smothered in cheese."


(Many thank to Abrams Books and #AbramsDinner Party for this delightful new cookbook that I know will become a favorite part of my collection. This post is sponsored by Abrams Books, as part of the Abrams Dinner Party, however my thoughts, feelings and experiences cooking from it are my own. #sponsored)

I had tagged a recipe for Gnocchi & Cauliflower Casserole from the Forest Feast Mediterranean: Simple Vegetarian Recipes Inspired By My Travels by Erin Gleeson. I received this gorgeous book as part of #AbramsDinnerParty from Abrams Books. I'll be reviewing the cookbook soon and couldn't resist pairing this simple weeknight-perfect recipe with the book as I think even a veggie hater would like it.


As I am reviewing the book soon and will be sharing a recipe or two then, I am not going to print it here. That being said, the dish is so simple, you can make it without one quite easily. Cook a small head of cauliflower into small florets and boil for a few minutes, then add a 17-oz pack of gnocchi and boil according to package instructions. Drain and mix with about 3/4 of a cup of grated Parmesan along with a couple of tablespoons of butter, a little olive oil and salt and pepper, then broil for about 3 minutes, until the top is golden. 

I took the liberty of sprinkling a little herbed panko breadcrumbs on top of mine and used a mix of Parmesan and grated Romano cheeses but otherwise kept the recipe the same.


Notes/Results: This was so simple and really good--cheesy and comforting and on the table in about 15-minutes from start to finish. Add a salad and eat it as a main dish or you could serve it on the side with the rosemary roast chicken mentioned in the book. I took my leftovers to work yesterday and liked it reheated too. I will happily make it again.

Note: I do have to mention that I sent the first photo of the casserole and book cover (at the top of the post) to my friends and she said the cover was creepy and that the casserole dish I used is the same shape as the woman's face. Hah! I kind of like the pairing visuals! ;-)


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "Maggie's Ruse" was provided to me by the author and the publisher  via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 
 
You can see the other stops for this TLC Book Tour and what other bloggers thought of the book here.

 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Spinach, Coconut & Chickpea Fish Stew from "Home Made in the Oven" by Yvette Van Boven for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays & #AbramsDinnerParty

I am very excited to share a review of Home Made in the Oven by Yvette Van Boven, a cookbook I received from Abrams Books as part of the #AbramsDinnerParty. It's a cheerful little cookbook full of some fabulous-sounding recipes and adorable graphics. Today's soup is the Spinach, Coconut & Chickpea Fish Stew from the book.
 

For some reason I had not yet been introduced to the delights of Yvette Van Boven and her Home Made series and the wonderful illustrations that bring such a sense of charm to her books before receiving this book to review. (Check out a slide show of the illustrations here on the Abrams Books Site.) Home Made in the Oven continues that pattern of whimsy. There are small photos of each recipe and larger pictures of some in addition to the drawings, but they (and the mostly simple recipes) are the standouts here. As the title suggest, the oven is the focus for all of the dishes in the book (or at least many of the recipe components). The book is divided into the Intro (notes about the oven, measurements and ingredients she uses), then Vegetables, Fish & Meat, Baking and the Index. The recipes are then listed by month so you can make the most of the available seasonal ingredients. (Please don't notice that my stew is from May although since our weather refuses to say November, I guess my recipes don't need to either!). ;-)

Abrams Books (October 15, 2019) 
Hardcover 208 pages, 200 Four-Color Illustrations

I tagged multiple recipes to make like Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage, Vegetarian Enchiladas, Gnocchi Alla Romana, Roasted Celery, Cabbage Rolls with Caraway & Hazelnut, The Greenest Crustless Pie, Zucchini with Ricotta & Lemon, Stuffed Autumn Portobellos, Grilled Eggplant with Burrata, Nobu's Tomatoes, Salmon, Fennel & Lemon with Spinach Miso-Mayo, Mediterranean Fish Pot Pie, Cloud Eggs, Apple Almond Crumble, Clementine Yogurt Cake, Baked Apples with Blueberries, Blackberry Ricotta Cake and Star Anise Crème Brûlés. It should be noted that there are several meat and chicken recipes in the book but I don't eat them and appreciate that it has plenty of fish and veggie options. Home Made in the Oven is a book I am truly looking forward to cooking more from--the Roasted Celery (topped with blue cheese and hazelnuts) and the Cloud Eggs are next on my list to make. 


The recipe that caught my eye first was the Spinach Coconut & Chickpea Fish Stew with so many of my favorite ingredients. Van Boven makes this stew with black chickpeas but since those are not easy to find here and I didn't mail order any in time, I used yellow chickpeas. She also stuffs the stew into sliced pita breads but I only found naan bread at my local stores this week so I toasted a piece to dip in the creamy broth.


Spinach, Coconut & Chickpea Fish Stew
Reprinted with permission from Home Made in the Oven by Yvette Van Boven
(Serves 4-5)

2 teaspoons ghee or olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch of chile flakes
14-ounces (400 g) pre-cooked dried chickpeas
1 pound 2 ounces (500 g) white fish (ideally Marine Stewardship Council/MSC label), cubed
7-ounces (200 g) spinach, preferably wild
1 (3.5-ounce/400 ml) can coconut milk
4 or 5 large pita breads
1 bunch fresh cilantro (1/2-ounce/15 g), coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Heat the ghee in a heavy ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, lemon zest, and chile flakes. fry for about 3 minutes, stirring.

Add the chickpeas and the fish, place the spinach on top, and pour the coconut milk over it. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pan without the lid in the oven for 20 minutes, Slide the pita breads directly on the rack for the final 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the cilantro into the stew.

Slice the pita breads open, scoop in the stew, and serve immediately.


Notes/Results: This is a rich stew, silky, creamy and very tasty. I like the simple flavors and textures from the chickpeas, fish (I used frozen halibut) and spinach. There was no mention of what to do with the lemon juice so I added it towards the end with the salt and pepper and like the lemony flavor it added along with the zest. I think you could use any mild fish in this dish. I would have used a local fish but the wild frozen halibut looked far better this weekend. I also added one cup of light vegetable stock to give my stew more broth. I would happily make it again.  

Many thank to Abrams Books and #AbramsDinner Party for this delightful new cookbook that I know will become a favorite part of my collection. This post is sponsored by Abrams Books, as part of the Abrams Dinner Party, however my thoughts, feelings and experiences cooking from it are my own. #sponsored


Now let's look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.


Debra from Eliot's Eats shares a delectable Peanut Soup from Jubilee, a cookbook she reviewed and says, "Although the book is not jam packed with recipes, what is included is quality stuff. Since the thermometer is dipping down to freezing here some nights, I immediately went to the soup section and landed on a rich but simple sounding recipe. Tipton-Martin made this soup even richer by increasing the peanut butter and using cream instead of plain milk. I whipped this up in about thirty minutes, from chopping board to table. It’s a perfect weeknight meal."



Tina from Squirrel Head Manor shared a Roasted Acorn Squash and Caesar Salad pairing and said, "Speaking of lunch at home let me share a very simple meal. It's that time of year acorn squash is available and what's easier than chopping one in half and roasting it. This time I added a tablespoon of butter and some maple syrup to melt inside. ... As for an accompanying salad, it doesn't get much easier than a Caesar. Lots of toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Yes, I did have tomatoes to toss in but that's just an extra I wanted."


Finally Judee of Gluten Free A - Z Blog brought Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Sliced Apples and says, "Sweet red onion rings, slivers of colorful apple, elegant arugula, and shavings of Italian Parmesan cheese, burst with flavor when tossed in my homemade creamy lemon olive oil dressing.  This beautiful salad will delight your family and friends whether it's for a weeknight family dinner or upcoming holiday dinner."

 
 Thanks to Debra, Tina & Judee for joining in this week!

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter  
Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "We Met in December" by Rosie Curtis, Served with Hot Chocolate with Rum

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend! Halloween has passed, Starbucks has rolled out their holiday red cups, and although I am mostly a no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving kind of person, I do make exceptions for a holiday-themed book or two. That makes me happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for We Met in December by Rosie Curtis. Accompanying my review is a recipe for Nigella's Alcoholic Hot Chocolate


Publisher's Blurb:
 
Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.
 
Two people. One house. A year that changes everything. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. 

They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 5, 2019)

My Review:

Although it starts and ends in December and the Christmas holidays, We Met in December is about a year in the life of Jess, a close to thirty-year-old woman who moves from a suburban coastal town to London. Jess applied for her dream job in publishing and her friend from university just happens to have inherited a crumbling old house in Notting Hill and is renting out very affordable rooms to Jess and three others. The location is perfect for Jess as she is a rom-com geek and loves being in the city of so many of her favorite movies. On the first night she reconnects with her friend and landlord Becky and meets two of her roommates, beautiful and polished Emma and Alex, who like Jess, is starting over and studying to be a nurse, while nursing his slightly bruised ego from his fiance dumping him because she wanted life with the lawyer he was rather than the nurse he wants to be. At a get acquainted party with all of the group besides the usually working chef Rob, sparks fly between Jess and Alex, even though Becky has a "no relationships between housemates" rule. When Jess returns from a holiday with friends, she is dismayed to learn the role has already been broken by Alex and Emma who have a "secret" roommates-with-benefits relationship going that Jess, with a room next to Alex becomes privy to. Jess resigns herself to friendship with Alex who takes her all about London on long walks where they form a bond.

I liked Alex although (and maybe it's due to my age) she felt much younger than her age to me. The story goes back and forth over the year from her perspective and Alex's. I also liked Alex although the amount of drunken shagging he did with Emma while realizing he was having feelings for Jess was a bit off-putting. This book reads like a rom-com and and also like a love letter to London and I enjoyed Jess and Alex's walks about the city, visiting the sights that I got to see a few times during work trips there in the mid-nineties. The story is charming and although you can predict what will happen, much like a good rom-com, I enjoyed the journey of getting to the happily-ever-after part. (That's not a spoiler because it's a rom-com--there MUST be a happy ending--it's the law.) ;-) We Met in December made me want to watch a few movie favorites like Notting Hill and Love Actually and would make a great addition to a stack of light holiday reads, perfect for curling up with a cuppa tea or a cup of of rich, spiked hot cocoa. 

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Author Notes: Rosie Curtis was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and now lives with her family in a 150 year old house by the sea in the north west of England. She loves travel, happy ever after stories, and daydreaming. Her favourite book character is a toss up between Anne Shirley and Jo March. Rosie also writes adult and teen fiction as Rachael Lucas.





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Food Inspiration:

There is a good amount of food (and even more alcohol) mentioned in the book with it being London and one of the housemates being a chef. The books starts with a Mexican-themed dinner of chicken fajitas, salsa, guacamole and chips and lots of tequila and margaritas. Other food included hot chestnuts by the bag, a "honking" tuna sandwich unwrapped on the bus, beer, a pomegranate cocktail, vodka and limes, avocado on toast, boxed chocolates, hot chocolate laced with rum, vin chaud, pizza (included my dreaded "Hawaiian" pizza with pineapple and Canadian bacon), champagne, health food of spiralised courgette and carrot hummus on raw grain bread and a radish and sprout salad, a cinnamon and raisin bagel, burgers, cinnamon buns, olives, paella, German sausages, flat whites, red wine and Pringles, crème brûlé, toast-and-Marmite, Coke, 20p noodles from Tesco, soup and sandwiches, orange juice, ham sandwiches cut in triangles, ice cream, a packed soup mix labeled "Cock Soup" that some of the roommates eat in desperation when finances are tight, toast and marmalade, lemonade, pasta carbonara with green salad, a ploughman's lunch with no pickled onion, celery juice, peppermint tea, posh French cheeses, spiced chicken kabobs, curry, Pimm's Cups, espresso, toasted sandwiches, appetizers, negronis, prawn curry, lemon barley water, pastries, vodka and orange, chilli-spiked vegetables and shredded beef, chili, panini, Prosecco, cashew nuts, cinnamon-scented lebkuchen, brownies, lamb jalfrezi with all the trimmings, and Sunday roasts.


For my book-inspired dish I wanted to go with hot chocolate with rum as Alex is planning a birthday walk and lunch with Jess and wants to end up back at their favorite cafe where the owner will make them hot chocolate with rum and he can give her the signed copy of her favorite book her bought and maybe work up the nerve to tell her how is is feeling. Of course the plans go awry but the idea is sweet and hot chocolate sounded really good even if our weather isn't quite ready for it.


I went to Nigella looking for a boozy hot chocolate recipe and she had one of course from Food Network.

Hot Chocolate with Rum
Slightly Adapted from Nigella Lawson via FoodNetwork.com
(Serves 2)

2 cups milk
3 1/2 oz best-quality dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet, as preferred
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp honey
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp dark rum, or to taste

Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.  

Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups.


Notes/Results: This is a easy and rich and tasty hot chocolate with the extra nip of the (spiced) dark rum. I confess that I am more of a peppermint schnaps in cocoa person but this was a nice change and a nice Friday night "dessert" to put the cap on a long work week. I used some Ghirardelli semi-sweet chunks and part of a dark chocolate Linder bar for my base topped it with A LOT of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Served with a couple of Lu biscuits and peppermints, it was sweet and delicious and my first hot chocolate of the season. I will happily make it again.


Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Made Simple--recipes you can fix simply and easily by any of our 19 featured chefs.


I'm also sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "We Met in December" was provided to me by the author and the publisher Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 
 
You can see the other stops for this TLC Book Tour and what other bloggers thought of the book here.

 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ellie Krieger's Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Mushroom & Hazelnut Topping for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I keep thinking that if I think Fall hard enough, our humid weather will catch up and cool down and let me enjoy the season. This Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Mushroom & Hazelnut Topping from Ellie Krieger practically screams fall. It popped up from The Washington Post when I was looking for a soup this week and the topping of sauteed mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts, cooking sherry & parsley is what sold me.


Krieger says, "This nourishing bowl is like the cashmere throw of soups — cozy and comforting, in the most luxurious, stylish way. Made with cauliflower that gets simmered with shallots and potato, in broth, until softened, and then blended until smooth, the soup is ultra-creamy and filling. (The potato gives it an extra layer of satisfying body.) That lovely off-white puree becomes the canvas for a spray of toppings, which amplify its earthy, nutty flavors, while contrasting its creaminess: an exciting mix of meaty sauteed mushrooms, kissed with sherry vinegar and tossed with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and fresh parsley. The resulting warm bowl of goodness is a first-class upgrade from your basic pureed vegetable soup."


Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Mushroom & Hazelnut Topping
By Ellie Krieger via TheWashingtonPost.com
(Serves 4-6)
  
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 4 medium shallots)
1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)
one (6-oz) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup hazelnuts (see note)
4 oz mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake & chanterelles, stemmed, sliced & coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they have softened a bit but have not browned, about 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, potato, broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower and potato are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth, or let cool slightly and puree in 3 to 4 batches in a regular blender.

While the soup cooks, make the topping: Place the hazelnuts in a dry medium skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and let cool. Remove the skins if necessary (see note), then coarsely chop.

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Return the pan to the heat and warm 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid and start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Stir in the hazelnuts, parsley, the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle about a cup of soup into each bowl and top each with about 2 heaping tablespoons of the topping.

Notes  If possible, purchase hazelnuts that have already had their skins removed. If they are not available, once you have toasted and cooled the nuts, place them on one side of a clean kitchen towel, fold the towel over the nuts and rub vigorously to remove any loose skins. It is okay if some skins remain.

Make Ahead: Soup and topping (minus the hazelnuts) may both be made up to 4 days ahead and stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. (Add the hazelnuts to the topping just before serving to keep them crunchy.)

Storage Notes: The soup can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
 

Notes/Results: I really like this soup--the simple mix of the cauliflower, Yukon Gold potato, shallots and veggie broth is surprisingly flavorful but then when the topping is added, the mix of earthy, nutty and tangy makes it every better. Having two tablespoons of the topping to stir in also makes the soup heartier than a typical pureed soup. I would happily make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck week.


Now let's look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared a stew of Chicken and Rice saying, "Comforting warm food for a chilly day.  I have been making this Cook's Illustrated recipe of French Roasted Chicken for years.  It's an easy meal prepared in the Dutch oven and leaves just enough leftover chicken to make a soup or stew. For this soup/stewy version I took the leftover chicken and vegetables and added sauteed onions and garlic.  Then I poured a little more broth in the pot as well as a quarter to half cup of milk."


Debra of Eliot's Eats brought a dish inspired by The Adam's Family and said, "I couldn’t get past the vintage vibe of this film. I wanted to do something inspired by the film and highlight a retro recipe. During the first dinner that Fester has with his “long lost” brother’s family, he is served Granny’s specialite’ de la maison. She tells him to “Start with the eyes.” For some bizarre reason, I was reminded of a long lost recipe that my mom loved to make for special occasions. It was also kind of a specialty and was made only when she could find acini di pepe pasta which was kind of a feat in the 70s and 80s.  This favorite family salad (almost a dessert) had the creepy name of Frog Eye Salad.


Thanks to Tina and Debra for joining in this week!

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter  
Have a healthy, happy week!