For a long time, I thought we would never leave Brooklyn. When Alex got a new job and we moved to the Lower Hudson Valley it all happened very fast, and I was definitely in a state of mild culture shock. I had a moment one morning in the parking lot of my new gym, when I couldn’t tell which Honda CRV with a car seat in the back was mine. I swear I heard David Byrne singing in my ear: “And you may ask yourself, well…how did I get here?”
How was I suddenly a 30-something mom in the suburbs? Wasn’t I just a 20-something writer in Brooklyn? What happened?
It has been almost two years now, and while I definitely miss city life in many ways, I don’t think I could ever go back. Mostly because I love how close we are to nature up here. We have wild raspberries and spring onions in our backyard, a hawk who lives somewhere on our property, turtles and ducks in the pond across the street, and deer…everywhere. Sometimes I’ll be running or driving along, and the lushness of the landscape almost takes my breath away.
And the farms! Oh, how I’ve grown to love all our local farms. Last week, I was lucky to be invited to a lunch at Amba Farms in Bedford Hills catered by Love on the Run. It was a press event to highlight the farm as a venue for events, and also Leslie Lampert’s amazing farm-to-table food. It was one of the most lovely afternoons I’ve had in a while (Champagne at noon on a Monday!), and such a beautiful celebration of all that the rich soil of the Hudson Valley has to offer.
Everything I ate was incredible. There was a local honeycomb-goat cheese situation that I am still dreaming about; and crates of the most gorgeous, unadorned baby lettuce leaves that we all heaped on our plates. Dessert was a giant chocolate mousse parfait with an unholy amount of whipped cream, upon which the editors of The Valley Table and I inflicted some serious damage. But my favorite dish of all was a chilled truffle cauliflower soup that was served in little shot glasses. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I had to recreate a vegan version at home.
To make this soup taste rich and luxurious without any cream, I borrowed a page from Kenji’s book and used white sandwich bread as my secret ingredient. Otherwise, it’s a pretty straightforward recipe. You could serve it either hot or cold, but since it’s summer, we’ve been eating it chilled with nothing more than a sprinkle of minced chives. What else do you need, really, when truffles are involved?
PPS: The roasted red pepper soup is the first soup I ever photographed. I can’t believe I thought it was a good shot! Building this blog can feel like climbing a mountain sometimes. Even though I still have such a long way to go towards turning it into a successful business, I think it’s important to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come. xo
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head cauliflower, cored and chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- 1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil
- Chopped chives, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is completely tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the bread. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender). Stir in the truffle oil. Transfer the soup to the refrigerator and chill. Sprinkle with the chives before serving.
- If you don't have white pepper, use regular freshly ground black pepper instead.