Last weekend we took the kids and my mom to our family’s cottage in Indiana for one last hurrah before my uncle closes it up for the winter. My brother and his sweet family met us there. It was a perfect fall weekend full of hikes through the woods, races down the sand dunes, crackling fires and giggling cousins.
This sweet little house, located near Indiana Dunes State Park (only 47 miles east of Chicago) has been in my mother’s family since the 1930s. I love the story of how it came to be.
My grandpa “Pop” had two maiden aunts who were both school principals, quite an accomplishment in those days, and loved to hike. They first took the South Shore Line from Chicago to the Indiana Dunes with one of their hiking groups. After falling in love with the mountains of sand, long stretches of beaches and accessible hiking trails, Katherine and Martha purchased a one room cottage, made all of knotty pine, nestled in the woods just a few minutes from the beaches and trails. The small cottage was built through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public work relief program created by FDR for unemployed, unmarried young men as part of the New Deal.
Thanks to my two independent great-great aunts and the following generations who have worked tirelessly to keep it habitable, my children are the fifth generation to romp around in “The Cottage.”
And what would be a fall weekend at The Cottage without homemade soup?
I made two different kinds; Chicken Soup for the meat-eaters and Cauliflower Soup for the others. I’ll post the chicken soup another time, but I just have to share this simple cauliflower recipe with you. I know it sounds a bit bland, but it is absolutely delicious, I promise! And it’s one of the easiest things to make. It’s gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free and dairy-free, although it is so rich and smooth, it tastes as if there might be a pound of butter in it. The cauliflower also has a natural nutty flavor and while many vegan cauliflower soup recipes call for a cashew cream, I don’t think it needs it. I’ve always used the traditional white florets, but I suppose you could make it with any one of cauliflower’s lusciously colored versions. How gorgeous would that purple be in a soup?!?!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 white onion
2 leeks (only the white parts)
1 head of cauliflower
6 cups vegetable broth (I use Pacific)
1/2 lemon, juice
sea salt & pepper
chopped chives to garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté garlic and onion until the onions soften, stir occasionally. Add the chopped cauliflower and leeks and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add the broth, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is nice and tender.
Pour soup into a blender. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes until soup is smooth and creamy.
Return soup to saucepan and warm over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. If too thick add a little warm water or broth.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives.