I have a talk with the Cleaning Lady, and we say our goodbyes, and the whole thing is surprisingly easier than I thought it would be; it probably doesn’t hurt that I feel so bad about it that I cry as I tell her I simply can’t afford her services anymore.
The Child pitches in, as she had promised she would, and helps out with the vacuuming, and sometimes surprises me by making my bed for me or cleaning my bathroom. I do the same for her, and the whole thing is off to a good start, and she wants to talk about vacations. She remembers our trip to Belize, and thinks how nice it would be to go back, but without The Departed. It would, I agree, but it’s not in the cards. I show her the cruise I am thinking about, on a ship that leaves from Seattle (no additional airfare), everything included in the price (so I don’t have to spend the trip worrying about money). She looks at the video tour of the cruise ship, mesmerized by the size of it and all the buffets it has (she can eat what she wants and lots of it).
She keeps helping out around the house, and though I don’t love how she loads the dishwasher, I do love that she’s not only willing to do it, but loads it better than the Cleaning Lady, and in far less time than The Departed, so that even when we procrastinate a bit about cleanup, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle to having dinner at a reasonable hour.
It was on such a night that I made this soup: The Child cleaned the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher while I walked the Red Dog, and when I came home, I simply cooked in my clean-ish kitchen. I forget where I found this recipe, originally from the Saltie cookbook, but I had been waiting to try it. The Child likes both cauliflower and gruyere cheese, so I figured I had a winner on my hands.
The soup was very easy to make, and I made only two adjustments to the recipe: I omitted the cup of fresh parsley it called for, both because it seemed like too much parsley and also because I forgot to buy any; I also used packaged vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, since The Child theoretically might eat it. The soup turned out more brothy than I expected – I somehow thought that it would be a thicker, cheesier affair, at the end – but I didn’t mind. The cheese added a lot of flavor to the broth, and the final result was filling and oh so delicious.
I slurped with abandon.
The Child was more mixed in her praise, which is a roundabout way of saying that she couldn’t decide if she liked it or not. She thought oyster crackers might help. I thought it was perfect just as is.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 4 leeks, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 chunk Gruyère (about 5 ounces)
- Vegetable stock, as needed (about 4 cups)
- Prep the cauliflower: Remove the outer leaves, cut into large florets, and break apart into small florets with your hands or a knife.
- In a soup pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté the leeks until they begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and another pinch of salt, and cook the cauliflower and leeks until they start to come together, about 3 minutes longer.
- Add the gruyere, and give everything a good stir. Add just enough stock to cover the vegetables. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. At this point, the cheese will have mostly melted.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot.