Soup & Salad – Flat 493 Style

We had an employee appreciation lunch today, and, much to my boss’ surprise, I chose fried fish over grilled chicken. I told him it was fine because tonight was soup and salad night. But he doesn’t know Flat 493 cooking yet…….. (;

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: find a way to make soup with the (unfrozen) stock made from Easter ham while using up the leftover sourdough loaf from this weekend’s dogsitter and whatever other random shiz in the fridge needs to be used up.

I used the base of a soup from I Breathe I’m Hungry. Knowing Hambone had added some carrots while cooking off the ham bone, I started by sautéing some minced garlic in evoo and soon added freshly chopped carrots and a healthy dash of Savory Spice Shop’s Bohemian Forest European Seasoning. While I started chopping the cauliflower, I let the garlic and carrots get nice and brown, then deglazed the pan with some random, leftover [gifted] Reisling.

As the wine cooked down, I added the cauliflower as it was chopped. Almost all of the wine was gone by the time I added two bags of Trader Joe’s cauliflower florets [because TJ was out of whole cauliflower last night, and I was supposed to cook this then. But exhaustion. And Pretty Little Liars. And the Face Off finale]. 

I stirred everything up and let it cook a wee bit more [so scientific. I never said this was a proper cooking blog] with a few more dashes of Bohemian Forest, some ancho chile [for smoke] and berbere [for heat], and a hit of cinnamon [we always add cinnamon to cauliflower because Hampton says so, but the Internet won’t tell me WHY. Can you?].

Next I added the ham stock and enough TJ’s chicken broth ’til the veg looked covered [again with the details], brought it to a boil, then let it simmer ’til it seemed safe to make the grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches for croutons. [WHAT??! Yesssss. Keep reading.]

bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble….

Hampton had used up all of the bacon earlier today [because have you met him? Ok, probably not. Hampton LOVES bacon], but brought more home. After I cooked a few pieces, I buttered the rando bread and placed it in the bacon-fat laden pan with a handful of shredded gruyere and swiss [leftover from Easter’s potato dauphinois], bacon, and sliced provolone [I’m not even sure when that came from]. 
Patience has never been my virtue, and I’m 98.5% sure I have never actually made a grilled cheese sandwich in my pseudo-adult life, BUT I managed to let them cook slowly, and, holy cow – how beautiful!!

And they got even browner and meltier on the next flip!

While the sandwiches cooked, I christened my immersion blender and added the leftover ham. After letting it simmer some more, I added salt and pepper, then returned to the original blogspiration and finished it with some butter and apple cider vinegar. A few quick salads later and cutting of the “croutons” and voila!

Feta and some Brianna’s French Vinaigrette on the salad added complementary salt and cut through the richness of the soup. The combo had really interesting and layered flavors, was SUPER husband-approved, and we’re definitely going to be fighting over these leftovers!

It wasn’t so long ago that I only cooked instant ramen. Hampton may still be the better technical chef, but I’m getting there — thanks to Pinterest and endless hours of Food Network — and I will definitely beat him at cleaning the fridge any day (:

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