The recipe is at the bottom of this post, but first you have to hear the story for its inspiration.
October is (expat) birthday month??? Besides my own, it’s Michelle from Michellanea‘s birthday month, and another Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, Melinda from Living in Florence, and Tracie from My Life Italian and Sigrid from Cavoletto di Bruxelles. Yvonne from Cream Puffs in Venice is not in Italy, but she might as well be – and she’s an October baby, too! My dad, his girlfriend, my friends’ two baby girls (Happy birthday Ginevra and Veronica!), Carrie, Tiziana, Yan, Josh, Ali! I’m going to wish everyone a big Happy Birthday this month.
And with birthdays, (hopefully) come a few packages. I swear that the Postal Service has its own special circle in Dante’s hell. I already talked about shipping restricted items to Italy, but what about the delivery of the package once it’s in the country?
Remember when my friends came in July and the airline lost their luggage…the one packed full of stuff for me? Well, it didn’t stop there. Almost two weeks after they had finished their trip and returned home, the luggage was “found” in Venice and shipped back to the U.S.
Since my mother was coming in September, I thought that she might be able to stick some of it in her bag. My friend sent the contents, now in a package, via Overnight Mail two days before my mom was scheduled to leave. Overnight = arrives the next day with no problems, right? Wrong. Apparently Overnight mail is not about the time for delivery but rather the delivery mode – your package is traveling at night. The night before my mom was to leave for Paris, the package had arrived in the town where she was flying out. The next morning she was leaving at 9:30am and they wouldn’t let her pick up the package in time.
So, the package was delivered in all tranquility that morning, after she had departed.
Fast-forward to post-Paris trip, my mom drops the package in the mail. I tracked it online as it sat in customs for 5 days (remember, walking distance from my house), and then:
Day 1: Attempted delivery. 6:52pm.
What? Attempted delivery? When, who, where is my notice? Luckily and unluckily, we have a doorperson who is there to receive packages. Unfortunately, she is only available for a few hours each morning. When I talked to her about the possible confusion of someone trying to deliver a package and finding the “doorperson” area closed with no information about a return or “opening hours,” she advised me,
“You need to tell the sender to specify it has to be delivered in the morning.” Right. You can just add that on the customs form and I’m sure the SDA looks out for it.
“Can’t you put a sign on the door saying you’re only here for a specific amount of time, so the delivery people know when to return?”
“Well, those that know me know when I’m here. It’s all these ‘new’ ones that don’t know,” she said with roll of her eyes. So…if people, um, change jobs or they hire more people, we’re back to square one?
So, two more “attempted” deliveries recorded online later, with only one “delivery notice” left out of three, I found myself having to trudge out to Cinisello Balsamo to pick up a package. Not having a car, and having been to Cinisello only once or twice back when I was teaching a few years ago, I tried to navigate it via the public transportation site.
I’m going to save you the drawn-out story of taking the metro to its outer confines, then finding the right bus, the driver forgetting to tell us to get off at our stop, getting off at the next stop and going to wait for the bus in the opposite direction, finding it doesn’t arrive for 30 minutes which means the package pick-up will close in the meantime, calling for a cab and not being able to tell him physically in what city I was (we were on the side of a highway somewhere), catching another bus, walking over a mile to the pickup place…..and then finding out that on the phone I could have arranged for free delivery to another location, like my office.
I’ll spare you, really.
But after all this, I really needed some comfort. In the form of a hot, filling soup.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onions
Note: My version of this “soup” is more of a vellutata (velvet-like) in that it’s quite dense. You can play with the density by adding more milk and broth to your taste.
1 head cauliflower
1 white or yellow onion
100g gorgonzola cheese
Vegetable or chicken broth, hot (about 2 cups)
1 cup whole milk
1 T. brown/cane sugar (or white, if you prefer)
- Cut cauliflower head into chunks and arrange on a cookie sheet/baking tray. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt/pepper/hot pepper or other spices as desired. Roast under the broiler for 20-30 minutes, checking continually that they aren’t burning and turning the pieces at least once during cooking.
- While roasted cauliflower is roasting, slice the onion into rings and start to saute with a little olive oil. After 10 minutes, add the brown/cane sugar. Cook on medium-low heat for another 15-20 minutes.
- After cauliflower has cooled (enough to handle), in a large bowl or pot, blend in broth with a wand blender and add some of the milk. Taste and add more broth/milk for the consistency you desire. It’s ok if the taste isn’t as strong as you’d like, remember that the onions and gorgonzola will add a lot of flavor.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls, and top with some of the caramelized onions and gorgonzola cut into small chunks.
Some other vellutata / comfort soups:
- Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup from Farmgirl Fare
- Spicy Pumpkin Soup from Elise at Simply Recipes
- Pear Pecorino Potato Soup from Cooking with Amy
- Spinach and Zucchini Soup from 101 Cookbooks
- Tomato and Cilantro Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen
What’s a comfort soup for you?