On Shavuot there is a custom to eat dairy foods. So basically it is a 24 hour (48 hour in the Diaspora)cheesecake, pizza, lasagna, quiche, etc. party. There are various reasons for this custom with a prominent one being that as the Jews had just received the Torah they were still unfamiliar with the Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut) and ritual slaughter. They had to stick to dairy and remain temporary vegetarians until they were well versed in keeping Kosher.
I was in a dilemma before writing this blog. Most dairy dishes are high in cholesterol and not on the top of the healthy list. I thought of blogging about vegan options on Shavuot. I then uttered my mantra to myself:: "Life is about balance" and on Shavuot I will be balancing a lot of cheesy and creamy dishes on my plates! But seriously, I do serve cheese and cheesecake and dishes with cheese but I also serve lots of salads made from veggies and whole grains, etc. Also, we are allowed to enjoy life, especially on special occasions. If you basically lead a healthy lifestyle, some gazillion % cheese won't kill you on Shavuot.
So I decided to try something that I had never made. I have made my share of cheesecakes, quiches, lasagnas, etc. but I had never made broccoli soup with cheese and I must admit, that it is as decadently delicious as it sounds.
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
5 cups milk (I used 1 %)
1 cup 10 % fat cream (half and half to Americans)
3 heads fresh brocolli (around 2 3/4 pounds)
1 pinch nutmeg
2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat and saute the onions for around 5 minutes until golden
Sprinkle flour on top and stir in, cooking for around 1 minute
Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil.
Cook for 20-30 minutes until broccoli is tender
Add cheddar cheese to boiling soup and stir in until melted.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.
Serve in regular bowls or bread bowls (if you want)