This mellow Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds is the perfect start to a meal full of exciting flavors.
Wrap bay leaf and cloves in cheesecloth; tie with kitchen twine. Place in a large saucepan; add stock, cauliflower, potato, fennel, onion, and 5 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Discard clove bundle.
Working in batches, filling a blender no more than halfway, puree soup until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; stir in milk. Place over medium heat until just heated through (do not boil). Add nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle soup with pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with pumpkinseed oil, if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.
White pepper is used because of its color, but black pepper will also work.