Tag Archives: summer

Cauliflower Soup… Simple and Delicious

29 Jul

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is frequently over looked. Not only can it be a bit intimidating to cook, it can also stir up memories of bitter, soggy, over cooked nightmares from your childhood. Well my friends, cauliflower is no longer the white villain of yesterday. It’s actually very delicate, sweet and tasty!

One of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower is to roast it. This is simpler than you might think:

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toss the cauliflower with the oil and salt and roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces and then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve as desired.

What can you do with this cauliflower once you have have it roasted? Well, eat it for 1 but I like to make soup. The cauliflower creates a delicate flavor that needs minimal enhancements. You can garnish the soup with toasted walnuts, pesto, sour cream, or even plumped raisins, but I like to keep it simple with olive oil, cracked pepper and a few snipped chives. The recipe is below.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 head of cauliflower prepared as directed above
2 cloves of garlic
3-4 cups prepared chicken stock
1/2-1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Puree all the ingredients in a Vitamix blender or in a food processor until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture into a saucepan and reheat to desired temperature. Garnish as desired and enjoy.

Try this recipe with grilled or smoked cauliflower as well. It will stay on the top of your go to list for awhile. It also freezes well and reheats like a dream. And, if you are feeling hot… try it chilled with a fresh herb garnish and drizzle of really good olive oil. Oh, and a perfectly chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc 🙂

Always thinking about the next meal



Summer Dinner Party

9 Jun

So last Saturday night I catered a dinner party in Orlando. Back in April, I had donated a dinner party for 8 at a fundraiser for my Mom’s school and Saturday was the big night. I was thrilled to have had donated a prize that raised so much money for the school, but I was nervous that I had to live up to the donation.

The night started off as usual. I had my timeline prepped and my ingredients ready to go. All I had to do was show up and start cooking. I even had help. My Mom and her 2 friends were the “celebrity” guests that would be helping with dinner. I was ready. Here was the menu:

Watermelon Tomato Salad
Watermelon, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onion and white balsamic vinaigrette

Salmon with Raw Sugar Green Chili Glaze and Summer Succotash
Seared salmon with raw sugar green chili glaze and a succotash with corn, tomatoes, bacon and edamame

Cornbread with Lime Butter

Toasted Pound Cake
Toasted pound cake with topped with a cannoli cream and fresh berries

I started the night out by making the cornbread and the cannoli cream. I assigned things to my Mom and her friends as the night went on. I had my Mom make a surprise appetizers. As you can see the menu did not include nibbles to have out while the guest were arriving. We made brie stuffed dates with sliced almonds and balsamic glaze. I borrowed the recipe from Wegmans. It’s very simple…

Brie Stuffed Dates

12 dates, sliced down the center and pits removed
6 oz ripe brie (I use fromage d’affinios)
1 oz sliced almonds
3 oz balsamic vinegar, reduced by half

Stuff each date with a 1/2 oz of cheese and sprinkle with the almonds. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.

The night before the party I decided that the salmon really needed a sauce. Usually I fell like a glaze serves the purpose of a sauce, but this glaze was different. It was light, and almost caramelized on top of the salmon. It enhanced the crispiness of sear, but didn’t add that flavorful moisture to the entrée that the salmon really needed. I decided to make an aji sauce. Strangely enough, aji is pepper, but this sauce did not have any aji peppers in it. It did have anehiem and jalepeño peppers, but no aji. The sauce went perfectly with the salmon and the spicy sweet glaze.

One of the unexpected hits of the party was the cornbread. I was frantic to find a recipe that hit a happy medium between the traditional corn bread of the South and the sweet, pudding-y, corn bread of the North. I had success with this recipe:

3 cups white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can creamed corn
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment: 9×13 in pan

Preheating oven to 375°F.

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add eggs, corn, buttermilk, and 1 cup melted butter, then quickly stir together.

Bake for 50 minutes

Dessert was simple. I felt like I was cheating by using store bought pound cake, but since I made the corn bread, I thought it was a fair trade off. The cannoli cream was inspired by cannoli filling and a cake called a cassatta. The sweetened cheese tasted light and melted slightly over the warmed pound cake.

I had so much fun at this party. I can’t wait for my next one… next week!

Always thinking of the next meal