Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quick and creamy: cauliflower and roasted garlic soup

Want to have a creamy, seasonal (at least for here) soup with a sunny demeanor that almost cooks itself? We are preparing for a much-needed week-long vacation and I was cleaning out the refrigerator when I spied a head of cauliflower (not purchased long ago, but forgotten). I checked my root vegetable drawer and I had shallots, onions, and garlic - everything needed to turn cauliflower into delicious soup. I roasted the garlic to give it the benefit of rich garlic flavor without the bitterness or bit. One head of cauliflower made enough for two generous bowls.

Cauliflower and roasted garlic soup
(serves two, or double for more)

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 large shallot or 1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 head garlic
3 cups good vegetable stock
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Olive oil and sea salt

Cut garlic in half through the cloves width-wise. Drizzle each half with 1 Tbs olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in a 400 degree oven until cloves are tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute shallots or onion in a saute pan over medium heat until translucent. Add cauliflower and saute until just tender, allowing it to begin to brown. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender.

Pour cauliflower mixture into a blender or food processor. Squeeze 3-4 cloves roasted garlic into mixture and blend until creamy. Add additional vegetable stock to thin consistency if desired. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pour into bowls. Garnish with something nice and green. Serve with toasted French bread crostini smeared with remaining garlic and drizzled lightly with olive oil.


p.s. thanks so much everyone for your nice notes on the cookbook - I really appreciate it!
p.p.s. why won't blogger let me put an accent on saute??

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tomato: a Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook

Just received my copies of a cookbook I shot last summer. It is a cookbook of tomato-based recipes (even desserts!) from wonderful chefs including Alice Waters and Daniel Boulud. It is wonderful to see it in print!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Simple and colorful: steamed baby winter vegetables

Feeling a little down-trodden due to the constant cold, I perused the grocery isle in search of a little color, a little brightness, a little hint of the colors of spring. What jumped out at me was a selection of pint-sized root vegetables: baby turnips, and tiny baby carrots with vibrant greens and sugar snap peas (where are these peas coming from?). I thought: bright, vibrant, crunchy five-minute lunch! I peeled and quartered the baby turnips, peeled the carrots, leaving their stems on and trimmed the peas. The turnips and the carrots went in a bamboo steamer and the snap peas were blanched in some boiling salted water (and then dropped into ice water). I love the way blanching brings out the green, but I could have made even faster work of the dish by adding the peas to the steamer as well. I then drizzled the vegetables with some pure sesame oil, sprinkled them with some black sesame seeds and sea salt and voila! Lunch!

Steam. Season. Serve with some brown rice. Enjoy!