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Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower soup

Cauliflower soup

I had a head of cauliflower, it’s getting cold outside and I wanted some soup but it had to be very simple. I found this recipe on Food52, I had run out of stock vegetable or chicken and couldn’t run to the store, was waiting for a delivery and when I saw how easy this soup was and the list of ingredients is minimal I knew this was what I would make. This is part of the Food52 Genius collection, it is genius in it’s simplicity and tasting it you would never know just how easy it is to make. It would be an elegant addition to any meal, your guests will be impressed. As it is this recipe is vegan, no dairy or animal products at all. Of course I added a couple of tbs of butter to mine, just because I like butter but this is completely optional and unnecessary. The soup is delicious as is.

Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
  • 1 head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
  3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.
  4. Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
smooth and creamy

smooth and creamy

More Inspiring Food, Spiced Swiss Chard Cobbler And Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix For Fiesta Friday #39

swiss chard cobbler

swiss chard cobbler

Here are two great recipes chosen at random from the recipes you left for me. Spiced Swiss Chard Cobbler from Three little halves and Strictly Delicious wonderful Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix. Both recipes are amazing. I love swiss chard and this creamy savory cobbler is absolutely delicious, the cornmeal biscuit topping goes perfectly with the spicy filling. The Vanilla Autumn spice mix will get a lot of use this Holiday Season, I love to bake and I love warm fragrant spices so I was so excited that this was the random pick this time. I used the spice mix for simple baked apples, a recipe on Food52. A light and delicious sweet treat that is so very seasonal.

I brought these wonderful dishes to Fiesta Friday, now this week is very special. First of all it is Angie@The novice gardeners birthday, a warm congratulations and Happy Birthday to Angie and secondly, I am co hosting this week with one of my favorite bloggers Sue@birgerbird. This promises to be a great party with lots of delicious food.

 

Delicious

Delicious

Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix

Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix

 

Baked apples

Baked apples

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

 

Inspire Me Part Deux!

Inspire Me

Inspire Me

Happy Sunday everyone! I had so much fun cooking Matt and Lindy’s recipes that I decided I am going to make each and every entry that was posted. I will do another random drawing on Wednesday and post on Friday or Saturday. If you want to send me another recipe you can do so either on this post or the previous one. I think every recipe is outstanding and I can’t wait to see what I will be cooking next. I will continue this until every single recipe has been made.

Thanks to everyone for the kind and thoughtful comments after my Izzy passed away. Just knowing that my friends were there for support made this terrible time a little easier. Thank you all so much!

An Inspiring Meal,Wine Pairing And Fiesta Friday #38

Pork Ragu With Pappardelle

Pork Ragu With Pappardelle

I want to thank everyone who submitted recipes and so sorry it’s a day late. I wanted to cook/bake each one of them (I think I just might do just that).  I am inspired when I see the wonderfully delicious and creative recipes you all make and I want to do the same. Thank you. I fed everyone’s names into Random.org and the two recipes that were chosen are:

Pork Ragu with Pappardelle by Matt @ Inspired Food

 Tiramisu by Lindy @ Love in the kitchen

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

I needed some comfort and the angels must have been at the helm of the random pick, Italian comfort food is just what I needed. Matt’s pork ragu is rich and meaty, and when eaten with pappardelle (I love those pasta ribbons) it’s like getting a hug from Nonna. Rather than make a salad I decided to make brocolli rabe sauteed in garlic and olive oil with toasted pine nuts and shaving of pecorino romano. I deviated only slightly from Matt’s recipe, I did not use oregano, it’s a personal preference.

As luck would have it, or I guess this was fated, when I fed the desserts into the random sorter it spit out Tiramisu, how perfect is that with this wonderful pasta dish. Lindy’s tiramisu is exactly how I like it, the perfect comforting, creamy sweet dessert. I used Kahlua in the dipping/soaking coffee, Lindy gives you a choice of Kahlua, Frangelico or Amaretto and I added 1 tbs of Marsalla to the mascarpone/cream. What a fantastic dessert!!

I could not enjoy such a wonderful bowl of pasta without a great wine. My dear friend Michelle agreed to do a wine pairing.  Michelle’s wine blog Rockin Red Blog is a veritable wealth of information on wine. You have to read her wine reviews, I am so in love with her writing style, her reviews are downright sexy (can I say that). Well they are, and I have learned so much from her. I sent her Matt’s great recipe and she paired it with a wonderful Italian red. Here is the wine recommendation and review from Michelle:

cesari mara ripasso

cesari mara ripasso

I spent a week in Valpolicella in September visiting wineries and tasting lots of terrific wine. When Suzanne shared this recipe with me it immediately took me back to Italy. I am sure there are many wines that would pair well with this meal but I try to follow the mantra “If it grows together it goes together;” therefore, my recommendation for a wine to pair with Pork Ragu with Pappardelle is a delicious Ripasso from the Valpolicella region of Italy. Many of the fantastic wines I enjoyed in Valpolicella have limited if any distribution to the US. I am recommending a wine that is distributed within the US; however, if you are unable to find this exact wine please go to your favorite local wine retailer, share this recommendation with the wine buyer and ask him/her to please suggest a Ripasso the store has in stock with similar body and flavor profile to enjoy with this meal.

Cesari Mara 2012 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC: This beautiful Ripasso was crafted from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. It poured a beautiful deep ruby into the glass. This wine opened with quintessential Ripasso aromas of ripe cherries and spice. On the palate it delivered pleasing flavors of ripe cherries, baking spice, cocoa and fresh tobacco leaves with a hint of vanilla on the back of the palate. This Ripasso offered a velvety full mouth feel with a lingering finish coupled with refined tannins and round acidity. This Ripasso begged to be paired with a rich and full pasta meal. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine paired with Bigoli Pasta topped with a Barnyard Ragu and fresh shaved Parmesan Cheese. Furthermore, the Cesari Mara 2012 Ripasso will make an excellent pairing with Pork Ragu with Pappardelle. Click here to find this wine; if necessary I encourage you to order it online. Average retail price $17.

The meal was so wonderful I decided I would make enough pasta and tiramisu for a crowd and bring it to Fiesta Friday hosted by the amazing Angie@The novice gardener. This weeks co hosts are Hilda and Julianna, they are so wonderful agreeing to co host a second week. I hope you brought your appetites since I have brought a lot of food and with everyones amazing and delicious offerings FF#38 is going to be a great party!! Enjoy Everyone!!

Bowl of comfort

Bowl of comfort

YUM!

YUM!

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

brown butter praline bundt cake with salted caramel drizzle #bundtbakers

apuginthekitchen:

I recently discovered this blog and love it, not just because he is in Brooklyn and loves dogs but the recipes are fantastic as are the photo’s. I think this cake is wonderful and I wanted to share it with you.

Originally posted on Brooklyn Homemaker:

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but I love a bundt cake.

brown butter praline bundt cake with salted caramel drizzle | Brooklyn Homemaker

(I’ve definitely mentioned it before)

brown butter praline bundt cake with salted caramel drizzle | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I first started blogging I used to say that the reason I loved bundt cakes so much is that they remind me of my grandmother. While that may be true, I think there might be a little more to it than that.

To this day, every time I visit my grandmother she has some kind of homemade sweet in the house, whether she knows I’m coming or not. This has always been true, and when I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time at grandma’s house. There were always any number of store-bought cookies and donuts and candies in the pantry and some kind of homemade cake or pie was usually kicking around somewhere too.  This may or may not (definitely does) have something to do with my…

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My Sweet Izzy

Izzy

Izzy

Yesterday,  Thursday Oct. 9 at 1:30 PM my sweet little Izzy passed away. She passed on her own terms, I did not have to make the dreaded decision. She died in my arms at home. She was my love, and the sweetest dog in the world. There is a huge hole in my heart and a big piece is now missing from my life but I have to be here for Nando. Thank you all so much for the kind words of support. I am heart broken and have been looking through my photo’s of her and wanted to share these with all of you.

I love both Izzy and Nando but Izzy was special for me, my daughter brought Izzy home to help me recover from the loss of  my 2 dogs that died very close together. I was distraught, and Izzy was my life saver. She was an amazing little girl, sweet, full of life, rambunctious, very much a diva and spoiled rotten. She and Nando were best friends and were always together, I learned that I could never leave Izzy alone in the house without her Nando, if I did she would give quite the dramatic performance, she was quite the actress. She was feisty and did not have a mean bone in her little body.

There will not be a day that passes that I won’t miss that sweet little girl. RIP sweet Izzy.

Her cupcake leash

Her cupcake leash

In her backyard

In her backyard

Daisey and Izzy are together now

Daisey and Izzy are together now

All dressed up

All dressed up

 

 

 

My Meatloaf Is A Finalist On Food52!

photograph by James Ransom for food52

photograph by James Ransom for food52

I am thrilled and honored to be a finalist in the contest “Your Best Dinner That Makes A Good Lunch”. I love this meatloaf recipe l it’s simple and straightforward. I am keeping this post short and sweet as my happiness for being named a finalist is overshadowed by grief and worry, My sweet Izzy is very very ill and I have to make a very difficult decision. Click here to vote and here to check out Food52. Thank you so so much. I really appreciate it.

 

Izzy please keep her in your thoughts and prayers

Izzy please keep her in your thoughts and prayers

Inspire Me!

woman-preparing-christmas-cake-10065169

I am in a bit of a slump, I feel like I make the same things over and over again and quite frankly I am boring myself. I have a zillion cookbooks and I subscribe to so many great blogs but I don’t really know what direction to go, what to cook that will knock my socks off and thrill and excite me. I need a challenge. I was sitting at my computer with a pile of cookbooks and reading and commenting on the many blogs that I follow and it came to me. You, my fellow bloggers are my inspiration, I look at your posts and think oh yes, I really want to make this but then I get caught up in daily activities and more blog posts come in and the same thing happens.

So here is what I ask of you, send me a link to one of your recipes. Something you would like to see me make. I will feed them into random.org and won’t tell you the results. I will post the chosen recipe with photo’s and a link to your blog. So what do you think of my idea? Would you send me a recipe to make?  The  deadline for submission is Monday Oct. 13th and I will post the chosen recipe on Friday Oct. 17th and it will be my submission to Fiesta Friday. You will get full recognition for your great recipe, I am only the vehicle preparing it.

If you would like for me to cook one of your recipes just leave a comment with the link. I have no dietary restrictions, vegan, vegetarian, international cuisine it’s all fair game. I only ask that you keep the ingredients simple, nothing hard to locate in the US, and PLEASE nothing with organ meats, offal, fish heads, eyeballs or the like I don’t eat that. Sweet or savory I love it all. A complete meal or one item. I am excited at the thought of preparing a dish from one of your blogs. I will ask one of my wine expert friends to help me pair the perfect wine with the savory dish.

You all inspire me daily now I want to cook!

UPDATE: I am so inspired now that I decided to make two dishes one savory and 0ne sweet. How could I not?

Disappointment And Huckleberry’s Comforting Biscuits

Soggy sign

Soggy sign

Azita from Fig and Quince designed our flyer for the block party, cute right? Here is it hanging on a post getting soggy. The rain was relentless, canceling the block party was the only option.

wet

wet

Our block, one lonely dog walker out. What a miserable day.

pretty leaves wet sidewalk

pretty leaves wet sidewalk

I love the Fall, the leaves turning and falling. The dogs love walking in the leaves that fall to the ground. It should have been a happy fun day, but we got rained out. All in all it was very disappointing, so I wanted to make something comforting. I haven’t made anything yet from Huckleberry, thumbing through the book my eyes were immediately drawn to this recipe for Comfort Food Biscuits, how appropriate. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know I am biscuit/scone challenged. My biscuits have been likened to paper weights, hockey pucks, rocks. I am constantly searching for the elusive biscuit recipe that will be light and fluffy and pillowy. I thought this recipe sounded really good, lots of fat in the way of butter, cream cheese and heavy cream so it should produce a nice moist biscuit. Great step by step instructions. The only thing I was perplexed about was the baking temperature. It’s counter intuitive really, baking biscuits in a 350 degree oven didn’t make sense to me, every biscuit recipe I have ever made uses a hot oven 425 -450 degrees.

Comfort Food Biscuits

Makes 13 2 inch biscuits

3 cups (380 grams) all purpose flour

1 tbs +2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tbs sugar plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed

3/4 cup (180 grams) cold cream cheese cubed

6 tbs (90 ml) cold heavy cream

egg wash

fleur de sel for sprinkling

 

In a very large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and toss well. Throw in the cold butter and work it with your fingertips until the pieces are pea and lima bean size. Then do the same with the cream cheese. Add the cream. Lightly toss to distribute.

Immediately dump everything onto a clean surface with more than enough space to work the dough. Using only the heel of your palm, quickly flatten out the dough. Gather the dough back together in a mound and repeat. After two or three repetitions, the dough should begin holding together. Be sure to avoid overworking. You should still see some pea size bits of butter through it.

Flatten the dough to a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thickness and cout the biscuits. Transfer them to an ungreased sheet pan. Very gently push the scraps back together and cut once more. Freeze for at least 2 hours before baking, or up to 1 one month, tightly wrapped.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree F or 180 degrees Centigrade. Remove the biscuits from the freezer Space them with plenty of breathing room on two ungreased sheet pans, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with both sugar and salt. Bake from frozen until cooked through, nicely browned, and easily lifted off the pan about 30 minutes.

Instructions

Instructions

Disclosure: My results in no way reflect on the actual recipe since I am biscuit challenged.

I followed the instructions or at least I tried, the dough felt dry to me. I weighed the ingredients except for the flour and the heavy cream, in retrospect I should have weighed the flour also, that might be the key as to why the dough felt dry. Have I said I am biscuit challenged, well I am. Overworking the dough seems to be my mantra. I used the heel of my palm pressed and gathered and eventually it came together but only after a lot of work (overwork?). When I cut a biscuit with the cutter and picked it up it sort of fell apart,it was too dry. I had to put the dough back in the bowl and add another tbs of cream and really carefully incorporate, press it into another disc and cut the biscuits, this time they held together but my fear is that at this point I overworked the dough, in the photo’s above the dough looks soft mine was not it was tightly packed. They made exactly the amount indicated, I placed in the freezer for the requisite time (2 hours). I pre heated the oven to 350 degrees. I had to smack my hand to keep me from taking the temp up over 400 degree’s. To be fair it looks like the biscuit dough in the photo’s above is not the same recipe, it looks like the Herb  biscuits which has more liquid in the form of buttermilk but a bit less fat so it should have evened out I would think. We’ll see what happens when I bake them. Note: I decided to try weighing three cups of flour using the same measuring cup and method and it was 420 grams and the recipe calls for 380 grams, hence the dry biscuits, I removed approximately 1/2 cup of flour to make it 380. You see why it’s important to weigh ingredients when you bake. When I cut 3/4 cup of butter it was less than the 170 grams so I added a smidge more. 

The Results:

Well, I think I overworked them, they were not pillowy, light and fluffy as I hoped. The flavor was good though. I am beginning to think I have unrealistic expectations when it comes to biscuits, I have the same problem with pound cakes. All biscuits are supposed to be like the ones you get in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, you know the ones in the can and pound cake should all be like Sara Lee. On a positive note, they rose nicely, flavor was really good and I am sure they are perfectly acceptable biscuits but one day I will go to LA and taste one from the source Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe. I really look forward to making more recipes from the book.

If I were to make these again I would do a few things differently:

1. weigh the flour and all ingredients

2. add more liquid if it looks to dry, that would help me not over work the dough.

3. Bake at a temperature higher than 350 degree’s, maybe with a commercial oven it works but with my less than wonderful oven it was too low and the biscuits looked anemic ( In all fairness I did not use egg wash, I brushed with cream)

I boosted the color in iphoto so they look more golden brown than they actually came out of the oven so the photo’s have been touched up.

biscuits

biscuits

close up

close up

 

 

Fiesta Friday #36, A Block Party Fiasco And An Apology

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

First of all the apology, I always cook or bake or prepare something specifically for Fiesta Friday, it is something I look forward to every week. This week however I have my hands full, really full. Work is crazy busy but more than that, my block association (I am president) is having our annual block party tomorrow. Everything has been planned, permits from the city, bouncy rides, music, food etc… People from the neighborhood look forward to this every year. Well, the weather forecast is saying there will be pouring rain tomorrow the day of the event. I am trying to re work all the plans, cancel the music etc… To make a long story short I am really busy. So I apologize for re cycling a recipe of mine for this virtual feast. Next week I will cook or bake something. I promise

As always the party is hosted by the lovely Angie@The Novice Gardener.  The co hosts this week are two of my favorite bloggers Selma@Selma’s Table and Elaine@Foodbod. Thanks Angie and here is my offering. A triple chocolate cake. It really say’s party, dark chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse for filling and milk chocolate ganache. Hope you all enjoy. Wish me luck with the block party.

IMG_0700

Triple Chocolate Cake

White Chocolate Mousse

2 tsp powdered gelatin
6 ounces white chocolate chopped
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

8 oz good quality milk chocolate (I used Valhrona)
1 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)

The cake

Makes: 2 9 inch round cakes or 24 regular size cupcakes

Recipe from Hersheys

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa (I use hershey’s) the recipe doesn’t specify whether or not to use dutch or natural cocoa since its a hersheys recipe I use what they say to use.
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour. If you are making cupcakes place liners in two 12 cup muffin tins. In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

 

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