Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs)
8 Tbsp. butter
1 leek (or just onion if you don’t have a leek)
1 small onion
Salt & Pepper
4 ½ – 5 cups water
½ tsp. sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Trim of outer leaves of cauliflower.
Cut heaping 1 cup of ½-inch florets, set aside.

Cut up remaining cauliflower into ½-inch thick slices

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in large saucepan. Add leek, onion & salt. Cook, stirring until onion is softened but not brown, about 7 minutes.

Add 4/12 cups of water & half the sliced cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add remaining cauliflower and simmer until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 5 Tbsp. butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring often, until golden and the butter is browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a small bowl. Toss with sherry vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour butter into a separate bowl to be used as garnish.

Process soup until smooth, using a blender or immersion blender. Return to simmer, adjust consistency with remaining water if needed. Season with salt to taste “Soup should have a thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred.”

Serve, garnish each bowl with some browned florets, a drizzle of butter, chives and pepper.

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Doctored Gefilte Fish

In memory of Shelly Rosenblum.

I assisted in the cooking for Passover this year, 2018. I would like to note that, being a Catholic, I have only attended Passover a few times. But I loved Shelly. I would have loved to have had her recipe to work from but instead I had the website of Sadie Salome. Adjusted below to serve the 28 people attending the Rosenblum/Guagliardo passover.

4 jars of Manischewitz gefilte fish in water or gel or a mix in my case
8 cups of sliced onions (sliced in the food processor)
8 super large carrots
A small bunch of Dill (do yourself a favor and tie up the bunch or mince it finely)
1 sweet potato peeled and sliced
Keep the onion skins

For this quantity I used a canning pot.

Place the pot over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of acceptable vegetable oil. Add about half the onion, carrots and sweet potato. Pour on the gefilte fish and it’s liquid. Add the remaining carrots, onions & sweet potato, the dill and the onion skins. Add enough water to barely cover.

Raise the heat to bring to bring to a simmer and cook about 2 hours.

Remove the gefilte fish and place in a large container (or two). Strain the broth and pour over. At this point you are supposed to save the carrots. Are you kidding me?! What a mess. So I strained off the solids and used the broth to cook another 5 or 6 carrots to serve with the fish.

Chill and serve with generous amounts of horseradish. (The Polish side of me can get behind the horseradish).

Vietnamese Turmeric Fish & Mango Dipping Sauce

The dill and turmeic combo in this recipe had me skeptical but it turned out to be delicious. The marinated fish gets fried hot and fast in coconut oil. It is served drizzled with a scallion & dill infused oil and served with mango dipping sauce.

Fish 
1 Tbsp. Turmeric Powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. cod fish, boneless & skinless, cut into 2-inch wide pieces

2 Tbsp. coconut oil for frying

Combine the marinade ingredients and stir in fish to coat. Marinate the fish for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Infused Scallion & Dill oil
2 cups scallions, sliced into thin strips about 1-inch long
2 cups fresh dill, coarsely chopped
pinch of sea salt

Mago Dipping Sauce
1 medium, ripe mango
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. dry red chili pepper (add just before serving)
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency.

 Additional Toppings
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime juice
Cashews or pine nuts

To Pan-Fy the fish:

Heat 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. When fully hot, add the marinated fish. The fish should sizzle loudly, you may lower the heat to medium-high. Use several batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan.

Do not turn or move fish until you can see the sides turn a golden color, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Add more coconut oil if necessary.

Once golden, carefully turn the fish over. When cooked, transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Using the remaining oil in the pan make the scallion infused oil:
Heat the pan to medium-high. To the oil in the pan add 2 cups scallions and 2 cups of dill. Turn off the heat. Give them a gentle toss until just wilted, about 15 seconds. Season with sea salt.

Pour the infused oil over the fish and serve with mango dipping sauce and additional toppings on the side.

Maple-Pecan Swirls

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated with streamlined directions.

Bake 375F 12 minutes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar (or regular sugar put through a food processor)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) butter, room temp. cut into 16 pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. (2 ounces) cream cheese, room temp.
—-
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, cooled
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs, separated
—-
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Dough
In mixer, mix flour, sugar & salt on low speed until combined (5 sec). On low speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, mix till crumbly. Add vanilla & cream cheese and mix until just forms large clumps.

Remove dough and knead by hand 2-3 turns to form cohesive mass. Pat into square (7 inches), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 20-30 minutes.

Pecan filling
Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground.
While pulsing, add maple syrup in a steady, slow stream; add egg yolks and process until combined.
Transfer to a small bowl and cover. Refrigerate until needed.

Shape Cookies
Roll dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper to 11″ x 16″ rectangle.
Chill 30 minutes.

Using an offset spatula, spread pecan filling evenly, leave half inch border around all edges.

Starting at long end, roll tightly. Press to seal seam.

Spread turbinado sugar evenly on parchment. Roll log in sugar, pressing lightly. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Can be wrapped in plastic and stored 2 days.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 375F, adjust oven rack to middle.

Use chef’s knife to slice log into 1/4-inch thick rounds (you may discard the ends if you don’t like odd shaped cookies but I think that’s crazy!)

Place about 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Lightly beat egg whites and brush tops of cookies. Bake one sheet at a time until lightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Cool on wire rack.

It seemed like the egg white wash was just a way to use up the whites, but it did give the cookies a nice glaze.

Tofu with Broccoli & Mushrooms in Princess Sauce

This worked so well I don’t want to forget it!
I combined a couple recipes from Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng & Michele Morris and used tofu instead of chicken or pork.

1 box Tofu

Marinade:
1 Tbsp. rice wine
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. grated ginger root

Seasoning Sauce:
1 Tbsp. rice wine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil

6-10 dried red hot peppers
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small head of broccoli sliced, stems sliced separately
2-3 scallions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place tofu in marinade, let stand at least 30 minutes. (I set it up early in the day and put it in the fridge until dinner)

Mix seasoning sauce and set aside. Prepare all vegetables.

Heat 2-3 Tbsp. oil in wok with a couple peppers. Add tofu and stir fry until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu, draining oil over wok; set aside.

Heat oil, adding more if necessary. Add garlic, ginger and broccoli stems. Stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and whites of scallions, stir fry an additional minute or two.

Add broccoli, toss. Add chicken broth and cover until water is absorbed and broccoli is cooked.

Add tofu, seasoning sauce and remaining scallions. Stir fry until sauce thickens and is heated through. Stir in cashews and serve.

Bearnaise Sauce

My cousin Tam gave me these directions. I believe they come from the Joy of Cooking. This is wonderfully easy and of course delicious, since it is nearly all butter.

1 stick of butter, melted. Keep hot

But in a blender:
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar, or in my case 2 T sherry vinegar and about 1/2 teaspoon or more of dried tarragon
pinch of cayenne, optional

Blend.

With the blender on, add the butter in a very slow stream.

If the sauce is not thick enough for your liking, put it back in the pot and heat over low heat, whisking until thick. Be careful not to break the sauce or cook the yolks. Tam says that if you break the sauce add an additional yolk to bring it back together.

For hollandaise sauce, use 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice instead of the vinegar.

Butternut Squash Coins with Cilantro Salsa

This recipe is from an ancient copy (1995 to be exact) of Food & Wine. And truthfully it’s all about the salsa. This salsa is great over lots of other vegetables, like grilled eggplant as well as chickpeas and white beans.

For the butternut squash:
Use only the neck.
Peel and slice into 1/4-inch thick “coins”

Work in batches. Heat 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat. Put in a single layer of squash. Cook about 5 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned.

Salsa:
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 large bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
Fresh ginger, 2-inch piece, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. salt

In a food processor, combine the cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, chile and 1/4 cup water and puree until a smooth sauce forms. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.

The salsa can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temp.

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

This is from Ratio a cookbook for the mathematician in every cook.

The ratio = 1 part butter : 1 part sugar : 1 part egg : 1 part flour
by weight

The following makes enough for one 9″ loaf pan. The books says it will mix better if doubled to the pound ratio. I have only made it as follows but I am sure it will mix better with more ingredients, unless you have a small mixer.

Pound Cake
8 ounces butter, at room temperature, plus enough to butter the pan
8 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces eggs, at room temp. (about 4 large eggs, plus 1 large yolk), lightly whipped to combine
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounces flour (about 1 3/4 cup)
1 tsp. baking powder (optional, but I hedged my bet and added it)

For the citrus glaze:
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter with paddle attachment for a minute. Add the sugar and salt and beat on med-high until the butter becomes very pale and volume has increased by about 1 third, 2-4 minutes.

Add the eggs slowly, so that they are gradually beaten into the batter, another minute or so. (If the batter appears to break, it should be ok when the flour is added.)

Add a tablespoon of each juice, all the zest and the vanilla.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to med-low. Add the flour. Mix only to incorporate the flour.

Pour batter into pan and bake 1 hour. Test, if blade or toothpick comes out clean remove and let rest 5 min. Turn out on rack to finish cooling.

Meanwhile, for the glaze combine the citrus juices and sugar in a small pan over med-high heat; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste to check the sweet-sour balance and adjust if necessary.

Brush cake with glaze on all sides.

Mint Sauce

From Great British Cooking by Jane Garmey.

In our house, lamb is not complete without mint sauce. This recipe makes about 3/4 cup. If made with vinegar it will keep at least a month in the fridge.

1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. boiling water
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (or white wine)

Place the mint in a pitcher and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand 20 minutes to infuse the water. Add the sugar and vinegar or wine and stir well. Serve.

Brian’s French Bread

16 oz. all-purpose flour
16 oz. bread flour
1 tsp. Brown sugar
2 2/3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp. active yeast or 1 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 lb. old dough

In the bowl of a kitchenaide mixer, combine both flours and brown sugar.

Disolve yeast in warm water. Slowly stir into flour mixture. Let rest 20 minutes covered with a clean towel.

Add salt and old dough to mixer. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Let rise 30 minutes. Pull off 1 pound of dough and freeze.
Let remaining dough continue to rise another 1 1/2 hours.

Divide into two or three equal pieces and shape loaves.

Place on parchment covered, upside down cookie sheet or peal and allow to rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475F.

Slit tops of loaves, place in oven. Reduce oven temp to 425F. Bake 2 minutes, spritz loaves with water. Bake another 5 minutes and spritz again. Alternately you can place 1 cup of water in a cast iron pan that has been preheating in the oven.

Bake 30 minutes until internal temperature of bread is 205F