Velvet Cauliflower Soup

Velvet Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 heads cauliflower depending on the size leaves trimmed
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces maybe more
  • 3-4 potatoes peeled and quartered, I like Yukon gold
  • 2-3 shallots, roughly chopped *can use 1 medium onion or 1 leek sliced and rinsed
  • ½ cup white wine *optional
  • Coarse kosher salt (more than you think)
  • Lemon infused olive oil *Cooks note: I use this to roast my florets you can use extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/2–5 cups water more or less depending on size of cauliflower and potatoes
  • Garnish Options: fresh parsley, thyme, basil, green onion, white and light green parts, chives, Frank’s Red Hot

Preparation:

  1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove and cut up into large florets. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower, set aside. Quarter potatoes make sure potatoes are a little smaller they take longer than the cauliflower.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and salt. If using wine, cover shallots and let simmer (you can use water). Cook until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add chunks of potato and water to the saucepan with shallots. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are almost tender. Add cauliflower and possibly more water and salt, simmer until tender about 10-15 minutes. *Cooks Tip taste the water, here is where you can start to achieve the flavor you want.
  4. Meanwhile, line a small baking sheet with foil and add the reserved florets tossed in lemon olive oil and salt, roast florets on bottom shelf in a 400 oven for 15 -20 minutes until golden brown. You will need to flip and watch them carefully.
  5. Process cauliflower and potatoes in batches in blender using some of the cooking water until smooth and desired thickness. Be careful not to use too much water, it’s easier to thin out than to thicken. Returning pureed soup to pot, bring to brief simmer over medium heat, and adjust consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture). Season with salt to taste and maybe more butter. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with roasted florets, fresh herbs. *This soup is delicious cold it tastes just like Vichyssoise……
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is an integral part of several of my menus and I have been asked repeatedly what’s the best way to cook it. Truthfully, it’s taken me some time to master the process as I used to cook the squash way to long and it became watery and mushy. Once you’ve mastered this roasting method you’ll be able to use this underrated vegetable as a main dish or a simple side dish! Don’t have a recipe in mind check out these spaghetti squash recipes.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  • Pre-heat oven 400 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash in half length wise. Then scoop out the seeds.
  • Drizzle the insides lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • Place squash cut side down and poke a few holes in the skin.
  • Place in oven for 30-40 minutes for more al dente strands. Timing will also depend on the size of the squash and the heat of your particular oven.
  • To check the doneness, you are looking for remove at 40 minutes and flip the squash over being careful not to burn yourself and run a fork from the outside in to make strands. If it is not tender enough place back in the oven being careful not to overcook.
  • Remove from oven, once cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape squash into a bowl. This is where you can customize the flavors you like. *My go to is toss with a little more olive oil, Pecorino Romano, fresh basil and salt to taste. I serve it over Arugula tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Yum……
Start the New Year Off with Yoga

Start the New Year Off with Yoga

My blogs are always centered around food but there is a definite connection to wellness when you combine the right diet with the right exercise! That word exercise means different things to different people but Yoga is one of the most universal ways to stay in shape both physically and spiritually. 

So, my go to Yoga Instructor is Beverly Moore. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Beverly can design the perfect practice just for you! Whether it’s classic Yoga flow, deep meditation, stretching or Yoga Nidra, nurture your mind, body and spirit with her sessions.

I recommend getting started with either a few private sessions in her studio or in-home sessions. Beverly is offering a discounted hourly rate of $50 for my clients. Semi-private options also available. Already know the benefits of Yoga check in with her to get the weekly class schedule.

Beverly can be contacted at 828-817-1064.

Namaste

Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

Chef Tips for a Perfect Holiday Celebration

With a little planning, this might be your best holiday yet!


Tip #1: For a successful celebration “Keep it Simple.”
Here is a formula that works for appetizers: 2-2-2. I recommend six items: two store bought, two semi-homemade and two homemade. That lets you take time to focus on your signature items while keeping the other prep easy. Next you want to make sure you have something for everyone in the mix. These days that can be challenging. So many people are gluten-free, vegan or aren’t eating dairy, so make sure you have that information when crafting the menu. In a perfect world, offer vegetarian, seafood and meat options so it feels like a meal. People want the tapas experience, so the basic crudité, meat and cheese board doesn’t cut it anymore. If possible add one surprise item from the oven served mid party that can easily be added to the table or enlist a friend to pass around, so fun……

Tip #2: Focus on the Platters, Flowers and Decorations to add the “Wow” factor!
Select nice napkins, small paper plates and plastic cups rather than creating extra work that comes with lots of dishes. They are perfectly fine for these holiday gatherings. You can then use your energy to put together festive platters, seasonal floral arrangements and decorations to create a lovely setting. 

holidayparty

Tip #3: A Simple Self-Serve Bar
Provide a selection of beverages that includes sparkling water, craft beer, red and white wine and maybe a signature cocktail like an Aperol Spritz.

Tip #4: Bites per Person
People always ask me this and it’s the larger groups that can be challenging. The rule of thumb is 4-6 bites if a meal is being served and 10-12 bites without a meal for 2 hours. Having gourmet nuts, chips and olives and maybe a dip like pimento cheese with crackers staged in several areas will also help to fill people up!

Tip #5: Desert
This is the time of year when people splurge! Either make your favorite holiday desert or this is where fruit and cheese really work well. A beautiful platter of warm brie drizzled with honey and sprinkled with pomegranates surrounded by dried and fresh fruit and artisan chocolates. It’s just enough to finish off the evening!

Tip #6: Cooks Tip:
No need to feel overwhelmed this holiday season if you don’t feel like cooking. One positive from the Pandemic we now know is anything we need is just a click away. My favorite go to is Williams Sonoma. They have so many choices and excellent qualityhors doeuvres. You can also look to your local grocery store like Fresh Market or Ingles. They can make stunning holiday platters with just a few days notice.

Maybe you are not interested in doing anything but hosting. Beau & Ashley Menetre at The Nest Catering and Events are wizards at throwing amazing parties.
The Nest Catering & Events
– 404-319-1052

Food Adventures and the Pasta Station!

Food Adventures and the Pasta Station!

Like most Chef’s, I rarely eat my own food, so I have to have places that not only inspire me but make me happy to enjoy a meal I didn’t make! For those of you that haven’t visited my Food Adventures page, check it out!

But this Newsletter is about a treasure I found right here in Landrum and it is hands down one of the best Italian restaurants I have ever eaten in, including every Little Italy across the country! The Pasta Station, located in Landrum, is the gold standard for all things Italian. Jose is a master of flavors, textures, presentation and you won’t leave hungry as the portions are extremely generous.

I don’t know where to begin. The Caesar Salad is so delicious and dressed perfectly, this coming from someone whose clients love my version. The Ravioli with Marinara Sauce melts in your mouth and you know they are handmade daily as the shape is not traditional. We’ve tried an array of dishes with our fave being Chicken Milanese served with Roasted Potatoes and Shaved Arugula Salad… and your vegetarian chef actually ate a few bites. Crispy on the outside tender in the middle. We haven’t missed a weekend since they opened and I wait all week for Saturday night dinner.

About Jose, after completing culinary school, he honed his skills for several years in New York City and decided to move South and landed in Asheville. He continued cooking in both small and corporate kitchens and ended up at Renzo’s in Hendersonville. After spending five years helping to shape and grow that business, the pandemic hit. So, he made the brave decision to open his own place along with his wife Cecilia and it’s a great success, so check it out…

Spotlight Local Business Update

Spotlight Local Business Update

Back in February, my newsletter featured small business owners both locally and nationally. Since that time there have been some exciting changes locally that I wanted to share with you. We are so fortunate to have theses talented people right here in our community so give them your support!

All Good Things Bakery – Jessica now has her very own space and it’s beautiful. The new shop features Gourmet Coffee, Breakfast Pastries and Croissants. Of course, she will continue to create her amazing Pies, Cakes, Cookies, Puddings, Cupcakes and Special-Order items. In addition to the bakery items, the new shop has freshly made bread daily courtesy of Benny, Jessica’s brother.  He has some of the best Artisan Breads I have tasted as well as Rolls and Focaccia. Bonus, you can order Hand-Crafted Charcuterie Boxes and Truffles perfect for any gathering. Plus, they make great gifts.  

Tryon Bottle – Della has taken this family owned business that started out as a humble beer and wine shop and morphed it into an expansive one stop shop for incredible selections of craft beer, wine, premium cigars, cocktail mixers and the newest addition Frose and Frozen Mimosas. And even though All Good Things Bakery and Benny’s Bread have moved down the street, you can still get all their delectable treats and eats and relax in the cozy indoor and outdoor settings.

The Nest Catering & Events  thenestoftryon@yahoo.com or 404-319-1052 – Beau & Ashley Menetre, founders of the Nest Artisan Market & the Tryon International Film Festival, are expanding their business empire with the addition of a full -fledged Catering Company! They have been active in the Tryon community for over 9 years and bring an incredible amount of expertise and professionalism for a unique catering experience. They make catering seem easy from start to finish. They seamlessly design the menu and from there you can sit back and relax! No event is too big or to small… from intimate dinner parties to bridal showers to corporate events. I recently referred a high-end client from Charleston that had their Bridal Shower here and the testimonial was “they could not have found better catering in Charleston than what Beau and Asley delivered”. Wow…..