Velvet Cauliflower Soup

Velvet Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 heads cauliflower depending on the size leaves trimmed 
  • 8 tablespoons plant butter, cut into 8 pieces maybe more *can use regular butter
  • 3-4 potatoes peeled and quartered, I like Yukon gold
  • 1-2 shallots, roughly chopped *can use 1 medium onion or 1 leek sliced and rinsed
  • White wine *optional 
  • Coarse kosher salt (more than you think)
  • Lemon infused olive oil *cooks note: I use this to roast my florets
  • 4 1/2–5 cups water more or less depending on size of cauliflower and potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Garnishes 2 tablespoons of a combination of fresh parsley, thyme, basil, green onion, white and light green parts, sliced thinly for garnish whatever you have

Preparation:

1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove, 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 a little longer.

2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. If using wine, cover shallots and let simmer (you can use water). Cook until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.

3. Add large chunks of cauliflower and potatoes, salt and cover 4 1/2 cups water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes until cauliflower and potatoes are tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring often, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and has nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl lined with paper towel. Any leftover butter save for when you puree the soup. Or toss florets in lemon olive oil and roast florets in 425 oven for 20-25 until golden brown.

5. Process cauliflower and potatoes in batches in blender with some of the cooking water until smooth and desired thickness. Return pureed soup to clean pot, bring to brief simmer over medium heat, and adjust consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred). Season with salt to taste and maybe more butter. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, fresh herbs. Dash of hot sauce.

Meatballs and Their Endless Possibilities

Meatballs and Their Endless Possibilities

With everyone home and cooking 3 meals a day and several more weeks of staying home on the horizon, why not perfect your meatball skills! Once you get the base right there are endless opportunities, I use them in appetizers, soups, sandwiches and entrees. Meatballs are not just for Spaghetti, every country has a version check out this link https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/01/meatball-style-guide-varieties-around-the-world.html

Tips for the Perfect Meatball:

  1. It’s all about the base decide on what meat you want to use. If a recipe calls for pork and you don’t eat pork, substitute it for turkey or whatever you like. *Note the classic meatloaf and meatball combination is ½ pound each pork, veal and beef.
  2. Breadcrumb and Milk Binder. One trick to making sure meatballs are totally tender once they are cooked is to use a binder. Place a combination of fresh and dry breadcrumbs such as Panko, Italian or even Saltines in a bowl and add enough milk, crème, ricotta to cover or a few eggs to create a binder or a panade. This will add moisture to the meat and prevent the meat proteins from becoming tough during the cooking process.
  3. Don’t skip the flavor profile! Make sure to add fresh and dry herbs, cheese, vegetables, sauces or any flavors that when finished make the meatball the star.
  4. Avoid overworking the meat. Mix the meat with the binder and other ingredients until combined. Using your hands form the meatballs into desired shape.
  5. Roasting, Frying or Simmering. For me, if the quantity isn’t to large, I go for a combination. Frying to get that color and caramelization and finishing in the oven to keep them moist.
  6. Freezer Friendly. The beauty of meatballs is that they freeze perfectly and make a quick dinner in a pinch. So double up on your recipe when you decide to make them.

My go to recipe for meatballs is organic chicken with scratch made marinara check it out:

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SAUCE:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-ounce cans imported Italian San Marzano crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes
6 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Pinch of dried oregano
Parmesan Rind
Salt and ground black pepper (I use red pepper flake)

FOR THE MEATBALLS:
1-pound ground white meat organic chicken *Can use beef or meatloaf mix
½ cup fresh bread crumbs can use dried Italian bread crumbs or a combination of both
Half n half
1 cup diced peppers, zucchini, squash and purple onion (can omit but adds flavor)
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and a pinch or 2 red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder *Can use fresh garlic
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Yields 10-15 Meatballs depending on size

PREPARATION:
1. Make the sauce: Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté onion with salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté just until softened. Add tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Add the basil, oregano, parm rind and reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. If adding meatballs, place in sauce to simmer.

2. Make the meatballs: Toss peppers (no green pepper), vegetables and onions in evoo, garlic powder, salt and pepper and roast in 350-degree oven until tender about 15 minutes, let cool. While vegetables are cooking, soak fresh breadcrumb combination in half n half in a large mixing bowl. After liquid is absorbed, add chicken and balance of items, plus cooled vegetables. Do not over work. Shape into desired shape of meatballs. *Cooks Tip I take a small amount of meatball mixture and test in Skillet to make sure flavors are balanced.

3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches and taking care not to crowd the pan, add meatballs and fry until undersides are brown and slightly crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and brown the other sides, about 5 minutes more. Transfer meatballs to 350 oven and finish cooking about 10 minutes then add to the marinara sauce. * You can Bake the Meatballs on Parchment Paper 35-40 minutes make sure internal temperature is 160 they will continue to cook in Sauce.

Chef Products You Want to Find plus Lemon Parmesan Herb Breadcrumbs Recipe

Chef Products You Want to Find plus Lemon Parmesan Herb Breadcrumbs Recipe

Part of my service is to create a total experience for my clients. In doing so I am constantly on the lookout for ingredients that have loads of flavor and pair up with what I am featuring!  These items may be store bought, semi-homemade or homemade. I spend lots of time purchasing and tasting several versions to come up with what I think are the best! Many of you ask me where I purchase some of these items so here is the information.

Organic Cracker Bites actually come in 3 Flavors:
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Partners-Naturals-Organic-Artisan/dp/B0156G1A3S/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_tr_img_2

Rosemary Crackers can be purchased on line but if you haven’t checked out the Gourmet Food Section at World Market it is a must!
https://www.worldmarket.com/product/la+panzanella+rosemary+croccantini+crackers.do

Nut Crumbs. It seems like the entire world is Gluten Free but finding items that taste like the real thing is really a challenge! Finally, a product that just tastes so delicious you don’t even know it’s Gluten Free. The Italian are my favorite:
https://nutcrumbs.com

Whenever I make a Casserole I always add a Crunchy topping so here is my Recipe….

 

Lemon Parmesan Herb Breadcrumbs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2cups Panko breadcrumbs * Also available in Gluten Free
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 2tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 1teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoonlemon zest
  • 4tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4cup fresh lemon juice

PREPARATION: 

  1. Melt butter in microwave.
  2. Combine rest of ingredients
  3. Sprinkle on top of casseroles or pan fry to top salads and vegetables

Cooks Note: Gluten Free Option replace Panko with Italian Nut Crumbs. These breadcrumbs Freeze beautifully make a big batch and keep them in the Freezer. Use them in your meatballs or breading for chicken and fish.