Monday, September 24, 2012

Cauliflower Bake

This recipe was inspired by 'French Women Don't Get Fat' cookbook. This book had a recipe using cauliflower over pasta with bread crumbs baked on top. I reworked this recipe without the pasta and added a whole lot of other great ingredients. This cauliflower recipe is sure to please even the fussiest of eaters.
This recipe serves 4 to 6 Ingredients: 1 bunch cauliflower 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce 1/4 onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons ground mustard ground black pepper 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese- finely grated 1 tomato- sliced 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 teaspoon paprika, or add more if desired Preparation: 1.Cook cauliflower in chicken broth until just tender. Use 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water. 2.Mix together worcestershire sauce, onion, ground mustard, black pepper, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. 3.Fold this mixture gently with the cooked cauliflower until well coated. Place in a 2.5 quart baking dish. (Spray baking dish with cooking spray before pouring in mixture.) 4.Slice tomatoes thinly and place over top of cauliflower mixture. 5.Mix bread crumbs with melted butter. 6.Sprinkle bread crumbs and paprika on top of tomatoes and cauliflower mixture. 7.Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 35 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soup's On!

I love the fact that the phrase, 'Soup's On' has a history. A way to call everyone to the dinner table was as easy (and apparently inticing) as yelling out those two words.
The trivia doesn't end here. Genesis of soup is as far reaching as the very beginning of cooking itself. Makes perfect sense to think that from the beginning, humans threw ingredients in a pot that were local to them. Suddenly every culture on our planet has a recipe that is unique to their ethnicity. I personally never ate a soup I didn't like. I could eat soup at every meal every day for the rest of my life. You may not fall into this extreme soup eating continuum, but still, you are sure to enjoy this recipe.
However, etiquette experts still say to eat your soup. No drinking, or worse yet slurping! Why you may ask? Because it is considered part of the meal. Try this soup tonight.Yell 'Soup's On', and watch everyone come running. Let me know how it turns out!

Spicy Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peel, cut and chop small
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup water
4 cups vegetable broth
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 13.5 oz. can of light coconut milk

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in ginger and cook 1 minute. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and 1/2 cup water. Cook 2 minutes and stir so all ingredients are well mixed.
Add carrots, banana,and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft.
Puree soup in a blender or food processor. return soup to pot, and stir in coconut milk. Stir soup.
Ladle into bowls. Yell, 'Soup's On'!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meatless Monday- Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce

I originally saved this recipe on the FOOD52 website. I then took my very sweet time trying it, which the only mistake made here was in my procrastination. After googling this recipe I found it was written about everywhere. So as I kept telling myself I would get around to making this sauce, it seems everyone else was more on the ball. This is sure to become a fast favorite. Quite a hearty meatless recipe.
When I was growing up, my mom would always ask us, (me, my brother and sister) what meal we wanted prepared for our birthday dinner. My brother and I were quick to choose spaghetti. My mother's sauce was so thick, you could eat it with a spoon. Since our birthdays' are just a month apart, it may have been part conspiracy on our part, since we knew we would technically be getting her delicious spaghetti sauce twice within a month's time. I remember the care and technique she put into perfecting her sauce. When I first made Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce, it took me right back to my childhood days. It was like that scene from the movie ' Ratatouille', when the critic tastes the Ratatouille and his mind goes right back to his childhood and the version his mother made for him. Needless to say, if you can achieve that moment in anyone, your recipe is a guaranteed winner!
Really, let's not procrastinate another moment....

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

1 28 0z. can of whole peeled tomatoes- preferably organic ( I have also used crushed)
1 medium onion- peeled, cut in half
5 T. unsalted butter
Add salt according to your preference

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot. Let simmer for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. May simmer longer. I found that the longer it simmers the thicker the sauce becomes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Candy Cap Bread Pudding

In Ireland, bread pudding is a common Christmas treat for breakfast. Makes sense to combine day old bread and a few other ingredients capturing a perfect harmony of spice and custard. My grandma had a recipe for Irish bread pudding that is amazing. She was proud of her heritage and I would say this recipe was a perfect representation.
I modified the original recipe to include candy cap mushrooms. This mushroom smells of pure maple syrup and is a great addition to any dessert, breads, waffles, pancakes ,custards and ice cream. These mushrooms are small, delicate, red brown mushrooms that become more intense when dried and add a maply rich flavor. They bake in perfectly disguised for those that would never trust such a feat from a mushroom. My Candy Cap Mushrooms were a sample courtesy by Marx Foods.
Start a tradition during the holidays this year with Candy Cap Bread Pudding. Your house will smell scrumptious and you won’t feel the stress of a demanding recipe. This rich, sweet bread pudding can be prepared ahead and baked on Christmas morning after Santa has arrived, or as a delicious treat to serve guests stopping in during the holidays.

Candy Cap Bread Pudding:
1 loaf of French bread – ripped into bite size pieces, preferably day old
¼ cup dried candy cap mushrooms (
3 cups cream
¾ whole milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
5 organic eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup golden raisins

1.Take a 2 quart pan and bring cream to a scald. Take pan off heat. Infuse Candy Cap mushrooms for 1 hour.
2.Butter 9x13-inch baking dish. Tear up the bread and place it in the dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk, cream/mushroom mixture, sugar, vanilla, butter, salt and spices, in medium bowl to blend; pour over bread. Sprinkle the raisins over the mix, and working with your hands, fold them in to incorporate them evenly through the bread. Press down on bread to make sure it gets moistened completely. Cover with foil and chill overnight.
3.Place foil-covered dish in cold oven. Set oven at 350°F and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until pudding is puffed and golden, about 30-35 minutes longer. Spoon pudding onto plates. Could serve with a sprinkle of chopped, toasted nuts, or with a slathering of butter and warm maple syrup.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not my mother's pears

There is no doubt that my mother cultivated my love for food. When I was growing up, cooking from scratch in our home was just the way meals were prepared. My mother abhorred the idea of fast food, spaghetti Os, and instant mashed potatoes.
However, other than summertime when fruit was over flowing in our house, we regrettably did partake in canned pears. Yuk! I have no idea what canned fruit serves as a purpose.
Thankfully fall is the time of year when fresh pears are here. I love the simplicity and deliciousness of this recipe. It combines just a few superior ingredients for an amazing end result.
So if you grew up as I did, this is your lesson for taking advantage of fruit. While pears are amazing to just pick up and eat, there is a whole world out there of what to do with fresh fruit. Enjoy, and never pick up a can of fruit again!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Bosc pears, halved lengthwise and cored
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup honey
Freshly ground black pepper

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.Put butter in a 9x13 baking dish and melt in oven for 2 minutes.
3.Arrange pears cut side down, single layered. Roast for 30 minutes.
4.Pour vinegar over pears and roast for 7 minutes more.
5.Transfer pears to serving dish, cut side up. Spoon juices over pears from baking dish. Arrange cheese on and around pears.
6.Drizzle pears and cheese with honey. Grind fresh black pepper over the top of pears and cheese.
7.Note: I used crumbled goat cheese. If using pieces of goat cheese, arrange over the pears. You may cut 8 pieces prior to assembly