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Friday, January 23, 2009

Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

This soup is based on a recipe from the Kansas City Star. I changed it up because Dan does not like cauliflower. He actually thought that it was a potato soup at first and liked it even when he found out that it wasn't.

Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

1 cauliflower ( 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
26 oz. box chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
2 cups whole milk
1/4 lb. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

Cut out and discard cauliflower core. Remove and discard outer leaves, separating cauliflower into small florets. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with salt, saute until lightly brown. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add cauliflower, parsley and stock. Bring to boil and cover, reducing heat and simmering until cauliflower is tender (10 to 12 minutes). Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper and cook, whisking, until it bubbles. Remove from heat and gradually add milk. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Add milk mixture to cauliflower mixture. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Cashews

I love eating cashews or pecans that have a nice sweet and spicy glaze, but they are always so expensive. I came up with this recipe at Christmas and really liked it. If you like your nuts a little spicier, then add more chili powder. This recipe was nice, because the heat hit you afterwards, but was not too hot.

Sweet and Spicy Cashews

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 lb. lightly salted cashews
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder

Beat egg white and water until frothy. Toss cashews with mixture and drain in colander.
Combine sugars, salt and chili powder and toss with nuts to coat all. Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275, flip nuts and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool before serving.
Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Scalloped Potato Gratin

I have tried many scalloped potato recipes in my time and never had any real success until this recipe. My mom wanted them for Christmas day, so I searched and found this recipe from Tyler Florence. Tyler never let me down before, so I thought I would give it a go. The end result was perfect. They weren't runny or clumpy, just creamy and tasty. The only thing I did differently was to top the gratin with mozzarella instead of Parmesan. My mom hates Parmesan, so I only used it on the inside layers and then gave it a good handful of mozzarella on top.
Scalloped Potato Gratin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup gated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
Preheat oven to 375.
In a saucepan, heat cream with thyme, garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.