Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Famous Cream of Cauliflower Soup

I make great soups. I mean like the best soups I have ever eaten. I make an amazing cream of soup series. It is virtually the same recipe for any cream of veggie soup. EXCEPT cream of potato. I have a totally different recipe for that and I will divulge that later.

The inspiration for this soup came from the Outback’s Walkabout Soup, which is like this cream of onion soup that literally makes my mouth salivate. I tried and tried to duplicate this recipe and finally found a great likeness, if not better.

My family loves this recipe and so do I. It’s absolutely DELICIOUS. I guarantee you will make it over and over again. It’s great for holidays. It goes well with a nice hearty meal, or it’s good all by itself with some nice crusty bread and herbed butter (which is insanely easy to make and I will share it at the end of this recipe).

I am going to share with you the recipe as if I were making Cream of Cauliflower soup, because it is my favorite of the cream soup variety.

I would love your feedback, comments, and pictures!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1 hearty head of firm cauliflower chopped
1 large onion chopped finely
2-3 cloves of FRESH garlic minced *
1 quart of chicken stock
6 TBSP butter
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp salt (I eyeball)
½ tsp white pepper (you can use black pepper, I like the white pepper for appearance)
2 tsp cumin (I eyeball)
2 tsp marjoram (I eyeball)
12-14 ounces of white MILD cheddar cheese shredded


Preparation
Chop cauliflower into nickel to quarter sized bites. Use the entire head.
Chop onion and mince garlic.
Melt 2TBSP butter in heavy bottomed 8 quart soup pot. Add cauliflower, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and marjoram and begin to sauté gently until translucent.
In a microwavable 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup add stock and 4 tbsp of butter. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes until almost boiling.
Add the hot liquid little by little to the sautéing mixture until finished.
Add cream.
Heath through on medium heat till you get a slow bubble. Reduce heat slightly.
Start to grate cheese and add a little, and stir until dissolved. Repeat this until all the cheese is gone.
When cheese is melted, reduce heat to low-medium and continue to stir and cook for maybe 10-15 minutes more. DO NOT LET CHEESE BURN ON BOTTOM ON PAN. USE MILD CHEDDAR CHEESE or you will have a rubber ball consistency with the cheese. Sharp cheddar does not melt well at all. I have actually used Monterey Jack cheese before and it was delicious. So whatever you prefer if fine.

Before serving taste for salt and seasoning.

You can use the same technique for mushroom, celery, broccoli or whatever vegetable based cream soup you prefer.

* I strongly suggest against using any jarred garlic. Its water logged and tastes too woodsy. If I call for garlic I ALWAYS insist you use fresh garlic. If you are hesitant to use fresh garlic because it is hard to cut, here is a trick I learned from my grandmother. Put a little salt on your cutting board before you start to chop. It prevents the garlic from sticking to the knife and cutting board so much. DO NOT OVERSALT. It’s not going to totally eliminate the sticking, but it WILL help



Basil Herbed Butter

1 stick of butter - Room temperature
1 clove garlic minced or ½ tsp garlic powder if you don’t want the potency of fresh
Handful of fresh basil chopped
Dash onion powder
Dash of Goya Adobo with pepper
Dash of paprika


Place ingredients in bowl and mix gently with a spoon. (This is GREAT for garlic bread, but I tend to melt it first and pour it over the bread and spread it around with a pastry brush, I think it seeps into the bread better)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Psuedo-Italian and my fight against it

People always ask me how I make my gravy (sauce for you Irish and beyond). I do give up the recipe to a few deserving people here and there. However, most people don't actually want the recipe, they just want something close to it. So therefore, I have decided to go on an unwanted journey of sorts.

Every week or so I will go against everything I stand for and select a jarred sauce (notice I don't call that crap gravy) and/or some sort of Italian dish whether it be frozen or packaged.

I will take one for the team and go on the quest for you, my readers. Beings that I am the best Italian cook I know, I figure I should be the one to taste test the stuff and see if it's passable or not.

I started tonight. My son was horrified as I took out the jarred sauce. He even asked, "what is THAT?". I told him we were taking one for the team. He didn't seem too happy. :-/

I went to ShopRite and looked upon the jars and jars of sauce. I finally selected one from DeCecco. I really like DeCecco pasta versus all other dried boxed pastas, so I figured it would be a decent brand to start with.

The jarred sauce I selected was DeCecco Pomodor e Basilico. I cracked open the jar and gave it the smell test. It reeked of acidity and I knew it wasnt going to be good by the color of it as well. I poured it in a pot. It was thick and chunky, which I expected from a Pomodoro sauce. I let it heat through and tasted it. It was god awful. No flavor whatsoever and entirely too thick. I had no choice but to doctor it up. I threw in a beef boullion cube to attempt to give it a slow cooked taste and put a half of a jar of hot water. It certainly didnt need any salt. Honestly, I don't know what I could have done to make this sauce even hold a toenail to some good old Sunday gravy. I give it two thunmbs down, and possibly two feet down. Do not buy this sauce.

I went even further and decided to buy some frozen raviolis. I purchased Gina Italian Village Large Round Cheese Raviolis. I cooked them in salted boiling water. Waited for them to float and dished them up to serve with that ridiculous excuse for a sauce. The dough was tough. There was absolutely NO flavor in the filling. They had a less than average amount of filling (thank god for that) and used WAY too much oregano in the filling. I still don't think my son will ever forgive me. Do not buy THIS product either. You will be wasting your time and money, and possibly the lining of your stomach.

All in all, I would not recommend either of these products to even my worst enemy. I have nothing good to say about it.

Thank God I made a steak on the side. At least we had SOMETHING decent to eat tonight.

I will keep plugging along. If anyone has a product that they think is good and would like me to try to rate its authenticity, by all means comment away and I will try it.

Next week, I think I will try one of those Bertolli lasagnas my neighbor keeps bragging about.

I hope my son doesn't pack his bags and leave me during this experiment.

Welcome to my Bloggggg

Welcome to my food blog.

In this blog you will find great recipes, methods and pictures of my creations.

I will also be reviewing food at various restaurants and venues.

All of the recipes you will see here are my own, unless otherwise indicated. I welcome questions, suggestions and your recipes.

This blog will indefinitely be updated weekly, with a few here and there's in between.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I will enjoy composing it.

Thanks! :-)