Saturday, March 6, 2010

More From the Savory Side of Life

 Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Working at Whole Foods is tough.  I'm constantly surrounded by delicious looking food, and it makes me hungry all the time.  It also inspires me to cook more, having access to really great quality and organic ingredients.  I feel I am definitely eating healthier as well.  I've started lists of "pastry" ideas, flavors or techniques to combine, concepts for desserts, ect.  Now I am going to have to start a list of things to cook as well.

A week or so ago, my roommate attended a soup swap. I was working that day, so I wasn't able to attend. She came home with an assortment of plastic containers filled with a wide variety of soups.  One was bright fuschia; a Borscht someone had made.  Leah cracked open another one containing a pale, creamy concoction with little flecks of pepper.  It was a spicy cheesy Cauliflower soup.  Coincidentally made by a young lady who was also a graduate of the CSCA Pastry Program a few years ago, I was told.  Leah offered me a bite.  I only wish she had offered me a half of the container.  It was lovely, creamy and had just a touch of heat.  I love spice!  I've been craving that soup since, and desperately need the recipe.  Since I have not yet been able to obtain the recipe, I decided to strike out on my own and make my own tasty Cauliflower soup.  Originally, I intended mine to be spicy and cheesy as well, but while making it, it kinda took on it's own style.  I call it Roasted Cauliflower Soup, and here is how I made it.

1 Head of Cauliflower
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Strips Bacon
1 Can Chicken Broth
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Wine white
Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F
First roughly chop the Cauliflower into florets, toss with a small amount of oil, season lightly with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 30 mins till the florets start to turn golden.  In the meantime, chop the bacaon strips into small pieces and cook in a large saucepan.  Once the bacon has crisped, remove it from the pan, leaving the bacon grease in the bottom.  Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook till transparent.  Use about 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the Cauliflower.  Add the entire can of chicken broth and cover the saucepan with a lid.  Allow the mixture to simmer till the cauliflower is soft all the way through.  Add a little heavy cream or milk and remove from heat.  Use a immersion blender or a food processor to blend everything together till it is a smooth consistency, adding more milk or cream to reach desired thickness.  Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary.  Add salt and pepper if needed.  Top individual servings with a little shredded cheddar cheese and the crispy bacon pieces and enjoy!

Mini Savory Bacon, Cheese and Tomato loaves
Another thing I have made lately is a savory sort of quick bread from a recipe I picked up from a magazine I read in Paris this summer.  I had a store bought version of this "cake" as the French call it, from the Famous Picard Surgeles store.  This chain of store in France that specialized in frozen foods, they are recognizable by there large trademark snowflake.  I think the closest thing we have to it here in the USA is the Schwan's truck, except Picard is not mobile (that I know of).  Picard is quite popular, or was with Romain's roommate.  The cake I had was actually quite good, but I'd much rather learn to make my own instead of buying a frozen one.  
Stirring the Tomatoes, Cheese and Bacon into the Batter

The recipe from the magazine uses Olive oil instead of butter as a fat.  I've now made the recipe twice; once in Paris and once here.  It tastes good with bacon, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in oil, but I still feel like something is missing and that the cake is almost a little dry.  I think next time I may try it with butter instead of the oil.  The taste of the Picard cake is still in my head.....

Time for bed, I have an early day at work tomorrow morning.  More dessert stuff coming your way next time.