Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 medium size head of cauliflower, trimmed of greens

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

salt and pepper

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup 1% milk (more depending on the amount of cauliflower – see note)

2/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

roasted pumpkin seeds (optional garnish, recipe on blog)

maggi seasoning (optional garnish, see link below to purchase)

Cut the cauliflower into large chunks and place in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle over salt and pepper and place in a 350F oven.  Roast for approx. 1 hour, (tossing the cauliflower occasionally to cook evenly) or until fork tender.  Remove from oven.

In a blender or food processor, in small batches, puree the roasted cauliflower, adding the chicken stock as necessary just to blend smoothly.  Pour into a large saucepan.  Continue until all the cauliflower is processed.  Add remaining stock and milk*.  Add the grated cheese and heat over low heat until cheese melts.  Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper as needed.  Serve.

*Note – the amount of liquid to add can vary depending on how large or small the head of cauliflower is.  You are trying to achieve a somewhat thick, bisque-like consistency.  Use your judgment when adding the remaining milk.

Tip – Maggi seasoning is a Dutch product that is used to add a little more ‘robust’ flavor to soups and stocks.  It is like a very condensed/reduced liquid broth seasoning. I highly recommend it for use in any soups or gravies. It is what you see in the photo above.

Butternut Ginger Bisque

 

1 medium size butternut squash, cut in half, and seeds cleaned out.  Peel on.

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 approx. 2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated to about 1 tbsp.

2 32 oz. size containers prepared chicken stock

Place the butternut squash flesh side down on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350F oven until fork tender (about 1 hour or so depending on size of squash).  In a medium sized pot, melt the butter and add the onions and carrots.  Saute until slightly tender, add the ginger and mix together. Add one of the containers of stock to the vegetables.  Cook over medium/low heat until very tender.  Meanwhile scoop the roasted flesh from the squash.  Add to the carrot and onion soup.  Remove from heat.  Using a blender and small batches, puree the soup and place in another pot.  If the soup becomes too thick, use the other container of stock, approx. a cup at a time to thin the soup to desired consistency. Return to medium heat to heat through, careful not to boil. Season with salt and pepper and heat through.

*Note – if a creamier consistency is desired, you can add a small amount of evaporated milk. 

 

 

Asian Slaw

3 cups finely shaved and chopped green cabbage

1 cup finely shaved and chopped red cabbage*

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. black sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together and chill for about 45 minutes.  Serve.

TIP:  If a creamier consistency is desired, add 2 – 3 tbsp. plain greek yogurt

*if your not a fan of red cabbage, you can delete and just add another cup of the green cabbage.

 

Farro Salad with Snow Peas

Farro is a grain that lends itself to so many recipes.  It is rich in nutrients and has a wonderful subtle nutty flavor and great texture.  In this recipe it is served cold, it also keeps for several days so it can be made ahead of time if serving for an event.

3 Cups cooked farro, drained and chilled

1 small mini cucumber (about 5″ long) cubed, peel on

1 cup fresh snow peas, blanched and chilled

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all the above ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill.

Serving suggestion:   Delicious when paired with mini pita pockets and tzatziki*

*find recipe on blog

 

Individual Guacamole Salads

This is another recipe from Risa, our boat charter chef.  These are wonderful as an appetizer or even fun for a party as the avocado shells serve as the bowls and are easy to hold.

3-4 medium ripe avacados

2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

2-3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 mangos finely diced

1/2 medium red onion finely diced

2 tomatoes seeded and finely diced

sour cream – optional

Cut the avacados lengthwise, gently remove the pit and the pulp from the hull. Coarsely chop the pulp with a fork. Stir in 2 tbsp. of the cilantro, lime juice and add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix together the mango and red onion.  Assemble the “bowls”.  Place desired amount of the guacamole in the shell, add some tomato and then the mango/onion mixture.  Repeat with the remaining shells.  Arrange on a platter. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.  Serve with a side of sour cream if desired.

Crawfish Stack Salad

We recently took the family on a boat charter through the British Virgin Islands.  We were on a beautiful catamaran with a captain and chef.  Our chef, Risa, was a pint-sized dynamo in the galley!  This is one of her recipes.  It is absolutely delicious and perfect for a luncheon or a light dinner.  This recipe is meant to be prepared as individual servings.  I suggest serving it with a dry Riesling.

4 cups crawfish tails, shelled

3 bay leaves

2 stalks celery and 2 carrots, finely chopped

3 tbsp. sour cream

salt and course ground pepper to taste

1 med. package imitation crab meat, thawed and shredded

1 tbsp. black sesame seeds

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 head lettuce thinly sliced (romaine or iceberg)

6 kiwis finely diced

3 mangos thinly diced

coriander chutney – optional (can be purchased through the link below)

Boil the crawfish in lightly salted water with the bay leaves.  Boil for about 10 minutes.  Strain and set aside.  Once cooled, mix the crawfish with the vegetables and sour cream.  Add salt and pepper, set aside.

Mix the crab meat, sesame seeds soy sauce and sesame oil together well.  Set aside to chill.

Assemble the salad.  Using a food ring form (see link below to purchase), layer the mango, the crawfish, kiwi, then the crab.  Press down lightly and remove the form carefully.  Arrange the lettuce partially around the stack salad. Garnish with sesame seeds and drizzle with the coriander chutney.

Fresh Pea and Cucumber Salad

Experimenting in the kitchen, I came up with this very fresh summer salad.  The key here is to use the freshest ingredients possible.

1 – 2 cups fresh peas, blanched and cooled

1 cup chopped cucumber

Chopped fresh mint, chives and thyme – approx. a few springs of each

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar*

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together and chill before serving.

*white balsamic vinegar can be found at specialty olive oil stores. It has a delicate flavor and a bit of a thicker texture than regular vinegars which helps to coat the peas.

Wedge Caesar Salad

This is really just another way to present the classic Caesar salad.  I’ve added some ingredients to make it my own, but presenting it on a platter similar to this really elevates it to something beautiful to serve at a dinner party!  My ingredients are as follows:

Hearts of Romaine, thinly sliced red onion, bacon (fried and rough chopped), croutons and candied walnuts.   Caesar dressing recipe to follow.

Cut the course tips off the romaine and the stalk end as well.  Cut in half, then cut each half down the center.  They will be loose, but move to a platter and lay out flat.  Continue with how ever much romaine you plan on serving, overlapping the “halves” somewhat.  Distribute the toppings over evenly to your desired quantities.  Dallop on the dressing here and there so each piece has some dressing on it.  Serve.

My Caesar dressing recipe isn’t firm on the amounts of each ingredient.  Depending on whether you like a thicker or thinner dressing, the amounts can be played with to get the perfect consistency.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. lemon juice and or cider vinegar

dash worcestershire sauce

fresh ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended.

Cucumber Salad

This salad is prepared so quickly and is so very refreshing.  It’s delicate flavor comes from the simplicity of the ingredients.  Using a cheese plane or other slicer, shave the cucumber (I prefer the ‘seedless’ type) down the sides to remove most but not all of the rind.  Then shave the entire cucumber in thin slices into a bow.  Sprinkle with approx. 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and pour over about 1/4 – 1/3 cup red wine vinegar.  Mix lightly. Sprinkle with some fresh dill if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

French Potato Salad

3 pounds small yellow dutch potatoes

1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin lengthwise (cut onion in half on the ring side, then lay flat and cut into thin “wedges”)

1 1/2 tbsp. capers

3 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and rough chopped

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

3 tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. herbs de provence

2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme chopped

coarse salt

Cook potatoes until tender, cut in halves and allow to cool.  Add the onion and eggs and capers.  Whisk the vinegar, mustard and olive oil together, add the herbs de provence.  Mix into the potatoes.  Fold in the fresh thyme and season with coarse salt.  Chill and serve immediately.