Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cauliflower Bisque

While in Charleston, C and I had an amazing Cauliflower Bisque which was drizzled with truffle oil. You know a dish is good when you are still talking about it months later. So, when I brought home a head of cauliflower over the weekend, guess what was immediately on the menu for Sunday night?! Since I didn’t have any truffle oil on hand (and after looking in two stores with no luck for it), I decided to just make my own infused oil with mushrooms and crispy bacon and use that as a topping to try and give it the same earthy flavor.

Click Here for Printable Recipe

Olive Oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
48 oz chicken stock
salt/pepper to taste

I decided to throw a potato in the mix to help thicken it, but that seemed to mute the cauliflower flavor a bit. It was tasty, but I think if I made it again I would leave out the potato and just use another thickener if necessary.

Topping (optional)
Olive Ol
4 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 slice bacon, cut into small pieces
salt/pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium stock pot. Add bacon pieces and render for a few minutes. Add the onion, celery, and potato and cook until vegetables begin to soften, but not brown. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Once cauliflower softens, blend in food processor or blender - strain if desired.

Heat olive oil in small sauce pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and sizzle away. Once it begins to crisp, add mushrooms and cook until they soften.

C paired the soup with a beautiful white wine - 2004 Tandem Chardonnay, Richard Vineyard

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cake Batter Ice Cream (aka French Vanilla)

With temperatures in the 80's last week, we decided to dust off the ice cream maker and whip up some frozen goodness this weekend. While I'm partial to natural vanilla, there's something about the custard-like flavor of French vanilla that reminds me of cake batter (and who doesn't like to eat cake batter).

For this batch we went with a recipe from The Chocolate Gourmand. I've included the recipe below, but you can find step-by-step photos on the original website.

3 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and bean pod in the half and half and heat over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and proceed to making the custard.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. The color will change to a beautiful bright yellow when this happens. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the simmering half and half. Continue blending and then return to the stove. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. When a finger drawn across the back of a wooden spoon leaves a path, it is thick enough.

Strain the mixture to remove any large vanilla fibers or bits of egg that may have gotten cooked. Don't worry, the vanilla bean seeds will pass through.