Tag Archives: vegetarian

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower SoupHave you ever suddenly had a craving for something you’ve never liked? Weird question, but it happened to me.

If you’ve been coming around here for a while, you know that I am not much for liquid dairy. I like yogurt with my granola and cream cheese on a bagel, but with few exceptions, I simply do not like milk, cream, half & half or anything similar.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupI am here to tell you that I’ve had a breakthrough. While I was ill a couple of weeks ago, all I wanted were vegetables. Being sick though, I wasn’t exactly up for serious cooking. I basically lived on roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette for a week. When I finally started to feel like myself again, I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen. I hadn’t cooked since the second week of my vacation, so deciding what to make was more complicated than it normally would be. I thought about lamb ragù, chicken noodle soup, and posole, but it all sounded too heavy. For some reason unknown to me, I started thinking about some roasted cauliflower I had five years ago at a now-defunct restaurant in DUMBO. Roasted cauliflower isn’t anything revolutionary, but I remember this restaurant’s version being startlingly delicious. I couldn’t get it off my mind. And so, I set out to the grocery store.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupNow, I normally would have just grabbed my cauliflower and some sausages or a chicken, but again, I had just had a cold for a week. Meat simply did not appeal. I wandered the grocery store for more than half an hour trying to figure out what to do with this cauliflower. I love roasted vegetables, but they need something else to make a meal. I went to grab some butter (because hi, I’m a baker), when I spotted some half & half, and it hit me–Roasted Cauliflower Soup. Something I have literally never wanted in my life until that moment.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupI trekked home and put the soup together in just over an hour. I roasted the cauliflower. I sautéed an onion and some garlic. I simmered everything in vegetable stock, added some mustard, and blitzed it all together in the blender. I did the unthinkable and added half & half. And then, I fell head over hideous Birkenstocks for this amazing soup. I ate the whole batch in two days, and then I went and made more because it’s just that good.

And that, dear readers, is the very long story of how a creamy soup came to appear on this blog. Mark the date–it may never happen again.Roasted Cauliflower SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup
makes 4-6 servings

8 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads cauliflower)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
1 medium white onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup half & half
chopped parsley, for serving
toasted baguette slices, for serving

Preheat oven to 400F. Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Toss together with clean hands. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring at the 20 minute mark. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cauliflower, vegetable stock, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add mustard.

Using an immersion blender (or regular blender, in batches), purée vegetables and stock. Stir in water and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in half & half. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Serve soup in shallow bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted baguette slices.

Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

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Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasWhile I was in Texas over the holidays, I did a lot more than celebrate and spoil my parents’ miniature schnauzer. The second week of vacation wasn’t vacation at all, really. I hosted a pop-up sale in my parents’ dining room and catered my friend/reader Robyn’s birthday party!

Together with my sous chef/little sister, Eliot, I made a full Tex-Mex dinner for Robyn’s 30 guests. There were pans and pans of Enchiladas Suizas, chorizo refried beans, and Mexican rice (side dish recipes coming later this week!), and a Mexican Vanilla Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. Robyn let me use her amazing Mexican vanilla for the cake, and even gave me a bottle! Talk about a good hostess 😊

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasI was super happy with all the food, but the biggest hit of the party was the appetizer: Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas. And who wouldn’t love them? Crispy fried tortillas layered with guacamole, sweet and savory mushrooms, pickled red onion, and cotija cheese–they’re an unbelievable combination of flavors and textures! Crispy, crunchy, creamy, earthy, sweet, salty, and tangy–that’s a lot to pack into a two-bite canapé.

While these Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas make a great appetizer (just use a 2 1/2″ round cutter to make tiny tostada shells), they’re also a great main course. There are a few steps in putting them together, but they’re not difficult to make at all! This batch came together in an hour, including making the guacamole and frying the tostada shells. Sure, you could use purchased guac and shells, but the homemade versions are super simple to make and far more delicious than anything you can find in stores.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasStart by quick-pickling some red onion. I know pickling can sound daunting, but this method is so simple, it’s ridiculous. Just whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt, and pour it over some thinly-sliced red onion. Let that sit at room temperature for an hour. That’s literally it–easy. You can make these pickles up to two weeks in advance. Just keep them in the brine in the fridge.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasWhile your red onions are pickling, caramelize some mushrooms. Well, a lot of mushrooms–this recipe requires a full pound of them! When they’re all sliced up, it will look like you way over-prepared, but mushrooms shrink down dramatically while cooking. Once all is said and done, you’ll be left with about two cups.

What makes these mushrooms caramelized? Two things. First, they’re cooked over pretty high heat until nice and brown. Second, they’re seasoned with sugar in addition to salt, cumin, and cayenne. Sweetened mushrooms might sound a little odd, but along with the salt and spices, they are super delicious.

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasThe most daunting step of the whole tostada-making process is definitely making the shells, but really, there’s nothing to fear. I know a lot of people are intimidated by frying, but they shouldn’t be. Yes, there’s hot oil and that can burn you, but if you take the proper precautions, you’ll be fine. Fill a clean, dry pan with 1/2-inch of oil. When the oil is nice and hot, take a couple of corn tortillas and gently place them in the pan. They’ll bubble up quickly and dramatically. After about 45 seconds, they’ll start turning golden at the edges. Flip the tortillas and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle them with salt. Voila! You just made tostada shells and you and your kitchen are still intact 😊

Caramelized Mushroom TostadasOnce the tortillas are crispy, it’s time to assemble the tostadas. Spread guacamole over each tostada shell. Scatter the beautiful brown caramelized mushrooms over the guac, and then top them with a few of the pickled red onions. Sprinkle on some cotija cheese and dig in!Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas

Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas
makes 5-6 six-inch tostadas

Quick-Pickled Red Onion:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Caramelized Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (I use a combination of white button and cremini)
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Tostada Shells:
neutral-flavored oil (I used canola)
6 corn tortillas
Kosher salt

For Assembly:
1-1 1/2 cups guacamole
2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese

Pickle the red onion. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt. Allow sugar and salt to dissolve. Place sliced red onion in a jar. Pour vinegar mixture over the top and cover. Let sit for one hour.

Caramelize the mushrooms. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add approximately 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms. Stir occasionally until starting to brown. Move cooked mushrooms to the edge of the pan, and add another 1/3 of the mushrooms. When those are cooked, move them to the side. Brown the last 1/3 of the mushrooms. Sprinkle mushrooms with sugar, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Stir and continue to cook just until sugar melts. Set aside.

Make the tostada shells. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels. Set aside.

Heat 1/2-inch of canola oil in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Let oil get very hot (mine reached 350F). Working in batches, fry tortillas for 45 seconds-1 minute, until turning golden at the edges. Use tongs to flip tortillas, and let fry for an additional 30-45 seconds, until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Assemble tostadas. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of guacamole over each tostada shell, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top guacamole with 2-3 tablespoons of caramelized mushrooms. Add a few pieces of pickled red onion. Sprinkle with cotija cheese.

Serve tostadas immediately. Leftover assembled tostadas do not keep well.

Caramelized Mushroom Tostadas