Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
After so many holiday sweets it was definitely time for something a little bit lighter. Cauliflower, in my mind, is one of those vegetables that is kind of disappointing. It doesn't have a particularly strong flavor and pales in comparison to it's cousin broccoli. That being said, soup is the perfect vehicle to cauliflower. The flavor becomes infinitely more complex after roasting and the addition of a few herbs and other flavors makes this an instant classic.

3 pounds cauliflower florets (about 2 large heads)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 3/4 cups almond milk
Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut the cauliflower heads into medium florets. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and minced thyme. Spread out in one layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. After twenty minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven and flip the florets over. Place back in the oven for another twenty minutes. Meanwhile place two cups of the chicken stock and all of the almond milk in a large pot and bring to a low simmer. Regular milk, of course, can be substituted for the almond milk but I really enjoy the nutty flavor that almond milk adds to this soup.

Once the cauliflower is finished roasting, add it to the large pot on the stove. Using an immersion blender puree the mixture until your desired consistency. I prefer a thick puree but some may like to leave a few cauliflower florets intact. Add the remaining two cups on chicken stock and season to taste with pepper and any additional salt if necessary. Garnish with extra thyme and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Walnut Ganache

Pumpkin Pie 
with Gingersnap Crust 
and Walnut Ganache
I'm just going to come out and say it without making any apologies. This, is a sinful dessert. The creamy pumpkin filling is made even more luxurious with sweetened condensed milk, the gingersnap crust has such a punch of flavor and is the perfect buttery companion to the filling. And as if the pie weren't decadent enough already, the praline ganache sends it completely over the edge. Pumpkin and ginger are two flavors that, to me, are so reminiscent of the holidays that it seemed only natural to combine them in this delicious dessert. Definitely enjoy this on a day you're not trying to be healthy because it is worth every single tasty calorie. Not to mention that it is incredibly easy to make and requires very few ingredients.

2 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 1 1/2 sleeves of cookies)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Make the crust by combining the ginger snap crumbs and melted butter in a large bowl and mixing with a fork until well blended. Add the crumbs to a nine inch cake or tart pan and evenly press over the bottom and up the sides using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake until set and a bit darker in color, usually 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, condensed milk, egg yolks and salt until well blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, return to the oven, and bake until set and beginning to brown on the top, about 30 minutes. Remove pie from the oven, cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

While the pie is cooling, combine brown sugar, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar is dissolved stirring often. Pour over the pie and allow to set before serving. Slice the pie, serve and enjoy!