Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream

Thanksgiving has passed. The holiday was filled with wonderful food and plenty of over indulgence. We are exhausted.

Over the months, I have been reading many of your blogs that highlight Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, around my french table. I am now a proud owner of her cookbook, and this is the first recipe that was prepared. A beautiful, silky smooth cauliflower soup that is easy to prepare, and hits the spot just right on a cold day, following a huge eating festival.

We generously peppered and drizzled the soup with a bit of good extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream
Serves 8
Recipe from around my french table
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Vidalia, Spanish, or large yellow onions (about 3/4 pound), coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, broken into florets (discard the tough core)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Put the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over low heat.  When the butter is melted, add the onions, garlic, celery, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of white pepper.  Stir until all the ingredients glisten with oil and butter, then cover the pot and cook slowly, stirring often, for 20 minutes.

Toss the cauliflower into he pot and pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the broth simmers gently, and cook, uncovered, for another twenty-minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor; or use an immersion blender.  This soup is best when it is very smooth, so if you think it needs it, push it through the strainer.  (If you've used a standard blender, this shouldn't be necessary.)  Taste for salt and pepper; I like to pepper teh soup generously.

Serve plain or garnished with the topping of your choice.

Optional toppings: Extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil, grated cheese, crushed toasted walnuts, creme fraiche or sour cream, caviar or shaved truffles.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

No post today.  I am spending time with the family.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving my best wishes for a wonderful holiday to you and your family.

I will be back on Sunday!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn at

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roasted Chili-Citrus Chicken Thighs with Mixed Olives and Potatoes

The passion for food is a collaborative effort, and it is best when it is shared.  I was honored when Andy from that Jew Can Cook, asked me to be a guest blogger.  I am a big fan of his blog and really enjoy his approach to food, which is spontaneous and fun.  He also has a knack for food photography.  He is going to work hard to ensure that your experience at his table is memorable.   His blog reflects that passion and it's contagious.  If you have not discovered his blog, please hop over and say hello.  You will not be disappointed!

I selected this recipe for my guest blog post because it is a dish that brings people together.  The dish is a blend of many food cultures, but it becomes a meal that represents the many food cultures of Americans.

I hope that you will enjoy this dish with friends and family.

Roasted Chili-Citrus Thighs with Mixed Olives and Potatoes
Serves 4

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch wide wedges
8 large skinless chicken thighs with bones
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup low salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
50 olives (preferably mixed colors and sizes)

Sprinkle chicken generously with salt; drizzle with 1 tablespoon lime juice and set aside.  Whisk 1-tablespoon lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, both paprikas, grated orange peel, ground cumin, dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.  Rub chili mixture all over chicken.  Arrange potato wedges on baking sheet, nesting around chicken.  Drizzle olive oil all over chicken and potatoes.  Bake chicken and potatoes 20 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.  Turn chicken and potato wedges; spoon juices over meat and potatoes.  Bake 10 minutes longer.  Add chicken broth, one tablespoon chopped cilantro, and chopped parsley, stirring to scrape up any chili bits at bottom of baking sheet.  Turn chicken over.  Bake until chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown in spots, about 10 minutes longer.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Luscious Lemon Cake

It's my birthday! And this was my birthday cake! It is tradition in our family that you can select any meal that you would like to eat. Included in that deal, is the dessert that you want to enjoy. I have an advantage, my husband can bake.  Unfortunately, for him he does not have the same advantage, because I don't bake so well. 

A velvety rich lemon cake with a delicious lemon frosting.  This cake seals my husband's reputation as a  fabulous baker.  

Luscious Lemon Cake
Serves 12
Recipe from Southern Living

8 egg yolks
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Beat egg yolks at high speed with an electric mixer 4 minutes or until thick and pale.

2.  Beat butter at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add beaten egg yolks, beating well.

3.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Stir in 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.

4.  bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wore racks, and let cool for 1 hour or until completely cool.

5.  Spread Luscious Lemon Frosting between layers of cake.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Note: You can frost the entire cake for a more elegant presentation.

Luscious Lemon Frosting Recipe:

1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (32-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons half-and-half (optional)

1.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; stir in lemon zest and juice.  (Mixture will appear curdled).  Gradually add sugar; beat at high speed 4 minutes or spreading consistency.  Gradually beat in up to 2 tablespoons half-and-half, if necessary, for desired consistency.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Farm Chick at It's a Small Town Life

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Sunday Supper

Can you tell the weather is stunning?  I almost cannot contain myself.  The days are warm and the evenings are cool.  Wow!

I have been getting some ribbing from my northern friends who cannot fathom the idea that anyone in Florida would ever need a fire place.  Worse, to have one built into your home.  I am guilty on both counts.  I live in the northwest part of Florida known as the Panhandle.  In North Florida we do not have a tropical climate which secures 85 degrees in the summer with a breeze.  Ours is more like 100 degrees, and you cut the air with a knife, the humidity is so thick, the air is stagnant.  However, come Autumn our temps are mild.  Days are often warm and nights are cool.  Some mornings have already been down right chilly.  We have woken up to the 30's and this my friends is when I turn on the gas fireplace ( I can hear the chuckles already about the gas fireplace).

No recipes today, just a few photographs from our weekly supper gathering.

Feels like Spring.  If I did not tell you that the outside air was cool, you would not believe me. 

Appears, that I am confused because there is still fresh zucchini that is available at the farmer's market. As I often say, the summer squash that is the gift that keeps on giving.

Wine, salad and pasta-It does not get any better

Did I mention the pasta?  No heavy sauce just yet, that will be arriving soon.


If you would like to host your Sunday gathering here on Tomatoes on the Vine, send me a message.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clementine Negroni Cocktail

If you are looking for a cocktail that takes it to the next level, and is bursting with autumn colors.  I suggest you turn the music up, find your favorite person, shake a couple of these cocktails and enjoy the evening. 

Clementine Negroni Cocktail
Makes 2
Recipe from Bon Appetit

3 clementines, peeled
3 dashes of orange bitters
1/4 cup Hendricks's Gin (A smooth Scottish cucumber infused gin-worth seeking out) or other good quality gin
1/4 cup Campari
3 tablespoons sweet vermouth
Ice cubes
2 clementines, sliced for garnish

Place 3 whole peeled clementines and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the clementines are broken down.  Add gin, Campari, and vermouth.  Fill shaker 3/4 full with ice.  Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into two martini glasses, dividing equally.  Garnish each with a clementine slice.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Sharon Rudd at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Enchiladas De Pollo (Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas)

Looking for a reason to party? Southern style? This is a twist on a classic latin dish.

This baked enchilada dish has graced my table many times over the years. It's a perfect crowd pleasing dish.  The filling can be prepared in advance, and the enchiladas can be put together a couple of hours before baking. It's easy, delicious and always gets rave reviews.

Enchiladas De Pollo (Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas)
Makes 20-24 enchiladas
Recipe from Paula Deen

4 large chicken breasts, roasted or boiled, skin and bones removed, meat shredded
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
One 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
Two 4-ounce cans diced green chilies, with juice
6 green onions, chopped, including green tops
20-24 four tortillas (7-inch diameter)
Two 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 cups (1 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded lettuce, for garnish
Diced tomatoes, for garnish
Salsa, store-bought or homemade, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 250 Degrees F.  Spray two 13 by 9-inch casserole dishes with vegetable oil cooking spray.

2.  Combine the chicken, cream cheese, soup, chilies, and green onions.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of this mixture onto each tortilla and roll up.

3.  Pour a very small amount of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of each casserole dish and tilt the dish so that the sauce covers the bottom.  Place the enchiladas side by side on top of the sauce.  When all of the enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the dishes, take the remaining enchilada sauce and pour it over the top of the enchiladas.  Combine the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and sprinkle evenly over the casseroles.

4.  Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  To serve, cut between the enchiladas and serve from the dish.  Have bowls of sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa, for garnish.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caramel-Applesauce Cobbler

It's apple season!  Here in the most southern part of the United States our climate is to warm to grow apples, and we miss out on days spent at the apple orchards, picking, walking and enjoying the ambience of an autumn day.  However, we do not miss out on the availability, and the tradition of enjoying apples this time of year. 

My sister in law, Kim is a wonderful baker.  On a recent family gathering she brought along this simply prepared apple cobbler.  I love fruit pies and cobblers, and this is as easy as it gets for an enjoyable fruit cobbler.

Serve it up with the warm pastry strips and a scoop of your favorite ice cream. 

Caramel-Applesauce Cobbler
Prepared by Kim Wilson
Recipe from Southern Living

1/2 cup butter or margarine
12 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-(15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add apple, sugar and lemon juice; cook, stirring often 20-25 minutes or until apple is caramel-colored.  Spoon into a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Unroll each pie crust, and cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Arrange strips into a lattice design over filling; fold edges under.  Place remaining strips on a baking sheet.

Bake remaining strips at 425 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes or golden.  Set aside to serve with cobbler.  Bake cobbler at 425 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden. Serve warm with pastry strips and your favorite ice cream.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Kristin Cohea