Tasty!

Nov. 19th, 2009 10:15 pm
occultatio: (coyote)
[personal profile] occultatio
A few weeks ago, I gather, my parents were invited to this function at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I don't know the details, or why it was there in particular, but apparently there was a meal and presentation by the head chef at Boulevard, a really fancy and expensive San Francisco restaurant (I looked it up -- we're talking $40-a-plate entrees). Also, for some reason, they were *each* given a signed copy of the Boulevard cookbook, a coffee-table sized, full-color brick. Since they were unlikely to use even one fully, Mom sent one of their copies to me.

It arrived this morning. I spent the next solid hour or so leafing through it, drooling. We're talking recipes like "Braised Chestnut Soup with Apple Cream and Crispy Duck Confit," "Buttermilk-Brined Cornish Game Hen," "Endive and Heirloom Apple Salad," and "Warm Medjool Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese, with Blood Oranges, Pistachios, Pomegranate, Bitter Greens and Blood Orange Vinaigrette." Not to mention "Manjari Chocolate Truffle Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream." And, of course, full-page spreads of more or less every recipe, as plated in the restaurant.

Mouth watering yet?

The hell of it is, the instructions are excellent. Everything is broken down into small, easy-to-understand and -follow steps. Some of the recipes are still impractical, just because they assume you will somehow use the rest of some very expensive ingredient, or just happen to have a gallon of dark chicken stock or double corn stock to hand in your walk-in fridge, but the vast majority seem genuinely usable even in a private kitchen. I fully intend, in a few weeks, to tackle "Duck Breast Stuffed with Apples and Chestnuts and Roasted in Bacon, with Celery Root Puree and Calvados Sauce" -- there's a full-page pictoral on how to properly stuff and roll the duck breast. I'm also looking forward to trying out their recipes for mashed potato and "Cream Biscuits."

Tonight, though, we tried what they admittedly acknowledge is the "simplest" recipe in the book: Cauliflower Soup. (Well, technically, their recipe is for Cauliflower Soup with Maine Lobster, but, you know.)

It was magnificent. Astoundingly rich, savory and creamy, particularly given how easy it was to make.

In fact, it was so easy, I want to share the recipe so you can try it too. It seriously took under half an hour to prepare from start to finish, and we accompanied it with some chicken sausage for protein and had a really great meal. Try it, and let me know what you think!

Boulevard's Cauliflower Soup
Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:
1 medium-to-large head of cauliflower
6 cups water
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 tbsp butter, room temperature

1. Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower, and separate it into florets.

2. Put florets in large saucepan (or pot) with water and salt. Bring water to a boil.

3. When water reaches boil, turn down heat to a "lively simmer" and cook for 8-12 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and tender. Be careful not to overcook!

4. Drain pot into colander over bowl, reserving the cooking water.

5. In blender, combine cauliflower, 2 1/2 cups of cooking water and butter (this just barely all fit in ours). Puree until completely smooth.

6. Strain mixture back into pot through medium-to-fine mesh. If consistency is too thick, add more cooking water until you are satisfied. Add salt to taste.

Enjoy!

Date: 2009-11-20 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lord-codfish.livejournal.com
Ooh, that does sound good. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables I have a hard time appreciating - something about the smell just doesn't do it for me - but I could certainly see giving this a try as the weather continues to get cold.

I, for one, would appreciate it if you keep posting these!

Just in time!

Date: 2009-11-20 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carrionsynapses.livejournal.com
I have a head of cauliflower in the fridge that's getting a bit of fuzz on it so this is a timely and appreciated entry!

My mum also loves "faux-tatoes"...mashed potatoes sans potatoes made with cauliflower...almost better than the real thing!

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