"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Recipes–Vegetable Purees and Savory Cauliflower

Vegetable purees are a nice change from straight vegetables.  I usually steam my cauliflower and broccoli, then serve them hot or cold with olive oil or butter; but a puree brings out the flavor in a more blended, very different, and tasty way.  Both purees can be made into soups simply by adding more liquid.

Puree of Broccoli

This puree is a blend of broccoli, cream, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg and is delicious.  Very simple to make.

* 1 lb. of broccoli (approx.) thick parts of stems cut off and discarded

* 3/4 cup of half-and-half

* 1 Tbsp. Unsalted European style butter (other unsalted butter will do, but the higher fat content European style is much better.  In fact, if you are not used to cooking with it, definitely try it.  Worth the extra cost, which is not a lot)

* 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

* 2 tsp. grated nutmeg

* salt and pepper to taste.

- Cut the broccoli into medium-size florets, and steam it until tender (you should be able to easily pierce the florets with a fork, and you want to be sure that the vegetable does not overcook and become mushy (about 10 minutes)

- Place the broccoli in a blender or food processor (if you have a blender, it will be easier to do the blending in two rounds)

- Add the half-and-half, parmesan, nutmeg, butter, salt and pepper

- Blend until the puree is medium thick.  You will be able to tell by stirring which you should be able to do easily.  Taste for all ingredients and add any or all at this point.  Blend again.

- Serve

Cauliflower Puree

Cauliflower has its own special taste, and the ingredients used for the broccoli puree will not work for this recipe.  The best combination is with tuna fish or anchovies.

* 1 lg. cauliflower, trimmed of thick stem and leaves which are discarded

* 1/2 can of Solid White Albacore tuna in water; or 4 flat anchovy filets

* 3/4 cup of half-and-half (approximately)

* 1/4 – 1/2 cup Amontillado sherry

* 1 Tbsp. European style butter

* 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

* salt and pepper to taste

- Break the head of cauliflower into pieces – you don’t have to be too careful since you will eventually puree them

- Steam them until tender.  You should be able to pass a fork through the largest pieces easily, but avoid overcooking and a mushy vegetable (about 10 min.)

- Place the cauliflower in a blender or food processor.  If you use a blender, you may find it easier to do the blending in two operations.  If you do, just put half the amount of ingredients in for each round

- Add the parmesan, half-and-half, fish, sherry, ground pepper, and butter.  Do not add salt until you have blended and tasted, for the fish will add salt.

- Blend until a smooth puree which should pour easily out of the blender, but not too quickly.

- Check for ingredients, all of which can be added at this point

- Blend again and serve

Savory Cauliflower

This recipe calls for steaming the cauliflower and serving it in whole pieces and serving with a sauce made with a mayonnaise base.  The addition of anchovies or tuna, mustard, and served with capers, make a savory, slightly salty dish. 

* 1 lg. cauliflower, trimmed of thick stem and leaves

* 1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

* 1-2 tsp.(approx.)  Maille (or other good Dijon mustard)

* 1 Tbsp. whole milk yoghurt (you can use low fat, but the whole milk makes the sauce creamier and less acidy

* 3-4 flat filets of anchovy mashed well in a mixing bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil; OR 1/2 can Solid White Albacore tuna in water, chopped coarsely

* 1 small bunch parsley, very coarsely chopped

* 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped

* 1 Tbsp. small capers

* 5-8 grindings fresh black pepper

* 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon

* salt to taste

- Steam the cauliflower until done.  You should be able to poke a large serving fork deep into the vegetable with little resistance; but be careful not to overcook.

- Remove the cauliflower and on a serving plate, cut into large pieces, arranged to cover the plate

- In a mixing bowl put the mayo, yoghurt, mustard, anchovies or tuna, half the capers, and the finely chopped parsley.  Mix well, and taste for ingredients.  The sauce should have high flavor – you should be able to taste the fish which should not be overpowering.  If there is too much of a fish taste for you (should not be the case with these proportions), add more mayo and/or yoghurt.  Add half of the lemon juice, test for taste, and add the rest if you like

- Serve over the cauliflower.  Add the coarsely chopped parsley, the remainder of the capers, and the ground pepper; and serve

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