Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

   

I’m going to blunt when I start off this post today – I love this soup. It contains caramelized roasted cauliflower, potato, sharp white cheddar, sour cream, and fresh parsley. If you know anyone that is on the fence about cauliflower, throw a bowl of this soup at them and knock them down. Onto the cauliflower loving side of course.

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

You can break the steps of this recipe into two parts if you prefer. The cauliflower can definitely be roasted ahead of time so you only need to worry about the soup itself when dinner rolls around. I find that the entire process overlaps pretty well though, and that if I get the cauliflower in the oven first everything else is ready by the time it’s done cooking. I believe it would also be pretty simple to cut the calories in the recipe by using skim milk, a reduced fat cheese, and reduced fat sour cream.  I personally find this soup is hearty enough to eat as a meal with a chunk of good bread, and at less than 350 calories per bowl I don’t feel too bad about going full fat for really good cheesy flavor. I don’t call myself the Gouda Monster for nothing!

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  8. 5 cups stock
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  11. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  12. 1 cup milk
  13. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  14. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  15. 4 ounces sour cream (creme fraiche works well too)
  16. 5 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss cauliflower florets with the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown on the edges.
  2. Heat the other teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan and lightly cook your onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, before adding in the diced potato. Cook the potato for 2-3 minutes, pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow to cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This happens more quickly if your potatoes are finely diced.
  3. When the cauliflower is roasted, add it to the soup pot with the potatoes. I recommend reserving a few pieces for garnish because they are just so tasty on their own. Keep soup covered while you make your roux.
  4. In a small sauce pan melt your butter down. Once hot sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk until smooth. Cook for about a minute and then add your milk. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens slightly - about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove soup from heat. Using an immersion blender puree your soup to desired consistency (I like to leave it a little bit chunky). If you don't have an immersion blender you could transfer the soup to a regular blender to puree in batches.
  6. Stir in the thickened milk sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese and fresh parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Calories
  1. 339
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

This giveaway has ended – Thanks to everyone that participated!

And now of course for the contest information! I’m really excited to finally be able to have my first giveaway on Gouda Monster. For Christmas I got two immersion blenders – what a lucky break for my readers, right? My hand blender is probably one of my most coveted kitchen gadgets. After mine broke I felt lost without it – there is definitely no easier way to quickly puree a soup or whip up small batches of sauces, dressing, or salsas. I also use mine to create smoothies in the morning because I find cleanup to be far simpler than a full sized blender. The particular model up for grabs is the Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender in Brushed Chrome, which holds a glowing 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  There are several ways to enter and entries will be open for two weeks, however due to shipping costs I will only be able to ship to people that live within the United States & Canada. The winner will be announced by the end of the month – good luck!

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Immersion Blender Giveaway


Roasted Root Vegetables

   

Many people are susceptible to impulse purchasing – myself included. If I walk past a sassy pair of high heels I will make a mental note of their appeal and move on. If I’m in the electronics department and I see an immersion blender that I’ve been needing since mine broke, I will pass by and wait to do some review comparisons and price checking online. If a game on my Steam wishlist goes on sale then I… ok well I might buy that. The one thing I can’t resist though? Well, apparently it’s a bundle of beautiful, vibrant, purple  baby carrots (and all of the additional veggies to accompany them into the oven).

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

I just don’t know if there is a better way to prepare vegetables than roasting them. The caramelization of those natural sugars and the ease of preparation? It’s hard not to love it. For this meal I used baby purple carrots, parsnips, yellow and purple baby potatoes, parsley root, garlic, onion, and fresh rosemary. You can use whatever root veggies you can get your hands on, whether it’s layer of simple russet potatoes or a spectrum of multicolored carrots arranged in a heart on your roasting pan. I can’t resist going the colorful route myself. I swear that pretty food tastes better.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 4
An easy, rustic side dish that works for a weeknight dinner or holiday table.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
34 min
Ingredients
  1. 9-10 young purple carrots
  2. 12-15 fingerling potatoes (I used yellow and purple)
  3. 2 parsley root
  4. 1 parsnip
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 3 cloves of garlic
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare your veggies for roasting by chopping them all at a roughly uniform size. It’s important to have them similar in size so that they finish cooking through around the same time. I left my carrots and most of my fingerling potatoes whole. The larger potatoes I split in half. I quartered the parsley root lengthwise and sliced the parsnip into thick disks so that they could be differentiated from one another on the plate. The onion I simply cut into large chunks and split apart the segments with my fingers. The garlic cloves were cut into quarters. I also cut my rosemary sprigs in half.
  3. Toss everything in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. I find that using my hands works best for this and I also do it right on the pan on a sheet of parchment paper.
  4. Layer the veggies evenly on the parchment lining baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then test for doneness with a fork. If they need a little more time, just pop them in for another 10 minutes or so. The smaller your veggies are chopped, the less total time they will take to roast.
Calories
  1. 159
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Roasted Root Vegetables


Cilantro Lime Potatoes

   

When you break down the ingredients in your average breakfast burrito, potatoes are pretty common – especially for vegetarians. While they are delicious in the morning, adding potatoes to your filling options on taco night is just as good. These potatoes roast unattended while you dance around in your living room or top your previous record time for bathing a cat. By the time you’re done cleaning your wounds and applying bandages you just need to give them a quick stir and then go spend another few minutes practicing on the oboe. It’s really quite simple to make, and you have a complete, no fuss dinner when you stuff them into a couple of warm tortillas with canned black beans, fresh avocado, and (if you eat dairy) some crumbled queso fresco.

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

Whenever I buy canned black beans I like to tweak the seasoning to suit my tastes. It almost always involves a bit of oregano, ground cumin, garlic, and chili powder. I will also stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste for an extra punch of flavor. If you want your beans to have a sort of slow cooked, smoky, “meaty” flavor – bacon salt is an awesome (vegetarian friendly) way to accomplish this. I love adding a touch of bacon salt to my bean recipes; it’s not enough to taste bacony but it provides a really nice savory undertone.

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

This is a smaller yield recipe that is ideal for 3-4 people (depending on the other ingredients going into your tacos) but it is easily doubled to accommodate more. Cilantro haters need not fear – this would work nicely with whatever herbs you enjoy. Lemon and parsley would be a bright, fresh flavor for a weeknight side dish if you don’t feel like getting all Southwesterny. And of course you can always eat them for breakfast!

Cilantro Lime Potatoes

Cilantro Lime Potatoes
Serves 3
Tender potatoes roasted in a dressing of fresh cilantro and lime.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  5. Pinch of white sugar (maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon, just to cut the tartness of the lime a little)
  6. 1lb potatoes, diced (I used Yukon gold)
  7. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  8. 1 clove garlic, minced
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, pepper, cilantro, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. On a cutting board, sprinkle salt over minced garlic and scrape it down with the flat side of a broad knife. Continue crushing the garlic with the salt to make a paste.
  4. Whisk garlic paste together with the teaspoon of olive oil and toss with your diced potatoes.
  5. Arrange potatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Toss potatoes with the prepared dressing and transfer to the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  8. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, black beans, fresh avocado, and queso fresco.
Calories
  1. 188
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Cilantro Lime Potatoes


Handmade Potato Gnocchi

   

The first time I tried gnocchi was from a vacuum-sealed pack I picked up at my local grocery store. At first bite I immediately wondered how I had gone so long without even once consuming these tasty little dumplings. Seriously, what was I doing with my life? You can imagine how I felt the first time I ordered a plate of fresh, handmade gnocchi from a reputable Italian restaurant. I was floored by how much more light and pillowy they were than their prepackaged cousins. With that meal I decided that I needed to learn how to make gnocchi myself… which unfortunately led to a series of failures that never measured up to the quality I came to expect from an Italian kitchen. Through trial and error, plenty of research, and a bit of patience, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally married each of the elements needed to making a soft, delicious gnocchi!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Making a dish like this is certainly a labor of love, but the results are very much worth it. Even though the entire process is rather lengthy, the majority of that process is waiting. Handling the dough is arguably the most tedious step, particularly if you choose to roll your gnocchi on a gnocchi board or a fork to get the iconic grooves in each dumpling. The nice thing is that you don’t have to roll your gnocchi. It’s perfectly fine to simply cut up the pieces and cook them as is. There is a benefit to the grooves however – they provide a lot of “grip” for holding onto sauces. If you want a compromise you could simply press a small indentation into each dumpling and forgo the grooves.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Here is a list of the things I’ve learned when it comes to making quality gnocchi:

  • Choose the right potato. You want a mealy, starchy potato (such as a russet).
  •  Make sure your potato flesh is dry and lump-free. I use a ricer to get an even, fluffy texture.
  • Use only enough flour to bring the dough together.
  • Do not over handle the dough. This runs the risk of producing dense, heavy gnocchi.
  • Cook your gnocchi at a gentle boil, not a rapid one that will throw them around in the pot.
  • They cook quickly, be ready to scoop them out as soon as they float to the surface.

I started by boiling 3 medium sized russet potatoes in well-salted water. Once fork tender (about 30 minutes) I took them out and removed the skins with the help of some paper towels. The potatoes were still warm and the paper towels not only have an uneven texture that pulls the skins away easily, it also makes it possible to handle the hot potatoes. The naked tators were pressed through a ricer onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. This is a step that I made up myself after having experienced problems with too-wet potatoes in the past. I preheated the oven to 200F, put the cookie sheet in the oven, left the door cracked open, and turned off the heat. The potatoes were left there to cool completely and the residual warmth from the oven helped dry them out a little further. Once cool, the riced potatoes were put onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkled with about 3/4 cup of cake flour. One recipe I read suggested 1 cup of flour per pound of riced potatoes – 3/4 cup ended up being the right amount for me. I used cake flour because of its lower protein content, which during my intense gnocchi studies I learned helps promote a lighter texture in the end. Work the flour into the potato until it become a soft, pliable dough. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll the pieces into ropes. Line the ropes up next to one another and cut your gnocchi into approximately 1″ pieces. You can either cook them this way or choose to roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork (or gnocchi board) to get the grooved texture. Place the gnocchi at the top of the fork tines and gently press down, rolling it across the fork with your thumb. It will be slightly curled with the indentations on the opposite side.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

That’s all there is to it! Yeah ok, I know it is kind of a lot of take in. The only way to really master the technique is to buy some potatoes, flour up your hands, and get to practicing! The beautiful thing about gnocchi is that once you’re done making them, they cook in a flash, and there are dozens of super quick ways to serve them. Gnocchi have a very simple flavor on their own, making them ideal vehicles for rich, flavorful sauces. I prepared (and photographed) my finished gnocchi three different ways to give you some ideas for serving. Each of these preparations took under 10 minutes.

The top image on the page is the vegan option where I sauteed garlic in a bit of olive oil and threw in the gnocchi (straight from the pot it was boiling in) with some pine nuts. Just before serving I squeezed lemon juice over the top and tossed it with fresh parsley and black pepper. The second dish shows one of the more common ways of serving gnocchi. Browned butter with sage. It’s hard to beat a classic! The final image (at the bottom) shows an oven-baked variation. I sauteed some garlic in a bit of butter, threw in my cooked gnocchi to get a quick sear, added chopped tomato, torn basil, and cubes of soft, fresh mozzarella. Popped it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top and it’s done. Now all you need is some fresh handmade gnocchi and you’re good to experiment on your own!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Handmade Potato Gnocchi
Serves 3
A soft, fluffy gnocchi prepared without any eggs.
Print
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 small to medium sized russet potatoes
  2. 3/4-1 cup cake flour (amount used depends on the size of your potatoes)
  3. Salt, both for boiling and for seasoning the gnocchi
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. In generously salted water, boil potatoes until fork tender (about 30 minutes for the potatoes I used).
  3. Remove potatoes from boiling water and carefully remove the skins. Press potatoes through ricer. If you do not have a ricer I’ve heard that grating the potatoes works quite well too.
  4. Transfer potato to cookie sheet lined with paper towels and place in oven. Turn off heat, crack open the oven door, and allow potatoes to cool completely.
  5. Put fresh pot of salted water on to boil while you make your gnocchi.
  6. Spread cooled potato mixture onto lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (maybe 1/4 teaspoon) and cake flour. Work flour into the potato until it becomes a smooth, pliable dough.
  7. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll into ropes. Line ropes up side-by-side and cut your gnocchi into roughly 1″ pieces.
  8. If desired roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork for added texture.
  9. Put cut gnocchi into gently boiling water (if the boil is too rough it can bounce them around more than necessary). When they float to the surface they are cooked. Remove immediately from water and toss in hot oil, butter, or other prepared sauce of choice.
Calories
  1. 217
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

 


Roasted Broccolini, Potato, and Smoked Gouda Soup

   

I don’t think there are many people out there that don’t enjoy a warm, hearty bowl of potato soup… but when you add cheese and broccoli to it? Pretty much heaven in each bite. Recipes for this type of soup are a dime a dozen, and I even make it multiple ways myself. What I think sets this particular soup apart is both the roasting of the vegetables and the use of a delicious smoked Gouda in place of the more traditional cheddar.

 

I’ve had a few people recently tell me that I should update my blog more often. I try to get at least one recipe up a week, but I want to take this advice to heart and get into the habit of posting more often. I actually have a backlog of another 4-5 recipes that I’m waiting to write about; I just need to get it done.

For the past couple of weeks my mind has been somewhat preoccupied with the creation of my Halloween costume. I love the art of transforming myself into someone new for a few hours so I’m kiiiiind of a costume junkie. For the past three years I’ve been in California for BlizzCon (yeah, I’m a World of Warcraft nerd – wanna fight about it??) and for that reason I have really missed dressing up for Halloween. This year I opted to do a Dia de los Muertos themed costume and put a fair amount of thought and time into crafting the dress and practicing the makeup. In the end I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Now that I’ve finished my costume, attended the party, and gotten all of that out of my system I’m ready to forge full steam ahead on the blog again – starting with this super yummy soup! And considering this soup is a meal in a bowl, it is pretty reasonable at 400 calories per serving. This particular time that I made it I decided I wanted to bump up the protein and include the addition of seitan. For you non-veggie folks out there, this is just a non-soy alternative to chicken for us vegetarians. You can leave the protein out (I actually prefer it that way) or opt to use some chopped leftover chicken or crumbled bacon if you like. I’ve yet to make a vegan alternative to this, but I actually think using nutritional yeast and a bit of the hickory flavored bacon salt would be an awesome substitution for the smoked Gouda – just make sure to use a little more liquid to compensate for the thickness that the nutritional yeast would add.

A friend of mine that ate this soup paid me quite a compliment on it and I’ll try to paraphrase as best I can, “I think your broccoli potato soups are my favorite soups. Not just out of the soups you make – out of all soups, ever.”

Awesome. :D

Roasted Broccolini, Potato, and Smoked Gouda Soup
Serves 3
A chunky potato soup with flecks of roasted broccolini and smoky gouda cheese.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4lbs of baby yukon gold potatoes, diced (I used half of a 1.5 pound bag)
  2. 1 bunch of broccolini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 4-5 cups of vegetable stock (I used 4 because I like a thick soup)
  6. 1 package of chicken-style seitan, chopped
  7. 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
  8. Fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Toss chopped broccolini and potatoes with half of olive oil and distribute evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile heat the other half of the olive oil in a pot big enough for your soup. Add chopped seitan and garlic, cooking until the seitan is lightly browned.
  4. Add stock and roasted vegetables. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Let cook, covered, for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender partially blend the soup. Little bits of potato and broccolini are ok, it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.
  6. Stir in the smoked Gouda until melted and then add the cooked seitan and garlic. Season liberally with black pepper.
Calories
  1. 400
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/