roasted mushroom & cauliflower soup

It was time to get rid of the week old roasted veggies in my fridge and I was fighting off the urge to eat out. I don’t know why it is SO hard to cook for myself but it always has been this way. I far prefer a crowd around the table to the drudgery of preparing a solitary meal. It’s been an interesting exercise to think about new postings to add to my blog. I’ve actually been inspired to cook more, even for just moi! I think blogging food for me translates into a dinner party of sorts…Something I get to share with all of you guys if you were here with me right this minute. Even better, it would be great to hear back if anyone tries one of my recipes (I know it might actually be a stretch to call it a recipe) themselves…so please, send me updates if you have tried something or if you were inspired to change it up.

Another confession — I am a canned soup hater. I find few things less appetizing than Campbell’s Soup, yet homemade soup can be so healthy and delicious. As a kid I overdosed on canned and powdered chicken noodle soup. I supplemented my regular Kraft Dinner diet with these 2 items growing up. Nothing like multi-taking at an early age, when there was a ton of TV to be watched and only 45 min for lunch.

I will happily eat scratch soups and with the aid of purchased stocks it make the process super fast easy and delicious.

I gathered my mise en place. (my new to me fancy term I must start using for culinary school. It’s mandatory for me to get over my terrible french accent and expand my vocabulary)

5 minute soup- 4 smallish servings

  • Roasted (or fried) cauliflower and onions (approx. 1 -2 cups)
  • Roasted or friend mushrooms (approx. 1 c- leave aside a T for garnish)
  • 3 c of stock ( veggie, beef or chicken)
  • Blend (with blender or immersion blender) 2 c of stock with the veggies til smooth or desired consistency
  • Add into pot and heat–You can add the remainder of stock to make soup as thick or thin as you like.
  • Season to taste with Salt, pepper, 2-3 T of balsamic vinegar, 1 T of Horseradish if desired.
  • Serve with dollop of plain yogurt and tiny chives and a piece or two of mushroom on top

Of course this is not like baking a sponge cake– you can add or delete at whim. Just taste as you go along to make sure you get the proportions right for your taste buds. 

hump day first week at culinary school

Ok, I admit it. Standing through an entire 3 hour class without leaning, slouching, no hands in pockets and ( WARNING TMI ALERT) oozing buckets of menstrual blood is not my idea of fun. Top it off I had a migraine most of the day; but I still loved my classes and the experience… but  I was very happy to head home on my scooter ( in the rain) by 4 o’clock… but “I digress” 

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First up was my baking class. I did not get to make cookies, or pie or anything. Instead we were tortured by the 2nd year students baking next door. The smells were amazing. I did however get to follow along with everyone as we were warned of the perils of the giant mixers, procedures, store rooms, honour codes, and keeping your sh*thole clean…according to my old German Chef instructor. He was amazing. My first 15 minutes of fame resulted from either being old, or smart…but I was the  only student in class who understood how to measure on a counterbalanced scale, meaning I got to tutor one half of the class while Chef helped the rest. I know it really does not sound like a blast, but it was! really …i swear it was.

The second class of the day was Intro to Fine Dining ( Service etc) and Wine ( last 7 weeks). I think I will stick with the under 19 set and smell intently and record other student’s impressions of the wine. Some of you may not know that one of my few claims to fame is that I have never had a drink in my life. It seems pointless to break a streak at this point. There will still be plenty to learn about grapes and regions and blah blah blah…and I am happy to soak it all in. I do have a bloodhound type nose so I should do just fine.

When I walked in the door I flaked out for an hour and still woke up with a headache. I resorted to my old favorite drug of choice, Imitrex and all is well.

topped with balsamic glaze
topped with balsamic glaze

Pizza tonight , using my NEW PIZZA PEEL. When I purchased school supplies yesterday I decided to splurge on the wood pizza peel . I needed to explore the bottom of the oven technique that Jules from Stone Soup recommended. It worked perfectly this time with NO BURNS. For $15 it was money well spent!

  • I made the dough up in the food processor first ( SEE TERRONI PIZZA POST or the STONE SOUP LINK above )
  • Turned oven on to preheat–tried 400 degrees this time
  •  fried up some onions in one pan and mushrooms in another on high heat.
  • Removed the HOT PIZZA STONE ( 400 Degree preheating) from the oven and placed the rolled out pizza dough on it.
  • Top bottom dough with a bit of EVOO.
  • Spread small amount of grated old white cheddar ( or whatever you have on hand) on the dough,
  • top with onions and mushrooms
  • sprinkle feta cheese on top. Season with pepper and salt if feta is not too salty.
  • Pop pizza in oven for approx 12 min. ( check )
  • If using the BOTTOM of the OVEN TECHNIQUE, remove pizza from the stone using the wooden peel
  • –or just remove from the rack
  • squeeze balsamic glaze over the top if desired.
  • MUSHROOMS are amazing when paired with a blue cheese or brie type as well. Just add on when you remove from the heat. The delicate cheese will melt and not burn off this way.

EAT

school dazed

This is DAY 2 of Culinary School . Last fall I applied to the Integrated Learning Program: Culinary Management H116 at George Brown College. Conveniently 10 minutes from my house in downtown Toronto, and ironically next door to my former long time employer’s (Simon and Schuster) newest office digs. I must confess that I am carefully containing my excitement. I’m not really sure where this all leads me but it is the perfect time to stretch myself and I am trying to let the world unfold as it should.  

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I’ve been purchasing and organizing all my equipment for class and I just picked up the most beautiful Japanese knife this afternoon. I am practically overflowing with giddiness. I’m also scrounging around the kitchen for anything that I can pack up so I don’t overflow with duplicates in my already overstuffed house… but happily there are still some mandatory indulgences that I can add to my stockpile. Yesterday was Kitchen Management class and Hospitality Math. Today was English class and I got to hand in my first essay on HOW I AM TOTALLY UN-COOL. Each class is at least 3 hours long and it’s been fun to meet my new class mates and get the scoop on everyone’s raison d’etre. So far every instructor has been exceptionally pleasant and impressive. This is a 2 year diploma and with around 30 to 60 (?-bad with estimating numbers in crowds) people each class with a fairly diverse age range–although I think I may be the 2nd oldest. One dude talked about cooking in the 70’s. I guess technically I ( and Juli) did a stint with crazy Mrs Dean in the Kootenay‘s in 1977, but that’s a whole other story.

Tomorrow will be my first time in the baking kitchen lab and I am definitely psyched!! I hope we make something other than cookies. I’ve been living on a steady diet of them for 2 days. BTW- I will be avoiding full body shots of my chef outfit until the time is right. Tomorrow is my first day wearing this charming outfit. For now, you’ll just have to imagine it.

Turning over a new leaf I plan to cook at home as much as possible. I did not plan well but luckily I had roasted cauliflower , onions and tomatoes on the weekend.

easy dinner with leftovers in fridge- roasted cauliflower soup
easy dinner with leftovers in fridge- roasted cauliflower soup

5 minute ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

  • Throw a bunch of cauliflower and onions into a blender with some cold chicken stock (measure carefully hah!)
  • Season with salt, lemon zest, horseradish and rooster sauce to taste
  • Blend till smooth

Heat on stove and then serve with:

  • a spoon of thick yogurt
  • roasted tomatoes /lemon squeeze /capers  and FRESH CILANTRO!

Of course season to your liking– if you prefer to mix it up a bit….

Cauliflower is pretty accommodating. The rich colour is really just a result of the roasting and a wee squirt of Hot Sauce.

a weekend with Ms. Madds

This weekend, I had a 2 1/2 year old to myself– 4 days and 3 nights. As I write her mother is spending her last evening in NYC celebrating the completion of her undergrad degree. This is a big deal for Maddie to be without her mommy overnight, but we seem to be having a good time in spite of it all.

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Friday night we heard the familiar music of the ice-cream truck. When my kids were little I  used to curse the guy that would drive into our townhouse complex nightly. I felt like a meanie, as I rarely had any spare dollars to spend on frozen rockets and overpriced ice-cream. Well guess what? Somehow I have the $ now to buy ice-cream almost as large as a 2 year old’s head…even if I have to raid he college fund to do it!

On Saturday we wandered around the neighbourhood. We especially love http://www.bobbetteandbelle.com/ and the little flower shop next door. We hit a French bakery for bread and spent the next hour at the playground. The evening was spent eating a cold hotdog at a baking fundraiser for kids to go to camp.  Sunday we mostly stayed home,  watching endless YouTube loops of Kitties and owls and doggies and monkey with a few Barbie Princess and Mickey Mouse cartoons thrown in for good measure.

We also baked shortbread cookies…rolling out the scraps of dough and pressing the cutters into them 100 x each. I use the easiest recipe on earth and for once she can eat the play-dough. I have posted the recipe along with a fancier version from Rouxbe. The key is to USE REAL BUTTER. This is not the cookie to skimp on the butter.

Madeline’s culinary preferences include Cheerios, macaroni, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers and cheese and scrambled eggs and toast. She also likes grapes, apple, a few bites of banana and mandarin oranges. Now I recall the reason my regular dinner making went off the rails and has yet to recover. Give me a crowd of 10 or even 50 and I am a happy to cook all day long. Make an appetizing, well-balanced meal every night is a challenge I have yet to perfect.

Joy of Baking —   Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

 In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer or food processor beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).  

Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated or pulse in processor.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out between parchment or floured surface. Cut shapes and bake until lightly browned 8-10 min. 

http://rouxbe.com/recipes/1939-lemon-filled-shortbread-cookies/text

Rouxbe On-line Cooking School from Vancouver

I discovered the ROUXBE site before I started my blog. I love it. Check out the links below and try a free lesson.
Knife Skills is a great starter. It’s a brilliant way to bring that little extra confidence around your cooking experience.
Would love to hear what you think once you try it out. Also happy to give you any insight I have around the course as well!!
xoxo terri

What is the Rouxbe Cooking School

Rouxbe is the world’s leading online cooking school that teaches cooks of any level to become better and more confident cooks.


Tour Video: Founder’s Message

Rouxbe is a different kind of cooking website

Rather than focusing exclusively on recipes, Rouxbe teaches the cooking skills and techniques behind great recipes. Using stunning close-up instructional video, practice recipes, interactive quizzes, and personalized chef feedback, Rouxbe’s 70+ online cooking classes provide professional instructional on knife skills to plating and virtually everything in between. Perhaps best of all, with Rouxbe you can now take cooking classes from your home, on your schedule, and at your own pace.


The path to becoming a better and more confident cook

Would you use a map to teach you how to drive? Probably not. Yet some people rely entirely on recipes to teach them how to cook. As with most skills, learning the fundamentals can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and success, and cooking is not different.

By learning fundamental cooking skills and techniques, practicing with delicious recipes, and getting personalized feedback from professional chefs, you’ll quickly become a better and more confident cook. And with Rouxbe, you can do it all in your home, on your schedule, and at your own pace.


Who created the Rouxbe Cooking School?

The Rouxbe Cooking School was founded by two professional chefs in 2005 and was developed in partnership with Northwest Culinary Academy – an accredited culinary school. The Rouxbe Cooking School is now being used by home cooks, culinary training programs, and culinary professionals around the world.


How many videos does Rouxbe have?

Rouxbe has over 1,100 close-up instructional videos that capture the exact same curriculum found in professional cooking schools around the world.


How much is tuition?

Unlimited access to all content, features, and personalized chef feedback is $299.95 per year. Individual lessons are also available for $4.99 per lesson (90 days access) or $9.99 per lesson (lifetime access).


Anything Free?

To access the Rouxbe Cooking School, you need to become a paid Rouxbe student by selecting one of our tuition plans. You can access a few sample cooking school lessons and a few full step-by-step instructional video recipes on the site. However, to access 70+ online classes that include over 1,000 videos you have to join Rouxbe.