RECIPE: Triple C Chowder: Cauliflower, Chicken and Corn Chowder

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Late in October I was really thrilled when JJ and TT (many thanks again!) brought me some Hungarian paprika as souvenir from their European trip; I admit this is not the spice I use very often in my cooking, I had to give it some serious thought…

Rewind back to early October when I went for my haircut at Fab’s; my hair colouring session is the time when I catch up on my magazine reading; we are mostly digitized (twitter, Facebook, instagram) these days, so I rarely buy hard copies of any magazines unless it’s some special edition which I would like to keep. I was flipping through the October issue of Canadian Living magazine and came across their wonderful cauliflower corn chowder recipe; I love the idea of using cauliflower or potato in soups to add the texture without the need for whipping cream.  As usual, I took a snapshot and “tuck” it away in my cookery files…

So here you go; here’s my own version – the end result? It’s a lighter and healthier chowder, and certainly makes a hearty weeknight meal.  Please feel free to change things up anyway you like to suit your own taste and dietary needs.

There’s still paprika left in the pantry, so what’s next? Perhaps a Hungarian goulash for my dear friends? (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6, parts of the recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s Cauliflower Corn Chowder)

2 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 large yellow onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic finely minced, 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 1/2 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, 4 corn cobs (husked, kernels removed, save the cobs), 1 small head cauliflower (cut into bite size), 2 boneless chicken breast (skinned and cut into bite size), 3 cups low sodium chicken broth*, 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk*, 1 large sweet pepper (seeded and cut to bite size), 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt for seasoning to taste and sliced green scallions (or chives) for garnish (optional).

*almond milk and using mostly organic produce is my own preference; I’ve used homemade chicken stock as the soup base.  To add some heat – add 1 chili pepper to soup mixture or just use hot sauce in the end when ready to serve.

Preparation:

– In small bowl, prepare marinade for chicken; whisk together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 Tablespoon paprika and pinch of sea salt.  Add chicken breast cubes to mixture and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

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 In a small pot using medium low heat, add the cobs to the chicken stock, let mixture simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.

– In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, using medium high heat, saute the chicken breast until the meat is slightly browned and half-cooked, about 2 to 3  minutes.  Remove chicken meat from pot.

– Using the same pot, heat remaining olive oil, add onion, garlic, chopped fresh thyme and remaining paprika; saute until onion is softened, this takes approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 the corn kernels, cauliflower, pre-heated chicken stock, sea salt and 1/2 cup water, bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, approximately 10 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, working in small batches, process and puree the soup until smooth (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way). To prevent the hot liquid from splattering: remember to allow heat to escape by removing the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to pot, add remaining corn kernels, red pepper and half-cooked chicken breast cubes, bring soup to boil.  Reduce to low heat, stir in almond milk, let it simmer and stir occasionally until red pepper is tender and chicken cubes are cooked through.  Season with sea salt to taste. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

– When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls, add hot sauce (optional) and garnish with chopped green scallions or chives (optional).

 

 

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower and Cremini Mushrooms with garlic and rosemary

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This is an idea and recipe which I’ve adapted loosely from the December 2013 issue of Fine Cooking; instead of cooking the vegetables in a skillet, I opted to roast everything together and served as a side dish with our roast prime rib dinner; I will try the slow saute method next time.

Ingredients: (serves 4 to 6)

1 Tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Pure Maple syrup, 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (more to taste), kosher, salt, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Head of cauliflower (medium), 1/2 pound of Cremini mushrooms (trimmed, halved if small, quartered if large – approximately 3 cups), 8 large cloves of garlic (peeled and halved lengthwise), 3 rosemary sprigs, 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (optional).

Preparation:

– Pre-heat oven to 350 F, lined roasting pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

– Prepare the cauliflower and mushrooms; for the cauliflower, cut off the stems and leaves (discard); Cut the cauliflower into half, then slice florets and stalks into bite size, cut the florets so they have a flat side.

– Combine red wine vinegar, maple syrup and lemon juice in a small bowl, set aside.

– Toss cauliflower, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on baking dish.

– Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and golden brown.

– Remove from oven and gently stir in vinegar mixture and butter (optional). Discard the rosemary sprigs and season to taste with more lemon juice and salt (if necessary).  Serve immediately.

RECIPE: Tuna Avocado Salad on Ciabatta

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Whenever I purchase my favourite ciabatta from Pure Bread (http://www.purebread.ca/) at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market, I’ll be more inclined to make sandwiches for weekend or weekday lunches.  This is a light and easy recipe, loosely based on Michael Smith’s from Chef at Home; you can always personalize it with your own flavours (and I did); Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Fresh ciabatta bread (from your local bakery/market), 1 canned tuna (drained), 1 avocado (pitted and peeled), 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1 green scallion (sliced), handful of chopped italian flat leaf parsley (optional), kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper (or red chilli pepper flakes) to taste.  

Preparation:

– Sliced Ciabatta in middle, lightly brush bread on one side with olive oil (optional), toast both sides on pan over medium heat

– Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette; set aside

– Chop avocado, mix with tuna, scallion and parsley, toss well in vinaigrette; salt and pepper season to taste. Serve on toasted ciabatta as open faced sandwich.

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Ciabatta from Pure Bread!