Sunday, October 19, 2008

It’s getting cold and I’m getting a cold...

... and that means it is the perfect time for a spicy soup. I am currently coming down with the same funk that Mike is recovering from. Therefore, last night was the perfect night to cook up a big pot of soup, relax and watch college football (poor hokies and their lack of offense). Since my taste buds are kind of cattywampus as a result of the stuffy nose, I wanted something with a little more flavor than your plain old chicken noodle. There is no one to turn to but Bobby Flay if you are ever looking for something with a little spicy southwestern kick. I know some people don’t like him because they think he’s arrogant and kind of an ass. But hey, he is a native New Yorker, what do you expect? I think I would be cocky too if I could create dishes as well as he can. Regardless, I’m a big Bobby fan (I get that from my father). Anyway, the Roasted Cauliflower and Green Chili Soup from his newish Mesa Grill cookbook is wonderful. In the book, he suggests serving it with a blue corn-goat cheese nachos of sorts, but tonight Mike and I were looking for something heartier to accompany the soup in order to make it a fuller dinner. We finally decide to grill up some chicken quesadillas. The dinner really hit the spot!.

Roasted Cauliflower and Green Chili Soup

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 poblano chilies, roasted and pureed (we ended up using 5 small poblanos from the farmers market)

To roast chilies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place in the oven on a baking sheet, and rotate until charred on all sides (this can also be done on the burner of a gas stove or on a grill). This will take somewhere between 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the roasted peppers in a paper bag, and let sit for 15 minutes to allow the skin to loosen. Then peel, halve, and seed before throwing the pepper flesh into a food processor. Add a small splash of water and puree.

Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower florets in approximately 3 tablespoons olive oil and place in a baking dish, salt and pepper and cover with foil. Make sure to puncture the foil to allow for some steam to get out. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a big soup pot and add chicken broth. Let simmer for 15 minutes. In batches, carefully, puree the the cauliflower and return to the pot. (At this point the recipe says to strain the soup, but that seems like way too much work and mess for me to deal with). Bring pureed soup to a simmer, adding more water or broth to reach desired consistency. Whisk in the cream and the poblano puree to taste. Since poblanos are a mild pepper, they add more flavor than heat to the soup so don’t be too worried to add a lot of the puree.

Abbie and Mikes Grilled Quesadillas

1 chicken breast
1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
bit of olive oil
half a red onion
splash of balsamic vinegar
Goat cheese
Corn Tortillas

Sprinkle the chicken with a small amount of the chili powder and grill. In a small saucepan, over med to low heat, saute the onions in the olive oil. Once onions are really soft as a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional minute. The vinegar will add an extra layer of sweetness. We decided to make more of an open-face quesadilla because the goat cheese doesn’t make quite as good cheese glue as other gooier cheeses and the prospect of flipping the quesadilla sandwiches seemed grim. To put the open-facers together, put a small amount of olive oil on one side of a tortilla, so it doesn’t stick to the grill. Then, crumble goat cheese on to the tortilla and add some sliced grilled chicken and the red onions. Place on the grill or a few minutes. These guys turned out pretty tasty and folded in half nicely for easier eating. However, next time I would add a thin layer of cilantro mayonnaise for some added creaminess and consistency. Overall, I think we came up with a pretty good side for the soup! Enjoy!


david said...

Well guys, you've really created a pairing challenge. Most would just opt for a nice Mexican beer, perhaps a dark Modelo. But as a serious wine snob (with a serious genetic link to the blog's author)and a pension for California wines, there are a couple of good options. Just as with spicy Thai foods, I'd go for an Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer. But also try a Rose (accent on the'e'). Now that many wine drinkers know that these wine are NOT the overly sweet White Zins but rather more in the tradition of Southern France. Not sweet, but crisp, dry and a bit fruity. Look for a Somano lable (Napa's best for auto parts)

The Common Daisy said...

oh my GOD, dad, you crack me up. napa's best for auto parts, HA!