Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mamma Agata's Cooking School

I can't even believe that it happened! Hubby and I went to Italy!!!! It was by far one of the BEST trips I have ever taken. As an added bonus, we spent a day in Ravello at Mamma Agata's Cooking School. Mamma Agata has been cooking all of her life and was much sought after by Hollywood A-listers such as Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart. Pretty cool! She even cooked for Jackie O! Anyway, the class was a wonderful experience as her daughter, Chiara, translated and described what Mamma Agata was doing as she prepared about four different entrees for us. We tasted every ingredient and were given preparation tips and tricks. After each preparation we sat down and dined on the delicious courses. It was a day filled with food, wine, beautiful views and good company. I cannot recommend this experience more. It is expensive but it is such a treat. I even recreated some of the recipes for my family upon my return and they came out great. I still haven't quite replicated the eggplant parmesan but that may be because I did not have the correct variety of eggplant available to me. I will continue to look for it though and am certain I'll get the hang of it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Soup is Good Food!

Well the temperatures are dropping here in New England and, although I do love the summer, I cannot complain. Fall in New England is just gorgeous and the mild dry temperatures are perfect for baking and making and eating SOUP! I love soup. It is so warming and comforting and lifts the spirits on a gloomy day. I have been getting lovely heads of cauliflower in my CSA share lately and this soup was a wonderful way to use it. I swear you may even be able to fool people into thinking they were eating potato soup. You can add some chopped ham to make this a more hearty soup. Another suggestion is to top with bacon crumbles before serving!

 Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Soup

 2-3 Tbs butter
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
2 heads cauliflower florets, trim off any tough or fibrous parts
1 pint heavy cream
1 lb good sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy stock pot melt butter and sauté leeks and garlic until soft

Add chicken broth and cauliflower florets. Cover stock pot and simmer until cauliflower is tender.

Use a potato masher or immersion blender to mash cauliflower. If using a potato masher, transfer mashed mixture to a food processor or traditional blender and puree until smooth and return to stock pot. If mixture becomes too thick add cream or more stock to thin.

Turn heat down to a very low simmer and add cream and cheddar cheese. Stir until smooth

Salt and pepper to taste

Serve hot!