Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil, Creamy Cauliflower Soup and Roast Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Apples and Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Soup
    * 1 Tbsp. butter, plus 2 Tbsp. for optional garnish
    * 1 onion, roughly chopped
    * 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
    * 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    * 1 head cauliflower, chopped
    * 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    * 1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
    * 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    * 2 cups low-fat milk
    * 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, optional
   1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat so onions are cooking but not browning, until onions look starchy and a bit creamy, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
   2. Add cauliflower, stir to combine, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until cauliflower is tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.
   3. Purée soup with a hand-held blender. Or, whirl in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth (place a kitchen towel over blender to prevent potential burns).
   4. Stir in pepper and nutmeg. (Note: At this point the soup may be cooled, covered, and frozen for up to 4 months.)
   5. Add milk and cook over medium-low heat until hot.
   6. Meanwhile, if you want to add the parsley butter swirl, melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and stir in parsley.
Serve soup hot, with a swirl of parsley butter, if you like.
Makes about 8 cups soup (4 main course servings; 8 soup course servings)

Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil
    * 300 g pkg brie
    * 1 tbsp olive oil
    * 1 large garlic clove, minced
    * 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped
    * 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
    * 3 tbsp chopped basil
   1. Preheat oven to 375F. Using a serrated knife, thinly slice off top rind of the brie and discard. Place in a brie baker or a pie plate. Bake in bottom third of oven until soft, about 10 min.
   2. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Add oil, then garlic, tomatoes and vinegar. Cook until mixture is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 min.
   3. Spoon sauce over brie, then sprinkle with basil. Serve with crackers or bread - I used slices of olive ciabatta.
White balsamic vinegar is mild in flavour. Substitute regular balsamic if preferred.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Apples and Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
    * pork tenderloin, about 500g
    * 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    * 1/8 tsp salt
    * 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    * 1 tbsp butter
    *  red apple, preferably Red Delicious, cored and thinly sliced
    * 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
    * 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
    * 1/8 cup brandy
   1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Brush pork with Dijon and sprinkle with salt. Season with pepper.
   2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add oil, then pork. Sear meat, turning often, until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 min. Transfer pork to prepared sheet.
   3. Roast in centre of oven until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat reads 160F, 20 to 22 min. Transfer to a cutting board. Let stand 5 min.
   4. Melt butter in same frying pan over medium. Add apples, sugar and rosemary. Cook until apples are tender, 3 to 5 min. Add brandy and boil for 1 min. Slice pork into medallions. Serve with apple mixture.
Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
   * 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into small chunks
    * 3/4 cup milk
    * 3 tbsp horseradish, preferably extra hot
    * 1/2 tsp salt
   1. Cover potatoes with water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling until potatoes are very tender, about 25 min.
   2. Drain potatoes and return to pan. Set on low. Smash potatoes while adding milk, horseradish and salt until combined.
 An opened jar of horseradish loses its pungency over time. Taste and adjust quantity accordingly.
      Wine Pairings:
      A scrumptious British Columbia pinot noir.  Its flavours are a bouquet of summer berries, cherry, raspberry, mint and plum. This elegant fruitiness echoes and elevates the flavours of pork and apple. Quail's Gate Pinot Noir, British Columbia, $25.

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