Kale & Roasted Vegetable Soup – This was so, so delicious – easily the best vegetable soup I’ve made in a while. I made it two weeks in a row, and I am rationing out the portions in the freezer. The secret is in the roasting. The onion, garlic and tomato that form the base of the soup are roasted (along with some of the other veggies), then pureed and added to the soup. This gives the broth an amazing depth of flavor. Do not skip this step or substitute canned tomatoes (even the fire roasted kind) as it won’t be the same. To speed things up a bit, while the veggies were roasted I pulled together the broth, kale, thyme and bay leaf and started to heat it. You could also roast the veggies in advance, and keep them in the fridge until soup night.
Smoky Charred Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Kale – This did not turn out very well, and I’m not sure if it was me, or if it was the recipe. I didn’t have russets, so I used a different kind of potato, and they sucked up all the broth. I would recommend either doing half the amount of potato, or increasing the broth. That said, I also found the base to be pretty bland. I tinkered with it quite a bit, adding chili powder, bouillon and salt until it had some taste. I may try making this again and omitting the potato altogether.
Roasted Squash Salad – Tasty and easy, and something I’ve made before. I subbed cider for OJ in the dressing as that’s what I had on hand. Overall you can think of this as a template rather than a recipe.
Pasta with Cauliflower and Bacon – This is from the March/April 2014 Cook’s Illustrated – sort of a pasta carbonara with sauteed cauliflower added in. It came together very quickly, so a great weeknight meal. Plus, it was particularly pretty with the purple cauliflower I’d gotten. Two skeptical cauliflower eaters enjoyed this meal, so that’s a pretty good endorsement right there. A half recipe made two big servings. You could make a half batch of this and use it as a side if you are so inclined.
Slow-Cooked Broccoli Soup with Garlic and Olive Oil – This was just ok, nothing special. Joy the Baker’s Broccoli and Arugula Soup is a better bet. I think I’ll stick with that.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – I attempted to make this for Handsome’s annual tiki party. (Interested in the drink menu?) I wound up turning it into pineapple upside down cake shots. There were two issues. First, the cake wasn’t done when I pulled it out and flipped it out of the pan, something I couldn’t quite tell because I didn’t have a long enough cake tester. I wasn’t sure I could flip it back into the pan. And in any case, second, the pan was a tart pan that had failed and leaked all over the bottom of Handsome’s oven. (Yes, I knew I shouldn’t use a tart pan for this. I lined it with foil, it almost worked. No, neither one of us has an appropriately sized cake pan. No, I don’t know why I didn’t put a cookie sheet in there right away. Yes, his oven is very clean now. No, it was surprisingly easy to clean up.) Anyway. I pulled apart the whole shebang and re-baked the cake part in mini-muffin tins, and then shoved them into little shot glasses with bits of pineapple. It worked out pretty well and people seemed to like them.
That last one is actually my second Smitten Kitchen cake disaster (the first was with this). Both failures are entirely on me. I think this other one was the recipe where I accidentally punched the oven clean button while trying to turn on the oven light early in the baking, panicked, and then turned the oven off entirely without realizing it. After re-baking, significant portions were stuck to the pan and/or burned. Good times! This will not stop me from attempting future Smitten Kitchen cakes. (Maybe I’ll even buy an actual cake pan. Or two!)