Cauliflower Chowder + Applewood Bacon

Cauliflower Chowder For Fall

Fall is here and with the recent cool nights there’s nothing more comforting than cozying up at home with a bowl of homemade soup.

For the last week, I’ve been on a cauliflower kick. I almost always have a head of this healthy vegetable on  hand, however, I usually roast it or make “fake” mashed potatoes by puréeing it with garlic and a little butter. Today I decided to make soup – well, a chowder in fact. This super simple recipe only requires a few ingredients yet it packs a punch with flavor and the best part – it’s healthy.

4 pieces of applewood smoked bacon
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
4 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Cook bacon over medium-high heat, until browned and crispy. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate.

Melt butter in stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until tender – about 4-5 minutes. Add cauliflower and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender – about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add flour and stir until browned – about 1 minute. Gradually add in milk, then broth and continue to whisk constantly until thickened. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Serve immediately and garnish chowder with bacon pieces and parsley.

Serves 4-6

~Cheers, Crystal

Grilled Summer Squash & Prosciutto Ribbons with Mint-Lime Dressing

Squash Ribbon Skewers
The arrival of summer means getting outdoors, enjoying time on the patio and firing up the barbeque. One of my favorite things to do during the warmer month (besides hiking or heading to the coast) is throwing local ingredients on the ‘que and enjoying dinner “al fresco style” with friends and family.

Each week, I head down to my favorite local produce stand (Mike’s Truck Garden) in Santa Rosa, California. This past week, I picked up some beautiful summer squash, prosciutto, a bag of Bing cherries along with other vegetables to get me through the week. As I was searching for inspiration for a new “summer squash” recipe, I came across this simple grilled squash kebab recipe from Food & Wine magazine. This recipe was so easy to make and delicious that I thought I should share it with all of you. It’s perfect as a light main dish, appetizer or side dish and it taste great straight from the grill or tossed with whole wheat pasta.

Squash Ribbon Kebabs

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
6 slices of prosciutto, cut in half
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped mint (feel free to add more mint as desired)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Light the grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, mix together the lime zest, lime juice, mint, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Alternately thread the zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto on kebab skewers. Lightly brush the remaining olive oil over the vegetables and prosciutto. Lightly season with salt and pepper (try to avoid seasoning too much salt on the prosciutto pieces). Grill the skewers over high heat until the vegetables are lightly charred, about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes each side. Serve with the mint-lime dressing on the side.

Cheers and have a safe Fourth of July holiday! ~Crystal

Herb Crusted Sea Bass & Spring Pea Pancakes

Spring Recipes

I couldn’t be more excited that it’s spring! My favorite produce stand is open, there’s bud break in the vineyards and the warm weather has set in. I’m also excited because at least once a week I get together with my friend Morgan to make dinner and catch up over wine or handcrafted cocktails. Sometimes we plan out our menu in advance, but for the most part we develop our recipe ideas based on which ingredients we have at home.  This week’s menu was inspired by spring and of course the seasonal ingredients we had in our refrigerator or pantry.

After work I swung by my favorite local market, Oliver’s, and picked up some fresh fish and eggs – and that’s it! Morgan and I had everything else to complete this delicious spring menu. Oh, and when you’re at the store, don’t forget the vino. We enjoyed a bottle of Gloria Ferrer Estate Chardonnay, which paired perfectly with the fish and pancakes.

Crusted Seabass

Herb Crusted Sea Bass

  • 1 pound Sea Bass fillets
  • 1 cup Panko
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Combine the parsley, thyme, lemon zest and panko in a large shallow bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and lightly coat both sides of the fillets. Dredge the fish in the panko mixture and set aside. Preheat a skillet over medium-high, add the remaining butter and drizzle of olive oil and cook the fillets for about 5 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Flip, cover skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 8 minutes or until crust is golden brown and middle is white and flaky.  Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets (our fish was about an inch in thickness).

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of thin asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and roast for about 10 – 12 minutes. Keep warm until you are ready to plate.

Pancakes & Fillets

Homemade Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of salt

Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler), just make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. (Make sure the eggs do not get too hot or else they will scramble) Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Serve warm over fish and asparagus.

Spring Pea Pancakes with Herbed Yogurt

These tasty treats were so easy to make and paired exceptionally well with our herb crusted Sea Bass.

Click here to view this recipe on Morgan’s delicious blog:
There Will Be Snacks

Pea Pancakes

Share with us some of your favorite dishes you are enjoying this spring! @ApronsStilettos

Here’s to another great day! ~Crystal