Spicy Cauliflower Soup & Braised Lobster Mushrooms

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How does dinner happen?

It happens in many ways. We ask the person we’re with, “What are you in the mood for?” or we just pick up the phone and dial the Thai place down the street or the pizza place around the corner. Or, if we have the ingredients, we make a quick bowl of pasta and if we’re even more inspired we head to the store and buy ingredients for that recipe we’ve been meaning to try.

The best, though, is when dinner happens organically. When one event leads to another event and by the end of the chain you have a tasty, unexpected meal before you. That’s what happened Sunday night when I made the dinner you see above: a very strange pairing of cauliflower soup and braised lobster mushrooms. How did that happen? Well it all started with stock…

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AGTV: Stock & Soup

Sorry for the delay in getting you this week’s video. I think it’s safe to say now that I won’t be doing a video every WEDNESDAY, but I will try to do a video every week. This one, as you’re about to see, is an incredibly spontaneous document of my attempt at the chicken stock from yesterday’s interview with Michael Ruhlman. How many carcasses does it take? What do I do with the stock when I’m done? How does Karen Carpenter achieve such a melifluous tone? Watch the video and find out! [And, after the jump, I’ll give you the recipe for the soup that I make in the video’s second half.]

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Corngasm

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If all of the scientists in the world got together with all of the chefs and brought a giant pile of corn to a mystical temple of food and drink, with muses and angels dancing around them, they could not produce a more rapturous dish than the dish you see above: Jasper White’s Corn Chowder (click those words for the recipe). It has bacon, it has butter, it has cream. It has tumeric, which turns it that gorgeous golden color. A pount of Yukon Gold potatoes makes it hardy, but it’s the corn (fresh from the farmer’s market) that shines in this dish. I served it with a simple tomato salad–bright red tomatoes, red onion, basil–and then a peach plum cobbler for dessert. Summer doesn’t get better than this–make it while you can!

Hey Muchacho, Make Gazpacho (and Parmesan Grilled Cheese!)

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Hot? Hungry? Have I got a solution for you. It comes courtesy of Suzanne Goin and her “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.” It’s her recipe for Yellow Tomato Gazpacho and you can read it here. It’s INCREDIBLY easy, and INCREDIBLY rewarding. All you need are yellow tomatoes, a jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Oh, and a cucumber. I leave the cucumber for last because there’s a funny story about me buying the cucumber that involves a FOOD CELEBRITY from TV, but you’ll have to click ahead.

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Green Garlic Soup

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At the farmer’s market last week, I spotted green garlic and I recalled a whole section about green garlic in my favorite cookbook: Chez Panisse Cooking. On page 105, Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters write: “Garlic is commonly used as a mature plant when the bulb containing many cloves has formed. Green garlic is the same plant pulled from the ground at a much earlier stage, before the bulb forms and when the plant resembles a leek, with a stalk about 1/2 inch in diameter. Until recently, green garlic never appeared in the market and was largely unrecognized by cooks. The quality of green garlic is unique and of great use in the kitchen. When cooked it has none of the hot, pungent qualities of fresh garlic cloves. Its flavor, although unmistakably associated with the mature form, is much milder.”

When I got home I took their advice: “The flavor of green garlic is most clearly captured in a pureed soup made with new potatoes and finished with cream.” Here’s how you make it.

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