Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Last treat day of 2006...

Since Jeff has off the next two weeks for vacation, tomorrow will be the last Wednesday Treat Day of 2006 for his co-workers. I made two recipes for him to take in; one, however, is a repeat goodie we have been making for a few years now, and posted about last year - but since we just moved out here it will be new to them! Just as buttery, decadent, crunchy and nutty as always - this Almond Roca does not last long in our gift baskets. It may be a little tricky if you are not used to candy making, but as long as you are confident and take it slow, this recipe is worth the time, effort and cost. I'll post about the other treat day recipe tomorrow.

I picked up some Cauliflower that was on a buy-one-get-one-free special this week at the market, so I've been looking for some new recipes to use them up. I'll do the first as a side tonight and use the other head in a main dish tomorrow. The side, Braised Cauliflower with Asian Flavors, turned into a refreshing and tangy way to serve up the vegetable. Hoisin, soy sauce, vinegar and water are mixed together to create a spicy and sweet glaze. The cauliflower is cooked in roasted peanut oil until the florets begin to take on a light golden color. Garlic, fresh ginger and green onions are added until you smell a fragrant sweet aroma. The hoisin mixture is stirred in to infuse them with an Asian flare and steam the florets until they become crisp-tender. Finished with salt and pepper to taste, this quick dish was a new way to spice up and enjoy this versatile veggie!

It was another soup night for dinner with the recipe for a Tortilla Soup that had a lot of hype behind it. I've had this in my to-try pile for well over a year now and finally decided to give it a go since I had extra white corn tortillas in the freezer. Instead of a garnish of crisp tortilla strips, they go in at the beginning with garlic, cilantro and onions. Fire-roasted chunky tomatoes along with cumin, hot chili powder, a few bay leaves and some chicken stock are poured in and allowed to come to a boil. This mixture simmers to allow the flavors to meld and the tortillas to slowly start breaking up. By the time the soup is done, about 3/4 of the tortillas have dissolved to produce a wondeful thickened full-bodied soup. Cooked shredded chicken is added at the end to make this even more filling followed by a splash of fresh lime juice to enliven the dish. The fire-roasted tomatoes add depth while the cumin and chili powder compliment each other with a smoky warmth without overpowering. It may not be the most attractive looking soup, but it certainly surpassed the expectations put behind it!


  1. Yumm, the soup looks great Joe!
    And the almond rocca... I have copied this recipe for so long from the CLBB, I guess I really need to try making it some time, it always get such great reviews. Yours look awesome, really made me want to make some!

  2. Ana - Really - it is worth every effort to make the roca!

  3. I have made lots of candy, caramels, fudge, peanut brittle, ect...but I have problems with toffee. My problem is that the chocolate falls off the candy when I go to break it up. Did you have that problem at all when you made this recipe? If you say no, then I will certainly give it a try. Thanks, Jenny

  4. Jenny - I don't often have that problem - but it did happen once or twice. I don't know why though!