Sunday, October 17, 2021

Stolen Recipes

About a month ago, I did something I never envisioned I might do. I was in CVS waiting for the pharmacist to give me a flu shot, and while I was waiting, I browsed the magazine rack. I looked at one which was entirely recipes. There was a recipe which kind of caught my eye: it was for "Loaded Cauliflower Soup". I would have bought the entire magazine, but then I looked at the price: a stunning $12.99...for a MAGAZINE with a flimsy cover (not even a real book).

So I opened said magazine and snapped a photograph of the recipe on my phone instead. I suppose one could call that theft, except that I did not remove the magazine from the store, and I also did not tear the recipe out of the overpriced magazine as some others do. I snapped a picture of the recipe. It took 5 seconds.  My stolen picture can be seen below!

In theory, I suppose I could have visited my local public library and sought-out the same magazine there (if it even carried the item), put it on the copy machine and gotten it that way, which is considered "legitimate" but I had no idea if I'd even find it there. If I had to guess, sales of this magazine will be low and they won't be publishing this magazine ever again. The thing is, I would actually have bought it if it wasn't sooooo over-priced (for example, I might have been willing to spend $5.99 on it). I just don't understand publishers who put a magazine together with such a ridiculous price tag.

Anyway, aside from stupid publishers, I actually made this recipe last week, and it was pretty good! I will likely make it again when the colder, winter months come and soup becomes a regular entree for me.

No, this recipe did not taste exactly like loaded potato soup does, but I think it was close enough and it had almost no carbs, which was the main reason I wanted to try it. There are some foods (and potatoes are one such food) which are often egregious carb consumption and there are very good substitutes for the real thing. For example, I enjoy cauliflower mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and those taste great! Unlike fries or chips, which you can enjoy a taste of without requiring a giant bolus, you can't generally sample soup in a restaurant or deli the same way. 

I did modify the recipe for Loaded Cauliflower Soup in the overpriced magazine ever-so slightly. I used an entire head of fresh cauliflower (broken into florets for cooking, discarding the stem), although you also can use frozen cauliflower florets if that's easier. I live in NYC and because freezer space is at a premium in my apartment, while the head of fresh cauliflower fit into my refrigerator without a challenge. Plus, it was marginally less costly. Anyway, the recipe called for 3 cups of chicken broth, and I reduced it to two and a half cups, and instead added a full cup of half-and-half rather than only 3/4 of a cup. Sure, it increases the calorie count and fat calories in the recipe slightly, but I justify the modification since I was eating a healthier vegetable and that was basically my entire dinner. Be forewarned: this soup tastes best served immediately. I was less thrilled with it served as leftovers, although they tasted OK, too.

When I opt to make Loaded Cauliflower Soup again, I also plan to make my clean-up a lot easier. I took the cooked cauliflower out of the soup pot and used my food processor to make them smooth. But I think next time, I'll simply use my Braun Hand Blender in the soup pot itself. It will do the same thing. But I wasn't sure this time because I never made the recipe before, but I feel confident that would work just as well given how soft the cooked cauliflower becomes in the soup pot. That will make this recipe a lot less messy to prepare. Transferring everything into the food processor (or blender) was a totally unnecessary step if you can simply use a hand-blender in the soup pot itself. However, because I never made it before, I wasn't anticipating that the cooked cauliflower (cooked in chicken or vegetable broth) to become as soft as it actually became, which means it would totally work with a hand-blender instead. But you can learn from my experience.

I don't often discuss food on my diabetes blog because its not really my particular interest or expertise. But I have found cauliflower to be a rather decent subsitute for potatoes in many cases. For example, riced cauliflower works in place of rice in some recipes. I was a bit annoyed that Chipotle discontinued cauliflower rice -- they charged $2 more for it, so it's not like consumers weren't paying for the product (the company press release did say: "U.S. and Canadian restaurants will offer the new plant-based option for a limited time", see the press release for details) because that, too, was kind of a treat which I could eat without a large bolus. I'm still hoping the company will decide to bring it back permanently...someday. 

But, at home, I have made a personal favorite recipe (baked, stuffed bell peppers) because it's a very quick and filling dinner and is a balanced meal by itself substituting cauliflower rice for the real thing. Its become one of my personal favorite recipes (because its easy to prepare) which comes from a cookbook I've used at least 6 different recipes from and liked them all, which is called "The Casserole Queens Cookbook" and I recommend it, but they actually published one particular recipe I use quite often when I'm pressed for time on their blog, which can be found at for details) -- I substitute Splenda or Stevia for sugar in the recipe (or you can simply omit it; its not really a necessity), and I also omit the bread crumbs (and the optional tomato sauce) because both can be messy and are not even necessary, but you can add them if you really want. 

I have occasionally substituted cauliflower rice in that recipe instead of the carb-heavy real thing and the taste is acceptably close in my opinion. But I find making riced cauliflower a bit of hassle. Instead, that's one where I find buying cauliflower rice frozen from my local Aldi is not only cost-effective, but it's less hassle, too. If I wanted to go all vegetarian/vegan, I could probably substitute the ground beef I typically use in that recipe for a pound of Beyond Burger or another plant-based beef substitute (the number is growing all the time; Canada has one called The Very Good Butchers worth checking out if you're North of the 48th parallel) if I was seeking an entirely plant-sourced option. 

Still, I thought I'd share the overpriced "recipe" I recently acquired. I tried it and its a decent substitute for the real thing. I think it's one that works well for winter soups and its pretty easy to make.

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