If you love the creamy taste of indulgence -- but not extra calories or saturated fat -- then Wegmans Food Markets may have just what you’ve been waiting for: Cauli “Cream.” It turns everyday dishes into ones that taste luxurious, without dairy ingredients like heavy cream, butter or crème fraîche. Like a taste? Then come to any Wegmans store to discover “Cauli Cream.”
WHAT: “Come Home to Dinner,” introducing Cauli “Cream” and the fall 2015 issue of Wegmans Menu Magazine. Free demonstrations show how to make Cauli “Cream,” a replacement for dairy cream in pastas and soup, and how to use it in recipes.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20
WHERE: All Wegmans stores
Cauli “Cream,” invented by Wegmans chefs, is a thick, satiny puree you make at home from just four ingredients: cauliflower, lemon juice, water, and salt. The magic is in the cooking method that mellows cauliflower’s strong flavors, and the pureeing done with a blender. It takes about 15 minutes of active time to make this pantry staple that turns a vegetable soup into a hearty meal, or a weeknight pasta dish into a creamy, deeply satisfying meal with outstanding nutritional values.
Recipes from the new Menu magazine include Cauli “Cream” Leek Soup, Cauli “Cream” Corn Chowder, Fettuccine “Cauli-Fredo” with Chicken and Broccoli, and Cauli “Cream” Pesto Pasta. Online videos demonstrate how to make Cauli “Cream” and how to use it in “Fettuccine Cauli-Fredo with Chicken and Broccoli.” Cauli “Cream” freezes well too, if you have extra.
Maybe you’re skeptical – especially if you’re not a cauliflower fan. “Truthfully, we wondered ourselves whether kids and veggie-skeptics would accept it, so we tested dishes made with the Cauli ‘Cream,’ asking people who don’t like cauliflower to try them -- and got a thumbs up,” said Jenna Sanko, Wegmans meals and recipe marketing coordinator.
Cauli “Cream” gets a round of applause from Wegmans nutritionists. “I think of Cauli ‘Cream’ as a healthier alternative to dishes made with dairy cream,” says Wegmans Nutritionist Kirby Branciforte, RDN. “It can reduce or completely eliminate saturated fat compared with recipes that use a dairy-based white sauce. That’s huge! A recipe made with Cauli ‘Cream’ can be up to 40 percent lower in calories and also sneaks extra vegetables into your meal.”
Branciforte also points out that the two soups and one of the pasta dishes (Cauli “Cream” Truffle Pasta) are suitable for those who avoid dairy and for vegans, because they contain no animal-based ingredients. “Think about how exciting it can be for vegans and those who don’t eat dairy to enjoy that creamy taste.”
The inspiration for Cauli “Cream”
“Veggies are a big focus at Wegmans,” says Executive Chef John Steinhoff. “For years, we’ve been trying to help customers put more vegetables on their plates by exploring new ways to make them easy and delicious.”
Steinhoff was searching for a new veggie idea when he remembered a recipe for a vanilla pureed cauliflower side dish that had made its debut during a previous holiday season. “The puree was thick, like mashed potatoes, and it had gentle flavors, so I went back to that idea and started playing with it to see if we could find a way to replace cream. We tried several ways of cooking the cauliflower, adding different ingredients to the cooking water, and the one that worked best turned out to be very simple –just a little lemon juice and salt added to the water. This preparation really mellowed out the flavors.”
Once he was happy with the basic Cauli “Cream” recipe, Steinhoff tried using it in place of cream in soups. “I made a clam chowder, and saw it had thickness when you stirred it and tasted it, and I didn’t even use a thickener to give it that texture. There were no strong flavors – it really tasted good!” He was on to something, and his team soon developed the soups and pasta dishes made with Cauli “Cream” that are featured in the new issue of Menu Magazine.
“The day may come when we offer Cauli ‘Cream’ ready made as an extra convenience to our customers,” says Steinhoff. “But we’re so pleased with how this recipe for a basic pantry staple turned out that we wanted to share it with customers right away.”