Weekly Winner: Crushin’ on Crusted Cauliflower (in it’s entirety)

cauliflowerI realize there are a few people out there that dislike cauliflower.  Personally, I don’t get it.  I adore the stuff.  Anyway you make it I’m OK with it, with the exception of boiled.  Honestly, I don’t think you should boil any vegetable.  Boiled vegetables should be banned.  I’ve also always been intrigued with cooking a whole head of cauliflower.  I’ve done the cauliflower “steaks”, I’ve pureed, I’ve riced, I’ve smashed and I’ve cut into florets…. but whole?  Now there’s a show-stopper!  Cooking a whole cauliflower is not without its difficulties, however (or so I thought!)  Getting the entire thing cooked properly is complicated (or is it?)  I’ve ordered it out at restaurants on occasion and it seems the core and stalks are never quite as done as the florets.  This is no longer a concern of mine.  I have found the perfect, whole cauliflower recipe and man, is it good!

Everything Bagel Cauliflower with Herbed Cream Cheese comes from Cuisine at Home.  First of all, what’s the deal with the “everything bagel seasoning” lately??  It’s everywhere and on everything!  I guess it is this year’s “Za’atar” seasoning.  But anyway, I digress… here is the recipe.  Oh wait!  One more thing…. this recipe says it serves 12.  Twelve???  My husband and I devoured the entire head of cauliflower with a filet of salmon each.  I’m not proud…I’m just sayin’.

Everything Bagel Cauliflower with Herbed Cream Cheese

Serves 2, 4… or 12… whatever!

Ingredients:

Spice blend:

2 Tbsp each dried minced garlic and dried onion flakes

1 Tbsp each poppy seeds and toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp kosher salt

Cauliflower:

1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

black pepper to taste

1 large head cauliflower

For the sauce:

4 oz plain cream cheese, softened

2 oz goat cheese, softened

3 Tbsp buttermilk

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp each minced fresh parsley and chives

1 tsp minced fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Stir together all ingredients for the spice blend.
  3. Whisk together 2 Tbsp of the spice blend with the yogurt and olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a large bowl; season with pepper.
  4. Add the cauliflower to yogurt mixture and oat completely.  Transfer cauliflower to prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of the spice blend.
  5. Roast cauliflower until golden brown and fork-tender, about 1 hour.  Let cauliflower rest 10 minutes then transfer to a serving platter.
  6. For the sauce, puree cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon juice, and fresh garlic in a mini food processor.  Add parsley, chives, and dill and pulse until combined; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve cauliflower with sauce
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Weekly Winner:  One Man’s Maque Choux is Another Man’s Fancy Succotash

Whatever you want to call it, this might very well be my new favorite side dish. Yes, it has bacon in it. Yes, there’s a bit of cream and sherry to bring it all together. But seriously folks, this is a whole lot of veggie goodness here. I really can’t think of a piece of meat or fish that this wouldn’t go amazingly well with. It is good hot off the stove, room temperature or even cold so it would be a great picnic or pot luck item any time of year. I just wanted to test out the Maque Choux with Edamame and Sherry recipe so I simply sautéed a few chicken breasts.  (Note: the leftover sauce in the bottom of the Maque Choux pan makes a fabulous topping for the chicken, or whatever you’re having this with.

While I’m not positive, I’m relatively sure I got this recipe from the June issue of Cuisine at Home magazine.  Seriously people, call this what you want, but make sure you try this recipe.

Maque Choux with Edamame & Sherry

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup diced scallion whites

2 Tbsp seeded and minced jalapeño

1 tsp minced fresh garlic

1/4 cup dry sherry

1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed if frozen

1/2 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame, thawed if frozen

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pinch of sugar

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Salt and black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Cook bacon in a sauté pan until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and discard all but 1 Tbsp of drippings.
  2. Melt butter with drippings in same pan over medium heat.  Add bell pepper, scallion whites and jalapeño; cook until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  3. Deglaze pan with sherry, scraping up any brown bits.  Cook until Sherry is nearly evaporated.
  4. Add corn, edamame, cream, and sugar; simmer until cream thickens, about 3 minutes.  Toss scallion Green’s into Maque Choux and season with salt and pepper.

Weekly Winner:  There Will Be No More Coleslaw in this House

Its true.  I don’t see myself ever making your standard, everyday coleslaw again.  Not that I have anything against coleslaw, but after trying this carrot slaw I will never consider coleslaw an acceptable side dish.  This Turmeric-Curried Golden Carrot Slaw is worlds better in so many ways.  Healthier, more unique, more colorful (yes, that matters) and most importantly, it is far more interesting. It made the perfect accompaniment to some simple roasted salmon filets.

The recipe was actually sent to me by a client asking me to make it for her.  After tasting it the first time, I knew It would become a staple for me.  The original recipe comes from the blog HappyHealthyLife.com.

It is, in a word, “craveable”. Sweet, spicy, crunchy, creamy – it has it all.  The only change I made this time was to replace the sunflower seeds with roasted pistachios.  I liked it even better.

The only time I can see me reverting back to coleslaw is when I make pulled pork sandwiches — although, now that I think about it, this carrot slaw might just work on that as well!

Turmeric-Curried Golden Carrot Slaw

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups shredded carrots

1-1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

2-3 Tbsp tahini

1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt and pepper

1/4 cup sunflower seeds or roasted pistachios

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Toss salad for 2-3 minutes to completely infuse carrots with all the spices and flavorings.