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Lemony garlicky cauliflower

8 Dec

cauliflower lemon & garlicI was preparing a company dinner and didn’t want to have to worry about getting yet another dish heated at the right time but not overcooked , so I pulled out this recipe I clipped from the New York Times a few weeks earlier.

It’s a very tasty marinated cauliflower salad that I served as a vegetable. Be aware that you need to prepare it a day ahead of time so the cauliflower can marinate and all the wonderful flavors can meld.

I didn’t have any whole cumin but I did have whole coriander seeds, so I mushed them up with a mortar and pestle. I threw in a little ground cumin too, just for the taste. The flavors were very good together. I didn’t have fresh basil or dill, and didn’t want to fork out the exorbitant cost to buy it, so I used dried basil, figuring that the ample liquid and long marinating time would soften it sufficiently. Fresh would probably be preferable! Fresh parsley is a must.

If you seed the jalapeno before chopping, it won’t be too hot. If you don’t like a little zing of heat, leave out the red pepper flakes, but I think they add a lot of flavor.

The original recipe called for three-quarters of a cup of olive oil, which I thought sounded like a lot. So I used a half-cup, maybe a little more, and it seemed to work fine. You might have to work a little harder to stir it up so that all the cauliflower florets get coated by the marinade, but you won’t waste as much oil.

Don’t worry if you have leftovers — this will keep for a good several days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (about 8 cups)
1 lemon, plus more lemon juice to taste if necessary
1¼ tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste if necessary
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped fresh dill or basil
½ cup chopped parsley leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves finely grated or minced
2 tsp. whole cumin or cracked coriander seeds
Large pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Finely grate the zest of the lemon into a large, heatproof bowl, then halve the lemon and squeeze in the juice. Add the salt and stir to dissolve.

Add the cauliflower florets, jalapeno, scallions, dill or basil and parsley and toss to combine.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil until it is hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and cumin or coriander and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn off heat and stir in red pepper flakes, if using.

Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and stir well. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 48 hours, to let the flavors mingle.

Toss well before serving, adding more salt and/or lemon juice if necessary. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.

Serves 8 to 10

 

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Tahini

8 Nov

eggplant-tahini-sauce.jpgThis is a good dish to serve as an appetizer, salad, or to accompany a main dish.

If you’ve never used tahini paste, be aware that it behaves in a very weird fashion. Usually the oil separates from the rest in the jar, so before you measure it, be sure to stir it well.

When you add liquid to tahini paste, it gets very stiff. Keep stirring and keep adding liquid (usually water or lemon juice) slowly while stirring until you get the consistency you want. It should be easily spreadable but still thick, a little like sour cream.

You can prepare this several hours in advance of serving and just keep it at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 large clove garlic
Pinch salt
⅓ cup tahini paste
2 Tbs. lemon juice
⅓ cup water
4 to 6 small eggplants (“Italian” are good, or baby eggplants)
¼ cup olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
4 sprigs rosemary
¼ cup chopped parsley
Kosher or coarse salt and ground black pepper
2 to 4 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Directions:

Mash garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle until it forms a puree.

Combine tahini paste, garlic and lemon juice; the tahini will become stiff. Whisk in the water until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roast the eggplant: cut each eggplant in half and score the flesh with the tip of a paring knife in a cross-hatch pattern at 1-inch intervals.

Place eggplant halves on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and brush each with oil, letting each brushstroke get absorbed before brushing on more. Season with salt and pepper and put a piece of rosemary on each.

Roast eggplant until completely tender and well charred, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Toast pine nuts in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (be careful, they burn easily).

Arrange the eggplant halves on a serving platter and spread with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, parsley and rosemary, and drizzle with a little additional olive oil (optional).

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

Spinach-Pear Salad with Honey-Ginger Dressing

7 Sep

Spinach-Pear Salad

I’m back, after a long summer hiatus!

The problem with a recipe blog is that after you share all your best tried-and-true dishes, the ones you return to again and again — well, you’re out of material! So after a flurry of activity when I started this blog years ago, I’m now limited to posting when I make something new and remember to take a photo of it, which is less often than ideal.

I still like to try new things, though. This recipe is adapted slightly from one that was in a recent issue of Cooking Light.The recipe called for 2 cups of baby spinach, which I didn’t think was enough for four people — or proportionately enough for the dressing — so I used a 5-oz. package of baby spinach and it was perfect for four.

If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see I used black raisins instead of golden — because I didn’t have any golden raisins on hand. I think the golden ones would be better, but don’t use that as a reason not to try this salad. Craisins or dried cherries would probably work well too.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
5-oz. package baby spinach
1 ripe Bartlett pear, sliced
3 Tbs. golden raisins (black raisins are OK)
3 Tbs. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard, ginger, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Toss the spinach, pear slices and raising with the dressing in a large bowl and divide among four salad places. Top with the toasted walnuts.

Serves 4

Tuscan Bean Salad

18 Oct

bean salad Tuscan

My daughter made a salad similar to this this for Sukkot, when we were visiting with her family in New Jersey. I didn’t have a chance to get her recipe when I needed to make it for a potluck, so I went online and found this recipe from Wegman’s, the wonderful grocery store we got to know so well last summer when we were at Chautauqua.

Miriam’s recipe and the Wegman’s recipe call for prepared pesto that you can buy in the grocery. But I had some homemade pesto from last year’s basil harvest in my freezer, and this was a perfect way to use it.

The Wegman’s recipe also called for Wegman’s basting oil, which is a terrific product we tried over the summer. It’s olive oil infused with a variety of herbs and is very tasty. But I didn’t have any, and there’s no Wegman’s in Michigan. If you happen to have this  product on hand, use it instead of the olive oil, garlic and oregano in the recipe.

The recipe also calls for green and red pepper. I don’t like green pepper so I used a mixture of orange, red and yellow peppers. Feel free to use any kind of pepper.

You can also play around with the ingredients, adding black or kalamata olives or sliced artichokes if you like.

You can cook the barley ahead of time since it needs to cool before you mix it up with everything else.

The salad is good after a few hours but it’s even better a day or two later, when the beans have had a chance to soak up all the herb flavors.

(Note: after making this and letting it sit for a few days, I felt it was a little dry, so I added more of the dressing ingredients. Twice as much was too much; just a little more would probably be just right. And the full recipe made a LOT. In future I will use about three-quarters the amount of dressing but only half of everything else, unless I’m making it for a big crowd, in which case I will add about 25 percent more dressing. If you like a rather dry salad, stick to the original amounts; it’s still very flavorful!)

Ingredients:

1 cup pearled barley
2 cans (15½ oz. each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15½ oz. each) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red, orange or yellow pepper (or use two different colored half-peppers), cut in ¼ -inch dice
3 or 4 green onions, sliced thin (or use half a medium red onion, cut in ¼ -inch dice)
7 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs. dried parsley)
⅓ cup prepared pesto
⅓ cup white or red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. Wegman’s basting oil (or use 3 Tbs. olive oil and ¼ tsp. garlic powder and ¼ tsp. oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring barley and 2½ cups water to boil on high heat in large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes until barley is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine barley, beans, pepper, onions, dried tomatoes and parsley in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine the pesto, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper and mix well. Pour the dressing over the barley and bean mixture and mix well.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Serves 12

 

Edamame Succotash

28 Mar

Once upon a time, when I still worked in an office, the HR people brought in a chef who worked on behalf of our health insurer so that he could give us tips on healthy eating. He not only gave us the healthy eating tips — presumably this would lower our insurer’s cost for our medical care — but he also did a cooking demo and left us with some great recipes. This salad wowed everyone, and I’ve made it several times since. It’s got an interesting combination of flavors  and all the different colors make it very pretty. And it’s very easy to make if you start with frozen edamame and corn and jarred peppers!

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango, cubed
1 package (16 oz.) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup raw or roasted red peppers, diced (you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
2 Tbs. Thai sweet red chili sauce
⅛– ¼ tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbs. mirin or seasoned rice vinegar
1½ Tbs. toasted sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the mango, edamame, corn, cranberries and peppers in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the chili sauce, curry paste, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Serves 6 to 8

Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Salad

6 Oct

Kale salad with apple and bulgurHere’s a very pretty and tasty fall salad recipe. The original was called “Kale, Apple, Walnut and Sumac Onion Tabbouleh.” I don’t know what the actual definition of tabbouleh is, but since it doesn’t have bulghur, parsley or mint, I thought that was a little confusing — although the ground walnuts have a somewhat bulghur-like bite.

The original also didn’t include “massaging” the kale, but ever since I started making my Massaged Kale Salad, I’ve been using this technique with all kale salads. It softens the kale and I think makes it a little less bitter.

Ingredients:

1 red onion
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. ground sumac (available in Middle Eastern groceries)
½  tsp. kosher salt
2 cups (packed) shredded, stemmed kale leaves
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
cup diced apple
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. salt

Directions:

First make the sumac onions. Thinly slice the red onion,  add 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. ground sumac and ½ tsp. kosher salt and toss to combine. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. lemon juice to the kale in a large bowl and “massage” the kale with your hands for a few minutes until the leaves soften a bit and turn glossy.

Combine a quarter-cup of the sumac onions with the rest of the ingredients and toss well to combine.

Serve immediately or within a few hours.

(Keep any remaining sumac onions in the fridge and use as an ingredient in a green tossed salad.)

Serves 4 to 6

Fresh Corn Salsa

8 Sep

Corn salsaWell, you could make this with frozen or canned corn, but it’s SO much better with fresh, and that’s SO easy to get right now that there’s no excuse.

This is a very easy dish to make, especially if you have a “corn zipper” tool to remove the corn from the cob. Leftovers will last about a week in the fridge.

Double the recipe if you’re serving a lot of people or taking this dish to a potluck.

Here’s a trick for cooking the corn easily:

Put it in the microwave, husks, silks and all, and nuke for 4 minutes at high for one ear or 8 minutes for two (don’t cook more than two at a time). When it’s done, cut about an inch off each ear above any stalk on the bottom. Then, starting at the top of the ear, squeeze gently and the corn will slide right out of the husks, without any silk (or very little) attached. You will probably need a potholder to do the squeezing, because the ear will be quite hot.

Ingredients:

Cooked fresh corn from 2 – 3 cobs
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine
1 small onion, preferably red, chopped fine
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice (or lemon juice if you don’t have lime)
1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Allow flavors to mingle for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 4