10/20/14

What To Do With Cauliflower? Warm Cauliflower Salad With Radishes & Olives


Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables. You can roast it, boil it, eat it raw, turn it into a soup, or pan fry it. I will share some of the recipes at the bottom of the post, but first, here's a no recipe "recipe" for a warm salad with cauliflower and a few other fun ingredients.

What To Do With Cauliflower? Warm Cauliflower Salad With Radishes & Olives

Ingredients
cauliflower, cut into florets, parboiled in salty water, the sautéed in olive oil
radishes, thinly sliced
kalamata olives, chopped
parsley, chopped
toasted pine nuts
for the dressing
olive oil
minced garlic
salt and pepper
stone ground mustard
lemon juice


Directions
1. On a platter mix together the cauliflower, radishes, olives, pine nuts and parsley.
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad.
3. Eat immediately.


How simple is this? SUPER simple! I loved how the crunchy slightly sweet pine nuts contrasted the saltiness of the olives.

If you are not planning on eating the entire salad at once, keep pine nuts and the dressing in their own containers in the refrigerator.

How do you like to prepare cauliflower?

Here are more ideas:

 

10/8/14

From The Farmer Review and Celeriac & Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg & Tomatillo Salsa


Last month I was approached by a local food delivery service, From The Farmer, to see if I'd be interested in giving them a try for free. My answer wasn't an automatic yes. Why? I had mixed feelings about accepting this generous offer because I have been a happy paying customer of a similar service, Washington Green Grocer, for the last six months. In the end, I decided that there is enough room for multiple food delivery services, and it would not hurt to try something new.

Plus, free is good ;)

Here's how From The Farmer works:
1) sign up on their website
2) choose your order: half bushel (6-8 items), single bushel (8-10 items) or double bushel
3) add extras such as eggs, bread, etc
4) schedule your delivery (you are not signing up for life! you can skip any week you'll be out of town, etc)
5) get ready for a few fun emails

From The Farmer sends a few emails prior to delivery to let you know what's going to be arriving at your door with links to recipes using some of the ingredients. This is your chance to say you don't like a certain item and ask for a double of another one.

All the items that you get delivered are local and seasonal. Alas, they don't come with a hot farmer. I know, nothing in life is perfect.

The delivery happens overnight, so by the time you wake up in the morning, your box will be waiting for you outside of your door and you can promptly put the items in the refrigerator.

I opted for a single bushel with half a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread.

These are some of the items I received last week. LOVED the bread. The eggs had the brightest yellow yolks I've seen in a while. The Roma tomatoes were red through and through, just like the ones I saw in Bakersfield, and both the apples and the Asian pears were sweet and crunchy.

I've yet to use the cauliflower: maybe tonight.


The pack of tomatillos and jalapenos came with a recipe printed directly on it!


Over the weekend I decided to use some of the produce I received from From The Farmer to make Celeriac & Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg & Tomatillo Salsa.


Celeriac & Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg & Tomatillo Salsa
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 celeriac root, peeled, diced
2 white sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
olive oil
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
3 tomatillos, skin removed
1 jalapeno
1/2 lime, juiced {not from From the Farmer}
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish {not from From the Farmer}
2 eggs, fried
1 Roma tomato, diced
tortilla chips to serve {not from From the Farmer}


Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Drizzle diced celeriac root and sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and paprika. Roast in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
2. Increase the temperature of the oven to 475 and continue to roast the vegetables for 10-20 more minutes. Keep in mind that celeriac cubes will remain a bit crunchy.
3. Meanwhile, char the tomatillos and jalapeno directly on the gas flame. If you don't have a gas stove, you can broil them.
4. Removed the seeds from the jalapeno. Puree charred tomatillos and jalapeno with lime juice, parsley, and season with salt. I added some water to this mixture, which made the salsa watery and wasn't necessary.
5. Serve roasted celeriac root and white sweet potatoes topped with a fried egg and fresh parsley with a side of fresh tomatoes, tomatillo salsa and tortilla chips.


This was a great weekend late breakfast! I had leftover roasted vegetables and tomatillo salsa that were great as toppings/dressing for a salad.

How great did that runny yolk look???

Thank you From The Farmer for a bushel of produce!! I look forward to seeing what comes in two weeks. I loved the freshness of the produce and friendly customer service.

Disclosure: I am receiving a total of two free orders from From The Farmer. I was not compensated for this post or the recipe. All opinions are my own.

10/6/14

What To Do With Acorn Squash: Twice Baked Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic Sabra Salsa


Fall is finally here! I spent the weekend in pajamas catching up with my TV shows, wishing I had a fireplace, or a warm body close by, finally unpacking from my trip to Seattle and doing 3 loads of laundry. I also went to see Gone Girl, which I highly recommend, and of course cooked a couple of things.

One of the recipes I made was this Twice Baked Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic Sabra Salsa. This is a third recipe I've created for Sabra using their line of salsa products. You can read all about my awesome trip to Bakersfield sponsored by Sabra and the first two recipes I created: Sabra Salsa Burger with Peaches, Avocado & Sriracha Mayo and Sweet & Spicy Shrimp with Sabra's Mango Peach Salsa, Pineapples and Scallions Over Orzo.

Make sure to check out Sabra's special website for their salsa line where you can find videos of farmers singing to tomatoes, coupons, sweepstakes and recipes.

I also want to give a huge shout out to my friend Heather, the creator of Spiceologist, who has teamed up with Sabra and shared with me a block of her gorgeous spices! Not only does this block look gorgeous, the spices smell incredible! I've used a few spices in my regular cooking already, and for this recipe I used Heather's zaatar. {Hopefully one day I'll meet Heather in person!}



What To Do With Acorn Squash: Twice Baked Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic Sabra Salsa
Ingredients
1 acorn squash, halved, seeds removed
olive oil
salt & pepper
2-3 teaspoons zaatar
1/2 cup Sabra's roasted garlic salsa
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
chips to serve

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Drizzle acorn squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and zaatar. Roast the squash cut side up for about 30 minutes or until tender.


3. Allow the squash to cool slightly and carefully remove the flesh using a spoon keeping the outer shell intact.
4. In a bowl, mash the acorn squash insides and add the salsa, 3/4 cups of cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add more salt and pepper if needed.


5. Turn the oven down to 375. Add the acorn squash mixture back into the shell (you can use one of the halves or both or even simply use a baking dish), top with remaining cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
6. Top with parsley and serve with chips or toasted sliced bread or as a side dish.


I really liked how this dish turned out, and it's pretty healthy...other than the cheese :)


Disclosure: Sabra compensated me for recipe development. All opinions are my own.

9/29/14

Roasted Fennel & Apple Soup and Blendtec Review


I ♥ gifts. Small gifts, large gifts, just-because gifts. I was thrilled when the lovely people from Blendtec decided to send me one of their machines so that I can play with it in my kitchen. The only two things I asked for were these: 1) it must fit in between my kitchen counter and upper cabinet 2) I love kitchen appliances in red.

My wishes were granted!

I flew back home from visiting my family in Seattle and there was a big red box waiting for me.


How pretty is this machine? The base is shiny red and I LOVE the touch display. The model I received is Designer 625 Blender and "features everything you need to create healthy smoothies, snacks, and meals in a matter of seconds—and it looks great doing it. With a next generation illuminated touch interface, preprogrammed cycles of our most popular blends, this is one blender you won’t want to hide in the cabinets."

At first I was surprised that the blades weren't sharp at all. I wasn't sure how these blunt blades would be able to do the job, but turns out the blades are made these way on purpose! They are supposed to be blunt for safety, yet they are incredibly efficient because of their thickness and strength. Plus, if you happen to accidently touch them with your finger, no blood. {DON'T stick your hands into the blender!}

So far I've only used my new toy once, but I was happy with how powerful it was. It's easy to use, clean, and it really does look gorgeous in the kitchen. I can't wait to experiment more, but for now I'll share with you a recipe I created for Roasted Fennel & Apple Soup.

 
Roasted Fennel & Apple Soup
Ingredients
1 fennel bulb, core removed, cut into wedges
1 onion, peeled, cut into wedges
1 apple, cored, cut into wedges
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
 
toppings
fennel throngs
apple, diced
 
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees,
2. Coat fennel, onion and apple wedges with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast these wedges on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about 35 minutes, or until tender.
3. Transfer the roasted wedges to the Blendtec, add vegetable broth and puree until smooth.
4. Adjust the seasoning and serve in soup bowls drizzled with olive oil and topped with fennel throngs and diced apple.
 



The soup is incredibly rich despite having very little fat. And it's vegan!!! What's not to like? At first the flavor was very peppery, but as the soup sat in my refrigerator, the flavors became milder. In fact, I had a bowl of this soup COLD today for breakfast. It'd be a fun appetizer or first course for a party: you can even serve it in shot glasses.


I look forward to trying out other functionality of Blendtec such as chopping, making smoothies, kneading dough, juicing and dry grinding (making flour!!!).

Thank you so much Blendtec!!!

Disclosure: I received this blender from as a gift from Blendtec. All opinions are my own. I was not paid for this recipe or a review.

9/22/14

Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce


Right before I flew to Seattle for a week of family time, I tried to clean my refrigerator and not have too much food to toss. There was a lonely head of cauliflower that was showing its age: brown spots! Instead of tossing it in the garbage, I decided to trim away the brown spots and make Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce.

Have you seen people's photos of roasting the entire cauliflower head? I haven't tried it yet. I also, until this recipe, haven't tried making cauliflower steaks. Let me tell you this: unless you are some sort of a genius, it's really hard to make more than a few steaks from one cauliflower head. Or maybe that's what I'm telling myself to make myself feel better ;)


Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, cut into steaks (do this by keeping the stem of the cauliflower attached. I was only able to make a few steaks. Don't worry, you can use the "fallen pieces" as well.)
olive oil
salt
za'atar

for the sauce
2 parts tahini
1 part lemon juice
1 part water
a few splashes hot sauce
salt to taste
1 part chopped cilantro

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Add your cauliflower steaks and "fallen pieces." Lightly coat cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and za'atar.
3. Roast cauliflower for 25 minutes. Then turn, coat with a bit more olive oil if necessary and season with salt and za'atar. Roast for additional 15-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
5. Serve cauliflower hot out of the oven with a drizzle of tahini sauce.



I ate some of this concoction straight from a cookie sheet. It was THAT good! You can also reheat the leftovers, if there are any, in the oven or serve them at room temperature.

The sauce would be great as a salad dressing or a dip for vegetables.



Happy Monday!!

9/8/14

Kimchi 2.0 + Kimchi Pancakes Recipe


It has been almost a year since the first time I've made kimchi! It was time to make it again! I had a large Napa cabbage at home that needed to be used, so why not make kimchi? Once again, I used  Joe Yonan's recipe from Eat Your Vegetables. You can see the recipe here. I did make two little changes to the recipe inspired by Fabiola from Not Just Baked: I added 5 radishes and 6 scallions.

Once kimchi was ready, I decided to use it to make Kimchi Pancakes!




Kimchi Pancakes
Makes ~ 6 pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup flour
3/4 cups water
1/4 cup liquid from kimchi
1 egg
1 cup kimchi, chopped
vegetable oil
low sodium soy sauce
scallions, chopped
sesame seeds

Directions
1. In a bowl mix together flour, water, kimchi liquid, egg, and chopped kimchi.
2. Heat a skillet and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Using a 1/3 cup measure form pancakes and allow them to cook for 4-6 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.
3. Mix together low sodium soy sauce with fresh scallions and sesame seeds for a dipping sauce.
4. Serve kimchi pancakes IMMEDIATELY topped with fresh scallions and a side of the dipping sauce.


 
Thoughts: these were great. I love savory pancakes, and kimchi added intense flavor to this dish. You really must serve/eat these immediately because they get soggy as they sit around. Clearly, using more oil would make these crispier. Apparently adding a bit of baking powder to the batter will make pancakes crispier too. Thanks for the tip @KoreaFoods!
 

Stay tuned for another recipe using kimchi later this week (or next week), but in the meantime try these ideas:

8/27/14

Are You A Baller? No Worries: Just Make Curried Cheese Balls!


Sometimes cookbooks unexpectedly show up at my front door. There are worse things in the world! Most of the time I look through the books and right away decide whether I'll keep them or donate them. When I received a preview copy of Michelle Buffardi's Great Balls of Cheese cookbook, I knew I'd keep it. First of all, it is an adorable size. Second of all, it has cute photos. Thirdly, it has recipes with CHEESE! Who doesn't love cheese?

I'll admit the book sat on my coffee table for months. Finally, this past weekend I decided to make one of the recipes. It wasn't hard to choose which recipe to try first: Curried Cheese Ball called my name! Not only did it have curry (duh), but it was encrusted with one of my favorite nuts ever: pistachios!


It was also an excuse to use the newest kitchen toy I splurged on!!!



The recipe below is copied directly from the book. The only changes I made was to leave out the onion and to form the mixture into a log and then into 3 balls instead of making one giant ball. BALLS!!!

Curried Cheese Ball(s)
Serves 15 to 20 

Excerpted from Great Balls of Cheese, © 2013 by Michelle Buffardi.

Some people think they don't like curry powder; they assume it's spicy--but it's spiced, not spicy. If you have those kinds of guests at a party, just call this a cheese ball and don't mention the curry until after they've eaten a whole bunch and want to know the source of the unbelievable flavor.

Ingredients

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon mango chutney (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
Pinch coarse salt
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, toasted, for coating
Crackers or crudités, for serving

Instructions
Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together the cream cheese, cheddar, dates, onion, mango chutney, if using, curry powder, salt, and cayenne, if using, until combined. Form the mixture into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Before serving, roll the cheese ball in the pistachios to coat.

Serve with crackers or crudités.






This was a great recipe: incredibly easy to make, delicious and huge quantity! I've been eating this for breakfast with mini bagels or Wasa crackers.

Have you ever made a cheese ball???
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book free of charge but was under no obligation to blog about it and was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

8/25/14

My New Kitchen Toy Splurge & Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Blondies


After years of thinking about a KitchenAid stand mixer and hoping that KitchenAid will just send me one (I'm a blogger y'all....kidding...not totally), I finally did it. I SPLURGED and bought one for myself. Because if I don't treat myself, who would? This was sort of an impulsive purchase...even though I've looked at several models over the years and posted several links on my FB page getting my friends' opinions, I've never REALLY seriously thought about buying one...after all, I'm not much of a baker. But then people said it did not matter: I will just find uses for it.

Plus, they are SOOOO pretty. SOOOOOOOOOOO, earlier this month I was watching a show on QVC and they had a new model of the KitchenAid stand mixer for a great value in a zillion colors. I sort of wanted a bright yellow one, but theirs was really light, so I went with my standard favorite kitchen color: RED.

How gorgeous is it??? I'm still thinking about what to name it ;)

 
I used my stand mixer for the first time this weekend when I made Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Blondies from her Foolproof cookbook. I've made several recipes from this book in the past, and every single one was a success. This was no different.


Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Blondies from her Foolproof cookbook
Ingredients

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate chunks, such as Nestlé's


Shout out to Madecasse for sending me a sample of their wonderful pure vanilla extract. It has an intoxicating sweet scent and was a great addition to the recipe.

"The beans for this extract are hand-cultivated on the northeast coast of Madagascar.
Two-fold "Baker's Secret" formula made with 2x the beans of regular extracts."


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 12 x 2 inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well, scraping down the bowl. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and with the mixer still on low, slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture. Fold the walnuts and chocolate chunks in with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes exactly. Don't overbake! A toothpick may not come out clean. Cool completely in the pan and cut into bars.
 



Ta da! Clearly I could not wait until the blondies were completely cooled. They smelled too good. So I took out a chunk and ate it warm with a cold cup of milk. DIVINE. Even though I used large chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks, they melted beautifully and made this such a decadent dessert. Also, using Kosher salt added a great contrast to the sweetness of the dessert.

This was another successful recipe by the Barefoot Contessa.


Once the blondies cooled, they became thinner and more solid. They were still awesome, but I preferred them warm and gooey.


And guess what? They are wonderful to share with friends. Cut into pieces, wrap in parchment paper and tie with a bow.


Happy Monday!!!
Other recipes I've made from Foolproof:
Ina Garten's Carrot Cake Recipe from Foolproof Cookbook
What to do with a Boneless Leg of Lamb? Ina to the rescue.
Love Chickpeas But Tired of Hummus? Ina Garten Can Help!
What to do with White Beans? Ina to the Rescue