June – Grilled Cauliflower with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

June – Grilled Cauliflower with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Grilled Cauliflower with Sicilian Puttanesca

Grilled Cauliflower with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Did you know you can grill cauliflower? Well I didn’t until I recently saw a recipe for grilled and charred cauliflower. I should have thought of it really. Well, if broccoli can be grilled, cauliflower is not far behind. In the summer we grill a lot of vegetables on the BBQ (in the winter we roast), those two are our preferred ways to cook most vegetables. They develop a much deeper and often sweeter flavor as a result of the slight charring and caramelization.

This dish has a puttanesca relish with the Sicilian twist of dried fruit. Sweet and sour combinations are a classic for Sicily. The recipe is adapted from one in the New York Times for Grilled Broccoli with Apricot Puttanesca. Adapted because I only had cauliflower on hand the first time and no dried apricots. And what is puttanesca without anchovies!!! Heretical. But leave them out if you don’t like them or want to make a vegetarian option.

You need to cut the cauliflower and/or broccoli into largish chunks so it doesn’t fall though the grill. Spread the relish over it while it is still warm. We served this with a simple grilled chicken, it would be equally delicious with fish.

Note: The second time I made this I combined the cooked drained raisins, capers, olives, chiles, oregano and anchovies in the bowl of a small food processor. Processed until roughly chopped. Proceed with step 4 below.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of yellow raisins
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of unflavored rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of marinated Calabrian chiles in oil, minced (or pickled hot cherry peppers or a good pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of minced anchovies (depending on your taste, and leave out if you are vegetarian)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, briefly toasted in a dry skillet (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into large pieces or an equivalent amount of broccoli or a combination
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • 1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced (optional)
Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

See the note above for an optional preparation method.

Grilled Cauliflower and Broccoli with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Grilled Cauliflower and Broccoli with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Method:

  1. Put the dried raisins in a small saucepan, add enough vinegar to cover. Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the raisins, reserving the cooking liquid.
  2. Mix the raisins with the capers, olives, chilies, anchovies, and oregano. Set aside.
  3. If using, briefly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, pour them out onto a small plate to cool. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/8 cup of the reserved raisin cooking liquid and lemon juice with 1/2 cup of olive oil to make a dressing.
  5. Heat your grill to high (or oven to 425 degrees F). Toss the cauliflower (and/or broccoli) with olive oil to coat and lightly season with salt.
  6. Place the cauliflower (and/or broccoli) directly on the grill and cook until the outsides begin to char. Flip and cook a few more minutes or until tender. Alternately roast on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  7. Remove from the grill and toss with the puttanesca and dressing until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the optional onion slices and pine nuts. Or, reserve and serve at room temperature later.
Grilled Cauliflower with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

Grilled Cauliflower and Broccoli with Sicilian Puttanesca Relish

I think this recipe would be perfect for serving at your BBQ on the 4th of July. It can be made ahead and is delicious at room temperature.

I know this holiday will be quite strange for many of us. Here in Fort Bragg CA (there is much discussion about changing our name since General Bragg was a slave owning Confederate with a bad reputation) there will be no fireworks, no parade, no outdoor salmon feed, no craft show, and no beer or wine tasting tours of the town. It is indeed a very unsettling time to be an American.

We will celebrate with a BBQ for two out on the deck, toasting the holiday with an Aperol Spritz.

And I think the folks at Fiesta Friday will want to add this side dish to their party. It’s Fiesta Friday #335 hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by Petra @ Food Eat Love

Click on the Fiesta Friday link above to see all the treats and crafts other bloggers are bringing to the virtual party.

Stay safe, be well. Let me know how you will be celebrating this holiday.

 

May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

I am not sure which might be more difficult to obtain these days, boneless chicken thighs or cauliflower. If you are using food delivery, you might not even know what you will be receiving or what will be missing from your order. You could easily go with all thighs or all cauliflower in this recipe if you only have one of them. With both it’s a perfect way to stretch a few thighs into a larger meal. If you want a vegetarian meal, this would be delicious made with a large head of cauliflower or two smaller ones.

Serve the tacos with soft corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or crisp ones from a box. Or give your family a choice of vehicles for transporting the spicy meat-cauliflower combo plus garnishes. My tastes geared towards a tostada and I decided to fry a flour tortilla (did you know they puff up and get wonderfully crisp?), spread some grated cheddar on it and warm in a low oven until the cheese melts and use that as a base.

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

The inspiration came from Week Light by Donna Hay. I did modify it slightly to make it much less spicy, and because not all the ingredients were available in my fridge or pantry. The original recipe called for an entire can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (OW!!!!), I used 2 chilies with a little of the sauce.

It was plenty hot enough for our family.

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from a can, finely chop them
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or put through the press
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into 1 inch florets
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Grated cheese of choice
  • Garnishes – sliced avocado, salsa, finely shredded cabbage, sliced red onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, thinly sliced red pepper, pickled vegetable salad…whatever you have on hand

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the chopped chilies and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, garlic and oil. Mix to combine.
  3. Place the chicken in another bowl and top with half the chipotle mixture, mix together.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the remaining chipotle mixture, turning to coat as much as possible.
  5. Transfer the chicken and cauliflower to separate baking sheets. Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, the cauliflower needed a little longer. You want a nice char on the cauliflower.

I put the chicken and cauliflower in separate bowls, surrounded by the garnishes, and let everyone make their own.

Donna Hay recommends a lime dressing which consisted of:

  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

I didn’t have any yogurt on hand so we used a bit of jarred taco sauce.

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Did you know that limes will turn the color yellow if left on the tree? That is why the limes in the pictures are yellow and look like lemons.

Do you have plans to celebrate today? Maybe a margarita is on the calendar?

 

 

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

Spicy toasty potatoes, full of flavor. Easy as well.

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling, red, or small Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed and halved or quartered lengthwise (you want small wedges).
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

 

Toasted Seeds

Toasted Seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place a small pan over medium heat for a minute or two, until hot. Add the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds and swirl the pan over the heat for 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Remove to a small plate to cool before grinding into a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. You can also use already ground spices. Toast them for a much shorter time to bring out the best flavor.
  3. You will need 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, keep the remaining mixture in a small jar for the future.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of the toasted spice mixture, olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and toss to evenly coat.
  5. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Bake, turning occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the potatoes and add a squeeze of juice.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken – and Spiced Toasty Potatoes “Don’t Touch”

This recipe adapted from one in the The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.

May – Pickled Vegetable Salad, A Cure for Covid-19

May – Pickled Vegetable Salad, A Cure for Covid-19

Okay, so maybe mislead you with the title of this. Sorry. I don’t really have a cure for the virus. Don’t I wish! But maybe I have a partial cure for the extra inches on your waistline and hips as a result of the stay-at-home order. I know I have been entirely too comfortable, wearing only what I call my comfy clothes. What the heck, eh? Cooking and eating have sustained me these last six weeks, no guilt. But maybe an occasional lunch of something a little healthier would make me feel a little less guilty. The best thing about this dish is that…

  1. You can make it ahead
  2. It keeps for days without losing any flavor
  3. There are almost zero calories
  4. It’s full of nutrition and roughage
  5. It makes for very satisfying chewing, it takes longer to eat so it fills you up
  6. It tastes great
  7. It can be used in many recipes (salads, taco topping, garnish, etc.)

My favorite is a big bowl of these vegetables with a scoop of cottage cheese or half an avocado (or both). For fancy you could add a sprinkling of feta and add some black olives (a drizzle of olive oil)…call it Greek salad.

This is perfect for hot days. It’s cooling and light as well as healthy.

Pickled Vegetable Salad

Pickled Vegetable Salad

Use whatever ingredients you have on hand. I used:

  • 3 sweet peppers (one of those packages with a red, orange and yellow one) – thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, cut in half and then into half moons
  • 1/2 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 of a green cabbage, thinly sliced

Brine:

  • 1 cup of mild white vinegar, I used unflavored rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt

Method:

  1. Mix the brine ingredients together in a large bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved
  2. Add the vegetables to the bowl and mix to coat
  3. Refrigerate at least an hour or up to a week

The salad will become more pickled over time.

Other vegetables to think about adding

  • carrots
  • celery
  • red cabbage
  • cauliflower
Pickled Vegetable Salad

Pickled Vegetable Salad

 

Another healthy and vegetable heavy idea would be Salad Soup. See the post from August 2018 on the link. It’s still one of my standard summer lunch go-to’s.

Salad Soup

Salad Soup

Enjoy, be safe.

April – Pork Shoulder in Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes

April – Pork Shoulder in Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes

A couple of weeks ago I made ‘Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder’, it was a big success in our house and gave us wonderful leftovers. Then I saw Chef Mimi’s post for ‘Pork All’Arrabbiata’ and knew I needed to try it if I could score another pork shoulder at the store. I loved the idea of slow cooking the pork in a spicy red sauce. This was also the perfect opportunity to clean out the pantry and/or fridge.

I found a jar of “just outdated” (really those dates are very conservative and it was only a few months past expiration…it looked fine) red pepper marinara sauce in the pantry, the end of a jar of bourbon and bacon BBQ sauce (about 1/4 cup), and a small can of spicy V8 juice. There wasn’t any leftover red wine (we drank it all) to add, so I also cleaned out the jars with a little water.

I decided to cook it slowly at a low temperature, covered this time. As in ‘Forever Roasted Pork Shoulder’ that meant 5 hours at 275 degrees F. While the oven was on at the low temperature, I could also roast some sweet potatoes. I ran across this method on the blog Smitten Kitchen for slow-roasted sweet potatoes. 2 1/2 hours at a low temperature, then broiled until charred on top results in a creamy skinned potato quite unlike the usual stringy-ness (although I will eat a sweet potato no matter how it’s cooked).

Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I think they will be delicious with the pork and hey, the oven is already on.

Here are a few pictures of the final result, we had lots of leftovers for pulled pork quesadillas (no pictures) and sandwiches.

Pulled Pork with Red Sauce

Pulled Pork with Red Sauce and Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes