March – Roasted Cauliflower with Potatoes and Chickpeas

March – Roasted Cauliflower with Potatoes and Chickpeas

This is a recipe with history. The original inspiration was posted over 3 years ago by Selma from Selma’s Table, she won a Food 52 competition for the “Best One Pot Meal” with a recipe entitled Extraordinary Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Chickpeas. I have made Selma’s recipe several times, and highly recommend it. You can find her original recipe by clicking on the link here.

My vegetarian adaptation using cauliflower is a spin off from both the original and several posts by Elaine of the blog foodbod. The marinade has been around in the blogging community for some time, based on some of Elaine’s past dishes…roasted chickpeas and potatoes and cauliflower and chickpea magic, not to mention marinated cauliflower nirvana.  I have dubbed Elaine the “Queen of Roasting” because of the high quality of her recipes for roasted vegetables, it is definitely a blog to bookmark.

Marinated Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Potatoes

If you read Selma’s post, she was also inspired by Elaine, so we have come full circle.

My vegetarian version uses cauliflower, chickpeas, and potatoes. It is an excellent side dish to serve with roasted meat but can also stand alone as a vegetarian entree with a green vegetable or salad. My non-vegetarian family couldn’t keep their fingers out of the baking pan.

I am a big fan of toasty bits on potatoes and cauliflower, so I changed the original recipes a bit. I precooked the potatoes for a couple of minutes before adding them to the marinade (the softened and pre-cooked potatoes soaked up the flavors of the marinade), then roasted everything uncovered for the entire cooking period. The chickpeas became crisp and crunchy in the open pan, the potatoes and cauliflower were nicely browned around the edges.


  • 2 – 3 large russet or Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks about 1 1/2 inches
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3 – 5 lemons, juiced
  • I head of garlic, cloves separated and pealed
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Harissa paste or other hot chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fill a saucepan big enough to hold the potatoes with cool water, add a rounded teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes to the saucepan as you peal and cut them to prevent discoloration.
  2. Bring the water with the potatoes to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat slightly and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, shaking the pototes around to rough up the edges. Cool slightly. More information on the why here.
  3. Prepare a large baking sheet or baking pan by lining with aluminum foil.
  4. Preheat your oven to 435 degrees F.
  5. Prepare the marinade in a large bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, Harissa paste, and tomato paste. Whisk to mix completely.
  6. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, garlic and drained chickpeas to the bowl with the marinade. Mix to coat.
  7. Spread everything out on the baking pan, all in one layer if possible.
  8. Transfer the pan to the hot oven and roast for about 40-50 minutes until everything has a slight char and is cooked through. If you think about it, you can turn the potatoes and cauliflower over after about 30 minutes to brown the other side.

Marinated Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Chickpeas

Thank you Elaine and Selma for this amazing recipe.

Marinated and Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Potatoes

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

These wonderful savory cheesy treats are wrapped in chard leaves instead of pastry. Serve with a salad for lunch, or with some crisp toasts as an appetite teaser before dinner. You can make them ahead although they are better served warm. I recommend you assemble them and bake just before serving. The filling is made with yogurt, flavored with mint and basil. Served warm the pies are like a delicious fresh cheese.

The original idea came from an article in the NY Times food section. I modified the original recipe by using goat milk yogurt instead of cows milk, and basil instead of dill. Feel free to modify it back to the original.

The recipe is fashioned after a Greek pie which is wrapped in grape leaves, asmapita. According to Aglaia Kremezi, a well known Greed food writer, “pie” is the translation of the Greek term “pita” which can be used for al kinds of tarts and pies, whether or not they are wrapped in filo. I loved this low carbohydrate version.

Greek Pie Wrapped in Chard Leaves

  • 6 large chard leaves, washed, dried, ribs removed but left intact
  • 2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt, I used regular full fat goat milk yogurt and had to drain it
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons chopped dill)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal or rice flour
  • For garnish – a handful of lightly toasted pine nuts and Greek olives
Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

  1. If using goat yogurt which is not Greek, drain the yogurt in a small mesh strainer for 2 hours before starting. This is not necessary if you are using regular full fat Greek yogurt.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the stems from the chard leaves and blanch them in the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cool water, squeeze dry gently.
  3. Put the yogurt in a mixing bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix in the garlic, scallions, mint, basil (or dill), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest and cornmeal (or rice flour).
  4. Brush 6 1-cup ramekins with olive oil. Line each ramekin with a chard leaf, allowing the edges to drape over the edge. Fill each leaf with 1/2 cup o the yogurt mixture. Fold the edges of the chard leaf back over the top and brush with olive oil. Place the ramekins on a baking dish.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool slightly, then turn ramekins over onto a plate to unmold.
  7. To serve, unfold the top to expose the filling and garnish with pine nuts and additional chopped herbs.

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

August in the Kitchen

August in the Kitchen

Hello everyone, no I haven’t dropped off the planet. I’ve just been taking a break and will be back in early September. I’ve missed everyone and am looking forward to catching up with your adventures from the last couple of months.

This summer has been a busy one with travel for work and business, I’ve been to the East coast of the US (three times) plus up and down the West coast from Seattle to San Diego (even more times).

In addition, Northern California has been hot and dry, AND no one in the San Francisco bay area has air conditioning. We’ve been seeing movies for the cool theaters! It’s not weather that makes me eager to spend much time in my own kitchen.


It does make me hungry for fresh fruit, sliced tomatoes, good bread, and local cheese (if anything at all). But, they don’t seem very interesting to blog about.

Heirloom and dry farmed tomatoes

Heirloom and dry farmed tomatoes

I will miss those tomatoes but am looking forward to fall’s cooler weather.

Farmer's Market Corn

Farmer’s Market Corn

Look for more posts starting in September. Let  me know how your summer (or winter) has been going. Were you able to take a break?

December in the kitchen – Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

December in the kitchen – Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Ok, I give up; the red wine pickle brine has won! Inspired by Mr. Fitz’s hanger steak and the beet pickle brine that was tossed down the sink, I purchased skirt steak at the butchers.

Then I got curious about the difference between skirt steak and hanger steak, were they the same? I thought so, but I was wrong. A little searching turned up the answer. There are four cuts which are very similar in looks but come from different places on the cow; the skirt, flatiron, hanger, and flank steaks. Isn’t the Internet amazing? You can find out anything with just a few clicks. Following is a quick map of where you will those various steaks:


Skirt steak, it turns out, is actually the cow’s diaphragm muscle, it’s chewy but tender if cooked quickly and left quite rare. It has quite a lot of marbling and is very flavorful. It’s a long and narrow piece of meat, as much as a few feet in length. It takes well to marinades or dry rubs. It’s one of my favorite cuts and has been discovered in recent years. At my butchers it was more expensive per pound than a T-bone steak!

Flank steak comes from the belly area near a cow’s back legs. It’s much leaner than the skirt steak and takes well to marinades and grilling. Flank should be sliced against the grain for serving.

Hanger steak comes from deep inside the loin, encircled by the rib cake. It’s relatively tender compared to skirt and flank steaks (and more expensive since there is only one per cow). The French call this cut an onglet; it’s frequently seen on menus in bistros accompanied by pomme frites.

A flatiron steak comes from the front shoulder of the cow; it’s sometimes called a top blade or petite tender.

I’d recommend cooking all of them to rare to medium rare.

This post should probably be titled “Skirt steak marinated in red wine pickle brine with chimichurri sauce”, but that’s a bit of a mouthful! Chimichurri sauce is a green herb sauce originally from Argentina; there it’s commonly paired with steak.

Red wine marinade

Red wine pickling brine and marinade

Red wine and vinegar marinade

  • 2 cups of red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
  • 16 sprigs of fresh thyme (8 for heating with marinade)
  • 8 sprigs of fresh rosemary (4 for heating with marinade)
  1. Combine the red wine vinegar, red wine, water, honey, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 4 sprigs of rosemary in a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the herbs to infuse the marinade as it cools.
  2. Once cool remove the thyme and rosemary.
  3. Pour the marinade over the steaks, adding the other fresh herbs.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight would be ok.
  5. Pat dry before grilling (we used the BBQ) or cooking on a stove top grill. Since a single steak will vary in thickness you will have a range of “rareness”. We cooked on fairly high heat for 3 minutes a side.
skirt steak

Skirt steak

Marinating skirt steak

Marinating skirt steak

Chimichurri sauce

chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

  • 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves, stalks removed
  • ¼ cup of fresh oregano
  • ¼ cup of fresh mint
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of shallots
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of chili flakes (less if you do not want spicy)
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Process until finely chopped by turning off and on, scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until an emulsion is formed. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Pour into a container and refrigerate. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce

I served this with an adaptation of the spiced cauliflower “couscous” recipe from Giramuk’s Kitchen. It was a big hit!


November in the kitchen – pickled mustard seeds

November in the kitchen – pickled mustard seeds

Pickled Mustard Seeds

I first heard of pickled mustard seeds in the cookbook “66 Square Feet” by Marie Vijoen. She writes a blog by the same name and lives in New York City. It’s a great cookbook and an interesting blog; I’d love to go on one of her food foraging walks in the NY area.

Since then they seem to be everywhere. I had them sprinkled on a salad with beets and goat cheese, as an ingredient in a mustard seed sauce for BBQ, and on a meatloaf sandwich. They are pungent with a tangy mustard flavor and a pop as you bit into them; surprisingly, they are not particularly hot. Lastly they are strangely addictive, you will find lots of uses once you make them.

The original recipe came from David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant. (I understand he copied it from his time at Tom Colicchio’s restaurant, Craft.) We all copy each other don’t we? I get ideas from every blog and cookbook I read. There is a stack of cookbooks and books about food by my bed, ready for middle of the night reading. I can read a cookbook the way other people read novels, mentally tasting my way through every page.

Beside reading list

Beside reading

I plan to use these as a condiment with slow cooked beef stew tomorrow night. We have friends coming over for a mid-week dinner and I want to make things easy for myself. It is impressive but couldn’t be easier!

Pickled Mustard Seeds

pickled mustard seeds cooking

mustard seeds simmering

  • 1 cup of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup of rice wine vinegar (plain not flavored)
  • ¾ cup of water
  • ¾ cup of mirin
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  1. Combine everything in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook 1 hour.
  3. Add more water if needed to keep them moist.
  4. Cool and pour into a container. They will thicken as they cool.


This will keep for several months in the fridge.