May – Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

May – Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

What is that grain in the salad? Is it rice, is it cracked wheat, is it couscous? Nope, none of that. This salad is grain and gluten free. It’s my favorite substitution, cauliflower! And this salad is wonderfully delicious as well as healthy; it’s full of chopped herbs plus cherry tomatoes and toasted almonds with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. It keeps well so you can make it ahead.

I can find already riced cauliflower in the grocery store, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway carry it. But it is easy to make at home in your food processor if you need to start from scratch (or have cauliflower growing in your garden…lucky you). I don’t recommend using the packaged already riced cauliflower if you are making mock mashed potatoes I think it has a high percentage of stem. It won’t result in a creamy rich amazing mashed potato substitute. You need to have mostly florets for that recipe. But, it is perfect for use in this recipe. The kernels hold their shape and crunch once cooked.

I roasted the cauliflower for extra flavor before mixing it with the other ingredients.

Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

If you are starting with a head of cauliflower, slice the head in half and remove the tough core. Roughly chop the florets. Working in batches, add the cauliflower to your food processor and pulse until the consistency of ‘rice’. Transfer to a large bowl.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

  • I head of cauliflower or a package of pre-riced cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped flat leaved parsley
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint
  • 4 scallions white and light green, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced to make about 1/4 cup of juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the riced cauliflower in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes until tender and browning around the edges. You may need to leave it for a few additional minutes but check it so it doesn’t burn. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper.
  4. Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the same oven for about 5 minutes, again check constantly as they will turn from nicely toasted to burnt in seconds. Remove and cool.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking you can make the herb salad. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and let the herbs and tomatoes marinate until the cauliflower is cool.
  6. Once cool, add the cauliflower to the bowl with the salad and mix well. The parchment paper works well as you can just lift it off the baking sheet. Taste to see if you need to add any additional lemon juice or salt or pepper.
  7. Chill until ready to serve, garnished with the toasted sliced almonds.

I found this salad kept well and was still good the next day for lunch.

You could turn this into an entire meal by adding some sliced feta or leftover chicken to the salad. It would be an excellent side with lamb chops or kebobs.

Middle Eastern Cauliflower and Herb Salad

I’m taking this to share with fellow bloggers at Fiesta Friday #274, over at Angie’s place (where she is feeling the need for spring cleaning). Please click over to meet other food, garden and craft bloggers. And guess what, I am co-hosting with Antonia @ Zoale.com

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

May – Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

May – Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

When is hummus not really hummus? For the sake of total accuracy, when should you no longer call it hummus?

Here is the official definition in the dictionary:

noun:
Middle Eastern Cookery. a paste or dip made of chickpeas mashed with oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini and usually eaten with pita.
Origin of hummus:
From the dialectal Arabic word ḥummuṣ, ḥəmmoṣ chickpeas
 
So, technically speaking, if it doesn’t contain chickpeas, it should not be called hummus. But recipes without chickpeas and still calling themselves hummus are everywhere. And they are delicious even though they are incorrectly named. I especially adore the ones made with roasted vegetables such as the one on the Chef Mimi Blog for Roasted Carrot Hummus or the delightful variety on the blog Foodbod by Elaine. Sometimes vegetables are also added to a regular hummus (made with chickpeas) to increase the nutritional value and flavor (I guess those can be officially called hummus). Including cooked mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash is a wonderful and colorful idea during the holidays. Keep a bowl of these vegetable spreads in your fridge for snacking or adding to sandwiches. A hummus and avocado sandwich with thinly sliced onion and cucumber on whole grain bread is a quick powerhouse lunch.
So, I am going to defy technical and other accuracies and call this rendition with roasted cauliflower hummus. After all, it is a wonderful dip for pita bread or raw veggies, and it looks like hummus. It contains all the other ingredients of hummus, but no chickpeas. Instead you use one of my favorite vegetables, roasted cauliflower. I recently served this at my bookclub when it was my turn to host, no one was able to identify the secret ingredient. The guessing game was great fun.

The recipe comes from the cookbook Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis, the subtitle says it all, simple recipes for cooking through the seasons. This is a cookbook that will see regular use, becoming stained with grease spots and filled with notations. The book is filled with healthy and delicious recipes, simple but often with a clever twist. It is mostly vegetarian but not entirely. Ms. Bemis and her husband own and run tumblewood farm in Oregon and the book features seasonal produce from their fields. I found this book inspirational even for a “farm” that consists of a few raised beds. I wish I lived close enough to Portland to join their CSA group.

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

Here is the recipe for the mystery ingredient.
Ingredients:
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower head, broken into small florets
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peels left on
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, toasted if you have time (the recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon but I love cumin)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C)
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or baking paper. Toss the cauliflower and garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread out in one layer on the sheet.
  3. Roast until the cauliflower is tender and brown on the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Let the vegetables cool slightly, then gently squeeze the garlic from their skins into the bowl of a food processor.
  5. Into the same bowl, combine the cauliflower, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne and the garlic cloves squeezed from the skin.
  6. Process until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape the sides and push the mixture back down as needed. Add warm tap water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin for a creamier texture.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper. Repulse to mix.

This will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. It is nice to give it a few hours of chilling time for the flavors to mellow.

When I make it next time I will probably add a little more garlic and olive oil to the processor.

When chilled spread on crisp crackers or pita bread,

or my favorite, sliced cucumber.

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  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

February – Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Capers and Tomatoes

February – Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Capers and Tomatoes

Cauliflower is very much the vegetable of the moment. If you haven’t tried roasting it yet, you are in for an amazing transformation. You won’t recognize it as the same vegetable. My usual method is to coat it with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and roast in the oven at 425 degrees F. for about 30-40 minutes, turning once. You end up with the most amazingly crispy caramelized bits on the edges. But, every once in a awhile, the oven is not an option. You might have something already there at a different temperature. Here they are browned in a heavy skillet on top of the stove. It was even faster and the results were delicious.

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomatoes & Capers

(serves 2 as a main dish)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red chile flakes
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, sliced into steaks about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons of capers (soaked and rinsed with water if salted), drained
  • Chopped Italian parsley for serving

 

Pan Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomatoes and Capers

Pan Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Tomatoes and Capers

  1. Trim the bottom of the cauliflower, but keep some of the stem to keep the florets intact. Cut the cauliflower into 1/2 to 3/4 inch steaks through the middle, as much as possible keeping some of the stalk on each slice. You will have some extra florets from the ends, you can use them to fill in the skillet.
    Sliced Cauliflower

    Sliced Cauliflower

    IMG_4083

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and chili flakes and swirl until fragrant, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the cauliflower steaks in one layer, filling the pan and making sure they touch it. Add any extra florets to any gaps.IMG_4085
  5. Sprinkle with salt
  6. Cook without turning until caramelized on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Then flip and turn to brown the other side, another 8 to 10 minutes. During the last few minutes, add the tomatoes and capers.
  7. Adjust the seasoning, scatter with parsley and serve. You can serve this directly in the skillet.

 

IMG_4086

 

We were all out of parsley (and it was raining too hard to run into the garden) so I scattered arugula on top when I added the tomatoes and capers. It wilted nicely on the top just like it would on pizza.

Recipe slightly adapted from Root to Stalk Cooking by Tara Duggan. I highly recommend this book as she has suggestions for using the whole vegetable, not just the familiar parts.

I’m taking this to the part at Fiesta Friday #107, come investigate the lovely dishes on the buffet at Angie’s. Our co-hosts this week are Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living.

 

 

 

January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

It’s the time for winter vegetables, and cauliflower is having its day in court right now. For those folks who are avoiding carbohydrates due to dietary reasons, cauliflower is the go-to vegetable. Cauliflower rice and cauliflower mashed potatoes, not to mention cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower tots, are having their moment. Here’s the amazing thing though, all those dishes are delicious! And, they are a wonderful way to sneak an extra vegetable onto your plate.

I usually roast cauliflower by breaking it into florets, tossing with olive oil and salt (maybe some urfu biber or chili flakes) and roasting at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes or so. That is long enough to caramelize the outside and soften the inside. If you are used to steaming or boiling cauliflower, you won’t recognize it as the same vegetable. Roasting brings out the most amazing flavor and sweetness.

Lately I have been hearing restaurant stories about a dish of whole roasted cauliflower (and carrots as well!), I wanted to try it.

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Take a look at that! It could be the centerpiece of a vegetarian feast. I would recommend serving it with some kind of green sauce, maybe this roast garlic and arugula chimichuri or lemon salsa verde or try the following recipe from the New York Times for an almond herb sauce. I didn’t have time to make a sauce, but I have to say that it was delicious just as is.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Almond Herb Sauce

  • cup blanched almonds
  • 6 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar (white or red), more to taste
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a combination
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes(optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Cauliflower Preparation

  1. Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) or a baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat to 375 degrees. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven, to create steam.
  2. Break off and discard the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the bottom of the stem, and then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut off the leaves close to the stem. Carefully cut out the hard core of the cauliflower, near the bottom. Leave the main stem intact and make sure not to cut through any of the florets.
  3. Rinse the cauliflower (leave the water clinging to the outside) and place on a work surface, core side up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub over the cauliflower until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place the cauliflower on the hot pan in the oven, core side down, and cook until very tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. During the cooking, baste 2 or 3 times with more olive oil. It should brown nicely. If you have a convection feature, use it toward the end of baking to brown the crust.

 Sauce Preparation

  1. In a small frying pan, toast nuts over low heat, shaking often, just until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. Soak anchovies, if using, for 5 minutes in cool water. Rinse and set aside on paper towels.
  3. In a food processor, combine almonds, anchovies, garlic and butter and pulse until smooth. Mix in oil, then vinegar. Mix in herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven. (If desired, run it briefly under the broiler first to brown the surface; there is no need to do this if you used convection.)
  5. Serve cauliflower in the skillet or from a serving plate.
  6. Roasted Whole Cauliflower

    Roasted Whole Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I don’t have a picture of the sauce because I didn’t make it. I’ll post a picture next time. The cast iron skillet made a nice presentation. I cut it into wedges for serving.

This recipe came from the New York times.

Leftover Roasted Cauliflower made a delicious Roasted Cauliflower Soup the next day. Stay tuned for that VERY easy recipe which can be adapted to any leftover vegetable you might have available.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #103. I’m late to the party but this will be good with the leftovers.  You will find the fiesta at the Novice Gardener hosted by Angie. The co-host this week are Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.