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

October – Pasta with cauliflower, artichokes and parmesan oil

October – Pasta with cauliflower, artichokes and parmesan oil

Sometimes the best things happen by accident. I’m talking about the inspiration that hit when a bag of frozen artichoke hearts fell out of the freezer, that kind of “ah-ha” moment. You laugh, but cooking to me is an art. It’s one that is unselfish and fleeting (unless it is captured on the pages of a blog), it’s designed to bring pleasure to others but is gone in a few hours. And so, like a good painting, I don’t really have a recipe. This recipe was completely spontaneous; I made it up as I went along. If you always cook from a recipe, try it sometime. It is very freeing. Pasta is one of those dishes that will lend itself to this kind of spontaneity because it is a blank canvas. Of course there are many wonderful classical dishes, but then those last minute “clean out the fridge or freezer” dishes can also be delicious.

So, frozen artichokes in hand, I went searching for what else might be lurking about needing to be added to my work of art. The fridge had half a head of cauliflower, a red pepper, and some Parmigiano Reggiano, the counter a jar of Parmesan oil, and in the cupboard I found half used packages of penne and fusilli. I always have onions and garlic available. Ready to go.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Artichoke Hearts, and Parmesan Oil

  • 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and drained well on paper towels
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil – divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • About 3/4 pound of pasta of your choice. I had 1/3 box of penne and 1/3 box of fusilli left in the cupboard.
  • Parmesan oil, or good olive oil for finishing

    Parmesan Olive Oil

    Parmesan Olive Oil

  • Freshly grated Parmesan for serving.
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat for your pasta, start this first since the rest will cook fairly quickly.
  2. When boiling, add your pasta. If they have different cooking times, stagger adding them so they finish at the same time. Turn down the heat if it looks like it will boil over (the starch in the pasta sometimes does that). Cook to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water before draining, do not rinse.
  3. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium high heat in a very large skillet.
  4. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened and beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat if it is browning too quickly.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium (if you haven’t done this already) and add the garlic, sauté for about a minute, then add the red pepper. When the pepper begins to soften, turn the contents of the skillet into a large heatproof bowl.

    Sauteed onions and garlic

    Sauteed onions and garlic

  6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet on medium high heat. When shimmering, add the cauliflower. Cook for about 5 minutes or until beginning to caramelize. Add the red pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes until they soften. Turn the cauliflower and red pepper into the bowl with the onions.

    Sauteed cauliflower and red pepper

    Sauteed cauliflower and red pepper

  7. Add the artichoke hearts to the skillet. Move the artichoke hearts down against the bottom of the skillet so they begin to brown. You may need to add a touch more oil at this point. Cook for anther minute or so.

    Sauteed artichoke hearts

    Sautéed artichoke hearts

  8. Add the onions, garlic, cauliflower, and red pepper back to the skillet. Stir.
  9. Add the pasta. Toss again and slowly add some of the reserved cooking water to moisten the mix. You don’t want it swimming but don’t want it to be dry. The starch in the cooking water will help bind things together.
  10. Turn into a warm serving bowl.

    Pasta with Cauliflower. Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan

    Pasta with Cauliflower. Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan

  11. When serving, drizzle with Parmesan oil or good quality olive oil and shred some fresh parmesan on top of each.

    Pasta with Parmesan Olive Oil

    Pasta with Parmesan Olive Oil

Serve with a tossed green salad.

Pasta with Parmesan Oil

Pasta with Parmesan Oil

I’m taking this to share on Fiesta Friday #91. Come join the fun at a virtual blogging party hosted by Angie of The Novice Gardener. The co-hosts this week are Juju @ cookingwithauntjuju and Indira @ I’ll Cook, You Wash.

May in the Kitchen – Roast Spicy Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

May in the Kitchen – Roast Spicy Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

I know, what is cinnamon doing on my cover picture when the title says cauliflower? It’s because this post is about the Oaktown Spice Shop, and roast cauliflower, and the spice Urfa Biber. You get three in one post this time.

Urfa Biber is a purple ripened chile from the Urfa region in SE Turkey, it’s also sometimes called isot chile. It’s carefully dried to retain its oils and has a deep, rich beefy flavor and low but complex heat. I found it to have a unique flavor that combines raisin, tobacco and hints of chocolate. So far I’ve used it in a rub for chicken (with cumin and honey) as well as in a simple dish of roast cauliflower.

Roasting vegetables brings out the most amazing sweetness in them, the charred crispy bits are carmelized and the center becomes meltingly soft. My favorites to roast (and those where I find the biggest change) include Brussels sprouts, potatoes, asparagus, cabbage, and cauliflower. Before I start with this very simple recipe, I want you to come along with me for a short walk through the Oaktown Spice Shop. It’s worth a visit if you come to the SF bay area.

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Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Simple Roast Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon of Urfa Biber
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and coat lightly with olive oil, toss with the Urfa Biber and sea salt.
  4. Spread on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. The cauliflower should be toasty and crusty brown in places but soft in the middle.
Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

Roast Cauliflower with Urfa Biber

May in the Kitchen – Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

May in the Kitchen – Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

The seedy mix will add a crunch to many vegetable dishes. The green colors in this dish are very peaceful and the seedy mix adds flavor and crunch. The inspiration for this recipe came for the cookbook “Seven Spoons“. It is based on an Indian green bean subzi or vegetable dish. Feel free to use the black mustard seeds called for in the original recipe, or add some black mustard seeds to the seedy mix. I think that would be rather nice and I might do that next batch.

Green Beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

  • 1 lb of green beans, trimmed and cut into 4 inch pieces if large
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 package of baby spinach or a large handful, washed and dried
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of seedy mix
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the green beans and blanch until bright green but still very crisp. For my beans that was 4 minutes.

    Green beans

    Green Beans – blanched

  2. Drain the beans in a collander and run cold water over to cool. Spread out on a fresh tea towel.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the garlic and continue to saute, stirring, for another minute.
  5. Add the drained green beans to the pan and cook until tender, perhaps another 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat in the pan and add the spinach. Stir until wilted.
  7. Add the seedy mix plus salt and pepper to taste.

    Seedy Mix

    Seedy Mix

Transfer to a warm serving dish prior to serving, this is also good at room temperature.

Green beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Green beans with Spinach and Seedy Mix

Just in case anyone needs another suggestion for the seedy mix, I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday #67 to share with Angie and the other guests.

 

April in the Kitchen – Seedy Seasoning Mix

April in the Kitchen – Seedy Seasoning Mix

Are you looking for a way to add texture and interest to simply cooked vegetables, eggs, soup, or a roast chicken? Look no further than this mix of seeds which originated at the Ox restaurant in Portland, OR. It adds instant panache. I found this recipe, and adapted it slightly, in Sunset Magazine’s March edition.

Zucchini

Seedy Seasoning with Zucchini

It’s a mix of seeds often seen on an “everything” bagel. The original version used caraway seeds. I am not a big fan of caraway seeds and substituted cumin; I like the hint of spice they add. Feel free to reverse my substitution. Store this in a jar near your stove (it won’t last long), I’m adding it to everything! I’m even planning to take it on vacation next week in Key West. We’ve rented a house near the beach with other family members. I’m sure there will be some cooking involved and think they will be equally enthusiastic.

For vegetarians and vegans, the mix will add some extra protein as well as crunch and flavor.

I used the mix with a simple saute of fresh zucchini coins. 5 small zucchini were cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, salted in a strainer with a tablespoon of kosher salt for 20 minutes, then dried with paper towels and sautéed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until crisply tender.

Sauteed Zucchini with Seedy Seasoning

Sauteed Zucchini with Seedy Seasoning

Seedy Seasoning

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  •  2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Put the sunflower and sesame in a shallow oven proof plate like a metal pie plate. Toast in the oven until golden, shaking the plate a few times. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a bowl to cool.
  3. Heat a small dry frying pan on medium heat, add the poppy seeds and toast for 5 minutes. Remove them to the bowl with the sunflower and sesame seeds.
  4. Add the nigella seeds to the skillet and toast for 2 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the other seeds.
  5. Add the cumin seeds to the skillet and toast for another 1 to 2 minutes until golden. Add to the bowl with the rest.
  6. Add the onion, garlic, and salt to the bowl. Stir to mix. Cool completely.
  7. Once cool, transfer to a jar with a tight lid.

Sprinkle the seeds over crisp vegetables or scrambled eggs, roast chicken, or anything needing an extra embellishment.

I’m taking the mix to share out at Fiesta Friday #67. The recipe makes enough to share with the gang at Angie’s. Come join us to see what is cooking.

Fiesta Friday