side dish

cauliflower steaks with jalapeno corn relish

Inspired by a similar Food & Wine recipe, and motivated to reduce the amount of red meat from our diet, here’s a steak recipe that proves to be hearty, healthy, and meatless.  This one caught my eye, as we love to make roasted cauliflower as a side for many of our meals.  But, why not make it the main event?  A vegetable topped with more vegetables, and a little spicy heat – brilliant as a main course.

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Slicing the head of cauliflower into 3/4 inch steaks was a little tricky with the size I had, but I worked with it anyways.  And, it’s prepared very similar to a real steak.  Hot skillet (add a little canola oil and salt and pepper), sear/brown each side for about 3 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Roast for about 20 minutes.

Yum.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Cauliflower Steaks with Jalapeno Corn Relish

inspired by this Food & Wine recipe

2 large heads of cauliflower, stems lightly trimmed
1 1/2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced and drained
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut three 3/4-inch-thick center slices from each head of cauliflower to form “steaks.” Use the rest of the cauliflower for something else.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the jalapeno and cook over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the corn and tomato and season with salt and pepper.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add 3 cauliflower steaks and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to a large baking pan. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 3 cauliflower steaks.

Press the jalapeno-corn relish into the spaces between the cauliflower florets. Bake the cauliflower steaks for 25 minutes, until tender and richly browned. Top with additional relish, if desired.  Enjoy!

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heirloom tomato summer salad

I’ve had such great luck with my two patio heirloom tomato plants this summer.  A bounty of green zebras and beefsteaks have resulted in many sliced tomatoes generously sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper, blt’s, homemade salsa, and this wonderful tomato salad.

I was able to get an abundance of cherry tomatoes from a friend, so I halved them and tossed them with sliced green zebras, fresh mint, shallots, olive oil, champagne vinegar and salt/pepper. Yum. The addition of mint is just perfect.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

A pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 green zebra tomatoes, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
4-5 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips (could also work with basil leaves, and maybe addition of bacon or feta cheese)

Olive oil, to taste (1-2 tbsp)
Champagne vinegar, to taste (1-2 tbsp)
Salt/pepper, to taste

Carefully fold tomatoes, shallot and mint together in medium bowl and toss with olive oil, champagne vinegar and salt/pepper. Chill, serve and enjoy! 

pesto and rotini

An amazing, simple, healthy dish. Use store-bought pesto, or make your own (like I did.) Serve with a sautéed chicken breast, a veggie and a nice glass of white wine.

Pesto
3-4 cups of packed, fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (I toasted mine in a saute pan over low heat, just enough to warm them and see a hint of golden)
1-2 garlic cloves (to your liking)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Blend/puree all ingredients in a food processor until the pesto is blended and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Serve with cooked whole wheat rotini pasta.

Prepare whole wheat rotini per package directions. Toss pasta with pesto and freshly grated parmesan cheese and whole pine nuts (if desired.)

healthy & delicious brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Crushed Red Pepper
Adapted from Epicurious, Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste, preferably freshly grated
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and remove and discard any discolored outer leaves. If sprouts are large (more than 1 inch in diameter), cut them in quarters lengthwise through the stem end. If smaller, cut them in half.

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil, add salt and the sprouts. Boil the sprouts uncovered until they are just crunchy-tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook them. Drain the sprouts well.

Wipe and dry the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sprouts and nutmeg and sauté for another minute. Mix in the Parmesan cheese and toss the sprouts until the cheese melts.

Here’s a link to a previous post on braised brussels sprouts with bacon and thyme…

https://savorygourmet.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/braised-brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-thyme/

an evening of wolfgang

This past Sunday, we opted for an evening dinner of beef stew and spaetzle, celebrating combined German roots, and newly discovered recipes by Wolfgang Puck.  I recently read that one of the food trends for 2012 will be more preparation of comfort foods, sometimes, with a twist.  New twists on old favorites, such as the addition of jelly in this beef stew recipe.  There’s nothing better than a warm, comfort food on a Sunday in January, cooking on the stove all. day. long.  Mmm… And, the aroma coming from your kitchen might just tempt friends to knock at your front door…

We cooked our beef stew in an enameled cast iron dutch oven.  Perfect for browning meats and slow cooking them, which is key for tender, fall apart results.  Enameled cast iron pans are a “must buy”, by the way.  LOVE them.

The kids found the spaetzle very intriguing and were a little skeptical when their plates were presented before them. However, they couldn’t get enough of it!  Yay!  Always love a new recipe success, especially when enjoyed by the whole family.  The kids’ version of spaetzle was served minus the caramelized onions.  Perfect because Jeff and I love a few extra onions, caramelized… even better.

The spaetzle preparation was interesting…and, I now know that I will be on the search for a colander with slightly bigger holes.  The batter was to be pressed through the holes of the colander into a pot of salted boiling water.  Our colander worked, but made for mostly mini spaetzle.  Once boiled and drained, the soft, egg noodles were spread in a baking dish, dotted with butter and topped with shredded, gruyere cheese.  I don’t care much for gruyere on its own, but once melted and baked, it gives an amazing flavor.

Menu for the evening?

BEEF STEW WITH RED CURRANT JELLY & CREAM AND SPAETZLE WITH CARAMELIZED ONION & GRUYERE CHEESE

The beef stew is perfect alongside the spaetzle.  Enjoy!

Beef Stew with Red Currant Jelly and Cream
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

4 pounds well-trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries (I substituted 2 tbsp dry gin)
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3/4 cup red currant jelly (I substituted blackberry jam)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large bowl, toss the beef with the celery, carrots, onions, wine, bay leaves, juniper berries, rosemary and thyme. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring a few times.

Drain the meat and vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. Pick out the juniper berries and discard them; reserve the marinade. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the meat and vegetables and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook until lightly browned all over, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the meat and vegetables.

Return the meat and vegetables to the casserole. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Add the reserved marinade and the tomato paste and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the currant jelly, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Drain the stew in a colander set over a bowl. Transfer the pieces of meat to a platter. Press on the solids in the colander to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid back into the casserole and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Season the stew with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of red currant jelly over moderate heat, stirring. Ladle the stew into large shallow bowls. Drizzle the warm jelly over the stew and serve with the spaetzle.

Serve along side Spaetzle with Gruyère and Caramelized Onions  (RECIPE BELOW)

Spaetzle with Gruyere and Caramelized Onions
adapted from Wolfgang Puck

1 3/4 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (5 ounces)
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the egg yolks and egg. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Using a wooden spoon, stir the egg mixture into the flour, leaving a few lumps. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Carefully hold a colander with large holes over the boiling water. Add about 1/2 cup of the batter to the colander and press it into the simmering water with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Repeat until all of the batter has been used. Cook the spaetzle for 2 minutes longer, then drain. Immediately transfer the spaetzle to the ice water, swirling the dumplings until all of the ice melts. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread the spaetzle in the dish and dot with the butter. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the spaetzle is hot and the cheese is just melted.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Scatter the onion over the spaetzle and serve.

Note:
The spaetzle can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Serve Spaetzle With Beef Stew with Red Currant Jelly and Cream in shallow bowls.

aunt kimm’s turkey dressing

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I thought I’d share the best ever stuffing recipe, created by my very own aunt Kimm, and shared with many in my family. This recipe has been a traditional Thanksgiving dish for as long as I can remember. And, it’s amazing. We usually end up doubling it, as everyone LOVES leftover stuffing.

My favorite part is the wonderful aroma of the vegetables sauteeing in butter. It’s usually one of the first of many amazing smells on Thanksgiving morning. As a child, I would watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while my parents would be cooking in the kitchen, eagerly anticipating the wonderful meal later in the day. Waiting patiently to eat was always a challenge, given the temptation of all the dishes being prepared. My siblings and I often found ourselves diving into the relish tray of pickles, olives, carrots and pickled okra – much of which, was already gone by the time we actually sat down to eat. It’s the same way today…

Thank you, Kimm for passing down such a special dish. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have over the years!

Aunt Kimm’s Turkey Dressing
adapted from the Regent Community Cookbook

1 cup butter
5 stalks celery, chopped
5-7 carrots, grated
2 medium onions, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 basket of fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
gizzard, heart, liver – chopped (optional – I usually leave these out of the recipe.)

2-3 boxes of stuffing croutons (Kellogg’s or Pepperidge Farms)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2-3 soup cans of milk

Melt butter and saute vegetables over med-high heat until soft. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix vegetables with boxes of stuffing, canned soup and 2-3 cans of milk. (Can stuff turkey with some of the stuffing, if preferred.)

The rest of the stuffing can be refrigerated in a casserole dish until about 45 minutes before turkey is done. Remove from refrigerator. Pour about 3 tbsp. turkey drippings over dressing and bake for about 1/2 hr to an hour in same oven as turkey. Serve.

The best part of baking in a casserole dish is the browned, crusty top that forms – my favorite!

Enjoy!

braised fennel

Braised Fennel

2 fennel bulbs with fronds, set aside (looks like fresh dill at the tops of the bulbs)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth

Cut off and discard stalks from fennel bulbs, reserving fronds. Chop 1 tablespoon fronds and discard remainder. Cut bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving core intact.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, then brown fennel, turning over once, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle fennel with salt and pepper, then add broth. Cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes, or until fennel is tender. Sprinkle with fronds and serve.