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!

a winter salad

Here’s a salad combo that is simply divine.  Most ingredients can be found at your local Trader Joe’s.  Our friends brought this for one of our dinner get togethers .  I could eat this as a meal all by itself.  The combination of the craisins, goat cheese and walnuts is amazing.

A Winter Salad

Bag of Mixed Greens
Bag of Spring Mix
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Cranberry Walnut and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

Toss together and serve. Yum!

Thanks Andy and Molly!

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…

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.

glazed snap peas and carrots

A simple, healthy side and a great combination for serving families. Everyone in my family range of 2 yrs to 38 yrs gobbled this up. I love that when vegetables are a hit with the kids – like tonight with the fresh brussels sprouts and second helpings!  More to come on another brussels sprouts post…

Glazed Snap Peas and Carrots
Adapted from Gourmet

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 lb baby carrots (from 1 bunch), trimmed and peeled
1 cup water
2 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed and snap peas halved lengthwise diagonally – I left mine whole
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Special equipment: parchment paper

Put carrots, water, and salt and pepper to taste in an 10 or 12-inch skillet, then cover with a round of buttered parchment paper (buttered side down; parchment should be touching carrots) and simmer until carrots are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove parchment. Add snap peas and increase heat to high, then cook until peas are crisp-tender (bright green color) and liquid is reduced to about 4 teaspoons, about 1-3 minutes. Add orange juice, sugar, and butter, swirling skillet to coat carrots and peas, and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

maple-dijon roasted winter vegetables

Side dish or dessert?  Could be both.  Love this recipe.  Transforms ordinary carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes into an indulgent side – and it’s still relatively healthy.

Husband and kids liked it too!  Perfect fall and winter side dish.  I’m not a huge maple syrup fan, so I was a little on the skeptical side. I ate this with a very discretionary palate and it still proved to be great! Yum, yum, yum.

Maple-Dijon Roasted Winter Vegetables
adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe
serves 4

3 tbsp. maple syrup
3 tbsp. dijon mustard (I used the country dijon)
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix together maple syrup, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss together with the vegetables on a cookie sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally until browned, caramelized and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.

eggplant parmesan

What a beautiful vegetable.  Eggplant.

I got this from a co-worker and wasn’t really sure what I’d do with it.  A friend suggested that I make eggplant parmesan.  Mmmm.  A new challenge.  Perfect.  Another bonus…using my brand new
Staub enameled cast iron frying pan.

I halved the recipe since I had one eggplant.  The only part of the recipe I didn’t follow was the made from scratch tomato sauce.  Instead, I used Paul Newman’s prepared marinara sauce.

It was excellent.  However, my 1/3 inch rounds were more like 1/2 inch and some of the slices didn’t seem to get as done.  I will remember for next time – slice them thin.

Jeff and I were both amazed at how filling this was.  One eggplant.  4 people.  Two meals.  Amazing.

Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted by Gourmet

Makes 8 main-course servings

2 1/2 lb medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
3 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 lb plum tomatoes (used in tomato sauce)
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (used in tomato sauce)
20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half (used in tomato sauce)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (add to jarred sauce, if using.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
3 1/2 cups panko * (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup)
1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced

Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

*Note* If you must use a prepared sauce like I did, rest easy.  The dish is still amazing, and you can skip the next couple of paragraphs. 

While eggplant drains, cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes together in a 5-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.  Enjoy.

summer cucumber salad

This salad is an all-time favorite of mine.  Fresh cucumbers, red onion, half and half and vinegar.  yum.  It’s such a great side dish for a grilled meat and especially refreshing on a hot, summer day.  No real recipe – just a little of this and a little of that.

English cucumber, peeled and sliced thin

1/4 to 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges

Combine these in a bowl with a generous sprinkling of sea salt.  Let sit on the counter or in the fridge for an hour or so.  Can rinse and drain or leave salt and add the rest of the ingredients below.

half and half, to taste

vinegar, to taste

seasonings, to taste (paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt)

Mix all ingredients and let sit a couple of hours in refrigerator before eating.  Enjoy.