Yotam Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake

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Since its release in 2014, one recipe from Ottelenghi’s Plenty More has been receiving an awful lot of attention – cauliflower cake. It’s one of the first recipes I bookmarked as well, and it only took me about 18 months to get around to making it. Sadly, for me, that’s not too long.

I was so intrigued by this recipe, mostly because here in the U.S. anything with “cake” in it is expected to be sweet and is reserved to dessert or the occasional breakfast. This cake, however, adorned with beautiful purple onion rings, clearly this  was a different story. This brave  cake was not going the route of cowardly zucchini bread where the cook takes care to hide vegetable’s flavor beneath layers of sugar, spice, and butter.  Continue reading

creamy cauliflower soup (without cream!)

cauliflower-soup 1

Apologies as I’ve been MIA lately. You see, I’m in a bit of a predicament as I’m on an “elimination diet” of sorts. (You may have heard of it, it’s called the Whole 30, or as my fiance is referring to it, “The worst 30 days of his life”) What that means is that I can’t eat like 98% of the things I would normally be eating (cake, cookies, bread, dairy, peanut butter). Instead, my life is filled to the top with fruits, veggies, and protein. So much protein.

I think I even got a case of the meat sweats last night…

So how do you make your life feel normal when you’re on a diet that cuts out most “normal” food? Well, this soup is a good start.

This soup is so good, in fact, that the fiance ate it for like 4 days straight without a single complaint. He has even asked if we could have it again, even though I’m pretty sure that if he even sees one more piece of cauliflower in the kitchen my life may be in peril. Did you have any idea how versatile cauliflower was? I didn’t.

I know what you’re wondering – Can you really get all the luxury of creamy cauliflower soup without any cream?

In short, yes.

cauliflower soup 2

In long, basically there is something about the very low insoluble fiber content of cauliflower  [ insert science here ] that makes it the perfect vegetable for blending into a rich, creamy oblivion. America’s Test Kitchen (where I got the recipe from) does a much better job of explaining it.

Basically, what that means is that you can get that perfect, satisfyingly rich, velvety mouth-feel with zero cream.

Not even a drop.

So even though you feel like you’re enjoying a rich, indulgent soup, you’re actually just enjoying some good-for-you veggies! (Sh, don’t tell anyone!). And although the soup looks really thick and heavy, it doesn’t feel heavy in your belly – Think of it like a creamy potato-leek soup minus the brick that usually ends up in your belly when you finish eating it. So go ahead and have a second bowl!

creamless cauliflower soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

Serving Size: ~1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets (1 head)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (clarified butter, if you're on Whole 30, or even olive oil would probably do.)
  • 1 leek
  • 1 medium onion (between 1/2 to 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
  • 4 to 5 cups water

Instructions

  1. Trim leaves and stem from cauliflower, removing the core. Thinly slice the core of the cauliflower and cut the cauliflower head into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add leek, onion, and salt to the pan with the melted butter. Saute until leek and onion are soft but not browned (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add half of the cauliflower, along with the sliced core, and enough water to cover (about 4 to 5 cups). Bring water to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook at a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, add remaining cauliflower and return soup to a simmer. Continue cooking another 15 to 20 minutes until cauliflower is tender.
  5. When cauliflower is ready, remove the pan from the heat and puree the cauliflower with an immersion blender until smooth.* If desired, add more water to thin the soup. The soup should have a thick texture but be thin enough to settle to a flat surface after being stirred, but should not be thin or runny (maybe slightly thinner than cupcake batter).
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more salt and/or pepper if needed.

Notes

* If you don't have an immersion blender, you can process the soup in a regular blender (in batches if needed). Remember to remove the middle plug (can cover with a towel) to allow steam to escape while processing. Return soup to the pan after processing and add water if necessary to adjust the consistency.

* I topped my soup with bits of roasted cauliflower and some chives to make it look pretty, but you really don't need to add a single thing because it's delicious on its own.

Source America's Test Kitchen

http://wee-eats.com/2014/06/12/creamy-cauliflower-soup-without-cream/

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thursday things – mystery doritos, blue tomatoes, and southwestern tabbouleh

It’s Thursday! What you are seeing above is a glorious pineapple-coconut margarita (aka: “Nectar of the Gods”) from Blanco Tacos & Tequila in Arizona. Thursdays are great margarita days, in case you didn’t know. Helps to take the edge off the week and prepare you for the weekend…

I tried all the new Doritos flavors and can confidently recommend that you save your dollars and not buy them. My notes are below – if you have tried them, please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Yellow has almost a honey-mustard flavor, but then it has lime. It is like sweet-salty-limey flavor that I am not quite sure what they are going for. The only thing I can think of that is sweet, salty, and limey is a margarita, but it doesn’t taste like a margarita. I did actually think of something else it could be the other night but I already forgot. Maybe they’re just going for “zesty lime” in which case they hit the nail on the head, I guess. If they were going for “Mountain Dew” (which the internet seems to think) then, sorry guys. You missed the target (you are slightly closer to the target if you were aiming for “salty Mountain Dew” lol). Red I would describe as “hot as f**k” with a hint of cheddar. Every flavor I would assume they were going for already exists (buffalo wing? hot sauce? tabasco? but they already have “Tapatio” Doitos so… I dunno…) I mean, it takes a LOT of heat for something to make my mouth uncomfortably hot but this one did the trick. Actually, it wasn’t so much my mouth that suffered but every bite sent the spicy powder into my sinuses which then tried to murder me from the inside. If you are into fiery murder, go for it. These are your chips. Blue is definitely a molé flavor – It’s a bit smokey, a bit spicy, and a bit chocolatey, but somehow the flavors combine and cancel each other out making them almost bland with a hint of lingering spice that builds as you continue eating them.

I also found a new favorite snack. They are crunchy and delicious and I can pretend they are good for me because they are made with lentils. I’ve also tried the wasabi ranch flavor (more wasabi than ranch) and the caesar flavor (not the best) and the “lightly salted” (which were also really good) but the tomato basil is my favorite. They are almost always on sale for super cheap at our grocery store so my curiosity finally got the better of me and I picked up a few.

lentil snaps

In other news…

All you dog people can EAT IT because this cat proves that they are just as effective as dogs are at protecting you

Dominique Ansel is at it again with nutella-filled cronut holes… because that’s necessary.

Trader Joes released their Top 25 Products from 2013 and I’ve purchased woefully few of them. Triple ginger snaps, I’m coming for you this weekend!

So apparently I can stop my search for pineberries and grow my own, along with some indigo tomatoes (did you know those were a thing?)…. if I can just conquer this awful curse of killing every plant I touch…. Seriously, I have the equivalent of a plant graveyard on the side of the house.

Confused about whether to use light or dark brown sugar? Serious Eats to the rescue (as usual) – I usually split the difference and use “Golden Brown” sugar… seems like a good choice, right ?

Arizona’s Restaurant Week is this week so if you’re local be sure to check out your options.

Also, when I made my quinoa tabbouleh the other day I also made a “southwest” version. Because I had cilantro and it sounded like fun. It’s basically the same recipe but swap cilantro for the parsley, swap lime for the lemon, and add some avocado. The “official” recipe is below but I stand by my “adjust to your own preferences” recommendation. The recipe is VERY forgiving.

southwest tabbouleh pin

southwestern tabbouleh

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

    For quinoa
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For tabbouleh
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (or substitute one small shallot for more "pico" flavor)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 4 cups cilantro, loosely packed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

    Cook quinoa
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until gently toasted. Add water (I use a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water) and heat to a boil. Cook according to time stated on package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the tabbouleh
  3. Chop tomatoes and avocado to desired size and slice green onions (or shallots); set aside
  4. In a food processor, pulse cilantro leafs until finely-chopped but stop before it reaches a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil and lime juice (sometimes I'll add my onion and tomato here too, just to chop them up a bit more) and pulse a couple seconds more to distribute.
  5. Transfer cilantro to a large bowl, add tomato, avocado, and green onions/shallot. Toss to combine.
  6. Add desired amount of quinoa, distributing evenly throughout.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Notes

You can adjust the rations of vegetables/herbs/quinoa to your liking. I usually don't use all of the quinoa but if you want to give yours more bulk, feel free!

This makes a great side or filling for taco night!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/15/thursday-things-mystery-doritos-blue-tomatoes-and-southwestern-tabbouleh/

quinoa tabbouleh

quinoa tabbouli 1312I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you guys for a while now, but I’ve been selfish. Every time I make it, I gobble it up just as fast and next thing I know there is none left and not a single picture has been taken.

My efforts were also hindered by my refusal to measure things. You see, baking requires measuring, so it’s easy to share baking recipes. Tabbouleh though?  Everyone has their own preferences, and I prefer a much higher veggie to grain ratio than many others I know. If you prefer to bulk yours up with more grains, feel free!

I enjoyed my tabbouleh with pita and hummus, but it’s great with chips, as a filling for a sandwich, or even on its own.

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quinoa tabbouleh

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    For quinoa
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For tabbouleh
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 cups parsley, loosely packed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

    Cook quinoa
  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until gently toasted. Add water (I use a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water) and heat to a boil. Cook according to time stated on package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the tabbouleh
  3. Chop tomatoes and cucumber to desired size and slice green onions; set aside
  4. In a food processor, pulse parsley leafs until finely-chopped but stop before it reaches a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and pulse a couple seconds more to distribute.
  5. Transfer parsley to a large bowl, add tomato, cucumber, and green onions. Toss to combine.
  6. Add desired amount of quinoa, distributing evenly throughout.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Notes

You can adjust the rations of vegetables/herbs/quinoa to your liking. I usually don't use all of the quinoa but if you want to give yours more bulk, feel free!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/13/quinoa-tabbouleh/

quinoa tabbouleh - wee-eats.com

 

skillet lasagna

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It’s been in the upper 90s around these parts lately, but this weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy (read: 70s with a 40% chance of rain) so I’ve got comfort food on the mind.  Even though I’ve already got a recipe for lasagna, this one is a bit… different.

It will not consume your afternoon to create.  It will not take hours of sauce-making and simmering, nor meticulous layering of ingredients. This, my friends, is a stove-top lasagna. As in, a lasagna that you make on the stove.

As in a 30(ish)-minute feast.

As in all of those spectacular lasagna flavors and ingredients without having to layer a single thing.

This skillet lasagna involves making your own sauce on the stove-top, stuffing a few lasagna noodles into it, adorning it with dollops of creamy ricotta cheese, and broiling some nice melty cheese on top.

If you’re into that whole broiled-cheese thing (I definitely am).

I just make my “usual” quick meat sauce, you can use your own favorite sauce recipe if you like. If that’s not easy enough, you can even cheat and make it with store-bought pasta sauce (I won’t tell).

skillet lasagna 1220

skillet lasagna

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 11-inch skillet (6 to 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef* (vegetarian option below)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sweet sausage, casings removed (about 2 or 3 links)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 4 to 5 no-boil lasagna noodles, uncooked, broken into pieces
  • Ricotta mixture (below)
  • Parsley and/or basil, minced, to sprinkle on top
  • For ricotta mixture
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (whole-milk is best for this)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Mix ricotta with remaining ingredients for the ricotta mixture, set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the ground beef and sausage together until well-browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add onion and continue cooking until softened, about 5 minutes more. If you have formed a crust on the bottom of your pan, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water, stock, or wine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and red pepper and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and stir again.
  6. Tuck broken noodle pieces into the sauce and drop dollops of ricotta mixture on top. Simmer uncovered about 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the lasagna and preheat your broiler on high for about 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully place your pan in the under the broiler for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. VERY CAREFULLY remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley and/or basil if desired. Allow to cool slightly (about 5 to 10 minutes) before serving.

Notes

* You can use all beef or all sausage if you like, or even leave out the meat and add more veggies (mushrooms or lentils) to make it vegetarian. * Be sure to use an oven-safe skillet when making this and be very careful when moving the hot pan to and from the oven.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/25/skillet-lasagna/

easy skillet lasagna | wee-eats.com