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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Marinara and Parmesan

As the days grow shorter and the nights chillier most people think pumpkin spice. My mind screams CAULIFLOWER!

You always knew I wasn't like the other children...

Yes, the white orb beckons me with its promise of nutty buttery goodness. While roasting it is sublime, waiting for the oven to heat up and then waiting for the florets to cook seems to take forever. Then I realized that pan searing and steaming would work just as well and in record time!

Adding a red sauce and grated parmesan isn't probably your first thought of what to do with that gorgeous cauliflower you scored at the farmers' market, but have faith, it totally works! Searing it in a heavy skillet (cast iron works admirably), and covering it so that it steams in the oil and its own juices, produces a tender but charred cauliflower "steak" that marries beautifully with a plain marinara sauce and lots of parmesan. 

The inspiration came from laziness, not surprisingly. Cauliflower parmesan was a dish the New York Times foodies introduced me to - breading cauliflower florets, baking them and then re-baking them smothered in red sauce and cheese. But while breading is always a good choice, sometimes I am just not up for the extra work. So this shortcut was born. Trust me, you will devour it!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Smoked Salmon Phyllo Pie

Not everyone grew up eating hunks of raw cabbage in their high school brown bag lunch...ok, almost no one. You can guess who is the exception!

But even if you do not share my love affair with cabbage, you will be bowled over by the transformation of humble green cabbage in this phyllo encased pie.

Sweating onion, cabbage and finely sliced fennel in olive oil brings out the sweetness in cabbage and blending it with a minimum of ingredients creates what looks fancy, but us cooks know was actually quite simple to make.

While this pie features smoked salmon or lox, you could easily make it with pork or veggie sausage or just make it a cabbage pie for those of you who share my love of this member of the brassica family.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Rye Rags with Italian Sausage and Fennel

Rye is so dear to my heart, my truest love in the bread world, but turning it into a pasta was not something that had ever crossed my mind! Enter the brilliance of Gjelina's Travis Lett!

It is a revelation! The original contained shiitake mushrooms which I left out, but if you are a fan, include them. It is alchemy in the truest sense.

I realize there are lots of superlatives in this post, but this is not hyperbole. Even my husband's youngest daughter, who is a fanatic for true pasta, loved this dish. Speaking of which that version was made with veggie Italian sausage and it was just as good as with the pork variation. You can even go with spicy sausage or add red pepper flakes instead of black pepper.

Yes, the recipe looks long, but make the dough ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate. The sauce comes together in less than 30 minutes, and you will be rewarded for your advance preparation because it is that good!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pesto and Olive Pizza - Low Carb Crust

Pizza is my favorite food, hands down, no competition. And when you end up on restricted diets - no gluten, low-carb - the alternatives generally leave quite a bit to be desired. Enter this crust.

I cannot claim to have created it - that would be Fat Head Pizza Crust, whomever that is. But I did find it on the internet, and it is blow your mind good! Soft but chewy crust, crisp bottom, good flavor. Who'd a thunk it!

It does require a microwave, and in my wildest imaginings I cannot fathom how the creator dreamed up this recipe. But it works wonderfully. So prepare yourself for some delicious gluten-free, low-carb pizza!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Four Cheese Eggplant Gratin

Eggplant is one of the most gorgeous vegetables out there, seducing me every time I see it at Farmers' Markets - that radiant purple, that glossy exterior. How can you resist!

Sadly so many people admit they don't know what to do with it. Here's the recipe which turns that beautiful vegetable into a happy meal for all. Yes, it is full of cheese, so save up for it if you are trying to reduce your dairy intake, trust me it's worth it!

This dish originates in Sicily, where cooking with anchovies is part of the regional character. For those of you claiming you don't like the little fishes, please trick yourself into leaving them in the recipe. They melt into the cheese and give the whole dish the finishing touch that is essential. You will thank yourself in the end.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Broccoli Fritters with Texan Queso

Decades ago Barbara Bush, then First Lady, created quite a stir when she admitted to hating broccoli. There was such an uproar, possibly because it was what so many people were already thinking but of course it made the broccoli lovers stand taller and proclaim their love to the heavens. Guess what camp I was in!


When you come across eaters who are luke-warm on broccoli, this is the recipe to serve them. Broccoli fritters smothered in queso, which is Spanish for cheese but really means spicy cheese dip if you're from the former Republic of Texas!

I love to make this with broccoli that has been patiently waiting in my crisper for inspiration and it's not coming. Simply cut it up, place it in a large pot of water that covers it, bring to a boil then drain. This will create the perfect texture of cooked by not over-cooked broccoli for your fritters, and you can do it in advance which makes this recipe come together super fast!

The photo above is not the most glamorous, but don't be fooled, it's a party in your mouth! And I went with orange cheddar instead of my usual white since Texan queso traditionally uses velvetta. The color contrast is more fun this way as well!