Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I finally made that Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese recipe that has been all over Pinterest and various food blogs. I pinned the recipe months ago, but was reminded of it when I saw a post at Cottage Grove House a couple of weeks ago.

I adapted Bon Appetit’s recipe a bit. For one thing, I omitted the white wine. I’m not going to waste 2 1/2 cups of wine just to boil a cauliflower in it. I also cut back on the salt and fat. The results I got were amazing! I’m seriously in love with preparing cauliflower this way. Boiling the cauliflower first ensures that it is tender. Roasting brings out the sweetness of the cauliflower, but also gives it a caramelized, nutty flavor. The Whipped Goat Cheese was good, but honestly, the cauliflower does not need it.

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I couldn’t help it, I pulled the florets from the whole cauliflower and ate them with my hands. It was an enjoyable experience. : ) I’m so glad I finally prepared this recipe. I will be making this over and over.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

8 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed
Whipped Goat Cheese (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 475°.

Bring water, kosher salt, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and sugar to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.

Gently remove the cauliflower from the pot using 2 slotted spoons (or tongs and a spatula) and drain well. Transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Serve with Whipped Goat Cheese.

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Whipped Goat Cheese

4 ounces goat cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, to taste

Blend the goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, milk, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt. Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl. Can be made ahead of time.

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Find the original recipe from Bon Appetit here.


Vegetarian Chili

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A few months ago, packages of Boca Burgers were Buy One Get One Free at Publix. By pairing the sale price with coupons, I was able to get a couple of packages for 89¢ apiece. I was thrilled with the deal. I figured they would be great for lunches and quick dinners. Well, a few months have gone by and no one has touched them. “Mmmm….a Boca Burger sounds good” is just not a thought that has ever occurred to me. I needed to use them and decided to make chili with one of the packages. I was really happy with the way this vegetarian chili turned out. It was good. Way better than a burger would have been. This chili can be totally vegan depending on the type of Boca Burgers you use.

Vegetarian Chili

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), chopped
2 chiles (serranos or jalapenos), seeded and minced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 10 oz. package of Boca Burgers (4 patties), chopped (or use a package of Boca Ground Crumbles)
1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and chiles. Cook until the vegetables start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne. Add the zucchini, chopped Boca Burgers, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, and water. Stir well and allow to just come to a boil. Season with the salt and turn the heat down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chili is thickened.


Gumbo z’Herbes

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My fridge was overflowing with a variety of greens from my CSA boxes. It was a little overwhelming. What the heck am I going to do with all of these greens (especially rutabaga greens)? Luckily, I remembered reading about a Cajun dish using different greens. I scoured the internets looking at dozens of recipes, each one different from the last. Gumbo z’Herbes, also known as Green Gumbo, is basically a roux, Cajun mirepoix, and a medley of greens cooked until super tender. Easy enough.

Making the roux is an important step in this dish. The darker the roux, the better. You have to stir it constantly because it will burn right fast. I aim to get my roux to be the same color as a penny. This takes some time, about 30 minutes. The effort is worth it.

Traditionally, gumbo z’herbes is made with an odd number of greens. I used 5 different types of greens in my gumbo z’herbes: rutabaga greens, collards, spinach, mustard greens, and cabbage. If you can’t find 5 different types of fresh greens, it is fine to use some frozen greens.

Initially, I set out to make this a vegan dish. Traditionally, this is a vegetarian dish eaten during Lent. I had some smoked sausage in the freezer and decided to go with it. It gave the dish a great smoky flavor. If you wanted to make the dish without meat, a dash of liquid smoke would give the dish a similar smokiness.

Gumbo z’Herbes (Green Gumbo)

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
1 bunch each of at least 5 different greens (such as mustard greens, collards, spinach, kale, cabbage, beet tops, turnip greens, rhutabaga greens, swiss chard, sorrel, chicory, radish leaves, carrot tops, dandelion greens, lettuce [romaine, red leaf, green leaf, etc… do not  use iceburg], parsley, watercress, arugula, etc….)
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
salt and black pepper, to taste
12 ounces smoked sausage (preferably Andouille), sliced

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until dark golden brown, 15 – 30 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8-10 minutes.

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Add the 8 cups of water to pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil. Add the greens, cayenne, Tabasco, thyme, and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until greens are very soft, about 1 hour. Add the sliced sausage and simmer 30 more minutes.

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Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve gumbo over cooked white rice.


CSA Week One and a Buttercrunch Lettuce Salad with Strawberries and Spring Onions

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Doesn’t that box of produce look amazing? My 3 year old could not wait to get his hands on those awesome strawberries.

I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) this season and for 12 weeks I will get a box each week filled seasonal vegetables and fruits. The produce in each weekly box is grown within 2 hours of my home and picked within 48 hours of me getting it. Plus, the money I pay for the produce goes directly to the farmer. How awesome is that?

Today was the beginning of the season and I picked up my first CSA box at a location about 5 minutes from my home. I was super excited.

My box included:

2 heads of buttercrunch lettuce
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of arugula
broccoli
strawberries
1 bunch of collard greens
1 stalk of bok choy
1 large bunch of spring onions

What am I going to cook with all these interesting veggies? Well, tonight I made a nice salad with the buttercrunch lettuce, strawberries, and spring onions. It was wonderful!

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Buttercrunch Salad with Strawberries and Spring Onions

adjust amounts according to your needs

buttercrunch lettuce, washed, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and sliced
spring onions, washed, ends trimmed, and thinly sliced
pecan pieces (or almonds)
bleu cheese crumbles (or goat cheese)

Dressing:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup oil (canola is fine)

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a Mason jar. Screw on lid and shake until combined.

Place torn buttercrunch lettuce in a serving bowl. Top with sliced strawberries, spring onions, pecan pieces (or almonds), and bleu cheese (or goat cheese) crumbles. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.

I can’t wait for my next CSA box!

If you are in South Carolina and are interested in joining a CSA, check into Pinckney’s Produce – http://pinckneysproduce.com/

Here is a similar salad made with spinach, spring onions, strawberries, goat cheese crumbles, and poppyseed dressing:

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Kale Salad

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I am in love with this kale salad. Sometimes the simplest things are the best. This kale salad is simple and it’s absolutely amazing. I like making this salad with any kale other than the typical curly kale you find in the grocery stores. There are many varieties of kales, so branch out. I got organic purple kale at Earth Fare and it rocks. Kale is one of the most nutritious things you can eat, so I’m always looking for new ways to add it to my diet. This salad will definately be a favorite.

1 bunch kale
juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to taste
croutons, about 1 cup worth

Wash the kale and spin it dry in a salad spinner (or blot dry with paper towels). Remove the tough ribs and discard. Chop the kale into bite-size or smaller pieces and place in a serving dish.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a  small bowl (or shake together in a lidded mason jar). Pour over the kale and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese (I use a couple of tablespoons, but use as much or as little as you like), toss again, and let the salad sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss in the croutons and serve.


Portabella Mushroom Sandwich

From June 1, 2004: i love portabella mushrooms. they are very earthy, hearty, and a great meat substitute. one of my favorite ways to eat portabellas is by making a sandwich with them.

for the sandwich: clean the mushroom (you can remove the gills, but i usually don’t) and then marinate it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, italian herbs, salt, and pepper. while the mushroom marinates, prepare the rest of the ingredients – slice tomatoes, wash baby spinach leaves, toast some sort of artisan-type bread (sourdough is my favorite, a crusty boule bread is in close second) and prepare a dressing..

sometimes i dress the sandwich with a brown mustard, other times (depending on motivation and mood) i prepare a sun-dried tomato mayonaise. for the sun-dried tomato mayo,  reconstitute sun-dried tomatoes in warm water until soft. finely chop and add to a bit of spectrum canola oil mayonaise along with salt and pepper.

once all the ingredients are prepared,  grill both sides of the mushroom in a hot grill pan on the stove. when it is cooked through and tender,  remove the mushroom and slice (sometimes i leave it whole depending on the shape of the bread).

to assemble the sandwich:  spread some mustard or sun-dried tomato mayo on the toasted bread, layer the mushrooms on top of the slice and then top with spinach and sliced tomatoes. i like to drizzle a little of the marinade on top of the veggies before adding the top piece of bread.

this sandwich is messy to eat, so make sure you have lots of napkins!


Veggie Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

My ranchero sauce is amazing, if I do say so myself.  It really accents the veggie enchiladas and make them incredibly delicious and downright addicting.  Luckily, they are pretty healthy and you can afford to have just one more.  : )  I based this veggie combination on the veggie enchiladas at Chuy’s in Austin, Texas.  By the way, I highly recommend eating at Chuy’s if you are ever in Austin.  They have great Tex-Mex at great prices.  The one located on Barton Springs Road, across from Zilker Park is my favorite.  Anywho, feel free to change up the veggie combination to stuff the enchiladas.  Be flexible and use what you have on hand.  Sometimes I add hominy or black olives to my mixture with tasty results.  You can also add cooked shredded chicken, if you eat meat.  The Ranchero Sauce is also excellent with eggs.  For Huevos Rancheros, fry an egg (don’t use a lot of oil) and add some of the sauce to the pan towards the end of cooking.  Heat the sauce through and serve the eggs and Ranchero sauce over a warm corn tortilla.

Veggie Enchiladas

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
1 serrano chile, veins and seeds removed and minced
4 ounces button or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 cup cooked potatoes, diced

hot oil
corn tortillas
pepper jack cheese, shredded
Ranchero sauce, warmed (recipe below)

For the enchilada filling, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil or vegetable oil over medium heat.  When the onions are tender, add the zucchini, yellow squash, corn, serranos, and mushrooms.  Continue to cook until the squash is tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes.  Add the fresh spinach and diced cooked potatoes to the mixture and cook until warmed through.  Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the enchiladas, quickly dip the corn tortillas in hot oil, being careful to not get them crisp.  Fill the softened tortillas with shredded pepper jack cheese and the veggie mixture.  Roll them up, place on a plate and top with the hot ranchero sauce.  Serve immediately.

My Ranchero Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces tomato paste (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add the next 6 ingredients and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and tomato sauce and cook until sauce starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Taste and season the sauce with salt.  If you prefer a more “tomato-y” sauce, stir in the 4 ounces of tomato paste (1/2 a small can). Cook for about 15 more minutes.  If the sauce is too thick, you may add a little bit of water to thin it out.  Stir in cilantro.