Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pan Seared Cauliflower Steaks

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Yes, I am obsessed with cauliflower right now……..

It is truly one of the most under used and most underrated vegetables, yet so versatile.It’s amazing how meaty cauliflower can be. In this recipe, thick slices of cauliflower are treated as if they were steaks, searing thick planks and then topping them with a lemony verde like sauce. The lemon herb sauce would also be just as delicious on chicken, fish and on other assorted vegetables, like asparagus.

This recipe is quick and easy and just in time for “Meatless Mondays” and can be served with steamed rice and a nice tomato salad.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Lemon-Herb Sauce:
1 cup parsley leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
½ cup roughly chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
⅓ cup olive oil

For the Cauliflower Steaks:
1 large head cauliflower
4 Tablespoons oil, divided
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:
Make the herb sauce: In a blender or food processor, pulse the parsley, cilantro, mint, green onion, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil until completely smooth. Set aside.

To make the cauliflower steaks: With a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch-thick slices yielding about 8 slices. Rub both sides of each piece of cauliflower with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the cauliflower steaks until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the wine and cook until it is evaporated and the cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife, 3 to 5 minutes. The cauliflower should be easily pierced with a fork but not so tender that it falls apart.

To serve, place 2 cauliflower steaks on each plate and top with a generous drizzle of the lemon-herb sauce. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:
Any leftover lemon-herb sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Fried Cauliflower Tacos

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Tacos may just be the perfect food—handheld, delicious canvases with seemingly infinite flavor possibilities. Here is my healthy take on vegetarian-style fish tacos, using cauliflower and a host of other vegetables. All the crunch, texture and deliciousness and a great option when you want to go the meatless route—or when you just want a really delicious taco.

And to be perfectly honest, this is the best taco I have ever had. You can enjoy this taco for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Happy Eating!

Serves 4 to 8

Ingredients:
For the Spicy Slaw:
1 small head of red cabbage
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons lime juice
A pinch of salt

For the Black-Eyed Pea Salsa:
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 15-ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower, sliced into florets
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Lawery’s Seasoning Salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for frying

For the Guacamole Dressing:
1 Whole Avocado, sliced, pitted an remove from the shell
1 scallion, thinly sliced, both green and white parts
2 Tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon lime juice
A pinch of salt
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup Monterey Jack
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 to 3 jalapeños, sliced
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 225°F.

For the Slaw:
Finely slice cabbage and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together mayo, Sriracha, lime juice and salt. Add dressing to cabbage and mix thoroughly. Place slaw in the refrigerator to chill.

For the Salsa:
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
For the Guacamole dressing:
In a medium bowl, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice and salt an stir until completely combined. Place the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to make the tacos.

For the Cauliflower:
Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a Dutch oven or deep saucepan to 350°F. Prepare three separate bowls for the breading station: 1 with flour seasoned with the cumin, seasoning salt,garlic powder and cayenne; the second bowl with eggs and the last bowl with combined the panko and breadcrumbs, Working in batches, dredge cauliflower in the flour, then the eggs and lastly the breadcrumbs, coating completely.

Again, Working in batches, fry cauliflower for 2 to 3 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Place fried cauliflower on a rack in the oven to keep warm.

Heat a pan over medium and warm tortillas.

To serve, fill toasted tortillas with 1 tablespoon of guacamole dressing, a good handful of slaw and three or four cauliflower pieces. Top with Monterey jack cheese, a few crumbles of feta cheese, one sprig of cilantro and a few slices of jalapeño, with the lime wedges on the side.

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Fried Catfish with Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Salsa:
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 15-ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Catfish:
Four to Six 8-ounce catfish fillets
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
A pinch of achiote powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
A pinch of  cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups yellow corn meal
Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
For the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside and let flavors meld.

For the Catfish:
Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. In a shallow baking dish, add salt, lemon pepper seasoning, achiote powder and lemon juice. Add the fillets and cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 25 minutes.

Combine the cornmeal and remaining spices in a shallow pie plate. Heat the oil to medium in a large cast iron skillet. Remove the fish from the refrigerator. Shake off excess marinade and dredge the fillets in seasoned corn meal. Fry in the hot oil until fish is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes or until fish easily flakes when tested with a fork. Drain on paper towels.

To serve, place the fillet in the center of plate and spoon the black-eye pea salsa on top.

Red Delicious Apple Rose Tartlets

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Makes 6 Tartlets

Ingredients:
2 Red Delicious Apples
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the Caramel:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
One 14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Pastry:
One 9-inch prepared round pie pastry
Ground cinnamon

For garnishes:
Honey
Confectioner’s sugar

Special Equipment:
Mandoline

Ingredients:

For the Apples:
Slice the apples in half and using a melon baller, remove the core.

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Using a mandoline, carefully slice the apple halves 1/8th-inch thick. Then cut the slices lengthwise. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice.

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Continue reading Red Delicious Apple Rose Tartlets

Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites

Ingredients:
For the Macaroni:
6 strips bacon
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups  Gruyere cheese, grated
2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Scallions, thinly sliced

For the Breading:
2 eggs
2½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
Add pasta to large pot of boiling salted water and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

In a medium cast iron skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Chop the bacon. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, Add the cooked macaroni, bacon, lobster, scallions and  parsley and stir well, to combine.

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Coat a 9×9-inch pan with cooking spray. Pour the macaroni mixture into the pan and freeze for several hours.Alternatively you can spray a non reactive bowl with vegetable spray and pour the macaroni mixture into the bowl and chill for several hours in the refrigerator.


Setting up the breading station

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Set aside. In a second bowl, place the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and salt. Mix well and set aside. In a third bowl, place the flour.

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Breading station

 

 

 

 

 

Scoop the macaroni mixture into 2-inch balls. Place first in the flour, turning to coat, then in the egg mixture. Coat with breadcrumbs, then double coat by placing back in the egg and a final coating of breadcrumbs. Place the mac & cheese bites and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

 

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Roll in flour
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Dip in egg wash
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Roll in breadcrumbs

 

 

 
Heat the oil over medium high heat, to about 350 degrees F.

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Mac & Cheese Bites are ready for the oil

 

 

 

 
Gently place in oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

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Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Allow to drain for 1 minute.

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Repeat with remaining mac and cheese balls and fry in batches. Return the oil to 350 degrees F between batches. Allow to cool and serve.

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Mac & Cheese Bites are now ready to eat!

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Cook’s Notes:

I used my own homemade cured bacon made with pork belly  that was used in this recipe.

If lobster is not readily available, crabmeat and baby shrimp can be used as substitutes.

Catfish with Green Olives

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This is a family favorite dish. If you are looking for something that is quick and easy to make during a week  night and you are mindful of being healthy on a budget, then this simple recipe is just right  for you !

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, rinsed, drained, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
A squeeze of lemon juice
Four 6-ounce catfish fillets
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, serving

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Main Ingredients

Directions:
Stir together olives, oil, zest ,  2 tablespoons of parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice  into a bowl.

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Oil a 12-inch non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid. Season catfish with salt and pepper and arrange skinless side down in the skillet, tucking thinner ends of each fillet under.

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Mound olive mixture on top of fillets.

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Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of mixture and cover skillet.

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Cook catfish over moderate heat until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

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Spring Produce Guide

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From Saveur Magazine
April 2015

After a long winter, there’s nothing more welcome than the sight of spring’s first vegetables: Crisp lettuces, earthy morels, slender spears of asparagus, leafy spring onions, fresh peas and green beans, and piles of bright rhubarb join year-round staples like garlic and beets as well as winter favorites nearing the end of their season. In the first of our series of comprehensive seasonal produce guides, we’ve got expert tips for buying, storing, and preparing the best of spring’s bounty, plus recipes for everything from roasted artichokes with a white wine and chile-garlic sauce to a gorgeous rhubarb upside-down cake to vibrant shaved asparagus and carrot salad. Happy cooking!

You can click on the photos to see the information on some of my favorite spring time ingredients.

Or click on the link below for a complete guide for Spring Time produce:
http://www.saveur.com/content/produce-guide-spring?dom=SAV&loc=logo

All photos: Vanessa Rees

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Artichokes
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Aspargus
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Beets
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Carrots

 

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Fava Beans
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Garlic
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Arugula
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Bok Choy

Easter Sunday Dinner 2015

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Easter Sunday Dinner was a simple affair this year. Normally I would have three different proteins: a fish, a rack of lamb, and Cornish Hens and lots of side dishes and at least two desserts.

This year I opted for a more simpler menu,  by serving an appetizer,  a spiral honey baked ham with a few side dishes, and a cake for dessert.

We started off the meal with an appetizer of Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs.

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A  simple salad with sliced pickled baby beets, baby arugula and cherry tomatoes was dressed in a lemony vinaigrette.

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The salad  was followed by main course, a honey baked spiral sliced ham garnished with Blood Oranges and Baby Arugula. The side dishes included Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Green and White Asparagus, and Cinnamon Spiced Carrots.

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And finally, for dessert a simple ” White Rose” yellow cake with butter cream frosting.

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The great thing about a simple menu means that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time sharing stories and fond memories in the making with your family and friends at the dinner table.

Snow Crab Eggs Benedict

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This dish is  an  elegant twist on a classic and is perfect for a Sunday Brunch.

Ingredients:
3 pounds Cooked Snow Crab Meat
1 pound Butter

For the Eggs:
6 Eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon White Vinegar

For the Hollandaise:
1 cup Melted Butter (from crab poaching)
4 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
1 Lemon (juiced)
1/4 cup chopped chives
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

To Serve:
3 English Muffins (split and lightly toasted)
8 ounces Philadelphia Onion and Chive Cream Spread
6 slices Canadian Bacon
Arugula

Directions:
Heat butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat until melted and warm. Place crab meat in the butter to poach for 3 minutes.

For the Eggs: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add white vinegar. Reduce to a light simmer. Line a plate with paper towels. Crack one egg at a time into a bowl and slide into the water. Do not over crowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and remove to the prepared plate with a slotted spoon.

For the Hollandaise: In a bowl over a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks, and lemon juice for 4 to 5 minutes until it begins to thicken. Once the mixture is ribbony and can coat the back of a spoon, drizzle in the melted crab butter, whisking continuously. Stir in some chopped chives and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Once muffins are toasted drizzle with some of the melted crab butter. Spread onion and chive cream cheese on the bottom of the muffin. Place the muffin on a small plate and top with Canadian Bacon,arugula, a poached egg, and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately.