CHIPOTLE-HONEY CAULIFLOWER WITH MANGO SALSA

Cauliflower is a unique wild card in the kitchen. When you want to low-carb anything, it is the first option that comes to mind. Well, here we have an exception, this is no low-carb, low-calorie recipe. This is cauliflower for the brave. When we finished our meal, the husband said “this may very well be the best cauliflower I’ve ever had.” I would like to bow and get a crown or at least a nice tiara, but all credit must go to Joanne. She raved about it, and when she raves, I cook.

CHIPOTLE-HONEY CAULIFLOWER WITH MANGO SALSA
(slightly modified from Joanne Eats Well with Others)

for the chipotle honey sauce:
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo (about 7 oz)
1 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup bourbon
juice of 1 lime

for the cauliflower:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 cup flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups panko breadcrumbs

for the mango salsa:
3 ripe mangoes, diced
1 large avocado, diced
¼ cup cilantro, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
juice of 1 lime
salt, to taste

Combine the chipotles, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, bourbon, and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process until completely smooth.

Heat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Break the cauliflower into larger florets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, milk, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder until thick and completely smooth. Pour the panko into a separate bowl.

Toss the cauliflower florets into the wet batter in batches, making sure they are completely coated. Next, transfer them to the panko bowl and coat them completely in the panko. Place on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the chipotle honey bbq sauce. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes to allow the sauce to set and soak into the florets.

Make the salsa. Combine the mangoes, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeno in a medium bowl. Season with lime juice and salt, to taste.

Serve the cauliflower over rice with the salsa on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Moderation is key, but tricky. Something about the crispy texture of the panko coating joined with the spicy sweetness of the barbecue sauce turns this into dangerous stuff. The mango salsa does a perfect job cooling things down, which in turn makes that moderation advice even harder to listen to. You’ve been warned. This was majorly amazing. Sorry for the superlatives. It is all Joanne’s fault.

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SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA

To make this simple recipe, you’ll need a smoker. If you don’t have one, use the same rub on the shrimp and grill it. I am not too wild about liquid smoke, and would rather omit that component than include it in the rub, but if you have a brand you are fond of and know how much to use, go for it. The Roasted Jalapeno Salsa was published last week on Mimi’s blog, and I made it on the same day I read it. I just knew we would love it. Beware, it is spicy!

SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(from The Bewitching Kitchen and Mimi’s blog)

for the dry rub:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

Heat the smoker to 200F with mesquite, oak, or pecan wood.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dry rub. Pour the rub over the shrimp and make sure everything is well coated. Add the shrimp to the smoker and smoke for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with the salsa, and your favorite toppings.

ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(slightly modified from Chef Mimi)

6 large jalapeños
4 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 generous bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Start by preparing the jalapeños. Remove the stems, then slice them vertically around the core of seeds. Discard the seeds and stems. Roughly chop the jalapeño slices and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds, then place them in with the jalapeños. Toss the mixture with the oil and salt, then place it in a baking/roasting dish. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 30 minutes.Place the roasted jalapeno-tomato mixture with the cilantro and other ingredients in a food processor and pulse, until the desired texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: I made the salsa around lunch time, kept it in the fridge and brought to room temperature as I prepared the shrimp. Everything was ready then in less than 30 minutes, perfect weeknight meal. The shrimp turned out juicy and tender, with a nice flavor from the dry rub. And the roasted jalapeno salsa went perfectly with it. But if you are not into spicy food, this is definitely not for you. My Dad, the pepper-addict, would be proud of me! The shrimp is actually quite mildly flavored, so consider just serving it with a store-bough mild salsa if you prefer.

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BAGHRIR: MOROCCAN SEMOLINA PANCAKES

If you don’t know Tara’s Multicultural Table, you are missing on a must-follow food blog. I am quite fond of bloggers who open my horizons, and Tara does that on a regular basis, with unusual recipes from all over the world. Indeed, a multicultural virtual experience. I have not hit these pancakes perfectly, but they were so delicious I could not wait to share. The batter needed to be slightly thinner, so that they would form a nicer looking circle as they fried. But I am calling them rustic semolina pancakes, and I hope Tara will forgive me.

BAGHRIR
(slightly modified from Tara’s Multicultural Table)

2 cups (470 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F
2 + 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 + 1/4 cups (210 grams) fine semolina flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder

Vegetable oil for greasing the pan

Pour the warm water into a blender and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for a minute before stirring to dissolve. Allow to rest about 10 minutes, until frothy.

Add the semolina, flour, sugar, and salt to the blender with the water and yeast. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.Add the baking powder and blend again briefly until incorporated. Either leave in the blender or transfer to a large bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to rest for 30-45 minutes. Bubbles should begin to form on the surface.

Place a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Grease with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Once heated, pour about 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) of the puffed batter into the center of the pan in a circle. Cook just until no moisture remains on the top and little holes have developed throughout the pancake. Do not flip the baghrir. Adjust the heat higher or lower as needed to prevent the bottom from burning. Remove to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter. If you feel the batter is too thick when you fry the first one, dilute with a little water.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Tara’s version is sweet. You enjoy it with honey and almonds, as a little dessert or breakfast item. I opted for a savory version to pair with a turkey chili that is always a regular appearance in our kitchen. In the first photo above you can see how bubbly things got in that measuring cup… try not to walk away and forget all about it, or better yet, use a bigger container… As I mentioned, the batter could have been thinned out a bit so that the pancakes would end up as delicate and lacy as the ones Tara showed in her site.

Before I forget, I made half the recipe, since it was just for the two of us. I am however publishing the full version, as most people cook for larger families. Don’t forget to stop by Tara’s site and be amazed at the diversity of recipes she shared over her many years of blogging.

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ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS

Do you follow Lisa is Cooking? She writes cookbook reviews and is the person I blame for quite a few of my acquisitions, which are usually Kindle versions, so I feel less guilty. Her latest post centered on a book called East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, by Meera Sodha. I ordered it within minutes of reading the blog post. I modified one of the recipes quite a bit, and share my version with you today.

ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS
(adapted from Meera Sodha’s East)

1 bunch thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed
Snow peas (about 1/4 pound)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, divided
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade (Panko works too)
1 Serrano pepper, very finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
zest and juice of 1 lemon (I used Meyer Lemon)

Start by making the crumb component. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the walnuts and Serrano pepper, season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute or two, add the bread crumbs, cook until fragrant and getting toasted. Immediately squirt the juice of 1/2 lemon, mix well and transfer to a bowl. Reserve.

Add one tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the asparagus, making sure they form a single layer in the pan with not much overlapping. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in high heat for a couple of minutes, cover the pan, reduce the heat and allow it to cook in its own steam for another minute or so. Transfer to a bowl, and add a little more oil to the skillet. Now add the snow peas and cook in high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus and the reserved crumbs to the skillet, warm everything together moving it often. Squirt the juice of the remaining half of the lemon, adjust seasoning, and serve.

ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you need inspiration to prepare vegetables in creative, unusual ways, this book is a must-have. But Lisa reviewed it in the best possible way, so just jump to her blog for details. I made the original version of this recipe that used peanuts and quite a bit more of the crumb component, but to my taste it was a bit much. I toned it down and also liked it better using walnuts in place of peanuts. I think a drizzle of walnut oil to finish the dish could be excellent, and I am kicking myself because I did not try it, as I do have walnut oil in the fridge. Best laid plans.

The book is full vegetarian and vegan, but I will use it mainly as a source for side-dishes. This delicious salad (she calls it a salad, although it is served warm), was enjoyed with juicy grilled chicken breasts, a recipe that quickly became a regular in our kitchen. It was a bonus recipe featured in this post from my recent past.


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FARARI BATETA

If that title did not call your attention, nothing will. Brazilians might suspect the dish involves potatoes, since the word for them in Portuguese is “batata.” And they would be right. This recipe, aka Ferrari Potatoes, is enjoyed by Hindus on days they must fast. I would not mind fasting with a nice bowl of these in front of me…

FERRARI POTATOES
(adapted from this blog post)

12 oz small new potatoes, yellow and red cut in quarters
1/3 cup peanuts unsalted, raw
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Jalapeno pepper, very finely minced
1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated (about 1/2 inch in size)
3/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of half a lemon

Coarsely grind the peanuts using a mini-food processor and set aside.

Heat the oil into a wide-bottomed frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and as soon as they start to pop and release a nice smell add the potatoes and ground black pepper. The idea is to cover the whole surface of the pan with the potatoes, so adjust the amount of potatoes accordingly.

Stir-fry the potatoes for around 12 minutes, until they start to brown. When they are getting tender, add the jalapenos, ginger, and salt. Continue to cook until the potatoes are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl, add the ground peanuts on top, the cilantro leaves, and finally sprinkle with the lemon juice, mixing it all gently.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I never thought of adding peanuts (particularly ground!) to a potato dish, but it turned out pretty awesome. This is a recipe full of flavor, perfect to go along a roast chicken, although that would compromise the fasting aspect even further. I will not hold it against you, in fact… that’s exactly how we enjoyed it, with a very juicy clay-pot roast chicken, which will be on the blog soon.

As I mentioned in the recipe, you’ll need to have the potatoes in a single layer so that they all brown nicely in the end. Depending on the size of your skillet, you can add a few more potatoes than I did. No need to adjust the other components, though. It is all going to have a very happy ending.

The peanuts end up looking like sesame seeds, and I bet those would work very well also, so in case you have peanut allergies, go for toasted sesame seeds when you serve it.

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