BROCCOLI SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI DRESSING

This is getting a bit annoying: the number of recipes I am sharing of food that simply does not show well in pictures. This salad exceeded my expectations in terms of flavor and texture, but it is hard to believe if you just look at the photos. Once again, I will ask you to trust me. I have a few pointers to modify it slightly, so check the comments if interested in making it. Let me just say before I forget, leftovers hold super well in the fridge and taste delicious even with a brief warming in the microwave, going from salad to a regular side dish. The green and red motif will be perfect for the holidays, an observation made by the husband. In fact, he’s already requested we have it for Thanksgiving. That is some endorsement! Make it. You will love it also… The picture below shows the salad right before incorporating the dressing, so you can see how thick and luscious it is, and adjust with water if needed. Tahini can be quite different depending on the brand you have.

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND TAHINI DRESSING
(adapted from Pure Delicious)

1 head of broccoli, florets only (enough for about 3 cups)
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

for the dressing:
2 Tablespoons tahini
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
water to thin sauce if needed

Cut the broccoli florets in very small size using a knife or if you prefer, a food processor, but try not to over-do it.

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing except the water, in a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth. If too thick, add some cold water.

Pour the dressing over the broccoli, add the tomatoes and pomegranate seeds and toss gently. Salad holds well for many hours, keep in the fridge and serve at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used the food processor to cut the broccoli, but I advise you to cut it by hand, so that the pieces end up slightly larger and more homogeneous in size. Yes, it is a bit more work, but it will be worth it. If you want to have the broccoli warm later, save some pomegranate seeds to add on top. The contrast of cold pomegranate seeds with the slightly warm broccoli is particularly nice.

We had ours with Bulgogi Chicken, which I intend to feature in the blog soon because it was another super simple recipe but exploding with flavor…

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FROM OUR GARDEN TO YOU

Two side dishes, tomatoes and eggplant, from our garden to the blog, thanks to the efforts of my beloved husband, who is turning out like a pro in all things backyard – new lawn (Zoysia), ornamental grasses, flowers, veggies, he’s done it all this year!

TOMATO “PONZU” SALAD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
juice from 1 blood orange, strained (or regular orange)
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
tomatoes, any kind you like
fresh dill
flake salt

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk well.

Place the tomatoes in a serving bowl, preferably in a single layer, and pour the dressing over the top. Leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle dill and salt, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Use the best tomatoes you can find, and you will be totally blown away by this simple way to serve them. Ours were so juicy and flavorful! Truly spectacular, a great year for tomatoes in Kansas.

AIR-FRIED EGGPLANT WITH BUTTERMILK-ZA’ATAR SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

NO AIR-FRYER?
No problem: bake in 400F oven and increase time

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce:
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup yogurt, full-fat
1/2 tsp za’atar
olive oil to drizzle

Whisk the oil, lemon, salt and pepper.  Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score the surface with a very sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Brush the oil mixture on the surface.  Place the eggplant, cut side up, in the air-fryer. 

Air-fry at the highest temperature (mine is 390F) for about 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through.  

As the eggplant fries, make the sauce by mixing all ingredients except the olive oil. Top eggplant with the sauce, add a little more za’atar, and serve. 
  

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I should give full credit to my friend Elaine, the Sourdough Queen, who recently got an air-fryer and has been trying all sorts of goodies using it. She raved about eggplants, so I decided to try it myself. She actually air-fryed it whole, and it works great too, so keep that in mind. Our air-fryer is small, one eggplant divided in half barely fits in the beginning, but as it cooks it shrinks a bit. The texture was amazing. I realize the picture with the sauce on top does not look appealing, but you have to once again trust me: the taste was divine! Looks like 2021 will be the year of posting not-so-good-looking pictures in the Bewitching Kitchen. Oh, well… there are worse problems in life.

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TWELVE YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

RED QUINOA “TABBOULEH”

Another great recipe that the editors of the New York Times raved about. I ate leftovers for two days, with a slightly bigger smile on the last time. It gets better and better. I adore colorful food. And clothes. And earrings.

RED QUINOA “TABBOULEH”
(slightly modified from The New York Times)

1 cup red quinoa (or a mixture of colors)
3 cups wate
Salt to taste
½ cup fresh lemon juice½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup finely diced cucumber
1 pound ripe tomatoes, cut in small dice

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, and combine with the water and salt to taste in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa displays a little white spiral. Drain through a strainer, tap to remove excess water, then return the quinoa to the pot. Place a dish towel over the top of the pot, and return the lid. Let sit for 15 minutes. This gives the quinoa a perfect texture.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Mix together the lemon juice, salt to taste and cumin, and toss half of it with the quinoa. Allow the quinoa to cool. Combine the remaining lemon juice and olive oil, and toss with the cooled quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We enjoyed it with grilled chicken breasts, for a very simple but delicious dinner. It became my lunch for the following two days, on the second time I added a sunny-side egg on top. Heaven. I hope purists will forgive the tabbouleh label in the recipe, but I was not the one who started. The New York Times was the first sinner. I just went along with it, but added the quotation marks to protect my reputation as a food blogger. At any rate, tabbouleh or not, make this recipe. It is super refreshing and satisfying.

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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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