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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ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD

Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD
(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

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 Shrimp Moqueca

HONEYED JALAPENOS ON SPELT PIZZA

This could very well go in the Incredibly Easy files, or in the “Follow Joanne” files, as once again I trusted her tastebuds and made a very simple ingredient she raved about: honeyed jalapenos. There is absolutely nothing to it. You slice jalapenos, add them to honey, boil gently until they start to get all mushy and a bit darker. Let it cool. Your job is done. They topped a simple veggie pizza and we both could not believe how much flavor and pleasure they brought to the party.

SPELT PIZZA DOUGH
(adapted from this post)

1 package (2 + 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 +1/2 cups very warm water (110F)
14 ounces all purpose flour
4 ounces spelt flour
(total flour amount about 4 cups)
1 + 1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil

Measure the water in a pyrex bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top, and mix gently to dissolve. Add the flours and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to mix well.  With the processor running, add all the water/yeast mixture. Process for about 5 seconds, open the lid and add the olive oil.  Close the processor again and mix for about 20 seconds longer.  You want the dough to form a tacky ball, but don’t over process it or it may get too hot.

Remove the dough from the processor, knead it a few times by hand and form a ball. If you want to make a  large pizza, leave it whole. If you want to make individual pizzas, quarter it, place them in a large plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use (from a few hours to a couple of days).

Remove the dough from the fridge 1 hour before shaping the pizzas.  Roll it out with a floured rolling pin, top with your favorite home-made tomato sauce, and the toppings of your choice.

HONEYED JALAPENOS
(slightly modified from Joanne’s blog)

1/2 cup honey
2 jalapenos, sliced thin

Add the honey to a small saucepan. Place the jalapeno slices, seeds and all inside. Bring to a boil, cook a few minutes, stirring constantly. Pay attention because the honey tends to boil furiously and rise up in the pan. You might have to remove the pan from the heat, let it calm down and simmer it again. Cook until the jalapenos get soft and a little darker. Remove from heat, let it cool. Use the slices to top your pizza, drizzle the spicy honey on top too.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: If you are not a pizza person (is there such a thing?), I still urge you to make these jalapenos and use them in other ways. Over mashed cauliflower, with rice and beans, and also you can process one little slice, some of the honey, and incorporate in a salad dressing. As to the spelt pizza, I advise you not to use more than 25% of spelt in your recipe, as it changes the texture a bit, it will be less airy than a pizza made with all-purpose flour only. I do love the flavor and the slightly denser texture. You can always use my original recipe (blogged in 2009) if you prefer.

Joanne, thanks for another winner recipe!


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REVELATION VEGGIE-OR-NOT EGG ROLL BOWL

Food bloggers are like cookbook authors, you get to trust some and try “daring” or “unusual” recipes if they recommend it, because you realize their palate matches yours. Kelly, from Inspired Edibles is one example. When she posts a recipe and raves about it, I just know I will love it too. This one used an ingredient that might make you run away screaming and promising never to stop by my site again: textured soy protein, aka TSP. Now before you click away, let me tell you I used ground turkey the first time. It ended up as one of the tastiest things I’ve cooked in months. I truly urge you to give it a try, and if you feel particularly brave, go for the TSP. I made it a second time using it, and it would make a vegan dance the happy dance. Extended version.

VEGGIE-OR-NOT EGG ROLL BOWL
(slightly modified from Inspired Edibles)

for the egg rolls:
3 large carrots, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
280 g premixed bag of coleslaw (about 4 cups)
Large handful (about 1 cup) chopped fresh spinach
3/4 pound plant-based crumbles/rehydrated TVP or ground turkey of choice
sesame seeds for topping

for the egg roll sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar (Chinese vinegar)
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 round tsp Sriracha
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
¼ cup water

Combine the egg roll sauce ingredients in a container with fitted lid: olive oil, soy or tamari, vinegar, ginger, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, Chinese five-spice powder and ¼ cup water giving it a good shake to combine nb: it’s good for sauce to gather flavor while you assemble/cook the rest of the ingredients (you can also make ahead and store in fridge).


Sauté carrots and red peppers in a large skillet with a little olive oil just until the carrots begin to soften.
Add ground turkey (or hydrated TSP crumbles) saute for a couple of minutes, add half the sauce. If using turkey, cook until no longer pink. Add cabbage and spinach, cook a minute or two, add the remaining of the sauce. If the sauce/mixture appears too thick/dry add a little more water but not too much (you don’t want to overly dilute the wonderful taste of the sauce). Continue mixing over heat until cabbage/spinach begin to wilt and mixture is warmed through. Top with sesame seeds and serve. Great with rice, but excellent on its own.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The only modification I would make is – more spinach! Spinach tends to do what spinach does best, disappear into the dish, so double it, no problem. The sauce is magical. I advise you to go the extra mile and search for the specific vinegar called for, because its flavor is unique and very prominent in the sauce. As to TSP, Kelly recommends this brand. I think if you are familiar with other brands, go for it. I find this one quite convenient because the bag sits at room temperature, you rehydrate what you need, and it lasts forever. I see a “fake-Bolognese” in our future.

The second time around I went wild and tried the TSP. That’s what you see in the photo above, and I promise you it was excellent. It soaks up the sauce and the texture is quite pleasant.

Kelly, thanks again for opening my horizons,
I love trying new things, and you never disappoint!

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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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