CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES

This is cauliflower that deserves a spot at your table when you have special guests for dinner. Amazing that we can now write such a phrase after a couple of years of social isolation. I go as far as saying that even cauliflower haters will be pleasantly surprised. The sun-dried tomatoes add richness and the olives and balsamic vinegar that acidity that lightens things up. Absolutely delicious. And, by the way, it is vegan-friendly.

CAULIFLOWER WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND OLIVES
(inspired by Crossroads)

1 head cauliflower, florets only, chopped in pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil (for oven roasting) or olive oil spray for air-frying
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
slivered almonds, slightly toasted, to taste

If roasting the cauliflower in an oven, drizzle the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in 425F oven for about 30 minutes. If using the air-fryer, spray the florets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and air-fry for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Reserve. The cauliflower can be roasted hours in advance or even the day before.

Put a large saute pan over medium-heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the celery and shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring often. Add the reserved cauliflower, the balsamic vinegar, adjust seasoning. Right before serving, add lemon zest and juice, and top with the toasted slivered almonds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know which ingredient elevates this recipe, it is a tight match between the sun-dried tomatoes and the green olives. At any rate, it was an outstanding side dish. I highly recommend it. We enjoyed it with grilled chicken breasts, super simple. Just a marinade with olive oil, Garam masala and salt.

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SHEET PAN CHICKEN THIGHS WITH GARBANZO BEANS AND CAULIFLOWER

Every blog should have an OMG FOLDER. Mine does not. If it had, this recipe would be rushed into it with great enthusiasm. Normally I bake chicken thighs low and slow, but this method won my heart because it gave a full meal with side-dish included, with very little effort. This would be great for company. Keep that in mind, if dinner parties are coming back to your world.

SHEET-PAN CHICKEN THIGHS WITH GARBANZO BEANS AND CAULIFLOWER
(adapted from several sources)

6 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small head of cauliflower, florets cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil

Season chicken parts with salt and pepper to taste. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric and water in a large bowl, add 1/2 tsp additional salt. Add chicken and toss to coat evenly. Let sit at least 2 hours in the fridge, up to overnight.

Heat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix the oil with the spices (fennel seed, cumin, remaining teaspoon of turmeric). Add the garbanzo beans and cauliflower florets, toss well to coat. Add the veggies to a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, open small spaces to fit the chicken pieces, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the chicken is golden brown, and the skin starts to get crispy.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best meals of 2022. I did not touch the veggies during the roasting time, although I intended to. But a lot was happening and I never got to it. It turns out that some of the garbanzo beans caramelized so intensely that they had this delicious crunchy texture at the bottom. Same for some pieces of cauliflower. So I advise you to keep an eye on it, but don’t worry about mixing things often. Let the oven do its magic.

If you want to make a full meal just with this sheet pan, I advise on doubling the amount of veggies. We paired it with a simple salad. Couscous would be perfect, if you don’t mind some carb-indulgence. Tahdig rice would take this into sinful territory. I intend to explore that territory in the near future, because life is short, and tahdig too good.

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CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA

I saw this recipe not too long ago at The New York Times and knew I was going to love it… I wasn’t sure how the husband would feel about it, but decided to take my chances. Glad to report he thought it was “totally blog-worthy.”

CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA
(slightly adapted from The New York Times)

1 cauliflower, cut into large 2-inch florets
grapeseed oil, about 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets onto a sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, and roast for 25 minutes, add the chickpeas and roast for 5 minutes more. Reserve.

Heat a medium skillet to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shallot, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the stock into the pan and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then stir in the butter, capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper.

To serve, place the cauliflower and chickpeas on a serving plate. Top with the lemon caper sauce. Serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The preparation of this recipe goes a bit against logic. Why roast the cauliflower until it’s all crispy and brown, and then soak it with sauce? Seems counterproductive. BUT it works. Roasting concentrates the flavors and make the veggies stand better to the luscious lemony sauce. We loved it! For vegetarians, a little couscous on the side would make it a pretty nice meal. We enjoyed it with grilled pork tenderloin and a bit of tahdig rice, made in my favorite, quick way. A great mid-week dinner…

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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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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2021

Last time I shared Incredibly Simple recipes was 7 months ago, so it’s been a while… The first three are embarrassing simple. The fourth will surprise you. Read on, my friends!

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

AIR-FRIED CAULIFLOWER FLORETS

I admit that the picture is not that great. The problem is I had no intention of blogging about it, until I realized I made it three weeks in a row, and now it’s pretty hard for me to prepare cauliflower any other way. The air-fryer is the perfect environment to get crispy, tender inside florets, in 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes start to finish. No mess, no fuss. Perfect results every single time.

Toss the florets in a large bowl with a little grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer), season with salt, pepper, and when you want to rock your world a bit, go for smoked paprika, maybe a touch of curry. Set your fryer to the highest temperature (mine is 390F), and let it roast for 20 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

HARD-BOILED EGGS, THE AIR-FRYER WAY

If you own an air-fryer and want to expand your horizons to use it more often, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. Place as many eggs as you want in the basket. Set it to 270F (or around that temperature, depending on your model) and set the timer to 15 minutes. You might need a little adjustment in the time. For my fryer and my taste in hard-boiled eggs, that combination hits the spot. If you want to have soft-boiled eggs, reduce the time to 8 to 10 minutes, but again you’ll have to tweak the conditions. The eggs peel like a dream, by the way.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

SWEET AND SPICY WALNUTS (or PECANS)

Phil came up with this idea and now we do it all the time for our salads. Grab a handful of walnuts or pecans. Coat a non-stick small skillet with a tiny tiny tiny amount of olive oil. Heat, and add the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, or if you like to change things a bit, go for a touch of paprika. When the nuts start to get fragrant, drizzle a very small amount (maybe 1 tsp) of maple syrup. Everything will bubble furiously. Shake the pan to move the walnuts and coat them with the syrupy mixture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl to cool down a bit. Add to your salad. Any salad. Try to refrain from picking those babies from the bowl when no one is looking

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

FRIANDS

You may ask yourself… “Has she lost her mind?” BAKING in Incredibly Simple? Nope, I did not lose my mind (at least not for this particular reason). This is a recipe that a 5 year old can make with minor supervision as the young child will need to operate a food processor.

Melt 1 stick (113g) of butter and place in the bowl of a food processor together with
90g all-purpose flour
110g almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
3/4 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites
190g powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Process for 1 minute. It will be very foamy. Spoon the mixture in non-stick muffin tins (or friand molds), filling each cavity no more than 3/4 full. Place two raspberries in each portion, top with some slivered almonds. Bake at 325F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to get golden. Let them cool for 10 minutes, remove from the molds and when fully cold, dust with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope that if you consider yourself a non-baker, or worse yet, a bake-o-phobe (like I used to be), you will still grab the ingredients and try this recipe. You can vary the nut flour by adding some hazelnuts or even ground pistachios in some proportion together with almond flour. Or you can bake this simple version. They are delicate, moist, fragrant, absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. And so incredibly simple to prepare! Make sure to surprise whoever is around and when you bring those to the table, say very non-challantly… “I’ve made some friands for you”… Work on your best French accent, it is a must in this case.

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