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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CAULIFLOWER AND SWEET POTATOES IN YOGURT-CURRY SAUCE

At the risk of being repetitive, I must tell you this was a total winner and yes, it will go into our regular rotation. Other veggies can be used, like potatoes, green beans, butternut squash. The method won’t change. This side dish is rich and light at the same time. Contrary to most curries that rely on heavy cream or coconut milk, the yogurt offers just that amount of creaminess you might crave. Use full-fat yogurt to make sure the sauce won’t separate.

CAULIFLOWER AND SWEET POTATO CURRY
(inspired by Chetna’s Healthy Indian)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
1 medium size cauliflower, florets cut in small pieces
2 to 3 small sweet potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/3 cup tomato purée
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3/4 cup full-fat yogurt

Heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a pan, add the cauliflower florets and sweet potatoes, a little sprinkle of salt, and cook on a medium-to-high heat until they start to brown. Remove to a bowl.

Add one more tablespoon of oil to the pan, heat and add cumin and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant. Immediately add the tomato pure, Sambal Oelek, coriander and salt. Stir and keep in medium-heat. Mix the yogurt with water in a small bowl, then add to the pan, together with the reserved veggies.

Cover the pan and and simmer for about 20 minutes. If the sauce is too liquid, remove the lid and reduce it a bit before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As I mentioned in the beginning, this recipe can be adapted to include many veggies. I would avoid zucchini because it would turn a bit too soft, although it could probably work if you roasted it and added in the very end.

The recipe was inspired by Chetna’s new book. Remember her from one of the greatest seasons of the Great British Bake Off? Chetna was often praised for her intuition with flavors. Her new book proves she is not only a great baker, but a fantastic cook. I got the idea of using yogurt as a base for the curry from one of her recipes. From her book I also recently made a delicious Tomato and Raisin Chutney.

It was my first time making chutney, and using this interesting ingredient called asafoetida. I loved it, and will definitely be making other chutneys in the future. Her book has quite a few options, all pretty unique.

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SWEET AND SPICY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower is quite likely the most versatile vegetable out there. You can turn it into pizza crust. You can turn it into pasta sauce. It roasts well, it fries well, it mimics rice, it disguises as tabbouleh. I’ve seen recipes using it in brownies, but even with my mind open wide, I cannot quite embrace that aspect. In this recipe, it gets a tempura-like treatment, and into the hot oven it goes. I never expected to have to fight the husband for the last bits of cauliflower in the bowl, but that’s what happened.

SWEET AND SPICY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
(inspired by Cook Eat Share Vegan)

Yogurt sauce:
150g full-fat yogurt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
salt to taste

panko breadcrumbs
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

for the batter:
70g g rice flour
pinch of sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon baking soda
juice of ½ lemon
150ml milk

for the spicy sauce:
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red chilli paste)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons agave nectar
50ml water

Heat oven to 420F and line a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Make the yogurt sauce by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl, and reserve in the fridge until serving time.

To make the batter, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Place the panko in a shallow baking dish.  Dip cauliflower florets in the batter and shake off any excess before dredging in the panko crumbs and placing on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until crispy and golden.

As the cauliflower roasts, place the gochujang dressing ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until smooth thick, adding a splash more water if it seems too thick. Transfer the baked cauliflower to a large bowl, pour over the dressing and toss to coat. Serve right away of keep in a low oven while you prepare the rest of your dinner, with the yogurt sauce on the side.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was the type of preparation that had me a bit nervous until I finally took the first bite. The Gochujang sauce looked like liquid lava as it reduced, and I thought that it could end up as something that would turn my Dad off for being too spicy (Dad used to eat hot peppers as if they were candy… I refer you to this story of my past if you like to be amused).

But both Phil and I loved it!  It definitely had enough heat but it was not overpowering. No need for Kleenex. At any rate, if you don’t like spicy food, this is definitely not for you. But where there’s a will, there’s a way:  use ketchup instead of kochujang and proceed with the recipe as written. I am sure it will be very delicious.

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CAULIFLOWER FOR COMPANY? YES, PLEASE!

Let’s imagine for a moment that dinner parties are still “a thing.”  Those days feel like a lifetime away, but I know they will come back at some point. When? I have no idea. But when they do, allow me to offer a recipe for mashed cauliflower as your side dish. I promise you, this one will please every single one of your guests, even those who twist the nose at anything low-carb. The secret is topping the mash with roasted grape tomatoes (you can use yellow or a mixture).  It turns into a luscious, satisfying, flavorful side dish that will go well with pretty much any protein you are featuring as the star of your show.

MASHED CAULIFLOWER WITH ROASTED GRAPE TOMATOES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 large head of cauliflower
squirt of lemon juice
salt to taste
1/3 cup yogurt (low-fat is ok)
drizzle of olive oil
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (or grated parmigiano-reggiano to taste)
smoked paprika to taste
grape tomatoes (yellow or red)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Start by roasting the tomatoes. Place them as a single layer on a baking dish covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 F until they start to get golden brown and release some juices. Reserve.

Cut the cauliflower in florets and cook in slightly salted boiling water with a bit of lemon juice until fork-tender.  Add to a food processor (ok if a bit of water goes with it), and add the yogurt, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and spices. Process until smooth, taste and adjust seasoning, or even a bit more lemon juice if you like. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with the roasted tomatoes, but don’t add too much of the tomato liquid, just a little bit.

Place in the 400 F oven for about 10 minutes to warm everything together. If the mashed cauliflower is looking more on the dry side, you can warm up covered with foil. If it seems a bit loose, warm it with no foil on top.

Serve right away with the main dish of your choice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one delicious meal! The pork tenderloin is very similar to the one I shared recently, made in our smoker, with a bit less pepper. A little avocado and orange on the side, and we were ready to dig in. Felt like a dinner party…

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