STEAM-ROASTED INDIAN-SPICED CAULIFLOWER

Recently I blogged about a new way to roast veggies that stole my heart. At that time, carrots were the star of the show. Now, I share my second experiment with the method, following a recipe from the same issue in Fine Cooking, applied to cauliflower. A couple of tips are important for maximal deliciousness. First, do not cut the florets too small, keep them a bit chunky. Second, make sure to leave a flat, large side when you cut them. That will provide better browning during roasting.  The roasted cauliflower is finished with a mixture containing a lot of ginger and other Indian spices. Read my thoughts about it in the comments.

steam-roasted-cauliflower

STEAM-ROASTED INDIAN-SPICED CAULIFLOWER
(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine)

1 large head cauliflower cut into very large florets, florets halved lengthwise to make flat surfaces
5 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower and garlic with 3 Tbs. of the oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Arrange the florets flat side down in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and transfer to the oven to steam for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil, rotate the baking sheet, and roast until the bottom side is nicely browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and continue roasting until just tender and deeply browned, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Swirl in the lemon juice.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving bowl. Add the spice mixture, and toss gently. Season to taste with more salt, if needed, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

caulicomp

Comments: Once again I found the method wonderful to deliver perfectly roasted cauliflower florets. Now, about that spice mixture. I notice quite often these days that many recipes follow what I like to call The Ottolenghi Path:  they call for the addition of many spices and herbs to a dish, often in unexpected combinations. That is not necessarily a bad thing, he is for sure a gastronomic genius, but there is also something to be said about a simply roasted veggie, with a smidgen of olive oil, salt, pepper, and perhaps a single added spice. Of course, cookbooks, magazines, cooking shows, they all need to come up with clever, exotic ways to make food, otherwise, why would we bother paying attention to them, right?  Anyway, in this particular recipe I felt that the addition of the sautéed spices plus the lemon juice messed up slightly the texture of the roasted cauliflower, and also overpowered its flavor a bit. Granted, it made the dish feel more festive. But, if you are in the mood for a classic approach, omit it all, roast it, and serve it as it is. You won’t be disappointed. I will be steam-roasting cauliflower again and again, either in its natural state, or using this recipe with the following modifications: cut the ginger by half, keep the turmeric and coriander, add some lemon zest, and omit the lemon juice and cayenne. That might be a real winner for me.

steam-roasted-cauliflower-from-bewitching-kitchen

 

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ONE YEAR AGO: Creamy Zucchini-Mushroom Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Ken Forkish’s Pain au Bacon

THREE YEARS AGO: Carrot and Cumin Hamburger Buns

FOUR YEARS AGO: Potato Galettes a l’Alsacienne & Book Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

SIX YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pain Poilane

SILKY GINGERED ZUCCHINI SOUP

For the last couple of months I became interested in the Paleo nutritional system, as most people who follow it appear to be very fit. It got me curious. It also did not hurt that Dr. Loren Cordain,  the man behind the Paleo approach is now part of our extended family: Phil’s sister recently married his uncle-in-law. Small world! Anyway, fully aware of my self-inflicted moratorium on cookbooks in 2015, I did what a sensible food blogger would do and bought some Paleo-oriented publications last November. As you can see, I have an amazing ability to outsmart myself.  If you have any interest in the subject, I highly recommend Well Fed2, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, and Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans. Don’t worry, the Bewitching won’t turn into a Low-carb, Paleo, Vegan, or “insert any diet system here” blog.  There will be bread, pasta, rice, couscous, a lot of meat, and sweets. Omnivore, and loving it! –  has always been my motto, and that isn’t changing. But the truth is that one can cook a ton of tasty stuff under the Paleo approach. Plus, it’s all reasonably low in carbohydrates and high in protein, a kind of eating I’ve favored for the past 4 or 5 years. This soup is a perfect example of deliciousness that is low in fat, low in carbs, and keeps me satisfied from lunch until dinner.  As you may notice,  I included a cheese crisp that would not be blessed by Paleo folks.  It would make this version Primal, I suppose. Still hanging around caves, but with a little more pizzazz, sipping the occasional wine from a coconut shell.

ZucchiniSoup

 

SILKY GINGERED ZUCCHINI SOUP OVERVIEW

The secret for this smooth and delicious soup is the use of ginger and coriander as background spices. The soup starts with a simple saute of onion and garlic, then ginger and coriander in powdered form are added, releasing their flavors in the hot oil. Next, zucchini pieces join the party, and the whole thing will be simmered for about one hour in your favorite type of broth (chicken, veggie, or beef).  When the zucchini is super tender, the soup is blended and ready to be enjoyed.

You can find the recipe in Melissa’s site with a click here.
It is also in her cookbook Well Fed2.

simmering

I’ve made this soup almost as many times as I made Mike’s Creamy Broccoli Soup. Sometimes I used chicken broth, sometimes a mixture of chicken broth and water.  A squirt of lemon juice right before serving is a nice touch too. Cheese crisps pair very well with the zucchini. To make them I followed the method that Mike described in his original post for the broccoli soup.  On the first photo of this post, I used a Cheddar type cheese, and in the photo below I went with Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I like Parmigiano better, because it releases less oil as it bakes, and has that unique sharpness that contrasts very well with the silky soup.

unnamed-5

I confess I was afraid of making the crisps from scratch, due to traumatic experiences of a distant past. At that time I tried making them on a non-stick skillet on the stove top, and ended up with a complete mess, pretty much inedible.

But preparing them in the oven was a totally different experience. First, place parchment paper over a baking sheet (or use Silpat).  Then add small amounts of shredded cheese of your choice separated by about 1-inch.  They won’t spread too much, but better safe than sorry.

cheese

Watch them carefully, because they will go from perfect to burned in a matter of seconds….

crisps

Carefully transfer them to a rack, so that they get crisp. You can use them right away, or store for later.
crisps_rack

You will find all sorts of uses for these crisps… This beautiful Mexican-Caprese was made by my beloved husband…  and embellished by the crisps…

TexMexCapreseDressing was avocado oil infused with basil (he used the handy cubes from Dorot), a little lemon juice for good measure.

But back to the zucchini soup: a real winner of a recipe. I normally make a batch in the weekend, and it becomes my lunch for three days in the following week. If I don’t  have cheese crisps I top it with toasted almonds, or a diced hard-boiled egg. Simple, and quite nutritious.

Before I leave you, I want to share the best text I’ve seen in a long time concerning healthy-eating. It is a well-written satire on the state of nutritional advice these days. Hilarious, but unfortunately quite close to our reality these days.  Enjoy it with a click here. A little quote as a teaser:

The ONLY way to eat is seasonally, locally and sustainably.  If you live in a place where snow falls and kills crops and animals starve you should eat snow and only snow.  To do anything else will cause immediate and untimely death”.  
(from Sarah Yates, A Little House in the Hills).

🙂

ONE YEAR AGO: Sweet Fifteen!

TWO YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

FOUR YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

FIVE YEARS AGO: White Bread

 

 

SUPERNOVA MEETS WOK

My wok is 18 years old, it was one of the first gifts I received when I moved from France to the US, back in 1995.  Thank you, dear friend, you know who you are…  😉  I used it a lot in Oklahoma, even though our stove was not powerful enough to bring the best in stir-frying.  The wok patiently waited for me inside a box when we traveled for two sabbaticals, and into the box it went again when we moved to the Little Apple and co-existed with an electric stove that even Benjamin Franklin would consider sub-par.  Once Supernova was installed, I went to the basement to retrieve my old friend, apologized for the neglect inflicted upon him, and said his loyalty would be compensated: he would meet a superstar and they would live happily ever after…   Happy to report that it was love at first flame!

wok1

HOISIN CHICKEN WITH CASHEWS
(inspired by Fine Cooking magazine & Barbara Tropp)

2 Tbs peanut oil
1 medium shallot,  sliced
2 Piquillo peppers, sliced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks and velveted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. snow peas, trimmed
Crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup hoisin sauce diluted with 2 Tbs water
1/3 cup roasted cashews

The day before or a few hours before your meal, velvet the chicken using this method. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the shallot slices and cook for 2 to 3 min. Add the Piquillo peppers  (I buy them jarred) and cook until both the pepper and onion are browned around the edges. Remove the vegetables from the skillet; set aside. Pour the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the oil, and cook, stirring frequently, so that all sides brown, 2 to 3 min. Stir in the snow peas and sprinkle in some red chile flakes. Add the ginger. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the thinned hoisin sauce. Simmer for 1 min. to wilt the snow peas and finish cooking the chicken.  Sprinkle with the cashews and serve over rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served2Comments:  Velveting the chicken makes this type of stir-fry so much better that it’s worth investing the small amount of work to do it.  Since the chicken can stay in the egg white mixture for up to 24 hours, you could conceivably do it the evening before you intend to make it for dinner.  I prefer to do this preparation either when I wake up, or if time allows, at lunch time. Piquillo peppers are from Spain, so their use in this dish qualifies as “fusion-cooking”.  In reality, I had an open jar in my fridge and wanted to use it up.  So there. 😉

What I love the most about this recipe is the simplicity of the finishing sauce, a mixture of hoisin and water, no cornstarch to deal with.  The snow peas barely got in touch with any heat, so they stayed bright green and with a little crunch that was perfect to add that extra something to the dish.  A real keeper for a weeknight, there were only three little pieces of chicken left, which made for a super light lunch next day. But, at least I did not have to share…

Hoisin Chicken with Cashews

ONE YEAR AGO: 500 Posts and The Best Thing I ever made

TWO YEARS AGO: Back in Los Angeles

THREE YEARS AGO: White House Macaroni and Cheese

FOUR YEARS AGO: Korean-Style Pork with Asian Slaw

AWESOME BROCCOLINI

Ah, the bliss, the joy, the thrill of a stove with hot burners!  Stir frying, and any  other cooking style that imparts a wonderful, golden brown color – promises of great flavor ahead – just can’t materialize without intense heat.  I look at the powerful flame on our stove, and discreetly wipe a tear from my eye … Some things get to me.  A big sink to wash dishes.  An oven with three racks and the capability of 500 F.  Stuff like that.  But, back to food.  I found  some organic broccolini at the grocery store.  It’s a great veggie, a perfect side dish for anything from poultry to seafood.  BTW, it’s not baby broccoli,  but a cross between broccoli and  kai-lan, a Chinese leafy cabbage.  The cross mellows the broccoli character, almost yielding the flavor of asparagus, which explains one of its alternative names: asparation (I’m glad this name didn’t stick!  ;-))

My take on broccolini is a slight departure from the stove-top version of broccoli that I posted a year ago.

BROCCOLINI WITH GINGER AND LEMON
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 small bunches of broccolini, preferably organic
2 tsp olive oil
red pepper flakes
1 tsp grated ginger
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
splash of water (if needed)

Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet (that will hold the veggies without crowding), when smoking hot add the red pepper flakes, swirl for a couple of seconds and immediately add all the broccolini. Do not move them around, let them get a nice brown color at the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, add the ginger and lemon zest, and shake the pan to move the broccolini and coat well all sides with the ginger, lemon zest, and oil.

Cover the pan, let it cook for 2-3 minutes more, then add the lemon juice – test the broccolini with a fork to see if it’s done to your liking.  If it’s not, and the pan is too dry, add a splash of water and cover the pan again, checking after a minute.  Once it’s cooked al dente, transfer to a serving dish and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  If you are anti-broccoli and think broccolini resembles it too much, please reconsider!  There’s absolutely none of the broccoli flavor/smell that many object to.  Avoid over cooking it, and buy young broccolini, with a bright green color and a firm flesh. This recipe is low in carbs and fat, but sky-high in flavor!  Lemon, ginger & red pepper flakes might very well be my favorite flavor mix right now: good on everything!

ONE YEAR AGO: Pizza! Pizza!

TWO YEARS AGO:  From Backyard to Kitchen

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