Roasted Cauliflower Shawarma with Tahini Sauce

This is an amazing vegetarian version of one of my favorite dishes. It was absolutely packed with flavor. I served it with Turkish bulgur and vegetable pilaf on the side- perfect.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. I roasted one large red onion but would consider using two next time.

We ate the filling served on warm mini naan. As it was completely overstuffed, we had to use utensils to eat it. :/ The filling could also be stuffed in a pita or served on a larger flatbread.

Yield: 4 servings

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 large heads cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds each), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 or 2 large red onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges

For the Tahini Sauce:

  • 2 T fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste (I used Meyer lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or 2 tsp harissa paste or other hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 2/3 cup ice water, plus more as needed

For Serving:

  • warm naan, pita, or other flatbread
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley, or more to taste
  • chopped tomato, cucumber and olives (I omitted the olives)
  • bulgur and vegetable pilaf, optional
  1. Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare the cauliflower: In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Add cauliflower and onion, and toss until well coated.
  4. Divide the mixture and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet pans.
  5. Roast vegetables until they are golden brown, slightly crisp and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, and rotating the pans halfway through the roasting time. If the vegetables look dry as they roast, drizzle with a little more olive oil. (I roasted the vegetables for 35 minutes on convection.)
  6. As the vegetables cook, prepare the tahini sauce: Whisk together lemon juice, Aleppo pepper or harissa, garlic and salt in a small bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic.
  7. Whisk in tahini.
  8. Whisk in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. You may not need all of the water or you may need to add a little more: Tahini brands vary a lot.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more Aleppo pepper or harissa, lemon juice and salt if you like. The sauce should taste zippy and creamy.
  10. Warm the flatbread by placing them directly on the bottom oven rack during the last 5 minutes as the vegetables roast. (Or you can warm the bread on another baking pan.)
  11. Scatter parsley on top of the roasted vegetables and serve with warm naan or pita, tahini sauce, chopped tomato, cucumber and olives, as desired.

Creole Shrimp & Stone-Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage

Annually, our Easter weekend menu includes this classic southern dish. It reminds us of Charleston, South Carolina- a special place for our family.

I feel that we say this every year, but, this was our favorite version yet! It was extra fabulous because I used “unicorn grits” from Millers All Day in Charleston. 🙂 We ate the dish with roasted asparagus and green salad. Meyer Lemon Martini‘s and Orange Chiffon Easter Bunny Cake were also included in our feast.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Vallery Lomas. I modified the method and proportions. I forgot the scallion garnish- an issue that I have on holidays. :/ Fantastic nonetheless.

Yield: Serves 6

For the Grits:

  • 3 cups whole or reduced-fat milk (see Tip)
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar (I used New Zealand Sharp Cheddar)

For the Shrimp:

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used tail-on 21-25 count shrimp)
  • 2 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning (see Tip) (I used Slap Ya Mama)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage, diced (I used Aidells)
  • 1 medium or large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 21 oz San Marzano tomatoes with juice (about 3/4 of a 28 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • hot sauce, for serving, optional
  • 2 T thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

To Prepare the Grits:

  1. Bring 3 cups water, milk, butter, salt, and grits to a simmer in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. After the resting period, return the pot to low heat. (At this point, start preparing the shrimp.)
  4. Intermittently, stir while the grits begin to thicken and become creamy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add additional water a few tablespoons at a time if the grits thicken before they are cooked. When stirring, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent the grits from sticking and burning.
  5. When the grits are done, remove from the heat and stir in the pepper and cheese.
  6. Taste to adjust seasoning, adding up to an additional 1/2 teaspoon more salt, if desired.

To Prepare the Shrimp:

  1. Pat the shrimp dry. Toss them in a medium bowl with the Creole seasoning; set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet.)
  3. Add the diced sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered and the sausage is crispy along the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Working in batches, add the shrimp and cook about 1 1/2 minutes each side, until cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to the plate with the sausage.
  5. Add the diced onion and bell pepper to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Add the tomatoes and stock, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.
  8. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Add shrimp and sausage and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
  10. Turn off the heat and swirl in the sour cream. Taste to adjust seasoning, adding salt or pepper as needed.
  11. Serve immediately, topped with the hot shrimp mixture. Finish with a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired, and a sprinkling of scallions.

Tips:

  1. For a more savory profile, prepare the grits in 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock instead of water and milk.
  2. If you don’t have Creole seasoning, you can combine 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne.

Roasted Chicken with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce over Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions

Ha! Milk Street Magazine published these two flavor-packed dishes on the same page so I served them together. We ate the chicken and rice with roasted cauliflower. Delicious. 🙂

The avocado-cilantro sauce was amazing and would compliment any meat or chicken. It was inspired by a standard accompaniment to grilled meats in Venezuela called guasacaca. The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill.

The rice was inspired by an everyday dish in Pakistan and India called jeera (or zeera) rice. The recipe was adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, via Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Dimitri Demopolous. The original recipe notes that it is ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.

To prepare these dishes together, I began by making the rice dish. While the rice cooked and rested, I prepared the chicken and the sauce.

For the Chicken & Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10) OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 T white vinegar
  • optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position and another rack in the highest position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. On a foil or parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Using foil is a better choice if broiling the skinless meat after roasting.)
  3. If using skinless meat, arrange thighs “skin side down” and roast about 10 minutes. Flip over and roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and adjust oven to the broil setting.
  4. Place pan on the top rack and broil to finish browning the meat, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 165. (Alternatively, if using skin-on, bone-in meat: Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
  5. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a Vitamix which made the sauce incredibly creamy.)
  6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. (If serving with cumin rice, plate chicken over the rice and pour over any accumulated juices.)
  7. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (or other optional garnishes listed above) and serve with the sauce.

For the Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 3 T ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • chopped fresh cilantro, to serve, optional
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. (I used a 4-quart stainless steel pot.)
  2. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the browned onions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  7. Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Creamy Chimichurri Roast Chicken

I love an amazing sauce. In this dish, the creamy and velvety yogurt-herb sauce is used as both the marinade and the condiment served with the finished meal. Yogurt-based marinades always result in such tender meat- delicious!

This recipe was adapted from the Bon AppĂ©tit “healthyish” issue, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. The original recipe also suggests serving the sauce with meatballs, zucchini fritters, roasted mushrooms, or turkey burgers.

I served the chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli- which were also both delicious drizzled with the creamy chimichurri sauce.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Marinade & Sauce:

  • 9 large garlic cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 2 cups (packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 4 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 2 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

For the Chicken & To Assemble:

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken, backbone removed, patted dry
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • roasted broccoli and potatoes, for serving, optional

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Pulse garlic cloves, cilantro, parsley, red wine vinegar, salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor until combined and herbs are very finely chopped but not puréed.
  2. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add the Greek yogurt and remaining 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk vigorously until emulsified (makes about 2 1/2 cups).

Do ahead: Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Whisk just before using.

To Make the Chicken & To Assemble:

  1. Place the chicken, backbone removed, patted dry, breast side up, on a cutting board; open up against surface as much as possible. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast (you may hear a crack).
  2. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and rub all over with salt and 3/4 cup yogurt-herb sauce.
  3. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and, preferably, up to 12 hours (no need to bring to room temperature before roasting).
  4. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  5. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set inside a large parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet; spread any marinade left in large bowl over skin.
  6. Roast chicken, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh registers 165°, 50–60 minutes. (I used the oven probe and then confirmed the internal temperature with a separate thermometer.) (I roasted the potatoes in the same oven.)
  7. Let rest 10 minutes. (This is a good time to roast additional vegetables.) Cut into pieces and transfer chicken to a platter.
  8. If it has separated, whisk remaining sauce in medium bowl; drizzle chicken with sauce and serve remaining sauce at the table.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Maple-Gochujang Brown Butter

I need to have guests present to serve Brussels sprouts in my house because there are not many fans in my immediate family. They are always part of my Thanksgiving meal! I served them with roasted rainbow carrots and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard viniagrette.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Peter Som. I modified the method and proportions. The sauce was amazing!

The original recipe notes that if you can’t find gochujang, Sriracha can be substituted, to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts (from 1 stalk), trimmed, halved if large
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) (I omitted them)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Set a rimmed baking sheet in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 500°. I set my oven to convection roast.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts with oil in a large bowl to coat; season with kosher salt and pepper. Carefully (baking sheet will be hot!) spread out in a single layer; reserve bowl.
  3. Roast until brussels sprouts are charred in spots and tender, 12 minutes in a convection oven or up to 16–18 minutes in a standard oven.
  4. Meanwhile, if using walnuts, toast in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
  5. Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, until milk solids are a deep amber color and butter smells very nutty, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gochujang and maple syrup. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Combine Brussels sprouts, half of walnuts (if using), and half of scallions in reserved bowl; add brown butter mixture and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer to a platter or serving bowl and scatter (remaining walnuts) and scallions over the top.
  8. Finely grate lemon zest on top; sprinkle with sea salt. (I used Fleur de Sel.)

Basil Vinaigrette

I used my beautiful CSA basil to make this flavorful vinaigrette. We ate it drizzled over my CSA tomatoes and cucumbers from a friend. We also enjoyed it on sourdough baguette slices. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Melissa Rubel Jacobson. The original recipe notes that it would also be great on grilled chicken or fish, on corn, or in pasta or panzanella salad.

Yield: Makes 1/3 cup

  • 1 small garlic clove 
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • ÂĽ cup extra-virgin olive oil  
  • 1 1/2 to 2 T sherry or Champagne vinegar 
  • pinch of crushed red pepper 
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until chopped.
  2. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the oil, vinegar and crushed red pepper and process until smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Citrus Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Queso Cotija Dressing

As soon as I saw Mexican chef Pati Jinich prepare this dish on her PBS show, I had to make it. 🙂 I bought beautiful purple cauliflower and purple broccoli at the farm stand to make it extra special. We ate it with Mexican-Style Chipotle-Lime Pork Cutlets.

The salty, cheesy sauce was absolutely incredible. I loved how the vegetables were sliced into steaks instead of florets as well. I trimmed the tough outer portion of each stem but would remove even more next time to make that portion more tender.

This recipe was adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table and patijinich.com, via kcet.org. It was on an episode featuring dishes inspired by Isla Mujeres. I substituted creme fraiche for the Mexican crema. I also modified the method and proportions. Amazing!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Vegetables:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 1 large naval orange)
  • 3 chopped chiles de arbol or 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing/drizzling
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 2 large heads)
  • 2 pounds cauliflower, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 1 large head)

For the Queso Cojita Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija
  • 2/3 cup Mexican crema or creme fraĂ®che
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola oil)
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 T water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

To Prepare the Vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. ( I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a glass measuring cup with a spout, mix the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes (or chile de arbol), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the cauliflower and broccoli steaks on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer, making sure that they are not crowded.
  5. Evenly pour the orange juice mixture all over the vegetables.
  6. Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until well roasted and considerably charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To Make the Dressing & To Serve:

  1. While the vegetables are roasting, combine the queso cotija, Mexican crema (or creme fraîche), vegetable oil, sherry vinegar, water, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender or mixer. Puree until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Serve the broccoli and cauliflower on a large platter and ladle the queso cotija right on top, or let your guests spoon sauce onto their plates and dip their vegetables in the sauce to their liking. (I served the sauce in a bowl on the side.)

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