Cauliflower Tagine

This dish was the perfect way to celebrate my beautiful CSA cauliflower. Although the base of this tagine was a bit spicy, the cauliflower and cheesy breadcrumb topping offset the spiciness and created a perfect balance. Because I didn’t have the Tunisian spice blend, Tabil, on hand, I was able to create the spice blend myself. The spiciness in the final dish could be easily modified by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes in the spice blend.

The tagine recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. I reduced the amount of olive oil to lighten the recipe. I also included a leek as well as green and yellow bell peppers from my CSA share. The spice blend recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com. It was a full-flavored and fabulous vegetarian casserole.

For the Tabil Spice Blend:

Yield: about 3 tablespoons

  • 1 1/2 T coriander seeds
  • 2 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 T caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Finely grind all ingredients in a spice mill.

Note: The remaining spice blend can be reserved in an airtight container at room temperature.

For the Tagine:
Yield: Serves 6

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Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

My entire family really looks forward to our Mardi Gras dinner. In all honesty, it’s because the meal is topped off with our traditional freshly-baked King Cake. Just writing about it makes me want some. 🙂

I typically make a Cajun main dish- usually shrimp jambalaya. This chicken and sausage version was incredible. My mother-in-law had just given us tons of fabulous Polish kielbasa as well. I was happy that my husband agreed to “sacrifice” it for our special dinner as it really added to the finished dish. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ian Knauer.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 10-12 ounces Andouille sausage or kielbasa, sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6-10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (I used Basmati)
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
  1. Season the chicken with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Brown the chicken, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the sausage to the pot and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the plate with the chicken.
  4. Stir the onions, belly peppers, celery, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into the pot.
  5. Cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves and cayenne and continue to cook until golden, about 6 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, water reserved chicken and reserved sausage along with any accumulated juices and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Season the jambalaya with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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Thai One-Pot

I made this quick one-pot dish so that my son could gobble it up before his swim practice. After practice, he used my husband’s phone to text me (repeatedly), “I’m starving! I need more ONE POT!!” He absolutely loved it. Needless to say, he ate all of the leftovers. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine. I lightened the recipe by using ground turkey instead of ground pork. I also used arborio rice. My serving had additional fresh lime juice squeezed all over the top. Tasty!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground pork or turkey
  • 3/4 cup short-grain rice (I used arborio rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 scallions including green tops, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • radishes, cut into thin slices, to taste, for garnish
  • 5 tablespoons chopped cilantro or fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • juice from about 1 lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. (I used a 4-quart covered pan.)
  2. Add the bell peppers, shiitakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove.
  3. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, stirring, until it is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Spoon off the fat from the pan, if using pork. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Stir in the bell peppers and shiitakes, the rice, broth, soy sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne.
  5. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, without removing the lid, until the rice is just done, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, and lime juice.
  8. Garnish with additional lime wedges, radishes, cilantro, and scallion slices, as desired. Serve.

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Summer Vegetable Gratin

This colorful dish used my entire CSA box in one meal! My husband accepted it as a vegetarian main because of the flavorful baguette-cheese topping (yay!), but it would also work well as a hearty side dish. We even had a green salad on the side. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. Moskin recommended using a fresh baguette in the topping for the best crust. Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or up to 12 as a side dish

Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the Base Layer:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced, or 2 additional onions
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

For the Tomato-Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 1 ½ pounds plum or other ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

For the Gratin:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, more for baking
  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • 1 ½ pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley, more for garnish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the base layer: In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron pan (10 to 12 inches across), combine onions and olive oil and heat to a sizzle, stirring to separate.
  2. Add bell peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring, over low heat until peppers are very soft and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and leave mixture in the pan. (The garlic can be removed at this time, if desired.)
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Core tomatoes and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Lay on paper towels to drain for 10+ minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes and cook very slowly, turning once or twice, until liquid has bubbled away and flesh is cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Do not overcook, or tomatoes will fall apart.) Turn off heat and let slices cool in skillet; they will continue to dry out.
  5. Tear baguette into pieces and pulse in a food processor to make coarse, fluffy, pea-size crumbs. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the cheese and pulse to combine.
  6. Assemble the gratin: Heat oven to 425 degrees. (If your oven has a convection feature, use it, reducing baking temperature to 400 degrees.)
  7. In a large bowl, combine oil, zucchini and squash, and toss well until lightly and evenly coated. Add basil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss again.
  8. On top of the base layer in pan, arrange squash and zucchini slices around the inner rim of the pan, standing on their edges in roughly alternating colors. Pat down into the pan so slices overlap and lie down, like shingles or fallen dominoes. Repeat to make another circle inside the first, and again if necessary, until pan is filled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  9. Brush oil over the top of the gratin and transfer to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees (425 degrees for convection), or heat the broiler.
  10. Add the topping: Arrange tomato slices in one layer on top of the par-baked gratin. Spread bread-cheese mixture over tomatoes and press down gently.
  11. Bake or broil until vegetables are browned around the edges or crust is crisp and golden. 
  12. Let cool slightly and serve hot or at warm room temperature. Garnish each serving with herbs, if desired.

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Roasted Red Pepper, Corn, & Tomato Soup

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I had a BOUNTY of red peppers this year in my CSA share. I found this recipe on an extensive search for a creative use for them… last year I made Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (link below) more than once, and, although delicious, I wanted something new! 🙂 (One can only eat so many red peppers in salad too…)

I was completely floored by this delicious soup. The color was incredible too. What a wonderful surprise! The roasted vegetables – especially the corn- gave it a fabulous depth of flavor. It was chili-esque. In fact, it was the BEST vegetarian “faux” chili I have ever tasted- and the BEST use for my bounty of CSA red peppers! (not to mention late-summer corn!) We ate it with green salad and popovers– but it would also be wonderful with cornbread. This recipe was adapted from Knead to Cook.com.

I’m bringing it to this week’s party over at The Novice Gardener. Happy Fiesta Friday #36!!

  • 4 ears of fresh corn
  • 3 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 red bell peppers or red long peppers
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ricotta salata, for serving, optional
  • cilantro, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast red peppers on a baking sheet 5-7 minutes a side, until charred. Turn over and repeat to char the other side. Cover with foil to steam. When cool enough to touch, remove skin, seeds, and stems. Roughly chop.
  3. On a cookie sheet drizzle a bit of olive oil. Remove the corn kernels from the cob; place on the cookie sheet. Add the tomatoes. Toss to coat with the olive oil, adding extra if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and chopped red peppers and stir.
  5. Add the stock and spices to the red pepper mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add the roasted corn and tomatoes. Reserve some corn for a garnish, if desired. With an immersion blender, or working in batches with a food processor, puree until smooth. Continue to cook simmer for an additional 20 minutes or longer over a low flame.
  7. Serve garnished with reserved corn, a sprinkling of cheese, and/or cilantro, if desired.

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One Year Ago:

Jose Garces’ One-Pot Arroz con Pollo

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This may be the most complex (flavorful and delicious) Arroz con Pollo ever made! The time was worth it- I only slightly simplified the recipe. A perfect dish to make on a cold, snow-bound day. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed Jose Garces. I substituted turmeric and sweet paprika for the annatto seeds to make the flavored oil, used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and omitted the olives.

  • Yield: 6 generous servings
  •  1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons annatto seeds (or 3 tsp turmeric and 3 tsp sweet paprika)
  • 7 parsley sprigs
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1/2 an orange)
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Anaheim or poblano chile, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups long-grain white basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas
  • 4 jarred piquillo peppers (2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, if desired
  1. If using annatto seeds: In a saucepan, simmer the oil and annatto seeds over low heat for 2 minutes. Let the oil cool to room temperature, 15 minutes. Strain the oil and reserve the seeds. If using turmeric and sweet paprika: combine the spices with the canola oil, set aside.
  2. Wrap and tie the reserved annatto seeds with the parsley, thyme and 1 bay leaf in a double layer of cheesecloth. (I just incorporated the fresh herbs and bay leaf in the dish while it cooked.)
  3. In a bowl, combine the orange juice, 3 tablespoons of the annatto oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons of the dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the annatto oil. Season the marinated chicken with salt and pepper; add to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned all over; transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the carrot, celery, shallot, leek, 2 sliced garlic cloves and half of the chopped onion to the casserole and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, chicken and herb (bundle) and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Strain the braising liquid; you should have 4 cups (if necessary, add water). Clean out the casserole. Shred the chicken meat.
  7. In the clean casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the annatto oil. Add the bell pepper, chile and remaining 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 bay leaf and chopped onion. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened.
  8. Add the shredded chicken and 4 cups braising liquid, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the rice and chickpeas and stir once; arrange the piquillos and olives (if using) on top. Press a 9-inch square of parchment paper on the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes, until the rice is tender. Let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Remove the paper.
  9. Serve with plantain chips and hot sauce, if desired.

One Year Ago:

Escalivada or Grilled Vegetable Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette

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This is a Catalan grilled vegetable salad. We ate it with Spanish grilled pork kebabs and Catalan tomato bread. It contains 3 different types of onions- yellow, leeks, & scallions- it smelled so good! After the vegetables are grilled, they are sliced and piled separately in rows on a serving plate- a lovely presentation. The vinaigrette is drizzled over the top. We ate this as a side dish but it would also be nice as a topping for grilled bread. This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen.

Serves: 4 to 6 as a side dish

For the vegetables:

  • 1 large onion (I used a Vidalia)
  • 1 large or 2 small long, slender eggplants (about 1 pound) (I used Asian eggplant)
  • 1 bunch leeks (the smallest, tenderest you can find)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 medium red bell peppers (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow)
  • 4 medium ribs celery
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 3 T finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, for serving, if desired
  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Peel the onion, leaving the root end intact, then cut through the root into 6 or 8 wedges. Cut the eggplant on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Trim the leeks of the dark greens and roots, leaving only the white portion, then cut lengthwise in half and rinse well. Blot the leeks dry with paper towels. Trim the roots off the scallions. Brush the vegetables generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. When ready to cook, arrange the vegetables, including the bell peppers and celery, on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned, about 12 minutes in all. (We put the eggplant and Vidalia onion in a grill basket.) Transfer the vegetables as they are done to a cutting board to cool.      IMG_4260
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut the roots off the onion wedges and thinly slice the onions crosswise. Cut the eggplant slices into 1/4-inch slivers. Scrape any burnt skin off the peppers (if desired), then stem, seed, and thinly slice. Cut the leeks, scallions, and celery into thin crosswise slices. Arrange the vegetable slices in separate piles on plates or a platter.
  5. Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, salt, parsley, pepper, and olive oil in a mini-food processor. Add additional salt to taste. Spoon the vinaigrette over the vegetables and serve with lemon wedges.

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