Cauliflower Bolognese

This healthy, hearty, and tasty vegetarian dish is from one of Bon Appétit’s “healthy-ish” issues. It initially had a mixed reception from the meat lovers in my house because the sauce closely resembled meat sauce in appearance and texture- but not in taste, of course. They gobbled it up in the end. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I increased the amount of garlic, used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce (and to reheat leftovers). I served it with roasted asparagus. Yum.

Yield: 6 servings

  • 12 oz mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2¼ lbs), broken into florets
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 to 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 chile, such as serrano, Holland, or Fresno, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T finely chopped rosemary
  • ⅓ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 3 T finely chopped parsley
  • freshly grated zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon
  1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out food processor bowl.
  2. Working in 3 batches, pulse cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
  3. Heat ¼ cup oil and 2 T butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes.
  5. Add onion and 2 T oil to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, chile, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add cauliflower and cook, yes, still stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes.
  9. Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
  10. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce.
  12. Add Parmesan, remaining 2 T butter, and 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
  14. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (it’ll probably need another pinch or two).
  15. Finely zest lemon over pasta and toss once more.
  16. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan, then drizzle with oil.

Pressure Cooker Shrimp Biryani

Pressure Cooker Shrimp Biryani

Compared to my last post, this pressure cooker biryani is an even faster version of this full-flavored Indian dish- very tasty but possibly a little less authentic.

There are a couple points to note in order for this dish to be a success. It is very important to use the largest shrimp available to prevent over-cooking. Secondly, when adding the water to the pot, it must be boiling in order for the rice to cook in the allotted time frame.

This recipe was adapted from The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Chandra Ram via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the amount of garlic, omitted the curry leaves, and used a stove-top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. Nice.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Serrano chile, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used 4 large cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chile powder, preferably Kashmiri (I used Ancho)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, torn into pieces, optional (if available)(can substitute curry powder, to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 ½ pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 or fewer per pound, see note), peeled and deveined
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more wedges for serving
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place the rice in a bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  2. Heat oil in the pot of a pressure cooker (set to the sauté function set on high in an electric pot), until oil is shimmering.
  3. Add onion; cook for about 4 minutes, until softened.
  4. Stir in Serrano chile, ginger, garlic, salt, chile powder, turmeric, paprika and curry leaves (if using); cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  5. Stir in boiling water; using a wooden spoon, stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Stir in soaked rice, shrimp and tomatoes (with juice).
  7. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick-release the pressure (on my pot, I rotate the release valve 90 degrees), stir lime juice into the rice, then cover the pressure cooker with a kitchen towel and the lid; let it sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Give rice another stir, then taste and add more salt, if needed.
  9. Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Note: Make sure to use jumbo shrimp or larger for this recipe. Look for “16/20” or “U/15” on the package; this indicates how many shrimp there are per pound.

BLT Tacos

Why have I never thought of making a BLT taco before? Genius.

This quick and delicious weeknight dinner recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I cooked the bacon at a lower temperature, increasing the cooking time. I think that this method isn’t as messy. 🙂 I added avocado slices, used corn-flour hybrid tortillas, a Serrano instead of jalapeño chile, increased the lime juice, and used chipotle Tabasco in the mayonnaise. I also warmed the tortillas with steam in the microwave.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon, about 10 slices
  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered (mixed colors are pretty here)
  • 1 small Serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded or not, finely chopped
  • 2-3 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Cholula or other hot sauce, or to taste, plus more for serving (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
  • 8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas (I used corn-flour hybrid tortillas)
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 avocado, sliced into eighths
  • refried beans and rice, for serving, optional
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Lay bacon in an even layer in 2 9-13″ glass pyrex dishes or on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plates and let cool. (Keep rendered fat for another use.)
  2. While bacon is cooking, toss together tomatoes, chopped chile, cilantro, lime juice and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and hot sauce.
  4. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or medium bowl. Top with a damp paper towel and seal with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 1 minute to warm.  (Alternatively, the tortillas can be warmed on the stove top: Lay a clean kitchen towel in a medium bowl. Using the open flame from a stovetop gas burner (or in a skillet placed on an electric burner), warm and lightly char tortillas, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Transfer warmed tortillas to a towel-lined bowl, and cover with towel to keep warm while you finish remaining tortillas.)
  5. Serve, letting people make their own tacos by layering bacon, salsa, lettuce, spicy mayonnaise and avocado, on tortillas. Top with more hot sauce, if desired.

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive a LOT of baby bok choy in my CSA share. Every time my husband spots it, he requests his favorite Thai dish, Pad See Ew. I do have a favorite version that I typically prepare, but, by chance I received a new recipe (email 😉 ) for his special dish when I received my recent bounty of bok choy.

The goal of this recipe was to recreate a high-heat wok cooked dish on a stove top by altering the stir fry technique. By cooking the ingredients in batches and combining all of the ingredients just prior to serving, the high-heat char typical of this dish was achieved. This version was indeed the closest I’ve come to reproducing my husband’s favorite take out dish.

This recipe was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. I used baby bok choy instead of broccolini, chicken thighs instead of breasts, Thai chiles instead of serrano, and fresh rice noodles. I reduced the oil and doubled the recipe as well. Great!

Yield: Serves 8

For the Chile-Vinegar:

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut against grain into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 24 oz fresh wide rice noodles (can substitute 16 oz 1/4-inch wide dried rice noodles)
  • 5-6 T vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 4 T packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 pounds baby bok choy (about 10), sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, separated into leaves and stems (broccolini or broccoli are good substitutes)
  • additional greens, if desired (I added 1/2 head of my CSA Sugarloaf Chicory as well)

For the Chile Vinegar:

  1. Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

For the Stir Fry:

  1. Combine chicken with 4 tablespoons water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
  2. If using fresh rice noodles: Place noodles in very hot tap water until they can be separated into large pieces. (If using dried rice noodles: Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 teaspoons oil.)
  3. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
  4. Heat 1 T oil and garlic in 12-inch (nonstick) skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, about minute.
  5. Add chicken and 4 tablespoons sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  6. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  7. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 T oil to cleared side of skillet.
  8. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
  9. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add bok choy stems and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the remaining bok choy leaves and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat.
  10. Cover skillet and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  11. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
  12. Sauce any additional greens in the remaining cooking liquid, if desired.
  13. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half of noodles and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture.
  14. Repeat with remaining 1 T oil, noodles, and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  15. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately, passing chile vinegar separately.

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I’m sharing my special stir fry at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #146, co-hosted by Antonia @Zoale and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy! 🙂

Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

Move over creamy chicken-chard-roasted poblano tacos… we have a new favorite in our house! These tacos are amazing. Thanks to the chipotle chiles, the filling tastes like it has been slow-cooked for hours. The finished full-flavored filling is loaded into a warm tortilla and smothered in toppings- incredible. Perfect.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in and substituted scallions for white onion as a garnish. It could easily be modified to use rotisserie chicken meat as well.

Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo feast… or Seis de Mayo if I’m too late. Fabulous any day! 🙂

Yield: 4 servings

Time: about 1 hour

For the Tacos:

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 scallions, left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme branch
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 2 cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
  • ½ cup chicken broth (*use broth from simmered chicken*)
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas

For the Garnish:

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped, soaked in ice water for 10 minutes and drained (I substituted unsoaked scallions.)
  • thinly sliced serrano chile
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • sliced avocado
  • crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
  • crème fraîche or Mexican crema
  • cilantro sprigs
  • dried oregano
  • lime wedges
  1. Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool.
  2. Shred chicken with your fingers. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.
  3. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat.
  7. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.
  8. Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable. (I placed them in a tortilla warmer, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute.)
  9. Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion or scallion, a few slivers of serrano chile, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco or feta and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs and a small pinch of oregano.
  10. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

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