Browsing Category

Dinner Tonight

Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Cauliflower: My Vegetable of the Moment

August 31, 2017
true_food_kitch_mediterranean_cauliflower

When I’ve made the same vegetable for dinner twice in one week, it’s more than a matter of convenience; I’m officially obsessed.

Right now, I’m fascinated with cauliflower. Sure, this milky member of the crucifer family lacks the superfood sexiness of kale, the exoticism of eggplant or even the sweet crunch of carrots. No, this mild-mannered vegetable is a quiet superhero of the vegetable world with the ability to be anything you want it to be.

It started with a gorgeous Food 52 image of this deep chestnut brown cauliflower steak. In case you’re wondering, you get a cauliflower steak by slicing it about 3/4-inch thick. Here’s a Dan Barber recipe for cauliflower steaks that I spotted on Food 52.

And when True Food Kitchen opened in Walnut Creek, I went to visit their super chef Nathan Coulon. We shared the Mediterranean roasted cauliflower with tahini, harissa and mint, and it’s been one of my favorite dishes there ever since. I can’t find the real recipe online, but there are a few good copycat versions, like this one by Alyssa of Her Modern Kitchen.

I’ve made cauliflower mashed potatoes, and they turned out just as creamy as the ones from the actual tuber, with a fraction of the simple carbs. And buffalo chicken cauliflower, with a tangy hot pepper sauce mellowed with a hint of sweetness, is pretty tasty, too.

But I’ve drawn the line at subbing cauliflower for a pizza crust. You may even like that sort of thing, but there are some places a Chicago girl just won’t go.

Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Spanish Shrimp with Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Grits for #letslunch

May 4, 2012
shrimp_grits

Shrimp ‘n’ grits is a classic Southern dish, especially around the Low Country of South Carolina. I like the way grits make a blank starchy canvas that can be easily paired with so many other flavors. A pot of grits is the easiest thing in the world to stir up; make it interesting by adding some butter, a little white cheddar, browned bacon and chives.

The shrimp that go with grits are usually seasoned with garlic, Cajun style seasoning, cayenne and herbs, kind of like a kicked up shrimp scampi.

But since Mark Bittman told me about this Spanish inspired recipe that stars  Spanish paprika with ground cumin, I haven’t looked back.

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 30 minutes

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

Excuse the superlatives; this spin on a Spanish tapa is my favorite, and everyone I serve it to loves it. The shrimp juices infuse the oil, and the sum is beyond delicious. It’s good with bread, over rice, tossed with pasta, or stuffed into tacos.

Other seafood you can use: similar-sized scallops (or larger, though they’ll take longer to cook).

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed

3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers

About 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, 20 to 30 per pound, peeled, rinsed, and dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika

Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Warm the olive oil in a large, broad ovenproof skillet or flameproof baking pan over low heat. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Add the garlic and cook until it turns golden, a few minutes.

2. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, some salt and pepper, the cumin, and the paprika. Stir to blend and continue to cook, shaking the pan once or twice and turning the shrimp once or twice, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish and serve immediately.

From Mark Bittman.com

Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Pretty Green Brussels Sprout Slaw for #LetsLunch

March 1, 2012
shaved_brussels_sprouts

Summer won’t be here for months according to the calendar, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait until July to break out our cole slaw recipes. Cabbage is the perfect vegetable to bridge the winter-to-spring divide with its crisp texture and earthy, slightly sweet flavor.

Since heavy, creamy cole slaw doesn’t appeal to me most of the time, I was thrilled to discover some healthier and tangier slaws that hold the mayo. I developed a slew of healthy ethnic slaws for Relish Magazine, but one of my favorites is this one made with pale green baby Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are delicious raw, when thinly shaved and mixed with lemon, toasted walnuts and pecorino romano in this wintry slaw.

Cabbage and the other cruciferous vegetables all share a subtle sweetness and can star in a range of creative salads and slaws. Cabbage is delicious raw and adds a crunchy component to any meal. Treat it like you would any lettuce: chop up the cabbage of your choice, drizzle it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, cilantro and minced garlic if you dare to make a fresh and light slaw.

This slaw makes a great side dish or even a main meal with the addition of some grilled chicken, fish or shrimp.

Look for: With red or green cabbage, choose one that feels solid with smooth, well-formed leaves. Napa cabbage should look fresh and green. Brussels sprouts should be small with tight heads that are free of yellow leaves.

The facts: Just one cup of cabbage has just 17 calories and is loaded with good stuff including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

Bonus Points: The entire cabbage family is powerful cancer fighters; it contains 11 of the 15 plant chemicals know to fight cancer, according to the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

1-1/2 lbs small Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and crushed
3 Tbs. large grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Using a mandoline or adjustable blade slicer, slice the Brussels sprouts into thin disks. Toss lightly to separate the layers. Add the walnuts and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together and drizzle over the Brussels sprout mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 cups

Adapted from Jonathan Waxman, author of A Great American Cook, Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

Dinner Tonight, Food + Recipes

Happiness is…Breakfast Udon Noodles

February 18, 2012
breakfast_udon_noodles_recipe

I tend to eat things in phases. One week, I’m totally into salty foods like potato chips or popcorn. The next week it might be dark and sweet French hot chocolate or salted caramel ice cream.

This week, probably because I’ve been super busy, I’ve gotten into building meals around poached eggs. Eggs are such a lovely and complete food, a quick way to get protein and get on with the day.

And I think eggs are just beautiful, especially if you can get ones from a farmer’s market or a friend who has chickens. The yolks on those are such a fantastic shade of marigold orange, like the label on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. But even grocery store eggs are pretty, with their cheerful yellow yolks surrounded by soft, chalk-colored whites.

To make my Breakfast Udon Noodles, I started with a reheated bowl of leftover plain udon and broth from Geta, my super-cute neighborhood Japanese restaurant. I ate half of them last night and of course when all the toppings were gone, I sort of lost interest.

My favorite Japanese noodles are topped with pork belly a la Momofuku or Daikokuya Ramen in LA. Since I didn’t have a slab of that lying around, I cut up a piece of thick-cut bacon and tried to cook it slowly, so it stayed tender.

Poach an egg by adding 1 inch of water to a shallow pot or frying pan with a light bottom. Turn it on high, and once it starts to simmer, but not quite boil, add a splash of vinegar. This keeps the egg yolk from spreading all over. Now carefully drop in the egg. It will start turning white as it cooks from the edges to the middle. Spoon a little water over the top of the egg, and use the spoon to move the egg around a bit, so it releases from the pan. When most of the white is opaque, it’s done.

I topped my noodles with the bacon and poached egg, along with some chopped green onions and a few shakes of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice powder.

It’s brothy, spicy, bacon & eggy and easy: I’m happy.