Cauliflower: A Love Story

Kaki,

Cauliflower.  My word, it is SO good.  And this past week I proved it to myself all over again.

Exhibit A: Cauliflower and Green Onion Stir-Fry

I haven’t made too many stir-fries recently, and that is about to change.  I LOVED this, though I naturally made some changes from the linked recipe.  I didn’t have rice wine, so used white wine.  Didn’t have a wok, so just used a big saute pan.  Doubled the ginger.  Frankly, I think this is a great base recipe, to which you could substitute many different roasted vegetables in place of the cauliflower.  The sauce with the green onions and caramelized onions would be so good with pretty much anything. (Oh, and, um, maybe I eat like a crazy person, but I got 3 servings out of this, not 4.)

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Exhibit B: Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Okay, so this did take a while to make.  Should have guessed that when it was adapted from a slow-cooker recipe for a Dutch oven.  And I had put off making it forever because wilted spinach just isn’t my thing.  So instead of fresh spinach, I just added some frozen chopped spinach at the end of cooking time.  SO, so good.

Exhibit C: Crispy Cauliflower Leaves

So, I prepped the two cauliflower heads for these recipes at the same time, and for one reason: that meant I had double the cauliflower leaves leftover.  Kaki, if you’ve never roasted  cauliflower leaves, now is the time.  It’s just a toss-in-oil, salt-and-pepper method; I roasted them while roasting the florets for the stir-fry (so, also at 450*F, and for 30 minutes).

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Let’s make up some cauliflower goodness the next time we’re together, okay?

Until then!
-Caitlin

Cake, Pie, and a Recipe Redeemed

Kaki!  Thanks so much for the lovely cookbooks you got me for my birthday; Deb’s I’ve been meaning to get forever, and The Food Lab, so far, has made my nerd heart go pitter-pat with all of The Scientific Method that’s going on.  Loooove it.

I’ve made a lot of really good stuff this past month, some of which you could actually also eat!  For example:

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

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Guurrlll, this turned out so good, and kept perfectly in the fridge for well over a week.  I will say the filling was a bit odd, as I used peanut butter, not almond butter per the recipe, and the flavor pretty much took over.  Which I dig; give me a chocolate-peanut-butter-combo any day of the week.  But, even so, I think playing around with the filling flavor will probably happen as some point.  Currently thinking maybe adding Nutella?  Or almond extract, maybe?  Espresso powder?  Still brainstorming there.

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Tahiree Vegetable Rice Curry

This was tasty, if not earth-shattering.  I was surprised that you could add all of those whole spices and never fish them out again; turns out the peppercorns and cloves are actually okay to eat!  The cardamom pods, chiles, and bay leaves, not so much.  Interesting lesson, that.

Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie

I so wish we could share this dish, Kaki, because it is easily in the Top Ten of everything I’ve made this year.  Alas, it builds a lot of its flavor from the lamb, so veggifying it would be quite a feat.  I don’t know, maybe lentils and chickpeas?  The flavors of the spices, the olives, the golden raisins and the sweet potato topping are just phenomenal, worth some experimentation for sure.  Meat-eaters reading this should just Pass Go and Collect An Amazing Meal.

Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass

Five stars!  All of the stars!  I was shocked that this came out so tasty, since it’s a riff on a recipe for chicken braised in milk that I made last year and was thoroughly meh.  This take, however, with the succulence of the coconut milk and the chicken, and the inspired addition of star anise and lemongrass, blew my mind with how good it was.  Next time I’ll make it with just skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, as the dark meat didn’t turn out as well as the breast meat.  Kaki, it is sooo good, how can we also veggify this so you can experience how good it is?  Let me know if you come up with anything.

How was your Halloween, my dear?  Can’t wait to see you next weekend!

Until then, happy cooking,

Caitlin

Simple Pasta

Kaki, I’m having a moment with some pasta.

Not with the extravagant, doused in tomato or cream sauce pasta.  No, I’m loving the “add only a few ingredients and spaghetti and magically oh my-God-this-tastes-amazing” pasta.  Some of my favorites:

Giada’s Lemon Spaghetti

You can add anything to this.  A clove of minced garlic in the sauce?  Do it.  Dried instead of fresh herbs?  Yes.  Omit the cheese from the sauce?  Shockingly, yes.  Tons of veggies to the pasta to make it a freakin’ complete meal?  Go for it.  And the sauce you just assemble in a mason jar, cap it up and shake to bring it together, pour it over the pasta and dooooone.  (But one note: 2/3 a cup of olive oil seems a bit extreme to me.  I recently used 1/2 cup and it worked just fine.)

Italian Wonderpot

This recipe sounds crazy, but works great with any number of substitutions.  As long as you add more delicate veggies closer to the end of cooking, you can add any that your heart desires.  I’m not sure I’d add meat to this dish, since it would essentially just simmer away, but in a pinch you could brown meat first, let it drain off to the side, and add it back in at the end.  Also, Beth’s tip about breaking the spaghetti in half to help avoid “large nest of noodles surrounded by unincorporated veggies” syndrome is inspired, I use it all the time now.

Also, my Fastest, Easiest, Laziest Dinner would be great over some pasta (it’s also great over a baked sweet potato).

Any simple pasta recommendations, Kaki?  I’m all ears and tastebuds.

–Caitlin

Recipe Recap

Kaki, good lord, Colorado was fun.

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Haven’t done a ton of cooking since coming back from Kristin’s wedding (congrats, Kristin and Lutfi!), but before the trip we did a whole cooking day at Cooper’s that was pretty spectacular.  Here are some of the highlights:

America’s Test Kitchen’s Sloppy Joes

God I love a good Sloppy Joe.  I think ground beef and a can of Manwich is pretty freakin’ good, but as always America’s Test Kitchen takes the pretty freakin’ good and makes it aMAzing.

Breakfast Casserole

Another fully non-vegan recipe, but for us omnivores this made for a great reheated breakfast throughout the week. Cooper advised she used hot Italian turkey sausage, ciabatta instead of white bread, and green onion.

Lentil & Sausage Stew

Sooooo good!  And froze like a dream.

Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream

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Kaki, you were not kidding that coconut milk as an ice cream base is amazing!  Next time I make it I’ll add a little vodka to keep what little ice crystals formed at bay, but otherwise, quite a winner.

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Black Bean & Corn Salad

This, Kaki, is the one you need to make this weekend for lunches this week.  We added some red quinoa, divided it into tupperware, and even the avocado keep just fine for the week.  It was phenomenal, I’m thinking of making it again this week myself.

Holly made their family recipe for okra beef stew that is super good, and her boyfriend James made bacon-wrapped steaks and baked potatoes that you layer with onions and butter right in the tin foil.  We ate like kings!

Can’t wait to see you and your new place over Labor Day.  Let me know what ingredients to bring and we can just get to cooking when I get there. 🙂

From my kitchen to yours,
Caitlin

P.S.  One more Colorado pic for good measure:

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A Tale of Two Cookouts

Kaki!  Summer is awesome.  The produce!  The grilling!  The grilling of the produce!

And behold, that is exactly what we have been doing.

We’ve made watermelon salad with feta and olives and mint (thumbs up).  We’ve made cucumber salad with yellow tomatoes and red onion.

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We’ve grilled eggplant and summer squash, cabbage and tomatoes, and doused them all in a spiced yogurt sauce.

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And steak.

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(One we marinaded in soy sauce and wasabi paste, and one we used a dry rub of salt, brown sugar, espresso powder and cayenne.  The marinade was my favorite, but both were delicious.)

We’ve grilled peaches in a sweet pesto sauce (recipe inspiration here) with orange zest yogurt whipped cream sauce on top.

We’ve discovered the wonderful herb papalo, and put it over salads and in dressings and steeped it in a simple syrup for cocktails.

Summer is going great, and I’m enjoying every minute of every cookout we have.

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I hope your day today involved some good friends, the summer sun, and char on everything.

From this patio to yours,
Caitlin

Recipe Recap

Kaki, it’s that time again!  The time when I confess the kitchen blunders and revel in the culinary successes of the past few weeks. Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower and Fish Tacos Thanks once again to Cooking Light for this great recipe.  Theirs is … Continue reading