Romanesco Cauliflower

22 Feb

DSC00499Mardi Gras approaches, and I’ve turned my farm box into a veggie-centric dish worthy of a bead toss. Oh, and it’s good for you, quick and easy to make. You’re welcome.

Cauliflower Jambalaya
Serves 4
Olive oil
1/2 cup spicy sausage, such as Andouille or chorizo
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 cups blanched cauliflower
1 cup chopped kale
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 22-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 cup quick cook brown basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven and add the sausage. Cook the sausage until it is browned, then remove from the pan and add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Stir and cook until vegetables are soft, then add the cauliflower, kale, thyme, paprika, cayenne, salt and black pepper, and stir until spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worchestershire sauce, the rice and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper, stir, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and turn off heat, then steam for 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage and parsley, taste the rice for seasoning and serve.


Acorn Squash, Fuji Apples & Spinach

22 Feb

acorn squash 1

Cooking whole, organic, local ingredients from the farm has so many benefits, especially when I hear hear about how fresh, organic and irresistably prepared produce changes a family’s eating: “I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence and my 3.5 yr old is out growing his picky eater stage, but he has eaten everything you’ve made! Even my husband who usually doesn’t like squash had seconds of the acorn squash the other day! I try to cook with as much organic produce as I can get. He used to scoff at the additional cost, but now thinks he didn’t enjoy veggies as a kid because they weren’t as fresh and organic as what he’s eating now. It was also fun to go to the pumpkin patch at Tanaka Farms and see where our veggies come from.”

Acorn Squash 2

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Spinach, Fuji Apples and Pomegranates
Serves 4
4 acorn squash, cut into quarters, seeds removed
Olive oil, salt & pepper
2 shallots, diced
2 large Fuji apples, cores removed, diced
1 bunch spinach (about 4 cups packed), thoroughly washed
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Heat oven to 375. Place acorn squash on a baking sheet and season generously with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender to the probing of a fork. Remove from oven.

While squash is roasting, heat a large skillet and drizzle with olive oil. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent, then add apples and cook until browned and juicey. Add spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Distribute the spinach mixture on top of the squash and return to oven until the squash and spinach are heated through. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top and serve.

Green Beans, Zucchini and Maui Onions

15 Aug

DSC00934After years of happy vegetable eating, my darling daughter has gone into a full blown white hunger strike. If it isn’t noodles, butter, Parmesan cheese or a chicken nugget, I am up against negotiations that include ipads, playdates and the silent treatment. I’m making a stand instead of making two meals, and like any revolution, the going is getting tough.

I have a two pronged approach to getting Bella on the same plate at the family table: making a dinner composed of a protein (grilled, sauteed or baked), a starch and a vegetable. This approach is embraced by our entire family, as we love a good grilled flank steak or roasted chicken served with a some perfectly grilled vegetables or roasted potatoes. To combat my need to be “cheffy”, I’ll make a fruit chutney or chimichurri to serve alongside, which, of course, will be completely snubbed by the Princess of Refined Starches.

The second approach is to make a braise that can be deconstructed by Miss Picky. For example, with this Braised Chicken with Summer Vegetables and Herbs de Provence, she can pick out green beans, zucchini and chicken, which I’ll serve along with a side of her favorite pasta, as long as it is whole grain, and the dinner table becomes less battleground, more family friendly, for everyone.

DSC00937Braised Chicken with Summer Vegetables, Lemon and Herbs de Provence
Serves 8

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound zucchini, cut in half length-wise, then into half moons
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 pound chicken thighs
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups good quality chicken stock
2 sprigs each, rosemary & thyme, and 1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh herbs finely chopped: parsley, tarragon, and basil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges

Method: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add a bit of olive oil to the bottom. Sear the green beans until browned, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the pan. Heat a bit more olive oil, sear the zucchini until browned, season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, lightly toss with flour, and heat more olive oil in the Dutch oven. Put half of the chicken in the pan and brown, then turn to brown the opposite side. Remove from the pan, then brown the remaining chicken. Remove from the pan.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and brown, stirring occasionally. Add wine to the pan, then stir to bring the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine until slightly syrupy, then add the chicken stock. Put the chicken back in the pan, add the rosemary and thyme, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then place the lid on the pot and cook for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and fork tender.
Pull the thyme and rosemary sprigs from the braising liquid. Add the chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest and juice, the tomatoes and the browned vegetables back to the pot, stir together and taste for seasoning.


Sweet Potatoes, Maui Onions, Carrots, Cilantro

3 Jul

turk chileTurkey chile is my favorite go-to family dinner, topped off with tortilla chips, cheese, green onions and sour cream. I love the endless versatility, possibilities that go with the seasonal flow. This time I made it with Northern California sweet potatoes, but as the warm summer days produce sweet red bell peppers, I’ll swap those in. I always use organic black beans in my chile, but my friend and cooking partner, Stephanie, insists that no chile is complete with any less than three beans; black, kidney and pinto. I’m a big fan of a limey hit of fresh cilantro, stirred in at the end.

As you can see, my turkey chile is so popular that I make it in 4-cup containers, ready to deliver hearty, delicious comfort to friends who need a quick, nutritious dinner on the fly. All they need is their favorite chile toppings, and dinner is served.

Turkey, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chile
Serves 6-8

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey
4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 22-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, avocado, salsa, chips, green onions or hot sauce

In a large pot, heat olive oil, and add onion, peppers, garlic and carrots. Cook vegetables until slightly browned and soft, then add chile powder and cumin. Stir with vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey, salt and pepper, and stir, breaking up the meat into small pieces and cooking until browned. Add the black beans, sweet potatoes, chicken stock, and the tomatoes with their juices and cook until liquid reduces and the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro, season with additional salt and pepper if needed, and serve with desired toppings.

Farm Box Day

9 Jun


Here’s what came in my Tanaka Farms CSA Box this week: Maui sweet onions/ carrots/red and golden beets/zucchini/ gourmet globe squash/sun drop summer squash/celery/oregano/ cilantro/ basil/ red sweet peppers/Oro Blanco grapefruit/Brussels sprouts/new garlic/ Valencia oranges/

We made four delicious meals for our Farm Box Families:

Ground Turkey, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Chile

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Citrus (Orange & Grapefruit) Oregano Glaze WITH Wild Rice, Celery, Brussels Sprouts, Beets & Sundried Tomatoes

Vegetable Enchiladas with Cotijo Cheese, Handmade Tomatillo & Jalapeno Salsa

Grilled Summer Vegetables with Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Basil Pesto Sauce and Fresh Mozzerella Cheese

Hope you made some yummy dishes with your farm box this week!

Zucchini, Maui Onion and Carrot

9 Jun

zucchini a scapeceFresh, zesty and deeply flavored, this side dish is your perfect summer side dish to meat, chicken and fish pulled off the grill.

Zucchini, Maui Onion and Carrot a Scapece
Serves 4

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large Maui onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
5 large zucchini (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2″ rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat 1/3 cup oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and garlic, then add the carrots, cooking until golden. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then add the onions and garlic back in, along with the basil and mint leaves over. Drizzle the vinegar over the vegetable mixture and toss gently to coat, cooking for an addtional 3-5 minutes to glaze the vegetables. Serve immediately or chill overnight in the refridgerator, serving at room tempurature. Serve with grilled bread, meat, fish or chicken.

Romanesco Cauliflower, Oregano and Spinach

2 Jun

PuttanescaIn The Seduction Cookbook, I wrote a recipe for puttanesca, adoring the sensual quality of the fragrant, salty, briny sauce and the legend that its origin was a siren’s call to lure sailors into salons of pleasure. Now it’s a favorite of my family, and a perfect base to fortify with vegetables. Be ready to be transported, it also makes your kitchen smell like an Italian coastal town.

Puttanesca Sauce with Romanesco Cauliflower, Spinach and Oregano
Adapted from The Seduction Cookbook
Serves 4

1 head romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 anchovy filets, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes with their juices, pureed in a food processor
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 pinch red chile flakes
1 bunch spinach, cleaned and chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season the cauliflower with olive oil, pepper and salt, and roast in the oven until browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a large stock pot and add olive oil. Cook the garlic, anchovies and onions until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and chile flakes, and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes thicken and sweeten, about 30-40 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, then stir in the cauliflower. Season with pepper and salt, and serve over pasta, fish or chicken.Puttanesca 2


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