Showing posts with label side dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label side dish. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2013

Purple produce: roasted purple cauliflower

Maybe you've heard it before, but in case you haven't, it is important to eat a variety of colors. I like to say "a colorful plate is a healthy plate, unless it is a plate of skittles".

I saw this alien looking cauliflower in the grocery store recently for the first time and knew I had to try it!I love trying new things and this crazy looking veggie went straight to the top of the list.

I am hard pressed to think of a roasted veggie that I don't like. This one turned out to be no exception. Simply for the sake of beauty, I think I'd like to make this next time with a mixture of the purple and the usual while, or throw in the orange or green cauliflower.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower
  • 1 head purple cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400. 
  2. Give the cauliflower a quick rinse and remove the leaves and stems. Pull off sections of the cauliflower and then trim into 1-2 bite pieces. Kids are great helpers with this task. Evenly sized pieces = evenly cooked pieces.
  3. Place cauliflower pieces on a cookie sheet or in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with oil, add the garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Toss with your hands (again, kiddos = excellent helpers) until evenly coated. 
  4. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges and tender when you poke it with a fork. Exact timing will depend on the temperature of the oven and the size of your cauliflower pieces.

Tip: don't overcrowd your pan. To roast well, there needs to be air circulation around the veggies. If they're too crowded, they'll still cook, but they'll be steamed instead of roasted.

Note: you don't have to use a 400 degree oven - you can do hotter or cooler if you want to cook two things at once the other item requires a different temperature. Roasting is flexible!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Splendid Salads: Kale salad with cannellini beans and dried cranberries

Kale salad with cannellini beans, dried cranberries and Parmesan

As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cabbage Kale, is a nutrition power house! Loaded with vitamins A, K and C as well as phytochemicals beta-carotene and lutein that help lower cancer risk. Kale is often eaten cooked but it can also be delicious raw in salads. The trick to a delicious raw kale salad is to balance the slightly bitter greens with sweet and salty flavors. In this salad we partner the bitter greens with tart lemon, sweet cranberries, savory beans and salty, robust parmesan. The results? Divine!

My good friend Sarah, a dietitian and blogger on WhyFoodWorks, shared this delicious salad recipe with me and I am paying it forward to you! The best part about this salad (besides the super flavor and nutrition) is that it holds up for a day or two in the fridge without getting gross. Just about every other leafy green will wilt soon after application of acids such as balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

Kale salad with cannellini beans, parmesan cheese and dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch of beautiful kale (avoid wilted or discolored bunches; probably not too fresh)
  • 1-16oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (also known as white kidney beans; while you may not recognize the name, if you've ever eaten minestrone soup, you've eaten them. If you can't find cannellini beans in your local grocery store, try Navy or Great Northern beans)
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1-2 lemons, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (as Parmesan cheese is quite salty, you shouldn't need much additional salt)
  1. Give your kale a rinse under cool running water and remove the tough stems. Chop into thin slivers and place in your salad bowl.
  2. Zest the lemon and add to kale; slice lemon in half and add juice to kale too.
  3. Use your hands to massage the lemon juice and zest into the kale. If you have a kiddo helper, he or she would love to help you with this step.
  4. Add beans, cranberries, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss together and serve!

Note: this salad keeps well and travels well; bring it to your next picnic, pack it for lunch or even try it at your next brunch.
Gather your ingredients; the parmesan cheese is hiding :)
Wash and remove tough stems
Chop into small pieces
Zest and juice 1-2 lemons (to taste)
Add zest and juice to kale leaves
    Kale is more tender after being massaged and lemon flavor is on each leaf!
    Add toppings
    Salad to go!
    I use a tool like this to zest the lemon and to grate the parmesan cheese. Do you have one in your kitchen?

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    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Cooking class: Roasted brussels sprouts and carrots!

    Roasted brussels sprouts and carrots

    Roasting is an excellent way to develop the natural sweet flavors in vegetables. It is simple, but sophisticated! The best part is that it is also flexible; you can roast in a range of oven temperatures, so if you're cooking something else, pop in a tray of veggies and roast them too!

    A few general guidelines for successful roasting:
    • Chop your vegetables so that they're about the same size
    • Some vegetables roast faster than others; bell peppers and summer squash will be cooked much sooner than carrot and potatoes; choose vegetables that will be done at about the same time. Or, start the longer-cooking veggies and then add the quicker-cooking veggies part way through
    • Allow for air circulation around your veggies; if they're touching, the steam released from the vegetables will cook the vegetables and you won't get the nice browning and flavor we're looking for
    • Stir the vegetables around part way through cooking to ensure even cooking and browning
    • Just a tiny bit of olive oil allows your herbs, garlic and spices to stick to your vegetables nicely
    • If you don't want to wash another pan, simply line your baking tray with parchment paper
    Good choices for roasted vegetables:
    • Carrots
    • Onions
    • Bell pepper
    • Eggplant
    • Potato
    • Cauliflower
    • Asparagus
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Winter squash (i.e. pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, etc)
    • Many more...the sky is the limit!
    General method; I had a bag of enormous brussels sprouts and one bag of old-ish baby carrots. I cleaned up the brussels sprouts, tossed the veggies with a touch of olive oil and seasonings and popped them into an oven set at 400. Anythwere from 350-450 is fine, match whatever else you're cooking. My vegetables took about 40 minutes to cook, if the sprouts had been smaller, or the oven hotter, it wouldn't have taken quite so long. Just keep an eye on your veggies and you'll get it right!

    After the veggies are good, they are delicious tossed with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, lemon juice or slivered almonds. Or all of the above :) You can even toss the nuts onto the tray for the last minute to develop their flavor a bit...but they will burn quickly, so don't walk away from the oven!
    Happy roasting!

    Trimming the ends and removing discolored leaves

    Try to get all of the pieces about the same size

    These carrots are a bit old for eating raw but are ready for a second life roasted!

    Toss with a touch of olive oil, pepper, herbs de Provence and cayenne pepper

    Quick stir half-way through; you can see the brussels sprouts turning bright green!

    Perfect! Tender when pierced with a fork, crispy edges all around!

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