Tag Archives: side

Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!

 

Broccoli Casserole-ish (or, “Well, There’s Only Everything Good in It”)

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1/3 c yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10 oz  can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c panko bread crumbs
  • dash of salt

I’m going to have to tell you all something.

I’m not proud, and hope to use this public forum to ensure I bear the full responsibility for having held such a simple secret for so long.

…I’ve never made a broccoli casserole.

There. You got it out of me. Proud?

broccasseroleishAnyway, please suffer through this, my first time, as an experiment in both flavor and safety. Mince the garlic and onion and saute on ML in butter until onions become translucent. While that’s going on, cut florets to a medium-small proportion, set aside. Beat the egg into the can of cream of mushroom soup. Melt the cream cheese into the butter/onions/garlic, remove from heat and fold everything together. In large bowl, combine the contents of that pan and the egg-soup mixture. Shake in a smidge of salt and mix well. Toss your florets with this goop, put in a baking pan then top with cheddar cheese and panko. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30m. What comes out will work well either as a stand-alone side or as a slightly saucy accessory to penne pasta; I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I will strive in the future to perfect this concoction’s consistency. As it stands, though, this was really, really tasty and earns 4 spoons.

This One Goes Both Ways

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c cooked moong dal
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 medium-large carrot
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 packet Swanson® Flavor Boost (vegetable)
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/3 c water
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 2-4 spritzes apple cider vinegar

Mince garlic and onion coarsely and add to ghee that’s melting on it’s way to M. Coat with turmeric and when translucency happens, spritz with vinegar and remove from heat. Pour contents into food processor and add diced pepper, carrot,  Flavor Boost, and remaining seasonings. Whir until there are as few chunks as plausible. Add back to pan with corn starch and water; bring contents back to a boil on M then reduce to L and let simmer, covered, for 15-20m. Whether or not you want to add dal and serve over rice, or withhold it and instead serve what you’ve got over a roasted bird, this dish can work for vegetarians or carnivores — 5 spoons!

Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Beets

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked chana dal
  • 2 tbsp butter (or vegetable ghee for a vegan option)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 5 small beets
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

Looking for a clever side dish to take to your next potluck or family gathering? This is a wow-worthy side that takes no casserole foundations you’ve ever heard of. Slice onion kinda (but not obnoxiously) thin. Dice roasted, peeled beets into 1/4″ cubes. Start melting your butter on it’s journey to M, then add onions; toss and cook for 6-8m. Add sugar and vinegar to pan, stir and reduce heat to L until the onions begin to caramelize (15-25m). Add beets and stir together with water. Bring burner back to M and keep pan contents on its toes for a minute or two. Add garlic; stir. Add 1 c milk and remainder of seasonings and let come back to a boil for about 2m. Smash your beets as well as possible without burning yourself or making a huge mess that’ll never come out. Add remaining 2 c of milk slowly, stirring all the while. Then, and only then, add in your cooked split chickpeas. Bring the pan back to a boil on M, then cover and reduce heat to L for 20m.

The reason why this makes a better side dish than entree was only discovered this afternoon as we both paused halfway through our bowls from both the sweetness and the richness of that sweetness. It is a visually impressive dish with a delectable tapestry of flavors… but when sweet overpowers curry, you know something needs sidelining. This, fortunately, is a dry enough sauce that it is perfect for mixing in with cooked rice or for layering on top in a casserole dish. 5 spoons as an accent piece, 3 as an entree.

Barley Bride all in White (or, “Flavor for Fatigue”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c barley, uncooked
  • 1 c frozen(-from fresh) spinach
  • 3/4 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 2 tbsp Greek seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

So I’ve hit my head pretty hard at least five times this week from my own dysmetric clumsiness, the piece de resistance having happened last night with a hammock. Were video to have been taken, I would be wildly viral right now; instead I have to be the person who nobody witnessed being flipped upside down like a bad carnival ride. This morning the headache remained, along with blurry vision most likely due to a little trauma to my occipital lobe… but other than that I meet no criteria for a true concussion. Regardless, still gotta eat, right?

This will be a nice single-dish meal for the confused and lethargic amongst us. The barley experiment from a day or two ago was both the flavor and ease inspiration. Start the event with mincing your garlic and onion as finely as possible and throw them in an oiled pot warming to M; once it reaches full temp reduce to ML and let simmer. Mix water with turmeric and 1.75 tbsp of Greek seasoning, mix in uncooked barley and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to L and walk away for 15m. In that little window, mince spinach and basil as finely as possible and add to the oil when onions look translucent. Mix well and let that simmer for another 15m. When the barley is a moment from completion, take from heat and add ricotta cheese. Stir until a creamy sauce tenderly holds each pearl of barley. Top with mozzerella and Parmesan, then cover the pot and return it to your off burner until the cheeses melt. 4 spoons!

Spicy Prime Rib on Arugula with Mini Microgreen Bread Bowls

In my pantry today:

  • 2 prime rib steaks
  • 1/2 c steak rub*
  • 1 c arugula
  • 2 tsp any vinaigrette you like*
  • 4 take-n-bake dinner rolls
  • 1/2 c delicious bread filling*

rub your meat with this:

  • 2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala

vinaigrette it on:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Good Seasonings® dressing mix packet

and stuff them rolls:

  • 1/2 c cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp ground brown flax
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp some kind of hot chili sauce you got from the Chinese place yesterday that they use to cook with because you requested something to be more spicy but apparently no one ever does that for a #17 so they were confused and I got some of their special cooking stuff
  • 1 tsp “Fiesta” chili powder (I don’t know how the adjective fits in here, Earthfare.)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 packet Chik-Fil-A® sunflower seeds

This was a lot of cupboard-rummaging for a seriously delicious outcome. The steaks came courtesy of mom and dad with their recent cooler full of meat and spent their thawed day with a massage and full-body spice scrub. It’s actually not hard to assemble all of this — the hardest part is waiting on the broiler to preheat. Because really broiler? Take your time.

After the meat gets felt up real good, go ahead and make your vinaigrette. That’s all you need to do right now, so go strip some old carpet off the stairs and get real filthy. You’ve got the time; have more coffee, too!

Eventually it will be time for the main attraction; preheat to 375° and bake rolls for 6-8m. Take them out and cut a hole in the top of each and scrape a reservoir of breadlessness. Put them back into the oven for another 3-4m. In that time you should have rightly been able to mix up the filling so that when they come out this time, you can tuck 1 tbsp or so into the bowl and top with microgreens. While you were doing that, preheat your broiler. Then meditate, because the broiler will probably be a haughty opera singer about this all and you do not have the time or energy for it.

Once preheated, put cold steaks 3″ under the element for 2m, flip them and continue cooking until they are at your desired level of done. My broiler takes just 3 minutes to take a steak from deep purple to sadsack white; don’t let overdone meat happen to you. Grilling would be preferable, but a broiler is preferable to a frying pan for my steak any day. Lay each cut of meat on a bed of arugula that’s been tossed with a tsp or two of vinaigrette. Stick your pretty buns beside that, then stick your other pretty buns in a seat and enjoy all 5 spoons of dinner!