Monday, October 28, 2019

Marinated Whole Wheat Pasta and Vegetable Salad

I posted the recipe for this dish in May of 2006, not long after I first started blogging, in 2005.  For years it was a staple dish in my kitchen, and then as so often happens it fell by the wayside and I forgot about it.

And then I was looking for something to make for a mint and parsley themed potluck for my spice group and it popped into my head.

I am not a fan of those pasta salads that involve lots of mayonnaise and cubed cheese.  I liked the idea of this dish when I first ran across it because it features more healthful options.

You can find the recipe here in my original post.  The only difference this time is that the farmer's market did not have the broccoli that usually goes in this salad but they had kalettes, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts.  I was pretty sure they would work just as well and indeed they did.

The other difference is that because it was a parsley and mint potluck I added some mint to the oregano and basil for the vinaigrette.

This dish is best if made ahead so the flavors have time to combine, which gives you plenty of time to plan ahead.  You do not have to use whole wheat pasta, but in my opinion it stays firmer in these kinds of dishes than regular pasta does.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Chioggia Beet and Fennel Salad

I made this version of my ubiquitous beet salad for the friends I had over for dinner the week before last.  (If you want to see more versions, enter "beet salad" in the Search This Blog window in the upper right corner.) It was the first time I had used Chioggia beets.  They are noticeably sweeter than red beets and made for a delicious salad.  I was somewhat disconcerted, however, that they did not turn all of the other ingredients red and so it did not look like my usual beet salad.

But it tasted just as delicious.  This is great to make for company as it actually tastes better if made the day before you plan to serve it and all of the vegetables have time to marinate and the flavors all come together.  And in my book there are few vegetables that combine as well together as beets and fennel.

How was it received?  Both of my guests asked for the recipe.  So here you have it!
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1 bunch Chioggia beets, boiled and sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 medum red onion, thinly sliced
2 large celerty stalks, sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 to 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or to taste
blood orange-infused olive oil for garnish (optional)

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the beets, fennel, onion and celery in a large bowl and toss together.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a small jar. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the jar and shake well until the oil and vinegar have emulsified.

Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and stir until everything is well coated with the vinaigrette. Add the dill and stir it into the salad.

Just before serving, drizzle the blood orange-infused olive oil and walnuts over the top of the salad.

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, October 14, 2019

Savory Cauliflower Cake

The subtitle of this post should be:  In Which I Learn to Make a Recipe As Written before I Start Playing with It.  It took me a few tries to perfect it, which basically involved moving closer and closer to the original.

For my first attempt I left out the roasted red pepper as I did not have any on hand and did not think it would make much of a difference.  The result was bland and all I could taste was the cauliflower.  Which was not bad, but why go to all the trouble of making it if that is all the flavor you are going to get?  I kept the cauliflower pieces on the large side, which contributed to that being the main discernible flavor.  But there was enough potential for me to try again.

For my second attempt I decided to add the roasted red pepper and used the baking powder that the recipe called for instead of the baking soda I accidentally used on the first version.  As you can see, it got a much better rise and the red pepper made it much more visually appealing.  It also added a welcome complexity of flavor.  I cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces but they were still on the large side.  I also did not cook the onions or the cauliflower enough so it was a little crunchy and not as cohesive as I thought it should be.  But I knew I was on the right track and decided to give it one more try.

For this last version, the only change I made was to increase the amount of caraway and coriander, and I used fresh dill instead of the dried dill I used in the original two versions.  The end result was a delicious, satisfying dish that works as a side dish or entree.

I would like to say that I have learned my lesson about not playing with a recipe until I've followed it as written.  But: old dog; new tricks.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
Servings: 6

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and broken into small florets
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp caraway seed, ground or crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
3/4 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 large eggs
1 jarred roasted red pepper, rinsed and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsps chopped fresh dill, divided

Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and cook on high for about four minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. (This can be done the day before the casserole is assembled and baked).

Once the cauliflower has cooled or just before putting together the rest of the dish, cut the florets into small pieces about the size of chickpeas.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it is tender and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the caraway seed, coriander, crushed red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute. Add the cauliflower and stir gently until it is well coated with the onion and spice mix. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to combine all of the flavors.

Combine the garbanzo bean flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and whisk together. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together until they are well mixed. Add the dry ingredients and continue to whisk to combine and to elimiate any lumps. Stir in the roasted red pepper, feta and 2 tablespoons of the dill. Add the cauliflower mixture and comine. Spread the mixture evenly into the cake pan.

Bake until the top is golden and the cake is set, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool to warm and remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon dill.

adapted from this recipe from Eating Well Magazine
exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (

Monday, October 07, 2019

Braised Chicken Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

I bookmarked and saved this recipe a few years ago and recently had the opportunity to make it.  It was an unqualified success.  There is a little bit of work involved, as you sear the chicken thighs skin-side down before baking, but other than that it is a simple dish and even with that extra step I was able to make it for guests on a weeknight after work.  And if you really don't want to put in the extra effort of browning the skin I have it on good authority that you can skip that step and it will still turn out delicious.  So for company, I would take that extra step but when it's just for family I will most likely skip it.

But I will definitely be making it again.  For such a simple dish there is a large "wow" factor that makes it perfect for entertaining, as you can see in this photo, which I think looks just as good, if not better, than the original recipe!

The cooking juices are on the thin side so I served it over rice.  It was the right decision, although it would also be good with roasted new potatoes, I am thinking.

You can find the recipe here.  I pretty much followed it exactly as written.  If you do too you will not be disappointed.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...