Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

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The last of the summer”  We had a cold snap right at the beginning of September, so hubby harvested  the tomatoes, and suddenly they’ve all gone ripe at once.   Lots of years I will make tomato sauce and freeze it, but it’s a bit of work.  Roasting is easier, and probably just as tasty, or perhaps even more so.  These amounts are approximate, it’s not rocket science (thankfully!).  The addition of herbs is wonderful, rosemary, basil, oregano, or even thyme.  But as you can see in the picture, I didn’t add any to this round of roasting and they still taste delightful.  Serve hot over your favorite pasta, with crusty bread to sop up the juices.  Freeze small portions (about 3/4-1 cup containers), to add to pasta sauce in winter.

Roasted Tomatoes

about 4 cups, cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop larger tomatoes in bite size pieces

garlic cloves, peeled, a head or more for intense garlic flavor

salt and pepper, generous lashings

olive oil, splash it freely

optional, a small sprinkle of sugar, a teaspoon or less, to help caramelize the tomatoes

herbs to taste, fresh or dried

Spray a large glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place tomatoes and herbs in a single layer in the baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sugar, if using.  Bake at 375°F,  30-40 minutes, or until garlic cloves are tender.

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Cauliflower Rice

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I know this technique has been around for a while, but somehow it never made it onto my radar, until the other day when hubby and I were watching a cooking show, and one of the guests showed how easy it is to make.  If you like cauliflower, it’s such a fun way to eat it.  But if you think you’re gonna low-carb it, and eliminate real rice from your diet by substituting this dish, fuggetaboutit.   It tastes like cauliflower, it smells like cauliflower, it is cauliflower.  (And please, please don’t set your little kids up for failure by telling them it’s rice!  Which is exactly what happened on the cooking show. Kids aren’t stupid; the mom tasted it first and her reaction was less than convincing, so no surprise when her two young boys refused to even taste it.  This hurts my heart, to see two young children embarrassed in front of millions of TV watchers;  if that poor mom thought she was going to make things better, I’m pretty sure it backfired.  Now they have another reason not to trust what Mom says about food.  Pardon me, I didn’t mean to rant.)

Nonetheless, it does make a reasonable substitute for rice in some meals.  This week, we subbed it in for rice with chicken in mushroom sauce, very tasty.  At another meal, we ate it as a side with chicken caesar salad.  We’ve enjoyed it so much, it will become a regular addition to our mealtimes.

One of the nice things about cauliflower is, while having a distinct ‘cauliflower’ taste, it is bland enough to pair up with almost any other flavor of herb or spice that you care to think about.  Also, adding other vegetables can make it a sort of pilaf (think celery, grated carrot, green peas, onions, bell pepper, etc, etc),  then go one step farther by adding a source of protein and you’ve got dinner.  You’re only limited by your imagination 🙂

Cauliflower Rice

1 small/medium head of cauliflower (enough for sides for 4-6 adults)

3 sliced scallions

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp finely minced fresh thyme

1/2 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper

Wash, trim and break into florets.  Whiz the pieces in a food processor for a few seconds, until the size of (you guessed it) rice grains.   Alternatively, grate the florets on a box grater.  Heat a large frying pan with olive oil over medium heat.  Add cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes, then add green onions and fresh thyme.  Be sure to stir often to avoid browning the veggies.  As the cauliflower softens and the herbs become fragrant with the heat,  add half of the chicken broth.  Cook 2 minutes more, then add the remaining broth.  Stir and taste to adjust seasonings if necessary.  Cook a minute or two longer if needed, being careful not to overcook.  (The “grains” are small, it’s a fine line between done and overdone.)

As always, wishing you Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

Oven-baked Zucchini Fries

IMG_2527Oven-baked Zucchini Fries

3/4 cup flour

3 tsp seasoning salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 eggs, well beaten with a pinch of salt

2 medium zucchini

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Line two baking sheets with parchment.   Cut zucchini into french-fry wedges, about 3″ long.  Stir together flour, seasoning salt and pepper.  Place the mixture in a shallow bowl.   In a separate shallow bowl, place the bread crumbs.   In another shallow bowl, pour the beaten eggs.  Dredge the zucchini wedges in the flour, then dip each wedge into the beaten egg, and finally roll in the panko crumbs.  Place wedges on baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and crisp and zucchini is hot and tender.  Serve immediately.  Offer dipping sauces on the side – buttermilk ranch, tomato coulis, etc.

Creamy Lemon Basil Sauce with Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry

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This dish is mostly about the sauce.  It’s easy to stir-fry some chicken and veggies, but the yummy flavors of lemon and basil made a welcome change from our usual Asian flavors stir-fries.  Think  hollandaise, and a continental version of stir-fry and you’ll get the idea.  We served the stir-fry on  a bed of fragrant rice, then spooned sauce over the whole thing.  Two thumbs up from the guys 🙂

Lemon Basil Sauce

1/2 cup butter

2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp white wine

1/8 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1/3 cup heavy cream

8 basil leaves, sliced, plus extra leaves for garnish

Melt butter in small pot over low heat.  Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.  Don’t let the garlic brown.  Add the lemon juice and wine and cook another minute or two.   Add salt, pepper and cream.  Simmer very gently over low heat, for about 15 minutes, until thickened and smooth, stirring frequently and at the end, constantly.  Serve immediately.

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

1 lb beef tenderloin or sirloin, thinly sliced

2 bunches broccoli, cut into florets

3 tbsp soya sauce

3 tbsp teriyaki or oyster sauce

3 tbsp sake or dry white wine

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp sesame oil

canola oil for stir-frying

salt and pepper

1/3 -1/2 cup beef broth

400 grams udon noodles

Stir together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and wine.  Add sugar and sesame oil,  mix well.  Stir in cornstarch and whisk until smooth.  Add beef strips and crushed garlic, stirring to coat each piece.  Marinate about 20 minutes.  Heat about a tablespoon of canola oil in skillet or wok.  Add beef to pan (reserve marinade) and stir-fry until beef is tender and browned, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add more oil to the pan if necessary and add broccoli.  Stir-fry 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper.  Return beef to pan and stir in about 1/3 cup beef broth and reserved marinade.  Cooked noodles can be added at this point and stir-fried until everything is hot, adding more broth if necessary.  Makes about 3 servings.

Turnip Puff

The lowly turnip– not everybody’s favorite, but definitely one of Don’s favorites (turnip is high up on his list of good things to eat).  The funny thing is, even turnip haters will often enjoy a spoonful of this without gagging.  Are you thinking ew, not possible?  I did too, but go ahead, give it try, you might like it!

Turnip Puff

6 cups cubed turnips

2 tbsp butter

2 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp flour

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

pinch of nutmeg

Topping:

1/2 cup fine bread or cracker crumbs

2 tbsp melted butter

In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook turnip cubes until tender.  Drain and mash.  Add butter and egg.  Beat well.  In a small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir into turnip mixture.  Pour into a buttered 8″ baking dish/casserole .  Combine bread crumbs and melted butter.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes, until set and lightly browned.

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