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Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

Cauliflower has always been a favorite vegetable in our house.  When my kids were infants I used to make homemade baby food, and puréed cauliflower was always at the top of their favorites list.  It still is, though now– obviously– they prefer it in the crunchy form.  I pack it into their lunches everyday.  And it’s not just my kids that love this wonderful vegetable.  I never tire of it because there are so many different ways to enjoy it.  The version I’m sharing with you today is so simple that I feel a little silly even giving a “recipe” for it.  But, I also realize that sometimes a food blogger’s responsibility is more than sharing multi-step recipes.  So here, I guess my goal is just want to you crave something so badly that you have to make it.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

If you like buffalo sauce (and who doesn’t?), you’re going to want to make this.  And if you like blue cheese, it’s a guarantee.  Personally, I can’t get enough buffalo sauce.  And that actually goes for most hot sauces.  I’m an addict pure and simple.  I’m not ashamed.  Last time I checked, we had six different hot sauces in the refrigerator.  And while, I love to make my own salsas and hot sauces, I haven’t actually taken the plunge and tried making my own buffalo sauce.  Maybe I’ll give it a whirl this summer, but for now your favorite bottled version will work wonderfully.  It is so addictive drizzled onto perfectly roasted cauliflower with pockets of melted blue cheese here and there.  This is the perfect afternoon snack when you want big flavor, but you still want to stay on the healthy side.  Devouring a huge head of cauliflower can’t be wrong.  Am I right?  You’ll see when you give it a try.  Enjoy!

Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese | Relishing It

The Recipe: Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese

1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

olive oil

kosher salt

bufflalo sauce ( I love Frank’s Buffalo Sauce)

crumbled blue cheese

celery sticks, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the cauliflower florets with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast until a deep golden color begins to develop, flipping once to brown all sides.  When the cauliflower is tender enough for your liking (much will depend upon how big the pieces are), about 25 minutes or so, remove from the oven.  Toss with buffalo sauce using a utensil to coat all sides, then sprinkle with a bit of blue cheese.  Return to oven for a couple of minutes until the blue cheese has melted.  Remove from oven and serve with celery sticks.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini is not my favorite vegetable.  There, how’s that for an opening statement?  It truly isn’t, or wasn’t, rather.  It’s not that I really disliked zucchini, but in the past, if given the choice, I generally chose other ingredients to work with.  I thought of it as bland and lacking “personality.”  As it turns out, I’ve really come around to enjoying this wonderfully subtle vegetable.  It just took a little coaxing from a very good, very talented friend.

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing it

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

My friend, Amanda Paa, from HeartBeet Kitchen, has just published her very first cookbook, “Smitten with Squash”, dedicated entirely to that vegetable.  I first met Amanda a few years ago at a mutual food-blogger friend’s cabin.  I loved her ever-present smile and her calm demeanor.  She was chopping vegetables endlessly in the kitchen and more than happy to be doing so.  To say this girl is lovely doesn’t do her justice.  We both belong to the group Fortify (a local food group), so we continued to run into each other at events.  We eventually discovered that we live just a few blocks from one another.  We frequent the same restaurants, coffee shops, and farmers markets, and we never ever tire of talking about food together.  We’ve become wonderful friends and I couldn’t be happier to share a recipe from her new cookbook with you!

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

It’s fun to have the inside scoop on someone’s book-writing journey.  In some small way, it made me feel like I was part of it.  She worked so hard and spent much of her winter huddled-up writing.  The result is this wonderful book full of recipes for both summer and winter squash.  Sweet or savory, she’s covered it all and then some. If you’re looking for inspiration for this particular vegetable, this is the cookbook you need.

During her creative process, I had the opportunity test a few of her recipes.  This wonderful zucchini cauliflower gratin is a heaping dish of chopped vegetables seasoned with herbs and parmesan cheese. There is just enough cream in it to give it a proper gratin feel, but the added milk keeps it from being too heavy.  And every single bite is laced with just enough rosemary to keep you wanting another.  Lastly, the parmesan crust on the top adds a little cheesiness, with a nice contrast in texture.  I pile this gratin high on my plate with no regrets.  It’s perfect paired with a grilled meat and a glass of wine.  Not to mention my kids and husband all love it, too.

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

I’m giving away a copy of Amanda’s book to one lucky reader (only in the US– sorry)!  You want this book, you really do.  She gets so creative with this vegetable– you’ll want to cook through the entire thing.  Even if you aren’t the winner, I would encourage you to order it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble— you won’t be disappointed.  To enter, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter link below.  Good Luck!

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It And to you, Amanda– I am so happy to call you a friend.  You are one of the most selfless and giving people I’ve met.  Congratulations on your beautiful book– I’m truly excited to see what comes next for you.

Enter Giveaway Here — a Rafflecopter giveaway

Update: The winner is Carolsue Anderson!  Thanks to all who entered.

The Recipe: Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin

(serves 4)

1 large head cauliflower

kosher salt

1 1/4 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup grated parmesan, divided (or more!)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the cauliflower by removing the core and breaking the rest up into smaller pieces.  Then, using a food processor (or a sharp knife), pulse the cauliflower until they are tiny pieces that resemble rice grains.  Be care that the mixture doesn’t get mushy.  You may have to do this in batches.  You should yield about 3 1/2 cups.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Stir 1 teaspoon salt and grated zucchini together, then place colander set over a bowl to drain.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and a big pinch of salt, and cook stirring, until softened, about 4-5 minutes.   Meanwhile, squeeze handfuls of zucchini over a bowl to catch the juices, removing most of the water from the zucchini, yielding 2/3 cup shreds.

When the onion is softened, reduce heat to medium and stir in the cauliflower, garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.  Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Gradually stir in reserved zucchini water, milk, and cream, maintaining heat at medium so dairy does not curdle.  Cook for 2-3 minutes so liquid absorbs slightly. Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan, rosemary, and parsley.  Pour into prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with remaining cheese (or more, if you like).  Return to the oven for another 10 or so minutes until gratin is brown and bubbly.  Sometimes I put the gratin under the broiler to brown up a bit faster for the final minute or two.  Enjoy!

Check out these other great blogs for more recipes from “Smitten with Squash”.  If you happen to live in the Twin Cities, be sure to stop by Solo Vino in St. Paul from 5:00-7:30 this evening for Amanda’s first book signing– I’ll be there, too!

A Farmgirl’s Dabbles — Bumper Crop Spicy Squash Pickles

Fresh Tart — Chimichurri Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

Robin Writes — Garam Masala Dusted Pattypans & Crispy Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce

Dolly and Oatmeal — Banana and Oat Streusel Summer Squash Muffins

Healthy Green Kitchen — Cherry Tomato and Summer Squash Cobbler with Rosemary Biscuits

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

We joined a CSA recently!  For a vegetable-obsessed girl like me, this is big news.  So much so that I want to tell everyone I interact with…but that would be a bit weird, so I’ll just tell you.  I’m already anxious for June to roll around– for that first box to arrive, full of vegetables grown for my family by people that I know.   To be honest, we haven’t been CSA members for a couple of years now.  I know, I know.  You see, the previous CSA that we belonged to didn’t quite meet my family’s needs.  We ended up spending a ton of money every week to supplement the offering.  This year we dove back in, and decided to go with Bossy Acres.  The fabulous ladies that run this CSA are heavily involved in the Twin Cities food community.  I had heard remarkable things about their CSA from several friends.  And then, once I had a chance to talk with the owners about the excitement and passion that they put into their work, it made me realize that I wanted my family to be part of it.  And I am so darn excited!  Did I already mention that?

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

Alright, now that I’m done with my mini celebration it’s on to today’s post.  Even though this is THE NEVER-ENDING WINTER here in Minnesota, I’ve moved on to think about lighter, quicker fare.  Spring has to arrive eventually, right?  It’s just a matter of time before the farmers’ markets are loaded with fresh vegetables, and I’ll also be getting my first CSA delivery.  Waiting is hard.  I want strawberries and tomatoes now.  But until then, I’ll enjoy this gorgeous cauliflower.Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

I love how hearty cauliflower is.  It’s reliable and always a good option in the Summer or Winter.  Out-of-season tomatoes and cucumbers can’t claim that.  I enjoy this side dish (though I eat it as a main course) when the cauliflower is roasted just a bit. Not entirely soft, but not raw either.  Once it’s done, I like to toss it immediately with red onion and golden raisins on the hot roasting pan.  It warms them through and takes the edge off the onion.  Infusing the spices in warmed olive oil is a great way to maximize the flavor.  This is a subtle dish.  It’s not swimming in a sauce or loaded with flavors that punch you in the face.  And it comes together in a matter of minutes.  The golden raisins are key– the slight sweetness that they add is crucial here.  Hope you enjoy!

Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Curry-Scented Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

(serves 2-4)

1 large head of organic cauliflower, broken into small bite-sized pieces

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup organic golden raisins

handful of fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting

1 teaspoon hot curry powder  ( I love Penzys’ version)

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of kosher salt to taste

lime wedges, for serving

Preheat an oven to 400°F.  Toss the cauliflower pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower has browned slightly but isn’t completely soft.  Remove from oven and immediately toss the sliced red onion and golden raisins on the hot pan with the cauliflower.

Meanwhile, prepare the curry-scented olive oil by placing 2 tablespoons of olive into a small skillet.  Mix the curry powder, turmeric, and cumin into the oil and heat on medium for about 1-2 minutes, or until the oil becomes warm and fragrant.  Make sure to stir it.  Remove from heat and pour over the vegetables.  Toss with cilantro.  Season with salt, if necessary.  Serve with a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

If you’re like me, this time of year you may go a little overboard with salads.  It’s hard not to with all of the fresh, crisp produce popping up in gardens and farmers markets.  I absolutely love a good leafy-green salad, but sometimes I want more than just a lettuce version– something a bit more substantial than those delicate little leaves.  When I’m looking for something heartier, I often turn to my favorite un-lettuce salad.  It’s my favorite way to incorporate a load of healthy vegetables into a meal.

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

Alright, this “recipe” is more of a suggestion– an idea, if you will.  You can use what you have, but this is the combination that I like best.  All of these vegetables are currently available in Minnesota.  The pea tendrils give this dish it a nice slightly sweet flavor.  If you can’t find them, a few spinach leaves make a lovely replacement.  Roasted red peppers add a brilliant kick.  If you can’t find fresh ones, feel free to buy a jar.  Sun-dried tomatoes would be perfect in this salad, too.  Ricotta salata is my go-to cheese for summer salads– I love it’s subtle flavor, but parmesan, feta, goat cheese, or even a mild blue would all work.  I used pepitas here, though I often turn to sunflower seeds for a nice crunch.  Load it up with herbs, if you want.  I like dill with this combination.  Are you feeling me, here?  Use your imagination, you’ll be happy.

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

Sometimes I make a simple vinaigrette with this salad.  This one works well.  But, more often, I choose to do something creamy, so I enjoy this simple herbed buttermilk dressing.  It’s less gloppy and bad for you than the bottled versions.  I like a dressing that lightly coats my greens, instead of sits on top of them.  I still use full-fat mayonnaise, but just less of it  (even better if you make your own completely out of olive oil– recipe coming soon on that).  The reduced-fat versions tend to have a sweetness to them that makes for an off-flavor.  And honestly, don’t even get me started on the fat-free bottled dressings that are on the grocery store shelves.  If you have them in the refrigerator, do yourself a favor and toss them out.  They are loaded with a bunch of junk (corn syrup to replace the fat?  Seriously?).  Not to mention, your body needs a little fat to absorb all of those healthy things that you eat a salad for in the first place.  Make your own and use less.  Hope you enjoy!

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing via Relishing It

The Un-Lettuce Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  The Un-Lettuce Salad

(Make this as big or as small as you like)

Handful of pea tendrils, large stems removed

english cucumbers,

broccoli

cauliflower

garden peas, left in the pod or not

radishes

roasted red peppers

ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

pepitas or sunflower seeds

dill or any herbs you prefer

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing:

2/3 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons mayonnaise (full fat)

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped dill, oregano, and parsley

kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste

To make the Dressing:  Combine all of the ingredients into a small jar and shake.  Make sure to season properly with salt and pepper.  If you prefer a thicker dressing, and a bit more mayonnaise.

Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  Place into a large salad bowl and coat with a bit of dressing.  Top with the cheese, nuts, and dill.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it today!

xo

Laurie

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Let’s add one more tasty, healthy, soup to the repetoir.  This one is interesting because the main ingredient is cauliflower.  That’s right, cauliflower.  Sure, it probably hasn’t crossed your mind to make cauliflower soup before, but let me try to convince you that you should.  I love cauliflower (thankfully my kids are HUGE fans, too), so it’s no surprise that I really like this soup.  But aside from the great flavor, cruciferous vegetables are wonderful for your health.  Don’t believe me?  Read here.  Aside from snacking on fresh cauliflower, I love it pureéd.  Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes?  Divine.  The flavor mellows a bit and the texture is soft and creamy.  Those same characteristics are what make this dish so good.  Here, you get the illusion of eating a thick, cream-laden soup, when in truth it’s almost entirely healthy vegetables that your body needs.

If you’ve never heard of sunchokes, they are also called Jerusalem artichokes.  They’re kind of a funny-looking tuber with a distinct, subtle, earthy flavor.  I guess the best comparison I can come up with is that they taste like a cross between a water chestnut and a potato.  Here, they’re marvelous.  The leeks and rosemary are nice additions, too.  Use fresh rosemary if you have it (even a bit more than the dried amount listed).  I often turn to my dried herbs in the winter time, as fresh can sometimes be a bit pricey.

While dried rosemary is fine here, you’ll definitely want to use fresh parsley for the garnish.  It’s not expensive, and it’ll really brighten the soup.  Finally, there’s the bacon.  I’ve been told that bacon makes everything better, and for the most part, I think that’s about right.  Just a few crumbles on top, and you have the perfect complement to the subtlety of the puréed cauliflower.  If you want to go vegetarian, skip the bacon and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken and enjoy the pure earthiness of the herbs and vegetables.

The Recipe:  Cauliflower and Sunchoke Soup with Bacon Crumbles

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 pounds sunchokes, peeled and chopped

2 pounds cauliflower florets (from about a 3 pound head), chopped

2 large leeks, white and green parts only, chopped

1 quart plus 3 cups (7 cups total) organic chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 dried bay leaf

kosher salt

5-6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, for garnish

chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil.  When hot, add the leeks and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add the chicken broth, cauliflower, sunchokes, rosemary, allspice, bay leaf, and a sprinkle of salt.  While covered, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer.    The pot will look a bit crowded, but the vegetables will soften and reduce as it cooks.  After about 25-30 minutes or whenever the vegetables are soft, remove the bay leaf from the soup.  Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until it is uniform in texture and without lumps.  Alternately, a stand blender can be used to purée the soup, just make sure to do it in batches, as it all won’t fit at one time.  When the soup is puréed, taste it.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve sprinkled with bacon and fresh parsley.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dishsponsored by KitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

Laurie

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