January 20, 2016

Mediterranean Cauliflower (kind of) Couscous Salad

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I know things have been on the quiet side here. Sometimes you just have to take a little break once in a while when life gets in the way, but the holidays are over and it’s a new year. I haven’t stopped cooking for a second. In fact, I have tons of recipes to share. If you don’t follow me on facebook or instagram, please do. I tend to post lots of good stuff there almost daily, while these fancy formal blog posts seem to be happening much more infrequently – emphasis on the “much.”

As always, we’re still trying to eat healthy here. I wanted to share this recipe I found on the kitchn website, some creative licensing on my part included. I know it’s not very winter’esque, but I love cauliflower! I keep seeing these cauliflower recipes popping up everywhere. Has anyone tried making the cauliflower grilled cheese? Mashed cauliflower used in place of potatoes is really good. Throw in a little cheese and it’s a nice stand in for the spuds. I’ve seen cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower gratin… so many cauliflower recipes! I included a few links to more recipes below.

The recipe said that by pulsing the cauliflower florets in the food processor, being careful not to purée it – you’d end up with something that resembles couscous. I was poking around online and found that some recipes say to use the cauliflower raw at this point, while other sauté it in a little olive oil so it will be more tender. In this case, I used it raw. The whole family was surprised at how good this was. It has an addictive crunch and my husband and I found ourselves unable to stop eating it – nom nom nom! Really delicious. Do you think this looks like couscous?

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INGREDIENTS

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Place the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.

For the salad:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 – 15oz can chickpeas – drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber – peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts*
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Separate the cauliflower into florets and place in a large food processor. Pulse, careful not to purée the cauliflower. Once it resembles dry crumbs, pour into a large salad bowl. Remove any large pieces that may have not chopped properly and run them through the food processor again. Maybe my cauliflower head was large, but I had to do this process in a couple of batches.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the cauliflower and toss again. Enjoy!

* To toast the pine nuts place them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 5 or so minutes. Watch them very carefully. They go from pale to golden quite suddenly. Allow them to cool before putting them into the salad.

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Some other fabulous cauliflower recipes:

  1. Food and Wine Cauliflower Recipes 
  2. well+GOOD Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
  3. Closet Cooking Cauliflower Pizza 
  4. Eating Well Cauliflower Recipes
October 15, 2015

The Best Roast Chicken! With Lemon, Fennel & Onion

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Eat your heart out Ina, I think I’ve invented a roast chicken that’s better than your, “Jeffrey’s Friday Night Roast Chicken,” or whatever you call it. I don’t mean to be snarky, but they say one of the determining factors in whether someone can really cook is how well they can roast a chicken, right? My husband has decided this is the best roast chicken… ever! Ina, just send Jeffrey over and he can decide for himself.

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There are four tricks to how I roast a chicken.

  1. I only use the small 3-4 pound chickens, not the oversized ones. Having company? Just roast a couple of the small ones.
  2. Prep the chicken and place it in the refrigerator, uncovered for a couple of hours or even all day. The salt and spices on the skin make it dry out – therefore, it’s more crispy when you roast it.
  3. Start the oven temperature really hot. Like 500 degrees hot. I lower the temperature after the first 15 minutes, but that super hot oven makes the skin nice and crispy. You can tent it with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.
  4. Spatchcock (butterfly) the chicken. Just remove the backbone and press it flat. I don’t stuff my birds and the butterflied chicken cooks so much faster and more evenly than a whole chicken. Lay the flattened chicken on a bed of vegetables like I did here, and it’s so delicious!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2-4lb chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 small fennel bulbs – trimmed and sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but not peeled
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary
  • Handful of sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Generous amount of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

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Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Lay all of the sliced onions, fennel and lemons in the center of a sheet pan. Place the rosemary and thyme sprigs over the vegetables – drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.

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Tuck a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme under the skin of each chicken breast and lay the flattened chicken on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper – place in the refrigerator, uncovered for a few hours. You could prep the chicken to this point in the morning and just leave it in there all day.

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Remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator and drizzle just a little olive oil over the chicken. Place the sheet pan on the center rack in the preheated oven and roast at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425 degrees and continue roasting for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to the proper temperature. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly you can tent it with foil.

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Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. At this point you can stir the vegetables and I usually put them back in the oven to continue cooking so they get nice and carmelized. After the chicken has rested, cut it into quarters.

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Take a large platter and cover the bottom with fresh arugula. Top with the roasted vegetables, all the juices from the pan and the chicken pieces. Serve with a good baguette so you can spread the roasted garlic on the bread. Hot damn! That’s a mighty fine roast chicken!

Enjoy!

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