Friday, November 19, 2010

Spicy roasted cauliflower

My mother always says that cauliflower tastes better after there's been a hard frost. It's not something I ever questioned — or experimented with to find out. I simply believe her and wait to have it until I'm sure we've had a good number of frosty nights. By now, we certainly have in Michigan and I bought this beautiful head grown just down the road a ways. I pulled out a recipe from Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman, a book I bought when I first joined a vegetable CSA and had started a little backyard garden and was overwhelmed with both the variety of new veggies in my box each week and the quantities of veg I was harvesting. The book is arranged in order of ripening during the harvest season and gives a bit of history of each vegetable, growing tips and then several recipes. 

This is addictive. It becomes somewhat caramelized and is packed with flavor. I dedicate it to my brother, who when asked by his third grade teacher to name his favorite vegetable, replied cauliflower. Yes, that's right. Third grade. Cauliflower.
Roasted Spiced Cauliflower
From Serving Up the Harvest
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large head cauliflower (about 3 lbs.), cut into florets
Kosher or coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Lightly grease a large sheet pan (preferred) or large shallow roasting pan with oil. Combine the oil with the garlic salt, curry powder, cumin, cardamon, ginger, cayenne, and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower on the prepared pan in a single layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the florets are tender-crisp and browned. To serve, mound the florets on a serving platter and sprinkle with the kosher salt to taste. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easy weeknight steak salad

This is such a busy time of year and with all the running around, it's easy to just grab something easy and unhealthy to eat for dinner or to order in. I type that all generic, like "it's easy for one to do such things," when what I really mean, is that's what I've been doing! This week I tried to come up with more of a plan for meals and this was an easy, quick weeknight salad that the boy and I both really enjoyed. I loved the strong flavor of sesame with just a hint of heat from the chili-garlic sauce.

Asian Steak and Mushroom Salad
From Bon Appetit, November 2010
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
1/8 teaspoon plus 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 12-ounce rib-eye steaks
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, quartered
8 cups mixed greens

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, minced ginger, chili-garlic sauce, and 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil in small bowl. Add cilantro and stir to blend. Set dressing aside.

Rub 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil over each side of each steak. Sprinkle steaks with salt, pepper, and toasted sesame seeds; press firmly to adhere. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until browned, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer sautéed mushrooms to plate. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Add steaks; cook to desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to cutting board. Slice steaks. Toss mixed greens with dressing in large bowl; divide greens among plates. Top with steak slices and mushrooms and serve. 

I used strip steaks in a cast iron skillet which works beautifully. They needed to cook for much longer than recommended times above. And please excuse the night time, flash heavy photos — I decided it is better to share a good recipe with you than hold back because the photos are meh.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Small works for Microcosm

Last week I hinted at I project I was working on and today I want to show it to you. I sent off four pieces to be included in the show Microcosm celebrating the one-year anniversary of Fabricate, a store/gallery hybrid space in Cincinnati dedicated to unique art and handmade items. The store recently moved and the show is not only an anniversary celebration, but a grand reopening celebration. The exhibit is dedicated to small pieces — all 4x6 — and here's a look at my entries. 
These two were painted with a glazed acrylic technique that is very difficult to scan, so they look a bit blown out. But I think you get the idea. So if you live in Cincinnati, or are going to be in town next weekend for Crafty Supermarket (Saturday, November 20, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.), I encourage you to stop by the store and check it out!