Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spiced Cauliflower “Couscous”-Secret Recipe Club

One of the things I love most about Secret Recipe Club is that I get to visit a “sometimes” new-to-me blog and check it out in depth.  I always seem to find a great recipe or idea that makes me slap myself upside the head because I didn’t think of it myself.  Such was certainly the case when I visited Well Dined, a blog written by Sarah.

Sarah originally stated her blog to write restaurant reviews, but it soon morphed in to a food blog with great recipes.  Sarah likes to cook as seasonally and as healthy as she can.  I found two delicious recipes for this holiday season, Bourbon Bacon Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter and Sage and Cranberry Custard Pie.  Other recipes on my to-make list are Maple Bourbon Glazed Chicken, Apple Butter Glazed Pork Loin and Snickerdoodle Surprise Cookies.

The recipe that made me do the slap myself upside the head thing mentioned above was Spiced Cauliflower “Couscous.”  What a great idea to chop cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles couscous.  The cauliflower cooks very quickly this way and can be seasoned with almost anything you want.  This is probably going to be my favorite way to cook cauliflower, and I am next going to use the technique to make the cauliflower and use some of the seasoning ideas that Sarah has in this post on cooking with couscous..

In the posted recipe, a middle east spice blend called Za’atar was used.  The only place that I could find this in my medium-sized, northwest town was at a local Greek restaurant that sells a small selection of middle east foods.  I had to purchase a large jar so I probably have enough Za’atar to last my life time, but this will give me incentive to use it in other recipes.  I am thinking of using it on a roast chicken.  If you have a Penzey's Spice store in your town, they have it there or you can get it online in a 1/4 cup amount.

I could not find raw cashews and had to settle for roasted, salted ones, so I left the salt out of the recipe.  I am not a fan of raisins but did go ahead and use them.  I plumped them in a little hot water so they would be softer.  My personal preference would be to use dried apricots, dates or dried cherries or cranberries in place of the raisins.

Unfortunately I have a hubby who will not touch cauliflower no matter how it is prepared so I only made half the recipe.  He doesn’t have any idea what he is missing with this one.  I love it, and I can’t wait to make another variation.  I thought it didn't taste anything like cauliflower, and I think you could serve this and people would have no idea they were eating cauliflower.

 Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah.  Go visit her blog and get some great recipes.

Spiced Cauliflower “Couscous”
From Well Dined and Food 52
1 large cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs. of florets)
5 oz. raw cashews (I had to use already roasted so skipped the cashew roasting step.)
5 T. olive oil
4 T. lemon juice
2 T. mined parsley
1/2 t. Za’atar (if you can’t find this, I would try Greek Seasoning)
1/2 t. cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 t. finely shredded lemon zest
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I left out the salt as the cashews were salted.)

If using raw cashews, Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Reduce heat to medium low; add the cashews and toast for about about 8 minutes, until lightly golden and gently charred.  Stir frequently to make sure that they do not burn.  Let cool, then cut half of the cashews into smaller pieces.
Break the cauliflower into florets, making sure to leave behind as much of the stem as possible. Chop
the florets into smaller pieces.  Transfer part of the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until the pieces are finely chopped and resemble couscous.  Be careful not to over-process.  Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
 Heat three tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower to the pan, stir well to coal with the olive oil and cook about 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove the couscous from the heat and let cool.
Add the raisins, cashews, Za’atar, cumin, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining two tablespoons olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Leave the couscous for about 15 minutes to allow the flavor to combine.  Serve at room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

Think you might want to join the fun.  You can find all the info here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

S’mores Bars-Secret Recipe Club

The PinterTest Kitchen was my assigned blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  This is a collaborative blog hosted by Sharon Boyer and her two daughters Allison and Jessica.  They started this blog in 2012 with the idea of trying out recipes that they found on Pinterest and reviewing the recipes as to whether or not the results were successful.  They have also posted many of their family favorite recipes.

Sharon likes to bake so there are many cookies recipes on the blog which pleased me no end, cookie lover that I am.  I made Banana Oatmeal and White Chocolate Pudding Snickerdoodle Cookies and recommend that you try them  both.

They also have more savory recipes on the blog such as Best Barbecued Meatballs, Garlic Brussels Sprouts, Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake and Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Pretzel  Buns which are all on my list to make soon.  There is also a recipe for Homemade Chili Powder that I am going to try when I am out of my current bottle of chili powder.

I chose to post Quick and Easy S’mores Bars today because they were delicious, and  this is a really great recipe to have in the files for this time of year.  This recipe really is quick, easy and contains ingredients that people have in their pantry most of the time.  You can whip this together in 15 minutes if you have unexpected guests.  Stick it in the fridge for another 15 or 20 minutes and you are good to go. The recipe also lends itself to lots of creative variations as you can easily swap out the milk chocolate chips with other flavors.  I am going to try the recipe with cinnamon graham crackers and white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips soon.

I changed nothing about the recipe, but I did line my baking pan with foil.  I broke the graham crackers into 15 squares.   When the bars had cooled, I removed the bars from the pan, flipped them upside down onto a cookie sheet and cut the graham cracker squares apart with a knife dipped in hot water to make 30 one by two inch bars.  These are very rich so smaller is OK, I think.  Make these bars, you definitely won’t be sorry.

Quick and Easy S’mores Barss
from PinterTest Kitchen
7 1/2 whole graham crackers
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c, brown sugar

Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil.  Break graham crackers into squares and lay into prepare pan.  Sprinkle marshmallows over graham crackers.  Sprinkle chips over marshmallows.  Place butter in a two-cup glass measuring cup and melt in microwave.  Stir in brown sugar and mix well.  Pour evenly over the mixture in baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Let cool completely.  Turn bars out upside down on a cookie sheet.  Remove foil and cut squares apart with a knife dipped in hot water.  Turn right side up.  Makes 30 one by two-inch bars if you cut them apart or 15 two-inch squares if you don’t.

You can find information here about joining Secret Recipe Club.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

House Dressing-Secret Recipe Club

Who could resist a visit to a blog called “Smells Like Brownies.”  This was my assigned blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  Melissa has been blogging since 2011 and is the stay-at-home mom of two little ones.

Of course, cookie lover that I am, I headed straight for the cookie index.  I wasn’t disappointed and found recipes for Brown Sugar Shortbread, Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies, Gooey Vanilla Bean Tea Cakes and Double Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies which my husband is currently stealing from the cookie jar.  I also found Spicy Tuna Burgers and Pecan Crusted Salmon.  Melissa doesn’t eat meat or poultry, so there are a lot of great veggie and fish recipes on the site also.

Now I was planning to post about one of the cookie recipes, but I came across a post that had a recipe that was so easy, so quick and so versatile that, after I made it,  I just knew that it had to be shared.  Melissa wrote about a dressing that she  loved which was served at a place called The Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg.  Well, move over Ranch, I have a new love.

Now when I say I love this stuff, this is how I have already used it.

I had it on roasted cauliflower.

Then as a dip for chicken fingers.

With roasted potato slices.

And on zucchini patties.

Then actually as a dressing on a wedge of lettuce.
I have even been guilty of grabbing a spoon and taking a little bite directly from the jar.  From now on, I will always have this in my fridge.  If you like mustard at all, please give this wonderful recipe a try.

It is worth it to buy the mustard seeds for this if you don’t have them on hand.  The dressing does get more kick the longer you keep it.

Make this dressing/dip, then visit Smells Like Brownies, and get some great new cookie recipes.

“Cheese Shop” House Dressing
from It Smells Like Brownies

I c. high-quality regular or light mayonnaise (I used Best Foods)
1 T. high-quality Dijon mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced (I like garlic so may have used a bit more)
1 t. turbinado or light brown sugar (I  used the brown sugar)
pinch salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 t. mustard seeds

Combine all ingredients except the mustard seeds in a food processor or blender.  (I used my mini food chopper).  Process until the garlic is smooth and the mixture is well blended.  Turn into a container with a lid.  Stir in the mustard seeds.  Chill several hours to allow flavors to blend.  Serve with crusty bread, raw or cooked veggies, chicken fingers, over lettuce, just wherever you want.  Makes a little over a cup.

If you would like to join in the fun of Secret Recipe Club, visit this page.

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