spice crusted carrots with harissa yogurt

March 10, 2014 § 85 Comments

Our weather is warming up and for the past three or four days I have shifted from preparing chickpea stews, Mexican casseroles and pasta to fixing lighter vegetable dishes, salads and grains.  For dinner last night we had a wonderful braised tofu and spice crusted carrots with harissa yogurt.


What was so impressive about this Bon Appétit recipe was the crusted texture of the carrots, the flavor of smoked paprika, sweetness from a trace of sugar and a lots of lemon zest.  Complex flavor; simple in preparation.


My preparation is slightly modified from the original Bon Appétit recipe.  I cut back on the sugar and did not rub the skins off of the carrots.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • zest from 1/2 lemon

M e t h o d

Cook carrots in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender.  Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Using paper towels, gently pat dry.  The Bon Appétit recipe recommends using a paper towel to gently rub the skins off of the carrots.  We used organic carrots and left the skins on.

Mix sugar, mustard powder, paprika, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl. Toss carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium bowl.  Add spice mixture and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Working in batches, cook carrots, turning occasionally, until deep brown all over, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place yogurt in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add harissa paste, 2 teaspoons thyme,  lemon zest and gently swirl ingredients, stopping before yogurt turns pink.
Spoon harissa yogurt onto plates and top with carrots, more thyme, and more lemon zest. Serve with lemon wedges.

roasted cabbage with bacon

December 9, 2013 § 61 Comments

While trimming brussels sprouts for roasting last week I had a thought.  These little gems are mini cabbages and I wondered if roasting a giant cabbage would be just as delicious.  I have eaten cabbage steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, pickled in brine, and even raw in slaws, but never roasted.  And without a doubt adding a few bacon lardons would be delicious.  Indeed.


The texture of the cabbage was soft and the bacon crunchy.  The combination of the roasted bacon and the sweetness of the cabbage was truly one of the best things I tasted in quite some time.  I could not quit eating the crispy charred bits of cabbage before bringing it to the table. Served with parmesan chicken cutlets.  Recipe coming…next post.


I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced 1/4 inch
  • 3 slices of good quality thick cut bacon, sliced 1/4 inch
  • drizzling of olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper

Preheat oven 450°F.   Put all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until well coated.   Spread evenly onto a large parchment lined baking tray.  Roast for 30 – 40 minutes turning regularly using a spatula, until well roasted and bacon is crisp, yet still meaty.

Serves 4

roasted brussels sprouts

November 15, 2013 § 43 Comments

Roasting is my new favorite way of cooking vegetables.  We roasted brussels sprouts the other day and they were a showstopper.  I think this is an excellent idea as a  T h a n k s g i v i n g  side dish.  It takes 30 minutes of (almost) hands free cooking.  No need to have a spatula in your hand while trying to mash the potatoes.


We all know timing in the last 30 minutes is crucial when cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  The turkey comes out of the oven and suddenly a state of pandemonium ensues.  The buns go into the oven, potatoes are mashed, the gravy requires your undivided attention,  and don’t forget the vegetables!   This can be very challenging.


Simply slice the brussels sprouts in half, toss in salted olive oil, spread them out on a parchment lined cooking sheet and set aside until the turkey is removed from the oven.   Place in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes.  Give them a good toss every 10 minutes.


Roasting them alone is wonderful or add diced bacon, whole garlic cloves and chopped walnuts before placing in the oven.  This is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

roasted sweet potatoes with pancetta and chimichurri

October 7, 2013 § 41 Comments

You just can’t help to think of root vegetables once Autumn is in the air.  I keep buying loads of beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips.   Recently I found this sweet potato recipe in the September issue of  Bon Appétit.  The idea of these flavors was so unique I had to prepare it . The Bon Appétit recipe calls for Speck which is an Italian cured meat much like Proscuitto.  I used pancetta, however, any smoked type cured meat is possible, even turkey bacon.  I found two different types of sweet potatoes at the market.


Chimichurri is a piquant sauce or marinade traditionally used on grilled meat, typically containing parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and flakes of chili pepper.  It is “often billed as ‘Argentine barbecue sauce,’ and we enjoy it with many other dishes far beyond the grill.   The chimichurri was wonderful with the roasted sweet potatoes and the pancetta adds a nice smoky flavor.  DSCN1275

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 small sweet potatoes or yams, unpeeled, cut lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

M e t h o d

Heat oven to 425°F.  Toss sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast, turning once, until tender, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.  With motor running, slowly add vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup oil and process until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon chimichurri onto a serving platter and top with sweet potatoes and pancetta.

Serves 4.

roasted tomatoes and herbs

October 2, 2013 § 54 Comments

We are finally enjoying red, ripe and juicy roma tomatoes from the garden.  I am still so puzzled as to why my tomatoes have taken so long when friends of mine living in the same city are at least 30 days on the other side of their harvest.  All I can say is I am happy to have them!


And still more to come!

I have been wanting to slow roast tomatoes for weeks and after bringing in a dozen or so roma’s I knew exactly what I was going to do.  No doubt these were going to be good, however, after the first bite I was completely smitten.  I had to stop myself because I was going to finish off the whole lot and never mention a word to my family I had roasted them.  The aroma in the house was a dead give away and coming to my senses I knew I had to share.


Crispy sage is such a lovely delicacy.  I added several large sage leaves to the roasting pan, along with thyme, greek basil and thinly sliced garlic.  We enjoyed the tomatoes alone as a side, however,  I can imagine how perfect they would be tossed in spaghetti.  Of course I thought that, how many pasta recipes can one blog have?  I’m up to 18 and I have only had this blog for 7 months!

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 6 or 7 tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • several whole sage leaves
  • 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • large sprig of basil, chopped
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • sea salt

M e t h o d

Preheat oven 325°F.  Drizzle olive oil onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle the herbs about and toss around with a spatula.  Add the sliced tomatoes and garlic and continue to toss around until well coated.  Evenly space the tomatoes about the pan, cut side down, sprinkle with salt and roast for one hour.


wilted kale

September 18, 2013 § 44 Comments

We eat fairly light in this house.  I find myself serving sides as mains more often than not.  Most of our meals are “one pot” or maybe a few sides.  We are not vegetarians, but come awfully close.   With an athletic young man in the house I do have to consider his nutritional needs and most often plan my meals with his palate in mind. Thank goodness he has a grown up palate!


Here is an exceptional side (or main) involving lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan, dinosaur or black kale.    I especially enjoy lacinato kale due to it heartiness, deep dark green color and it’s ability to hold onto it’s crunchiness even after simmering for several minutes.  This is a lovely combination of textures and flavors.

I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine (thanks sis!).  This is a slight adaptation and we found the recipe really only serves two.  Next time I make this I will double the recipe.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 3 slices of center cup bacon
  • 3/4 cup vertically sliced onion (sweet yellow or red)
  • 8 cups lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

M e t h o d

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp.   Remove from pan, crumple and set aside.  Increase heat to medium.  Add onions to bacon drippings in pan and sauté 3-4 minutes.  Add kale and cook until kale begins to wilt, stirring occasionally.  Add stock, cover and cook 4 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in vinegar and syrup.  Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Serves 2.

whole roasted cauliflower with whipped goat cheese

August 26, 2013 § 69 Comments

Several months ago while skimming through an issue of Bon Appétit I came across this impressive whole roasted cauliflower recipe.  I knew I had to cook it and two days later while visiting our family in Idaho, we had a whole cauliflower roasting in the oven as well as goat cheese, cream cheese and feta whirling in the food processor.  I have made this wonderful roasted cauliflower twice since then and my family loves it.  It is so tender and somewhat “nutty” in flavor.


Precooking the cauliflower in seasoned broth infuses it with flavor and roasting it creates a nice crispy edge.  This roasted cauliflower is so fork-tender and the whipped goat cheese was astounding.  Astoundingly so that I have prepared it as a dip (adding caramelized onions) for our chips, vegetables or anything else you can find to scoop it up!


You may want to trim your cauliflower of it’s bottom leaves in order for it to sit flat in your roasting pan.  I keep them on because we enjoy eating them as well.  The recipe may seem a bit elaborate for roasting a vegetable, but it is well worth the effort and time.

EDIT: (After doing a search on the web for this recipe I have found every site “featuring” this recipe, as well as Bon Appétit Magazine, calling for 1/4 cup salt in the cooking liquid.   You may want to adjust the salt to your discretion, however, we did not find the cauliflower to be too salty using the recipe as it is listed below)  I found the cooking liquid is quite pungent and cabbage like after the cauliflower has cooked therefore, in my opinion,  it may not be suitable to save as a broth for future cooking.

Recipe exactly how it appears in Bon Appétit Magazine…

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed

Whipped goat cheese

  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 ounces feta
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
  • Coarse sea salt (for serving)

M e t h o d

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot.  Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.

Using tongs transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well.  Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, about 40 minutes.  Check at 30 minutes and continue to check every 5 minutes until brown as you like.

While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream and 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until smooth,  season with sea salt.  Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.

Transfer cauliflower to a plate.  Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with sea salt.  Serve with whipped goat cheese.

Whipped goat cheese can be made 1 day ahead and covered and chilled.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit.

Serves 3 as a side dish.

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