Cauliflower Hummus

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I have to tell you guys something today, and it’s not easy.

I didn’t always like cauliflower.

In fact, I hated it.

But this was back when cauliflower was merely the white florets one added to the veggie tray at parties. I would chose the carrots, celery, broccoli, and red bell pepper… and leave the boring cauliflower for some other brave soul.

I’ve made up for lost time though.  I sometimes just type ‘cauliflower’ into Pinterest to see what else I can do with my favorite vegetable. You can’t even imagine how excited I was when the waitress at a new restaurant  we recently visited explained that the most popular dish on the menu was a cauliflower hummus appetizer that she boasted as having a lemony flavor and a garnish of freshly popped popcorn. I was sold.

After enjoying the dish immensely, I was even more excited to find the recipe online a few days later.  This is so good and very unique. While roasting a cauliflower for almost 2 hours might seem extreme, it brings about a  totally new flavor that I absolutely adored.

And….

If anyone from the national cauliflower producers council is reading this, give me a call. I’m looking for a sponsor.

Cauliflower Hummus 
Source: The Little Beet Table
Printable Recipe 

1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1″ steaks
2/3C extra virgin olive oil
juice of 3 lemons
4T tahini paste
1C water
1T salt
few sprigs fresh dill, toasted seeds (sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin), popcorn, and thinly sliced red onion for topping
warm toasted bread (pita works well)

Preheat oven to 400.
Coat cauliflower in 1/3C olive oil. I used less than the recipe calls for and it turned out.
Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cauliflower will be very dark.
Remove from oven once dark and caramelized.
In a food processor, combine juice of 3 lemons, tahini, 2/3C water, 1/3C olive oil, salt, and cauliflower.
Process until smooth. You may need to add additional water if the mixture is too thick.
Adjust seasonings.
Serve with a few sprigs of fresh dill, toasted seeds, freshly popped popcorn, and thinly sliced red onion. Drizzle olive oil and serve!
Enjoy!

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Rhubarb Muffins

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One of my very favorite things about food is the fact that food and memories are so intertwined.

When I cut into a jalapeño, I always think of the time I rubbed my eyes after mincing a particularly spicy pepper. There are some mistakes that you don’t make twice in life. My eyes water at the mere thought of this memory.

When I buy corn, I think of how much I didn’t like shucking corn growing up. It might have only happened once or twice, but I distinctly remember sitting out on the back deck with a bag of corn to my right and a big brown paper bag for discarding husks on my left. Trying to pick off the little silks that get stuck on each piece was (and remains to be) a frustrating task. I’ll still do it though. Corn is worth the work.

And, when I buy rhubarb? I think of my Great Grandma Mary. I may have talked about her on the blog before, but she is one of those people in life that deserves to be talked about again and again. She had a rhubarb plant in her backyard that I only knew existed because I would sometimes kick my soccer ball directly into it. I’d sheepishly walk over to the corner of the yard and quickly snatch my ball out of the rhubarb stalks hoping no one had seen me while fearing that I had terminally damaged the plant. I’m not sure she ever made anything with it — at least not for us — but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of her and her wonderfulness whenever I accidentally buy 2 pounds of rhubarb at the farmers market.

I have a million memories and stories about her, but I mostly remember her kind heart and her hearty chuckle. She had a very special way of always improving the lives of those around her with simple actions, wether it was just telling a good joke, sharing a story, making a meal, or lending a helping hand.

Cheers to great grandmas who continue to inspire us to be good humans.

Cheers to rhubarb.. and muffins… and of course, streusel too.

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Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Printable Recipe 

For the streusel:
1/4C white flour
1/4C white whole wheat flour
1T sugar
3T light brown sugar
1/4tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
pinch of salt
3T butter, melted

For the muffin:
1 egg
1/4C light brown sugar
3T sugar
5T butter, melted and cooled down
3/4C sour cream
1C white whole wheat flour
1/2C all-purpose flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1C diced rhubarb, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare 12 muffin cups with butter, no-stick spray, or liners)
In a small dish, combine all ingredients for the streusel and stir until crumbly. Set aside.
In a different bowl, whisk egg and sugars together. Whisk in butter and sour cream.
In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir until almost combined.
Fold in rhubarb and 1/3 of the streusel mixture.
Divide muffins among cups evenly. Sprinkle each with streusel mixture.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
Rest in pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Enjoy!

Cauliflower with Sesame Seeds

It seemed only fair that I mark the passing of a chef whom I really admired by making one of his recipes. I feel quite confident Anthony Bourdain would hate me. He’s made innumerable comments about loathing vegetarians and despising brunch. I sometimes dream of vegetarian brunches in my free time. But still, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years reading his books and watching his TV shows. He gave me an appreciation for food, for travel, but perhaps most importantly for simply being who you are. Wether you agreed or disagreed with Bourdain’s theories and lifestyle choices, there was never much of a doubt about who he was. The man was unabashedly himself. I never saw an episode of his show where he didn’t seem humbled by hospitality, no matter how foreign or odd the dish he was being served. If only we could all be so adventurous and open-hearted.

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

It took me a while to find a Bourdain recipe that didn’t contain at least three different types of meat. The man certainly never promoted plant-based living, and his recipes reflect that ideology. When I stumbled across this recipe containing cauliflower (my favorite), I knew it was meant to be.

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Cauliflower with Sesame Seeds
Source: Anthony Bourdain
Printable Recipe

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4C olive oil
2tsp salt
1tsp coriander
1tsp oregano
pepper
2T tahini paste
1T white miso
1T red wine vinegar
2T water
3T white sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 450.
Combine cauliflower, olive oil, salt, coriander, oregano, and pepper in a bowl, and toss to combine.
Arrange cauliflower on a baking sheet.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally to allow for even roasting.
While cauliflower cooks, whisk tahini, miso, vinegar, and water together. Add additional tablespoon of water if mixture is too thick.
Once cauliflower is roasted, toss with sauce and sesame seeds to coat.
Enjoy!

Can’t Beet Me Smoothie

I have an aversion to shopping carts. I only recently realized this fact about myself.

Have you ever spotted a person in your local grocery story hauling an 80lb overstuffed basket with one arm, a gallon of milk under the other arm, and juggling a few more items in each of their hands?  I am at that person.

I recently had to purchase laundry detergent, milk, several canned items, and a bag of flour which makes for a very heavy basket. Then I saw a sale on watermelon and convinced myself I could get that in my basket without issue. Add in a large head of cauliflower, a bag of frozen corn, and a few other dry ingredients, and my grocery store trip turned into a workout that left me with bruised forearms and very sore shoulders.

Maybe this all seems dumb to you, especially if you particularly enjoy pushing a cart up and down crowded grocery store aisles. There is a part of me that worries that someday the handles of the basket will fail me and I’ll be left with scrambled eggs and spilled milk, but a bigger part of me really enjoys the challenge of trying to Tetris all of the objects into the small rectangular plastic space.

Will I use a cart someday?

I sure hope not.

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Can’t Beet Me Smoothie
Source: Run Fast, Eat Slow Cookbook
Printable Recipe

1 beet, cooked, peeled, and cut into large pieces
1C frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1C almond milk (unsweetened)
1C coconut water
1″ knob fresh ginger, peeled
1T almond butter

Place everything into a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Enjoy!

 

Cauliflower Korma with Blackened Raisins

Today is global running day. I really wish that meant I was going to go and run the globe, but my legs and lungs aren’t all that equipped for literal globe-trotting. Plus, Illinois lacks mountains. I’d really struggle when I hit the Rockies. Also my passion for taking pictures of small animals that I see when I run would certainly fill up my phone storage in no time at all.

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Running is the best. I’m convinced. I’ve tried every form of cardio (including jazzercise videos, ab rollers, hula-hoop regimens, and trampoline classes) only to realize that NOTHING gives me the same wahoo-I-can-do-anything-in-the-world-feeling that I get when I run. Similarly, nothing gives me the same muscle pain, lung fatigue, chest tightness, and mosquito bites. I meant what I said. Running is the best.

Before I go and get all sappy regarding my limited list of running accolades and lengthy list of amazing running experiences, I think we should all go out for a quick jog or a long run. You decide.

Happy Global Running Day!

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Cauliflower Korma with Blackened Raisins
Source: Food & Wine
Printable Recipe

2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
Canola oil
2 1/2tsp kosher salt
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 1/2″) piece ginger, peeled and grated
2tsp garam masala
1tsp pepper
pinch of cardamom
pinch of cayenne pepper
1C ground almonds
2T honey
2C greek yogurt (plain, whole-milk)
3/4C whole milk
1/2C raisins
1/2C sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350.
Arrange cauliflower that has been tossed in 1/4C canola oil into single layer on baking sheet lined in foil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt.
Roast cauliflower until tender, about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to brown evenly.
While cauliflower is roasting, heat 3T oil in a skillet. Add onion and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, pepper, cardamom, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add almond powder. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes. Mixture will clump and stick to the onions.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in yogurt, and cook for about 10 minutes, until mixture is a golden color.
Add milk and cook until sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of spoon.
Taste and add additional salt if needed.
In a different pan, add raisins and almonds to heated pan. Cook on medium while stirring mixture constantly to avoid burning the almonds until raisins blacken and ‘puff up,’ about 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the sauce on the platter. Top with cauliflower. Add raisin/almond mixture.
Enjoy!

Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche

It started with a desire to be better about protecting my skin from UV rays. I bought a swim shirt, a hat, and started researching which sunscreens provided the ultimate UVA and UVB protection. A few google searches later, I was the proud honor of a toxin-free, odorless, and ultra-bright white mineral-based sunscreen that coats your skin (and everything else you happen to come across) with a layer of what appears to be white face paint.

Instead of bronzed glowing skin, I found myself hitting up the local pool looking like I accidentally rolled up against a freshly painted white wall.

However, I’ve decided that skin safety is far more important than my own vanity so I plan to spend this summer looking paler than I ever thought possible.

There have been three unexpected issues (aside from the aforementioned anemic appearance) that have occurred since I first purchased the product:

  1. Contacts. Apparently when the very thick mineral based sunscreen mixes with sweat during a workout and travels into your eyes, it coats your contacts with a opaque film that clouds your vision in ways I could’ve never fathomed. It was so severe I found myself on the side of a road three miles from home trying to remove my contacts so I could see enough to get myself back home. You read that correctly, my uncorrected vision was far better than my sunscreened contacts.
  2. Car. This stuff doesn’t really soak into your skin so if you decide to sunscreen-up before hopping into your car like I did, be prepared for your car interior to be coated with zinc. Also be prepared to not know how to get it off your car interior.
  3. Bike. Let’s pretend your out on a nice long bike ride and you go to shift gears, but your handlebar is coated in white sunscreen. Let’s pretend you can’t shift. Let’s pretend no matter how hard you try to wipe the sunscreen off your handlebars, you  still can’t shift. Let’s pretend you stubbornly ride 20 miles stuck in a very low gear because the summer is short and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to ride.

 

 

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Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
Source: Smitten Kitchen 
Printable Recipe 

Crust:
1 2/3C flour
3/4tsp salt
12 T cold butter, diced
3-5T ice water

Filling:
3/4C cream cheese, room temperature
2/3C half and half
6 eggs, beaten
2 (10oz) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
1C grated gruyere
1/2C parmesan
1 bundle (approximately 8) green onions, sliced thinly
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper

Place flour and salt in a food processor.
Add butter to processor. Pulse until you have a mixture with small bits of butter (couscous-sized bits).
While the machine is running, drizzle in water. Once dough begins to ball, stop machine.
Remove from the food processor. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer for 20 minutes or fridge for 2 hours, until firm.
Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper. Spritz with no-stick spray.
Roll out dough onto thin layer using flour. Try to do this step quickly as you want to keep dough cold.
Once dough is larger than pan (about 12″x16″), transfer to pan and press into the pan.
Trim the edges and use excess to patch any holes/cracks.
Return pan to fridge for about 20 minutes, until dough is cold.
Preheat oven to 425.
Remove cold crust from oven.
Prick crust with fork and fill with pie weights (or dry beans or rice in a pinch).
Parbake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and take out pie weights.

Return to oven and cook for additional 5 minutes.
While the crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and half and half.
Once mixture is smooth, add in egg mixture.
Fold in spinach, cheddar, parmesan, scallions, salt, and pepper.
When crust is done, pour filling into the crust.
Bake at 425 until crust is golden and filling is set, about 22-25 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Cool slightly and serve.
Enjoy!

Spring Minestrone

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I wonder if I’d be good at a sport that combined hockey, lacrosse, and basketball while steering a bumper car?”

I had not, but I was recently offered a chance to play Whirlyball, which is described as a game combining lacrosse, hockey, and basketball with bumper cars.

I can now tell you with extreme confidence that I would not be good at a sport that combined hockey, lacrosse, and basketball with bumper cars.

It’s not surprising really. I’ve never played lacrosse. I mostly know of it as a sport that exists.

My limited experience with hockey mostly entails a few neighborhood pick-up games that occurred in the driveway of our home using tiny plastic hockey sticks, roller-blades, an excess of knee and elbow pads, cones to mark off the goals, and a tennis ball to serve as the puck. I recall many of the games ending quickly after any of us players would get mad and use the aformentioned plastic stick as a weapon. Game over.

I like basketball, but I’ve always claimed that being tall in basketball and being good in basketball are two very different things. I’ll let you guess as to which category I belong.

Bumper cars and I don’t mix unless the goal is in fact to continuously get stuck in corners or up against the wall. The amount of collisions and spinning I underwent thanks to my own driving capabilities left me mildly nauseous. Next time, I plan to bring dramamine.

So if you combine a sport I’ve never played, a sport I played a few times, and a sport I played poorly with a small motorized car that I can’t steer you will get a clear picture of how my first Whirlyball adventure went.

And guess what?

It was a very fun experience, and I would definitely try it again sometime. I’ve heard practice makes perfect.

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Spring Minestrone
Source: The Home Cook
Printable Recipe 

1/2C + 2T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
salt, pepper
1 can (28oz) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
2C fresh arugula leaves
1C fresh basil leaves
1tsp sugar
1 (15oz) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2C fresh parmesan

In a large pot, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat .
Add onion, garlic, and carrots to pot, and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Season with salt.
Once vegetables are tender, add tomatoes (with their juices) and 2 1/2C water (or vegetable broth).
Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in beans and zucchini, and cook for additional 8-10 minutes, until zucchini is tender.
To serve the soup, place a spoonful of the pesto (see below) in the bottom of each soup bowl. Add a sprinkle of the parmesan. Ladle soup over the pesto-cheese mixture. Top with additional parmesan.
Enjoy!

To make the pesto: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, season water with salt. Add 1C arugula and 1C basil to boiling water. Cook for 1 minute. Remove leaves and immediately transfer to ice cold water to cool. Remove cooled leaves from ice water after about 30 seconds. Transfer cooked leaves, remaining 1C uncooked arugula, sugar, and 1/2C olive oil to food processor. Pulse until combined.