Side Dishes

Rockstar Roasted Cauliflower

Last week, I roasted cauliflower as a weekday side dish.  It is one of our favorite sides and it is the perfect accompaniment for most any main dish.  I have served it with all types of fish, poultry and meat.  It is always a star side dish, so well received at my table.

But, at last week’s dinner table, the roasted cauliflower was a rockstar.

rockstar-roasted-cauliflower

Each cauliflower floret was soft and velvety on the inside and crunchy and toasty on the outside.  Everyone around the table commented that it was a whole new level for roasted cauliflower.

And, I scratched my head to try and figure out just what made it so delicious.

I replayed the dinnertime meal preparation in my head.

It had been one of those hectic weeknights.  I had been working in my home office and instead of roasting the cauliflower on high heat from the beginning, I placed it in the oven on medium heat to cook alongside the Baked French Fried Onion Chicken until the chicken was ready.  Once the timer for the baked chicken sounded, I removed the chicken from the oven and increased the heat for the cauliflower to my normal 450 degrees F roasting temperature.

That seemed to be the magic.  I had started the cauliflower off at medium heat and had increased the heat after 25 minutes until it was finished.

I was determined to recreate the superstar cauliflower the next night.  And, I did!

 

INGREDIENTS 

1-2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets and cleaned (see kosher notes)
Oil
Kosher Salt
Granulated or fresh minced garlic (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or greased foil.

Spread cauliflower in a single layer on baking sheet(s).  Drizzle with oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic.

Cook for 25 minutes and then increase temperature to 450 degrees F for 20-25 minutes more, checking that vegetables are soft and browned before removing from oven.

 

KOSHER NOTES

Kosher laws disallow the eating of  any whole insects and therefore  cauliflower require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing.   Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of  cauliflower and some disallow its use altogether.  This blog was not designed to be your  kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using and preparing cauliflower.

Thanksgiving Quinoa Salad

Thanksgiving celebrates the bounty of the harvest.  Giving thanks is central to Judaism and offering thanks for agricultural success (Bekurim: First Fruits from Hollister) is an important Jewish theme.  Traditionally, foods like cranberry, almonds and corn are included in the American Thanksgiving celebration.  This salad celebrates the breadth of so many delicious salad ingredients, some old, some new and some recreated.  The addition of pumpkin pie spice to the toasting of the seeds and nuts adds a familiar Thanksgiving taste and aroma to this salad. (more…)

Kohlrabi Confetti Salad

confetti-kohlrabi-salad

We are in Israel for Sukkos and kohlrabi is plentiful here.  It is sold in the Machane Yehuda shuk (market)  and in fruit stands throughout the country.  In the past, I have used kohlrabi in soups and have cooked it in a myriad of ways.  Today, I prepared a shredded salad for dinner in the Sukka using fresh kohlrabi.  It was simple, delicious and very satisfying.

Kohlrabi is a root vegetable also named German turnip or turnip cabbage.  It has a white interior with an either light green or purple peel.  Kohlrabi has trademark antennae, making it look like an alien vegetable.

But don’t let its antennae scare you off.  Kohlrabi is a low-calorie option that is loaded with vitamins.  It has a crisp and crunchy texture and a mild sweet flavor.  Its flavor is reminiscent of broccoli stem and apple.  Kohlrabi may be cooked into soups stews or mashes.  It may be roasted like a turnip.  When roasted or cooked, it takes on the texture of a typical turnip.  When visiting Israel, I add cubes of kohlrabi to my chicken soup.

This was the first time that I have prepared raw kohlrabi and my family really enjoyed it. The salad was so simple to prepare and oh, so delicious!

Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

2 kohlrabi, peeled
2-3 Granny Smith apples, scrubbed
1 zucchini or summer squash, scrubbed
3 small cucumbers, scrubbed

salt and pepper, to taste
a splash of lemon juice

light drizzle of honey or agave syrup
a light drizzle of olive oil (optional)
slivered almonds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Cut apples off of core in several pieces.  Place cut apples in a solution of 4 parts water to 1 part of lemon juice to prevent apples from oxidizing.  Grate or spiralize vegetables and apples.

Sprinkle, splash and drizzle seasoning right over vegetables.  Sprinkle almonds on top of salad.

Toss.

Colorful Confetti Cabbage

confetti-cabbage

Cabbage is one of those under-rated ingredients.  It is available year-round, is low-carb and can be delicious in a saute or salad.  This recipe is one that I prepare often and one that my family really enjoys.  It is a simple recipe that started out as a mistake…

Before one of the holidays, I had purchased quite a bit of produce.  I turned on my extra refrigerator and stored my overflow vegetables in that refrigerator, not realizing that the refrigerator temperature setting had been set to maximum.

When I went to retrieve the cabbage from the refrigerator, I realized that the cabbage had frozen.  It was no longer suitable for salad, so I tried to think of another use for the frozen cabbage.  I had a batch of onions that had just been sauteed, so I used some of the onions as starter.  I then added the frozen cabbage to the saute pan with garlic, salt and pepper.   (more…)

Warm Zucchini-Mushroom Salad with Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

A warm salad can both accommodate our low-carb diet and satisfy our hearty side dish craving in a way that a cold salad never can.   This salad starts with a cold base of chopped romaine lettuce and is topped with a warm saute of onions, zucchini, mushrooms, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds.  The combination of salad and saute, cold and warm, fresh and hearty is simply sensational.

It is easy to prepare the parts of this warm salad in advance.  Just make sure to assemble right before serving to keep the salad greens crisp and fresh.

Best of all, you can separate  some of the warm saute separate and save it for another meal.  It will refrigerate well and can be served the next day over a bed of warm rice or quinoa.

warm salad mushrooms zucchini nuts and seeds plated

 

INGREDIENTS

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced (see onion tip below)

1 box of mushrooms, cleaned, sliced and patted dry

1-2 zucchini, scrubbed, diced small  and patted dry

a sprinkle of slivered almonds

a sprinkle of shelled sunflower seeds

salt and pepper to taste
scant drizzle of balsamic or wine vinegar

1 cup romaine lettuce, soaked, rinsed and chopped

 

DIRECTIONS

Clean and chop romaine lettuce.  Place on plate or in salad bowl.

Lightly saute onion in olive oil until just starting to brown.  Add mushrooms and zucchini to saute pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Scantly drizzle balsamic vinegar over saute and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to saute pan.

Saute vegetable for a few minutes, just until soft and fragrant.  Add a light sprinkle of almonds and sunflower seeds.  Toss until just coated, for 1-2 minutes more.

warm salad mushrooms zucchini nuts and seeds.jpg

Spoon  vegetable saute over the romaine lettuce.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

ONION TIP

Lightly pierce and microwave onion for 30 seconds before chopping to avoid tears.The microwave heat denatures the onion enzymes that cause the release of sulphuric gas, which are the culprit for making us cry when cutting onions.