Roasted Cauliflower

005I know I have mentioned it before, but our favorite way to use many vegetables as a side is to roast them.  If you have never tried roasting cauliflower, try this and let me know how you like it.  Even those who say they don’t like cauliflower love this, and it is so easy!  The last few years, we have grown a small winter garden of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, various greens such as kale, chard, collards, and mustard, even brussels sprouts.  We only plant a few, but have been pleasantly surprised how well they grow and love going out to cut them fresh for a meal.  In this photo are both the traditional white and a lovely Cheddar cauliflower.  They are so much prettier before I cook them, so I used a before roasting picture.  Besides, after I take them out of the oven, they disappear so fast I hardly have time to take any pictures!  They are also a delicious addition to salads uncooked.

1 head of cauliflower

3 Tablespoons olive oil, separated 2/1

salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

The recipe is simple:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut a cauliflower head, removing leaves, or “jackets” (these protect the young cauliflowers from getting sunburned while they are growing.)  Separate the flowerets,  rinse, and pat dry before putting them into a bowl.  Toss with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and is tender when stuck with a fork. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with a 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice mixed with 1 Tablespoon olive oil.

I mix the lemon juice and oil  with a fork in a small cream pitcher and drizzle over the hot cauliflower.  Any leftovers (and there won’t be many) can be stored in the frig and added to a salad.  I confess, I have eaten them right our of the frig for a snack!

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Mushroom Quiche

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Quiche is one of those versatile dishes that can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Add to that the fact that ingredients can be swapped out in any number of combinations. The base recipe is milk, cheese, and eggs.  Add your choice of chopped vegetables and/or a variety of meat or seafood.  Make your own crust or use a prepared pie crust. Substitute some or all of the milk with half and half or even heavy cream.

Mushroom Quiche

1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

5 cups sliced sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg plus a pinch for topping

1 teaspoon dried thyme  (I use Penzey’s French Thyme)

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss or Fontina cheese (about 7 ounces)

preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll crust completely. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch deep-dish pyrex pie dish. Bake until light golden brown, pressing on sides of crust with back of spoon if crust begins to slide down sides of dish, about 17 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Melt butter in heavy skillet.  Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown.

Whisk eggs,, milk,  salt,  pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina cheese and sautéed mushrooms, reserving remainder. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the filling and dust with nutmeg.

Bake until  golden brown, and set in center, about 45 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then cut into wedges.

 

 

Rosemary Wreath Chicken Soup

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I like to cook with herbs I grow in our garden, but I also like to share them.  Many people know they are welcome to stop by and cut their own bunch of fresh herbs.  I also like to use herbs for making small gifts.  During the holidays, I made a number of these small rosemary wreaths, tucked in a bay leaf, and tied them with a bit of ribbon to attach to this recipe. I think the next time I take a pot of soup to someone who needs a meal, I might add  one of the little wreaths and the recipe.  A similar herbal wreath is mentioned here.

.http://jimlongsgarden.blogspot.com/2013/12/make-cooking-wreath.html

 Herb Wreath Chicken Soup

2  quarts chicken broth or stock

2 chicken breasts

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 – 3 carrots, peeled, sliced

The entire cooking wreath

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

sea salt to taste

freshly cracked black pepper

wide noodles (I use Reames frozen noodles)
Bring broth to a boil and add the chicken and vegetables. Cook until the chicken is tender,  remove chicken and chop, then add back to the soup. Add the noodles and rosemary wreath,  and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Pecan Pie Eudora

008Unlike many cooks, I am always open to new recipes for something I have cooked with success many times with another recipe.  In this case, pecan pie.  In my years growing up and learning to cook, holiday desserts usually included  sweet potato pie, a mince pie, often fruit pies, but always pecan pies.  I have confessed my habit of browsing through cookbooks for fun, and a Half Price Bookstore find recently uncovered a for- me untried version of this pie.  In the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, the title caught my eye.  Eudora Welty is one of my favorite southern authors, and this recipe was titled: Southern Nut Pie Eudora.  The dessert chef, Susan Harville presented the pie to Miss Welty when she was in Ithaca, NY to give a reading.  Miss Welty is said to have accepted the pie graciously and to have said “…the pleasure you’ve had from reading my work? Why, surely it couldn’t add up to a whole pecan pie!”   I opted to use pecans rather than walnuts, and increased the amount of nuts.  The creamy custard and pecans are perfectly enriched with pure maple syrup and heavy cream.  You hardly need any whipped cream on top!

Pecan Pie Eudora

1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust

2 cups pecan halves

1/4 cut butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup heavy cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 375.  Spread nuts evenly in the bottom of the 9 inch unbaked pie shell and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, mix melted butter, vanilla, and flour.  Add salt, eggs, maple syrup, and cream and mix well.  Pour the filling over the pecans in the pie shell.  Pecans will float to the top, so to keep them from burning during baking, gently push them into the liquid with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.  May be served with whipped cream.

Citrus Salad with Pomegranate and Spiced Honey

009Winner of “most beautiful dish”  on our holiday table could also take the competition for “most delicious.”   You might think this was a layer cake or hand decorated cookie – no, this fruit salad beat them all.  I altered the recipe according to ingredients I had  in my kitchen, but the original recipe with an enticing photo was found in December 2013 issue of Southern Living magazine.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1  cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 medium-size oranges
  • 3 mandarin oranges
  • 2 Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 2 limes or Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish, if desired

To make the spiced honey, bring first 6 ingredients and 1/2 cup water to a boil, stirring, Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes.

Peel citrus, cutting away white pith. Cut each fruit into thin rounds. Arrange on a serving platter, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Pour honey mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer and discard pieces strained out.. Drizzle fruit with spiced honey. Top with mint leaves.

Remaining spiced honey may be used many ways. Try a bit in your next cup of tea or mix with melted butter to brush on top of hot rolls.

*Pink or red peppercorns may be substituted.

Note: Salad may be made up to a day ahead. Prepare as directed; cover and chill up to 24 hours.