Friday, April 4, 2014

Cauliflower frittata

Another winner from Ottolenghi's Plenty.

We used our lovely cauliflower and chives fresh from the CSA, eggs from our nanny's sister's farm, and cheese from our Yankee Hollow Cheese of the Month box in a delicious frittata.

You parboil the cauliflower, then caramelize it for a few minutes before adding the custard, cooking stovetop a few more minutes and then finish it in the oven. I like this method. The caramelized cauliflower mingles with the browning custard and forms a lovely crust.

I only had half a cauliflower head so I added a carrot (a ginormous CSA carrot). It was good but not very pretty.

The recipe calls for smoked scamorza (apparently in the mozzarella family) which I did not have. I used some baby Swiss and a wonderful coffee-rubbed cheddar (?) which definitely contributed smokiness to the dish.

Cauliflower frittata
adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty

1 small cauliflower, cut into medium florets (or 1/2 a large cauliflower and a huge carrot cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
6 eggs
4 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
3 Tbsp finely chopped chives
5 oz smoked scamorza (or coffee-rubbed maybe cheddar), grated
2 oz mature Cheddar (or baby Swiss), grated
salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

Simmer the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water for only 4-5 minutes, or until semi-cooked. Drain and dry.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Break the eggs into a large bowl, Add the yogurt, mustard and paprika and whisk well, making sure the eggs and yogurt are thoroughly blended. Stir in the chives and 3/4 of the cheeses, and season well with salt and pepper.

Heat up the olive oil in a 12" cast iron skillet. Fry the cauliflower for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on one side. Pour over the egg mixture and use a fork to spread the cauliflower evenly in the pan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Scatter the remaining cheeses on top, then carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the frittata is set.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes before cutting into wedges. Eat immediately.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tabbouleh-ish with roasted vegetables

We got to try for cheap this week. It's a service where you choose a menu and they mail to you all the ingredients so you can assemble the meal yourself. They sent 4 meals for $20 - usually it's around $50 for 4 meals. 

The first meal we tried was pretty blah. Poached haddock with vermicelli stir fry. 

Tonight's meal was a winner, though. And it was the one Mr Leaven was prepared to hate, as he disclosed (after cleaning his plate) that he hates tabbouleh. Well, this was a very Americanized tabbouleh, basically just quinoa with cucumber, parsley, tomato, and lemon juice, and it was excellent. The roasted vegetable accompaniment was also delicious. We will make this again - though next time I'll just pick up the veggies at the grocery store all by myself. 

Quinoa tabbouleh with spring vegetables
Adapted from

Serves 2

1/2 bunch scallions, trimmed and  cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 pint cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/4 bunch parsley, leaves roughly chopped
1 lemon
2/3 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp tahini paste
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Toss the scallions, asparagus, mushrooms, and 1/2 the tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast for 12 minutes. 

Combine quinoa, 1 cup water, and a pinch of salt in a medium pot over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat. 

In a small bowl whisk together tahini, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 2 Tbsp warm water. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

In a large bowl combine quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley. Squeeze over juice of 1 lemon and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Divide the tabbouleh onto 2 plates. Top with roasted vegetables and drizzle tahini over both. 

Brown butter sage cream sauce

Every time I go to the local grocery store I glance at the Bertolli ravioli section to see if maybe they've added a butternut squash ravioli to the lineup. Lo and behold, last month it happened! Tonight I finally got around to preparing them and I was pleased.

My go-to sauce for butternut squash ravioli is brown butter sage with a little sun-dried tomato tossed on top and sometimes a sprinkle of Parmesan. Tonight I thought I'd experiment with cream and Mr Leaven enjoyed it so much he asked that I write down the recipe - so here I am, writing it down! But really, how can you go wrong adding cream to brown butter? This was a freebie. Honestly, the sauce was flavorful enough that it almost overpowered the butternut squash so it might be good just over farfalle or capellini. It's just good.  

I threw in some caramelized onions Mr Leaven had just prepared and they really added a nice sweetness but they aren't essential. 

Brown butter sage sauce

1/2 stick butter (I used salted because I knew I would be adding a lot of salt anyway)
10 sage leaves, coarsest chopped
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped (didn't have any packed in oil so I used Bella Sun Luci Zesty Pepper sun-dried tomatoes)
Splash of white wine (I used cava)
2/3 c heavy cream
1/4 c caramelized onions

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add sage leaves and sun-dried tomatoes and cook till butter is brown. Turn up the heat, add wine and cook off for a minute or two. Turn heat to low and add cream and onions. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until cream is reduced to a thick sauce. Add salt to taste. Great over butternut squash ravioli or any other pasta. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dang good chocolate chip cookies

These are Mr Leaven's favorite chocolate chip cookies. With good reason - the recipe comes from David Lebovitz by way of Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen.

Our home currently smells of chocolate chip deliciousness. My husband is about to get very lucky (I would guess he's just now identifying that scent). He's been a very good boy this week and he deserves a treat.

Mr Leaven's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~24 cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped finely
Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.
Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Scoop the cookie dough into 2 Tbsp balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches apart, on each of the baking sheets.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yum sweet cornbread

This is our favorite sweet cornbread recipe so far. 


Golden sweet cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole milk
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Soak cornmeal in milk for 10-15 minutes. 

Mix dry ingredients. Add egg, oil, and milk/cornmeal. 

Pour into greased 9" round cake pan. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Black-eyed Boston Baked Beans, cabbage slaw, and butternut squash pasta

Got my cabbage and my black-eyed peas gobbled up today - it's going to be a good year!

Cobbled together the bean recipe so better write it down fast... this will need to be a New Year's tradition...

Used Joe's grandma's bean pot. Cool!

Reminder: according to people on the Internet, Boston baked beans are supposed to cook slllloooowwwwlllyyyy. You will bake at 250F for ~7 hours.

Soak 2 pounds of beans (used 1 pound of black-eyed peas and 1 pound of navy beans, which are a more traditional Boston baked beans choice) in a lot of water overnight. BTW, it appears that it's the molasses that makes it Boston baked beans. You learn something new...

Fry up some bacon in the Dutch oven, set the bacon aside on some paper towels (crumble the bacon when cool enough), pour out about 2/3 of the bacon fat, then sauté the onion until very brown. Drain the beans (reserve the liquid) and add the onion and bacon. Dump them in the bean pot with your meaty ham bone saved from that amazing bourbon crack ham from Christmas (recipe courtesy of Tasting Table - need to post!).

Preheat the oven to 250F.

Deglaze the Dutch oven with apple cider vinegar. Now add some of the soaking liquid, 1 cup of molasses (I used molasses and the end of a bottle of pomegranate molasses), 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 tsp of dry mustard, 1/4 tsp of cloves, and salt & pepper to taste. Heat & whisk till combined and warm. Pour over your beans. Add soaking liquid till the beans are completely submerged. Put the lid on, stick it in the oven. Stir once an hour or so. In 7 hours the beans will be ready. Taste those black-eyed peas and be prepared for a year of good fortune.

For the cabbage: Lee Bros. lime cabbage slaw with roasted peanuts (or smoked almonds, if that's what you have). Got the recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen but now I have the cookbook and I don't think she changed much. I didn't have 2 hours to salt the cabbage and used a bag of cole slaw cabbage tossed with baby spinach, added the vinaigrette and then the almonds. Good. Limey. Most importantly, money money money...

Also served pasta with a butternut squash sauce, for the vegetarian at dinner. Saw a recipe for butternut squash sauce with caramelized mushrooms and very loosely adapted that (used the same ingredients). Took about 1/2 of an already-roasted, not too large butternut squash and combined with 1/2 a box of vegetable stock, grated nutmeg, and salt & pepper. Cooked for a while, added about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, pureed into a sauce. Sautéed a minced shallot in a bit of olive oil. Added 1/2 pkg of mushrooms (would have used more, but it's what I had) and about 5 chopped sage leaves. Cooked till the mushrooms were scrawny. Boiled some pasta. Mixed pasta & sauce, put mushrooms on top, and grated some parm. This was really quite good.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin stuffed with everything good

Only 3 more weeks of maternity leave, and I'm taking advantage of time at home by cooking all week. I've even got a menu planned out - let's see whether this works.

Last night was the only recipe I'm preparing this week that I've made before.

This is a favorite recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. I love the name of the recipe, which describes it perfectly. It's pretty much a savory bread pudding baked inside a pumpkin and then carved like a pie, so that there's pumpkin in every bite. I love savory applications for winter squash. The pumpkin is such a great vessel, since it's hollow inside (once the seeds and strings are removed, which is the least pleasant part of preparing the dish).

Dorie gives lots of suggestions for modifying the 'everything good' - I didn't modify much this time because I like the ingredients in the basic recipe. Bread, cheese (Gruyere), bacon, chives. I added some parsley and apple. You mix them up, stuff your pumpkin, pour cream over the top, and bake for 2 hours. The exact recipe is available in the Around My French Table, which is chock full of awesome and mostly simple recipes.

As always, my photos don't do it justice. I'm better at baby photos.