Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

parmesan-roasted-cauliflower

Adapted from THIS recipe from the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 6 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking sheet with onion, thyme, garlic, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10–12 minutes longer.

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Provençal Salmon With Fennel, Rosemary and Orange Zest

Adapted from THIS recipe from the NYT.

In 1998, Mark Bittman and Katy Sparks, then chef of Quilty’s in Manhattan, developed this easy recipe for salmon encrusted with fennel seeds, rosemary and orange zest. It’s a simple though sophisticated twist on weeknight salmon.

A couple things to keep in mind when making this dish: Make sure you use fillets of equal size. Buy skinned salmon fillet from the thick (that is, not the tail) end of the fish then cut across the fillet to make the four pieces. Also, allow the fish to sit for a while after coating to encourage the fragrant seasonings to permeate the flesh of the fish.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce, skinned salmon fillets
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or clarified butter (or a mix of both) 

Method:

  1. Season fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Grind fennel seed coarsely in a coffee or spice grinder, and mix it with the rosemary and orange zest. Press this mixture onto the top of each fillet.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the oil or butter called for in the recipe and, when it shimmers, place the fillets, coated side down, in the pan. Cook about 1 minute, or until the spice mixture forms a nicely browned crust.
  4. Turn the fillets and cook about a minute more, then transfer to the oven. Cook about 4 minutes for rare salmon, 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare and 8 minutes for well done.

Smoked Trout with Dill Sauce

This recipe comes from Mr. Hodges, father of our good friend Bryce. It makes a lovely party appetizer, and you can use the leftover fish (if there is any) in a variety of other recipes. You can also, of course, serve this fish as the main course at dinner.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 filet of steelhead trout, skin on (can also use salmon)
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • Pecan or Apple wood
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

Brine the fish (in salt water) overnight, and then pat completely dry with paper towels the next morning. Prepare your smoker with pecan or apple wood and bring the temp to 150 degrees F. Smoke the fish for 1.5 hours. Let rest until it comes to room temperature.

To make the sauce, combine the sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, dill, and S&P. Serve on the side with crackers.

For more detailed instructions on the brining and smoking process, check out this great article: https://www.thespruce.com/guide-to-smoking-fish-331552

Pumpkin Bread

Perfect-Pumpkin-Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease two 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (or use a baking spray with flour).
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl; use a whisk to mix well and set aside.
  3. In large bowl of an electric mixer, at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point — that’s ok.
  4. At low speed, beat in flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. (If the loaves stick, run a plastic knife around the edges of the pan to loosen them.)

Easy Pie Crust

pie crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar (more for sweet recipes)
  • 1 tsp salt (less for sweet recipes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method:

Combine all ingredients (I find working it with my hands is easiest). Place between two sheets of parchment paper (or on a well-floured counter) and roll to desired thickness. Chill until ready to use. Makes 1 crust.

Don’t forget to brush with an egg wash before baking to make it pretty, shiny, and brown.

 

Fresh Pear Chutney

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Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • dash of ground cloves
  • drizzle of honey (to taste)
  • equal parts olive oil and champagne vinegar (to taste – don’t drown it)
  • salt and pepper (just a little)
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Method:

Gently stir all ingredients until well mixed, being careful not to mush the pears. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to blend, but not so long that the pear break down (a couple hours, max).

Serve with grilled pork, in a baked brie, or atop chevre and crackers.

Vegetable Soup

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Pretty basic, but a must for those cooler months! It’s always one of the first things i make when fall arrives (or, when I’m just wanting so badly for it to arrive). Make as much as your pot will hold – this freezes beautifully.

First, peel and chop 1-2 onions, a bag of celery, and a bag of carrots. This is the base of the soup, and is mandatory. You can also add parsnips and/or leeks (delicious), but the first three ingredients are essential.

Heat a tablespoon or two of butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the above veggies and sautee until softened. Do not brown.

Once your base veggies are somewhat softened, add the stock. Chicken stock or veggie stock is best. I usually end up using 2-3 32oz tetra packs (those cardboard cartons). Start with just enough to cover your ingredients, and add more as you go. You can also throw in a ham bone or chicken bones if you have them on hand (non-essential).

Add a can or two of diced tomatoes (undrained) and a can or two of beans. I think Great Northern beans are the best. Also throw in a bay leaf or two. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for a few hours or until the veggies are as soft as you’d like.

Now, add fresh chopped zucchini and mushrooms (both optional). Once these are softened (after about 20 min), add fresh kale or spinach. The kale will take longer to soften.

At the very end add fresh or frozen corn and/or green beans. Bring back to a simmer for just a few minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with grilled cheese or crusty bread.

 

Rum-Soaked Grilled Pineapple

It’s kinda like “pineapple foster,” but easier! Perfect for the grill at a cook-out, but can just as easily be made in a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Beautiful, delicious, and impressive- I highly recommend making this at your next BBQ party. (Absolutely essential to make this with fresh pineapple – canned will not do.) Adapted from this recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dark rum (plus more for soaking)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pineapple, cored and cut into about 6-8 rings (the riper, the better)
  • vanilla ice cream
  • grated nutmeg

Method:

Peel, core, and slice your pineapple. (Or, buy an already prepared one from the produce section of your local mart. I like this method, because I can soak the pineapple right in the container it comes in.) Totally submerge in rum, and let soak for several hours, ideally.

While pineapple is soaking, combine 1/2 cup rum, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Cool.

All above steps can be done ahead of time. When you’re ready to serve the pineapple, remove the rings from the rum and place on a grill rack directly over hot coals until charred. Remove to plates, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle sauce over top, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.

Easy Corn Souffle

Ok, it’s not a true souffle, but it IS so much easier and still very tasty! You absolutely must use fresh corn for this, but the other add-ins can be substituted or altered. Adapted from this recipe from the Washington Post.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine
  • 2 large ears fresh corn
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded (can sub any other cheese you like)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 stems fresh chives

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use the butter to grease a souffle dish or casserole dish. Add the Parmesan cheese to the dish and shake around until all buttered sides are coated in Parmesan crumbs.

Discard the husks and all silk of the corn. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs. You should have 2 1/2 to 3 cups of kernels.

Add the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor. Puree for about a minute, or until smooth.

Seed the jalapeno, then dice. Shred the Gruyère cheese. Mince the chives. Add three-quarters of the chives to the souffle mixture, along with the jalapeno, cheese, and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse just enough to incorporate.

Pour the souffle mixture into the dish or casserole. Scatter the remaining chives on top . Bake (middle rack) for about 35 minutes, until puffed, golden brown on top and more set than jiggly. (Cooking time depends on the size of the dish.)

Serve right away.

Mojitos

Mint grows like a weed, and here’s another great use for it this time of year (late summer) when I’m sure you’ve got it in abundance.

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Ingredients:

6 Mint sprigs (plus more for garnish)
34 oz Simple syrup or agave nectar
34 oz Fresh lime juice
12 oz White rum
12 oz Club soda
Method:

Add the mint, simple syrup, lime juice, and rum to a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice.

Shake well and pour (unstrained) into a highball glass.

Top with the club soda and garnish with a mint sprig.