Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ad Hoc's Rice with Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe, printed in the Los Angeles Times, had been sitting around my house for a while, but with a cauliflower adverse family in tow, it never seemed like the right time to make it.  But sometimes, you just gotta say, what the heck, I'm making it anyway and if I am the only one who eats it, so be it.  And I was the only one who ate it.  But I went back for seconds and but for the fact that I actually need to be able to fit into my jeans, I would have scarfed down the entire thing, easily. 

So I pass this on to you, with the caveat that it has not met with worldwide approval, but I did eat leftovers for breakfast...

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 8 to 10 (or one, if you are me.)

1/2 head white cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of curry powder
6 cups water
1 cup Carolina, or long grain, rice (I used basmati, but jasmine would work well also.)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used only one)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (I used only one)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the canola oil and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste.

3. Place the cauliflower in a roasting pan (reserve the bowl) and roast until the cauliflower is a deep brown and tender throughout when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing every few minutes for even coloring and cooking. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees.

4. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the rice just until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice well, then spread the rice in a thin shallow layer in a large baking dish.  (I used my handy dandy rice cooker to cook the rice with the chili flakes and then dried it out further in the oven per the next step.)

5. Place the rice in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, then stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.

6. Place the cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Taste and season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper.

7. Gently stir in the warmed rice and butter, tossing until the butter is melted and evenly coats the rice and cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last of Summer Fettuccine

What better way to celebrate back to school (and I mean "celebrate" with dancing around the house to cranked up tunes once the kids are safely ensconsed in their cubbies of scholasticity) than with this fabulous and aptly named tequila infused pasta dish adapted from Jesse Ziff Cool's Simply Organic cookbook?

1 lb fettuccine
1/4 c (or a bit less) olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, stemmed, seed and chopped
1/4 c tequila (totally optional)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 T chopped fresh oregano (I'm sure 1T dried would work, but since the stuff is overtaking my garden, I am happy to machete it for this purpose.)
4 oz feta cheese
1 avocado, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper

Cook the fettucine according to the directions.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  While it is cooking, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over med high heat.  After a couple of minutes, add the onion and red pepper and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, jalepeno and tequila, if using, and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, cilantro and oregano and saute for another 3 min or so until the tomatoes are soft.

Stir in the cheese and avocado and add salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the drained fettuccine into the pan and toss over heat until incorporated.  Serve and bask in the glow of your dinner guests' praise.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Watermelon and Feta Salad

This is my all time favorite summertime potluck bring along.  Yeah, this Nigella Lawson recipe is a bit weird sounding with the onions and all, but at the heart of it, it is just fruit and cheese...a classic combo.

1 small red onion
2-4 limes, depending on juiciness
3-pound watermelon
8 ounces feta cheese
handful of Italian parsley
handful of fresh mint
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Kalamata olives (totally family is not olive friendly, so they rarely make it in.)
coarsely ground black pepper

Peel and halve the red onion, then cut into the thinest slices possible. Cover with lime juice, and let the onion steep for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the rind and seeds from the melon, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Cut the feta into slightly smaller pieces, and put the watermelon and the feta in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the olives, parsley, and mint, and add them to the bowl. Pour in the onions and the lime juice, and add the olive oil and pepper. Toss gently.

Serves 8.  Or if you are me, 1.