Archive for December, 2017

Crusty Baked Cauliflower with Farro from The Smitten Kitchen

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As another year draws to an end and we look forward to a new one it is hard to also not look back on 2017. What a brutal year this past one has been for so very many people – with floods, fires, hurricanes, and these are only the natural pains not to count the current mood, one of collective sorrow and pain is at the forefront when I think of this past year. But there have also been glimmers of light between the dark days – the women’s march and the outcry of more people then has ever been witnessed in modern history; there have been friends and sighs of relief from individuals who overcame obstacles and healed; for me there were trips which is always a bright spot. As we approach the winter solstice and the darkest day of each year I always find it hard to also not find the hope and possibility that lingers in the vast dark that light has to reappear and that at this moment we can only transcend toward more light.

And on a lighter note (and slightly hungrier note) the other night I cooked what I realized was likely my favorite thing I cooked (and I did cook this on repeat) this past year. This is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen website and one she adapted from Ina Garten cookbook, and really in my mind that is the start of some really good kitchen pedigree. It starts with roasted cauliflower and mixes it with Farro, three kinds of cheese, capers, crushed red pepper flakes, sage, and lemon and bakes it to a crusty cheesy masterpiece. It is the perfect match of comfort and a unique zip from the things you mix in. It was perhaps the thing I made the most in 2017 and will be reappearing in the year to come.

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Every hope that we can learn from the bruising pains this past year has brought so many of us (if not personally) then universally. May this moment be the one that brings the return of light. And may we have more moments filled with delicious cheese and baked goodness in 2018.

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Crusty Baked Cauliflower with Farro from The Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

1 cup dried Farro

3 cups water or broth

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

2 ¼ – 2 ½ pound cauliflower cut into small florets

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons capers drained

2 large cloves of garlic minced

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

2 cups Fontina cheese shredded

½ cup ricotta

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese or parmigiano (I use whatever I have at the time)

  • Cook farro. If you think ahead and plan you can presoak the farro overnight in 3 cups of liquid and then only cook for 10 minutes of simmering until tender and then drain. With less planning simply simmer in liquid for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender. Drain any excess liquid.
  • While farro is cooking heat the oven to 425°F. Drizzle the olive oil over cauliflower and toss with salt and pepper and spread florets in one even layer on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20 min until lightly browned and tender, checking it half way through the baking time and turning pieces over.
  • Reduce the heat to 400°
  • Assemble the casserole. In a large bowl add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to cauliflower and farro and stir to combine. Stir in the fontina cheese. Taste at this stage to see if you need more salt or pepper or capers etc.
  • Transfer half of the mixture to a greased 10 inch ovenproof baking dish. Dollop rounded tablespoons of ricotta all over casserole. Sprinkle the remaining cauliflower farro mixture over the ricotta leaving pockets of it undisturbed.
  • In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the pecorino cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil until evenly mixed. Sprinkle over the entire casserole.
  • Bake for 20 min until browned and crusty on top. Serve with a green salad and enjoy.

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20

12 2017

Morning Glory Oats

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Today was the first day of snow this year here in Brooklyn; and earlier this week I returned from a long work trip followed by a lovely weekend visit with my sister. I am also at the tail end of a fierce cold, and today felt like the first day in months with no plans or necessary immediate errands. I always feel like with snow falling outside my windows I have every excuse to stay in bed a little longer, to curl up with books and TV…and well hibernate for a while. I went for a short walk through the gentle white flakes and breathed in the crisp clean snowy air. Then I came home and made the most delicious morning glory oats, because to me snow also feels like an excuse to keep my kitchen and stomach warm.

I have always been a fan of morning glory muffins – the earthy carrot, the spicy notes of cinnamon and ginger, the burst from currants or raisins, all tucked into a slightly sweet bite. Also I have always been a big fan of steel cut oats – the chewy bite of the oats and the warm comfort holding the bowl in my hands in the morning. When I came across this recipe that combined these two into one breakfast that might actually be more delicious then the two individual things I loved I knew immediately that I would return to this recipe over and over again on snowy, or rainy ,or well any kind of morning.

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Morning Glory Oats adapted from Whole Grain Mornings and Joy The Baker

Ingredients:

3 cups water

1 cup any milk of choice, plus extra for serving

1 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)

1/2 cup currants or raisins

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons light brown sugar (I like to use turbinado or raw sugar in this recipe)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

  • In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a gentle boil. Stir in the oats, carrots, currants, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and return to a boil.
  • Decrease the heat to low and partially cover.
  • Cook the oats stirring just once or twice until it begins to thicken and the oats are soft yet chewy, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut flakes and orange zest. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serve warm with toasted almonds and extra milk as desired.
  • Makes 4 servings. I like to make this and then keep leftovers and reheat each morning with some additional milk. 

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12 2017