Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower with Green Olives

I have never been all that interested in broccoli or cauliflower but lately, cauliflower has become one of my favorite vegetables. It started with a Roasted Cauliflower and Tahini salad from the deli counter at PCC Natural Market and snowballed from there. Instead of continuing to eat cauliflower in raw form at home, I decided to seek out a recipe that features cauliflower as the main ingredient.

I happen to love green olives so I was immediately drawn to this recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Green Olives. I love the simplicity of ingredients and the ease of preparation. Recipe follows:

1 large had cauliflower, about 2 lb
1 cup pitted large green olives, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1/3 cup store-bought seasoned croutons, ground to crumbs in food processor

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 12-by-17-inch nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Cut cauliflower head in half, slicing through core. Using sharp paring knife, remove core from each half and discard. Cut cauliflower into small florets, each about 1/2 inch in diameter.

In bowl, combine cauliflower, olives, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until cauliflower and olives are evenly coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread in single layer. Roast cauliflower and olives for 10 minutes. Stir to toss and continue to roast until florets are slightly golden, 10-12 minutes longer.

Photos Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with parsley and bread crumbs and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature. (Cauliflower and olives can be roasted up to one day in advance, covered, refrigerated and brought to room temperature before serving).

To serve, mound cauliflower and olives in center of platter or shallow serving bowl. Serves 8.

Side notes: This dish tastes best at room temperature, making it ideal for entertaining To save preparation time, look for large green olives that have already been pitted. They can be found prepacked in glass jars or purchased by weight from market olive bars.

This recipe is really wonderful. Roasting tends to bring the sweetness out in vegetables and cauliflower is no exception. The brininess of the olives combines beautifully with the savory qualities of the olive oil and the brightness of the parsley. I ate two small bowls because one just wasn't enough! This is definitely going to become part of my arsenal for easy side dishes. It's a keeper for sure.

Recipe Source:
"Williams-Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining"
Page 62

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Salmon and Zucchini with Shallot Vinaigrette

Today I am presenting a fabulous recipe that I prepared two nights ago. This is easily in my top ten favorite recipes that I have prepared in the past year and to sweeten the pot, preparation and cooking took less than 30 minutes. I started with a Coho salmon fillet from  Seattle Fish Company in West Seattle. I then added all organic herbs and vegetables from my garden and PCC Market. King salmon is usually my salmon of choice but the Coho was so beautiful that I decided to go with it. I guess nostalgia played a part in this choice as well. When I was 21, I worked the Coho fish run for a cannery in Petersburg, Alaska. At the time, I was literally up to my ears in Coho and I swore to never eat it again. A lot changes in 19 years and I am okay with it now. :) 

Even though I usually provide commentary at the end of my post, I am going to provide you with the highlights of this dish before I give you the recipe. This will hopefully make your tastebuds tingle and encourage you to try the dish. 

First of all, I usually grill or bake salmon but I have obviously been missing out. Cooking skinless salmon fillet in a skillet is going to be my go-to method for preparing a quick salmon dinner. Cooking the salmon in this manner keeps the moisture and flavor in but allows seasoning to bind to the outside of the fillet. Olivia liked it so much that she ate almost half of the fish! I had one of the four fillets, Brad had about 1 1/3 fillets and Olivia ate the rest.

The salmon was good enough to stand on its own but the vinaigrette was the icing on the cake. Rice vinegar, olive oil and shallot always make a tasty vinaigrette but adding the dill was genius. Dill alone partners beautifully with salmon, but I think I liked it even more in the vinaigrette. Finally, I loved the zucchini sticks. The texture was the perfect partner to the salmon. I highly recommend cooking the zucchini al dente to maintain crispness. 

1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/4 lb skinlees salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 lbs medium zucchini (about 3), cut into thin sticks

In small bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, dill, 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Photos Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

Heat 1 teaspoon remaining oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season salmon with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve with salmon and vinaigrette.

Recipe Source:
Real Simple Magazine, September 2010
Page 248

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork

Photo Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

This is the loosest recipe I have published thus far but it was quite tasty. Basically, you take fresh green beans and pork of your choice, then add the desired amount of each of the remaining ingredients. There is no exact science to this recipe; which makes the process easy and the end result pleasing to the individual palate.

The only details I would like to note is that the green beans and pork were purchased at the West Seattle Farmer's Market. Every Sunday, I purchase thinly sliced pork that is meant to be used for stir-fry from the Olsen Farms booth. The pork is from animals that are naturally and sustainably raised. I can't even begin to explain the difference between Olsen Farms pork and run-of-the-mill store bought pork. Once again, fresh and organic ingredients reign supreme. The recipe for Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork follows:

1 pound fresh green beans
1 pound stir-fried ground or thinly sliced pork
dry sherry
soy sauce
Asian chili sauce (I used sweet chili sauce)
garlic (the first garlic I have ever grown in my garden!!!)

Cut beans to desired length. Stir-fry until blistered and mostly tender; remove beans.

Photos Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

Stir-fry pork about for about 2 minutes. Add dry sherry, soy sauce, Asian chili sauce and garlic to taste; then finish cooking pork. Add beans, stir until hot.

Recipe Source:
interpreted from Sunset Magazine, June 2012
Page 55