day 30: much ado about cauliflower

I have my grocery list … I’ve had the talk with myself … “Nothing that’s not on the list, Shamille” … I enter the store … but there’s a SALE on cauliflower. 2 for $4 … what, what? I’ll take both. Every single time … this is the chat I have with myself and every time I loose the list game.

So since I’ve procured both of these ever-elusive sale cauliflower heads … I’ve had cauliflower with yogurt dip, cauliflower in curry, mashed cauliflower, cauliflower salad, cauliflower soup … What now? Roast it!

Roasted cauliflower with Parmesan + Paprika

Roasted cauliflower with Parmesan + Paprika

What you’ll need:

  • A head of cauliflower (or whatever you have on hand – don’t get suckered by the sale), chopped into florets
  • a healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt a generous coating
  • fresh ground black pepper … a generous bit
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on cookie sheet
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, & paprika
  4. Bake for 15 minutes and coat with parmesan
  5. Bake another 5 minutes
  6. Serve hot with whatever you like
  7. Enjoy!

day 27: beer + fish + chips = bliss

I’ve always known that my stomach runs my life. I wake up with cravings and simply have to act on them. The failure to feed deploys the hungry version of me – the cranky, green hulk monster being kept at bay by snacks – yeah, that one.

I wish my cravings came in a complete thought … like, I’d like a BBQ sandwich with with spicy cole slaw (which sounds delish by the way). But, oh no, not me! I crave the sauce or condiments and try to figure out the rest … like, I’d like to devour something with sour cream on it. Makes no sense, but I’m used to it.

So, today when I woke up craving malt vinegar. I knew I had to break out the fish & chips and fast. Oh, and a beer (because I like it).

Pub worthy fish + chips

Pub worthy fish + chips

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of white, meaty fish (I used cod), cut into 1 inch strips
  • 2 bottled beers (one to batter and the other to drink)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 russet potatoes, skin on, cut into wedges, soaked in water
  • canola oil for frying

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat oil to medium
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper
  3. Slowly add the beer to create a batter. Be sure there are no lumps left in the batter. Allow to rest in the fridge as we tend to the chips
  4. Pat the potatoes dry and place in the oil. When potatoes begin to soften and brown slightly. Remove form oil and allow to rest on a cooling rack (this single step with give those potatoes a heck of a crunch later on)
  5. Return potatoes to the fry to completion
  6. Meanwhile, batter up the cod strips and drop into the oil
  7. Once the batter begins to set, rotate! Remove when browned all around
  8. Serve with malt vinegar, lemon and tarter if you like (my recipe is below)

*For a quick and delicious tarter sauce combine 2 heaping tbsp quality mayonnaise, 1 tsp of grainy mustard, a dash of white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt & fresh ground pepper, sweet pickle relish and pulse in a food processor for a few moments.

day 18: deconstructed meditteranean salad with falafel

I’ve been quiet for a few days … sorry! I’ve been cooking, I’ve just been to busy to share…

I love falafel and I’ve been too afraid to try to make it on my own. I know what the ingredients are. I know it’s fried. And right now, I know I want it. I’m sure my recipe is as far from authentic as one could possibly get, but it was amazing and curbed my craving. All in all, a success!

falafel

What you’ll need:

  • 150z. chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 handful of Italian parsley, washed & stemmed
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 green onions, washed and sliced
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 heaping tbsp flour
  • Canola or grapeseed oil (light and flavorless)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • your favorite red wine vinaigrette
  • sliced English cucumber
  • sliced red onion
  • 1 handful of grape tomatoes, halved
  • a bit of crumbled feta
  • your favorite salad baby greens ( I used arugula, tat, soi, red & green chard)
  • A food processor

What you’ll do:

  1. Pulse garlic, chickpeas, parsley, green onions, flour and spices in processor until well combined.
  2. Add lemon juice. When you have a sticky dough, you’re good.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Form falafel patties. I made a total of 4 that were about 1/2″ tall and 2 1/2″.
  4. Drop your patties and move on to the deconstructed salad. Simply place a handful of greens with a bit of feta, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Toss your greens or serve a with a side of your dressing.
  5. Flip patties (one time is the goal). They should be golden brown.
  6. Remove and serve immediately.
  7. Enjoy!

day 17: if looks could kill … but tastes could revive …

Ever had those moments you WISH you could have gotten on camera? Or rather, you wish you had a better photo to represent the moment that ROCKED your world? Welcome to today’s lesson in culinary genius …

On that note, tonight was all about flexibility and creativity … I realized that I was a bit behind on the start with tonight’s blog post. In a dash, I got flexible and creative. What’s in the fridge … Pork steaks, broccoli, black rice, cilantro, onions and apples … Sounds like a meal, eh? And indeed it was. BUT, let’s not forget, part of the appeal in reading a food blog is the inspiration to replicate the beautiful photo of food you see before you. One day, I’ll learn enough tips & tricks to make Teresa Blackburn of Food on Fifth proud (hopefully, she’s still keeping up with me *hint hint). In the meantime, let’s just take a leap of faith. Take my word for it … this one is worth perfecting through the lens.

Meal on the fly!

Meal on the fly!

What you’ll need:

  • Pork steaks
  • A healthy sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A healthy sprinkle of cumin
  • A healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
  • Broccoli florets
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of honey
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • black rice, cooked to recipe with chicken stock and 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salsa verde (I used a personal favorite’s house green hot sauce – ask nicely and I’ll connect you with that recipe one day)

What you’ll do:

For the Pork Steaks

  1. Allow steaks to come to room temperature and sprinkle with cinnamon, garlic powder and cumin.
  2. Grill steaks to your preference. I typically go for 135 internal temp and let them rest for a few minutes
  3. Make chutney (recipe below) amazing!
  4. Enjoy!

For the Roasted Broccoli

  1. Combine 2 tbsp of olive oil, lime, salt & pepper. Whisk well.
  2. Toss broccoli in dressing
  3. Spread into an even layer on a baking sheet
  4. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes
  5. Enjoy!

For the Chutney:

  1. Sautee onions and apples in the remaining oil and butter
  2. Add in salsa verde of your choice (I used about 3 heaping tbsp)
  3. Toss in fresh cilantro (leave a few to dress your plate if you like)
  4. Enjoy!

*Plate it up with black rice. Get brave stir it all together. Bite, chew and continue the digestion process. You can thank me later!

day 16: always on time & in a curry shrimp with coconut milk

It’s been quite the trying day. Emotions are high and the body is weary! I understand that it’s not necessarily a food worthy topic, but if one is to appreciate one’s motivation for writing, cooking, sharing, blogging … it’s a must.

The truth is, there are two kinds of recipes – emotionally driven ones and those glorious accidents that evolve into culinary skills and expertise. When you understand that, the art of cooking becomes quite simplified. You become more interested in the story and effort of the dish than that of the outcome. It heightens the senses and becomes more of an experience vs. a taste. And as an added bonus, the taste exceeds expectation and eludes absolute, undeniable bliss.

This recipe is the emotionally driven kind – I say that as a preface. Don’t expect traditional blends or results. Open up and explore.

Curry Shrimp with Coconut Milk & Parsley

Curry Shrimp with Coconut Milk & Parsley

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of raw medium to large shrimp, deveined & peeled.
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 inches of ginger, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut thinly
  • 2 honeycrisp or other pink variety apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 plum or campari tomatoes diced
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. corriander
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • a dash of sriracha (optional)
  • 4 tbsp. quality olive oil
  • Prepared rice (I cooked mine in equal parts white wine and chicken stock)
  • Salt & pepper (layer each time to add something to the recipe)
  • A handful of chopped Italian parsley (I had it on hand) or cilantro

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat olive oil to medium-high. Add onions, garlic and ginger and cook until onions are becoming translucent & others are fragrant.
  2. Add in carrots and apples and cook until almost tender.
  3. Incorporate all dried spices. Combine until spices are fragrant & coat existing mixture.
  4. Add in tomatoes, coconut milk, and shrimp. If you’re adding in cayenne and/ or sriracha add this in now too.
  5. Cook until shrimp is tender and opaque.
  6. Allow to simmer to reduce by 1/3. Serve with prepared rice.
  7. Garnish with parsley or cilantro. Lime would be delish too!
  8. Enjoy!

* Also in the spirit of being earnest, I doubled my sriracha & cayenne counts … Do not do that! I nearly lit my esophagus on FIRE.

day 15: good + good for you roasted vegetables with arugula + goat cheese

I love roasted root vegetables! I mean seriously … the affinity is almost bizarre. Almost.

Here’s the thing … they’re delicious, easy to whip up, and with a couple of additions they go from ordinary good to extraordinary. Perhaps that is the appeal! No matter, I’m hoping this is the catalyst for the week ahead. At least I’ve done my prep work…

Roasted vegetables with arugula + goat cheese

Roasted vegetables with arugula + goat cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful of arugula, watercress, baby kale or spring mix
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • sunflower kernels for garnish

What you’ll do:

  1. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey until well combined.
  2. Toss all veggies in sauce and coat generously with salt & pepper.
  3. Roast on a baking sheet in 400 degree oven until sweet potatoes are tender and veggies have a caramel color around the edges … all the sauce should be absorbed
  4. Allow veggies to cool for a few minutes uncovered and away from heat
  5. Serve atop a bed of greens (I used arugula – the peppery flavor is fantastic) and top with goat cheese & sunflower kernels
  6. Enjoy!

*Leftovers are great the next day – no need to reheat.

day 14: soon to be famous crab stuffed mac + cheese

I spent the day being an adult … not that I’m not all the time, but the not fun part of being an adult. Car repairs. I’m fairly certain the most stoic of grown ups has shed a tear or two over just the right unexpected car dilemma. And, once you’ve paid and gotten back on the road … I think you’re entitled to a little self-indulgence. What on earth could be better a fit splurge than crab and mac & cheese? Nothing. That’s what.

This ain’t your Momma’s mac + cheese … it’s got a few twists (literally).

Crab Stuffed Mac + Cheese

Crab Stuffed Mac + Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 16 oz. Cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente & drained
  • 2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup of panko
  • 16 oz. lump crab meat
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 tbps flour
  • 3 shallots minced
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups fontina shredded
  • healthy dash of your favorite hot sauce (I used Frank’s here)
  • 1 tbsp of quality dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp quality of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • a smidge of nutmeg
  • truffle oil drizzle (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Sautee shallots in 1 tbsp of the olive oil until fragrant & tender
  2. Combine crab meat, hot sauce, dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice and shallots. (Careful not to over mix – you want lump crab meat not shreds). Set aside.
  3. Combine shredded gruyere, panko, parsley, and the remainder of your olive oil. Set aside.
  4. Melt butter and whisk in flour over medium heat. Add heavy cream and fontina. Continue to whisk so nothing sticks! Throw in your smidge of fresh ground nutmeg.
  5. Combine your cooked pasta with the crab mixture in a casserole dish.
  6. Pour your sauce over the crab mixture.
  7. Next top with the panko mixture.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown & bubbling on the sides.
  9. Let stand for 10 minutes before digging in. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil.
  10. Enjoy!

day 13: if at first you don’t suceed, TRY again! Sweet potato + black bean chili at last!

Woot! Second time’s a charm folks. I believe after yesterday’s fiasco, it’s worthy. This dish is served with a bit of wisdom, parody … hey, let’s put it all on the table!

Life is an ever-evolving lesson in the art of the try. It’s not enough to declare you’re going to do something. You have to truly attempt and risk failing, pick it up (if you’re determined) and make the shit (sorry for the language) WORK! Don’t you dare give up after you fumble, try again. If you don’t … then you’ve truly failed.

Now that I’ve completed my soap box rant, here’s the recipe. It’s kind of fantastic, 100% vegetarian, and frankly amazing!

Sweet potato + black bean chili at it's finest

Sweet potato + black bean chili at it’s finest

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium sweet potato – washed, peeled & diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 15 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock, water or chicken stock – whatever you have on hand
  • 1 tbsp of quality olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • salt & pepper

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat olive oil to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  2. Add sweet potatoes, zucchini, cumin and chili powder. Combine until coated.Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  3. Add stock and crushed tomatoes
  4. Add in black beans and bring to rolling boil
  5. Reduce heat and reduce to simmer until sweet potatoes are fork tender
  6. Serve with your favorite toppings – cilantro, sour cream, avocado, cheese, jalapenos, fresh lime, salsa, etc.
  7. Enjoy!

* This freezes WELL! Don’t be afraid of leftovers.

day 10: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … punchy pimento cheese

In keeping with yesterday’s theme of using what you’ve got on hand (and at the request of a follower here at akitchensomewhere.com), I dove into the depths of the snack drawer to see what other concoctions I could muster without a trip to the grocery. Pimento cheese it is!

Now as I understand it, this may be a completely Southern standard. But, as I believe … it should be anyone’s standard. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of takes on the classic, all of which I’m sure are someone’s favorite. However, there are a few ingredients that I simply have to object to no matter the recipe – cottage cheese, store bought shredded cheese, Velveeta (it has it’s place, this is not it) and olives or frozen vegetable add ins (gross) are a few. To the contrary, a few others are indicative of a delightful taste bud treat – sharp cheddar, a splash of vinegar and a bit of spicy specifically.

Let’s concoct, shall we?

Punchy Pimento Cheese

Punchy Pimento Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of cheese! ( I used about a cup of Vermont Seriously Sharp White Cheddar & about a cup of extra sharp cheddar)
  • 1 small can of diced pimentos, drained (you’ll find these in the canned vegetable section. If you can’t find them diced roasted red peppers will do just fine.)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of quality olive oil mayo or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of vinegar (apple cider, white balsamic, red wine – whatever you’ve got on hand)
  • 1 healthy dose (about a tsp) of hot sauce of your choice (I used sriracha because it’s the best thing ever)
  • a pinch of cayenne

What you’ll do:

  1. Shred your cheese. Please do not try to use that pre-shredded mess in the bag, it does no one justice.
  2. Combine all ingredients
  3. Serve it up on a sandwich, with celery sticks, pretzel thins, bagels, burgers, out of the bowl, or whatever else floats your fancy
  4. Enjoy!

day 8: let ’em have steak!

There’s nothing more satisfying than the perfect steak … and nothing more disappointing than a bad one I might add. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t want to be bothered with going out to calm the craving for a beautifully cut, gloriously marbled steak. Whoa is me! Not. I took a short trip recently to a butcher shop in Joelton … what a wonderful world of meat! The butcher hand selected the most gorgeous ribeyes I have ever seen. Now what?

Steakhouse perfection at HOME

Steakhouse perfection at HOME

What you’ll need:

  • Perfect steak – take your choice of cuts. I used ribeyes here, but this is totally up to you.
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of quality balsamic or red wine vinegar (serves as a meat tenderizer & adds just a pinch of flavor).
  • 1 clove of garlic minced finely (cuts the woodiness of the rosemary you’re going to add)
  • 1 pinch of fresh rosemary finely chopped (works well with the garlic & vinegar)

What you’ll do:

  1. Salt & pepper each steak well
  2. Combine olive, vinegar, garlic & rosemary. Then massage mixture into the steak.
  3. Cover completely in plastic to eliminate all air
  4. Allow to come to room temperature for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat grill pan/ grill to medium high heat.
  5. Right before grilling … pat steak dry
  6. Grill away! I like a medium rare steak. These were about 5 minutes on each side to the perfect temperature.
  7. Let rest for 5 minutes
  8. Serve with a jacket potato
  9. Enjoy!