I’ll be the first to admit that cauliflower isn’t taking home first place for sexiest vegetable in your cart. It’s stark white, oddly bulbous and belongs to a family of vegetables classified as cruciferous. Woof. But, hidden inside those dense ivory florets is a ton of flavor with a gilding of abundant vitamins and minerals. So go ahead, embrace the cauliflower. Put a little lipstick on it and try serving cauliflower steaks (now that sounds sexy.)
When I say “steak,” what we’re going for here is a cross-section slice taken from the center of the vegetable. Since cutting through the core along with some florets is key to keeping the steak intact, you’re only going to get about four of them out of a large head of cauliflower. The florets that fall away are still perfectly good for whatever other cauliflower preparations you may dream up, so hang onto those for later use. I find it most effective to cut any green leaves away from the bottom and put the vegetable on the cutting board stem side up. Now that you can see where the center actually is, it’ll be much easier to slice through it, ensuring you get a nice core sample to keep each steak intact.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Cauliflower Steaks with Beans and Tomatoes
There’s a hole in my heart left behind by the recent closure of my favorite local Chinese restaurant. The Mill House Panda was a Poughkeepsie, NY, institution for decades, with cold sesame noodles unrivaled across three counties. While these aren’t exactly its version (not even close, in fact), a yearning for my long-lost Tuesday night take-out has inspired me to pick myself up, dust myself off and create a new cold Asian noodle to call my own.
A sneak peek down the page to the photos and ingredients listed below should raise eyebrows (and hopefully pique interest) that these aren’t your run of the mill cold sesame noodle. Being the fan of fiber that I am, these noodles are doubled down with shredded kale and a surprise kick from some chopped dried plums — which, as an aside, sound so much more pleasant than a bowl full of prunes, don’t they?
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Cold Ginger Soba Noodles
I always forget about crab. It’s a shame, really, considering how delicious and easy it is to work with. My market keeps it all tucked away in some stray corner of the seafood cooler case, escaping my radar. Plus when you’re married to someone who won’t eat anything that grew up in water, occasions are few and far between to crack them claws open.
Wanting to gussy up my offerings for a 4th of July BBQ recently, I went big. I went bold. I went for crab cakes — and (I’ll pat myself on the back here) I nailed it. Like most memorable things in life, bacon has the assist and — with such a clean palate of ingredients employed — the smokier the better.
While crab cakes may sound like a budget-busting endeavor for a plastic, gingham-tablecloth day in the sun, they don’t have to be. Crab comes in different grades usually labeled (in ascending order of quality) special, claw and lump. The texture of the lump meat is certainly lovely, but I like to reserve it for a simple presentation — like a crab salad, for instance — where its pricey texture can really shine. In this case, since we’re mixing the crab with all sorts of other things and then frying it, reach for “special” grade — the flavor is the same. They won’t, however, last very long. Get your “cook’s-spoils” bites in early.
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Bacon Crab Cakes with Pimiento-Corn Relish
This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Memorial Day has passed and summer is officially here! I think it’s only fitting to celebrate the advent of summer with a bit of al fresco dining (what’s all this beautiful weather for, anyway, if not to enjoy?) This week’s Dinner Rush! is heading outside with a picnic basket in hand.
OK, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a picnic — the point is these pizza rolls are great to make in advance for dinner anywhere from the front porch to the city park. Like any good pizza, you can pretty much fill them with whatever you want, then just pack them up and get out for some fun in the sun!
Most stores offer pizza dough that is already prepared and can be picked up from the refrigerated case (or even the freezer). If your market seems to be out, give your corner pizza shop a call — they’ll usually sell you a ball of dough no problem.
Picnic Pizza Rolls
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Picnic Pizza Rolls
Aside from being painfully chic – what with its “winter white” moniker and all – this recipe is a particularly sentimental one for me as it’s one of the first things my now husband made for me when we first started dating.
You see we both went to culinary school – met there in fact – but he took the road less kitchen-y in favor of other aptitudes (basically, he’s a fantastic marketer and a terrible cook [his words not mine]). Keeping a few culinary tricks up his sleeve, though, he loves making chili and, being that we started dating mid-winter, this recipe has always been a big ol’ seasonal heart-warmer for me.
We call it a white chili because there’s very little tomato in it, but the addition of cumin, beer, tons of beans and a topper of creamy avocado keep it just as satisfying as a traditional red chili. It’s a nice change to help wean you off from the football season barrage.
And take it from a culinary school grad who (claims that he) can’t cook. This recipe is super flexible, welcoming into the pot whatever vegetables you have in the house, and is delicious with the addition of a chopped up sweet potato or chipotle in adobo.
Just make sure to serve it in something chic to keep the momentum going for me, would you please?
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Winter White Turkey Chili