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Cauliflower,Orange&Raisins

Vegan Cauliflower Salad with Oranges & Raisins

In Salads, Vegetables On July 21, 2015 1 Comment

These days, the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and other farmers’ markets in California provide us with fresh, seasonal cauliflower. Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, low in carbs and fat and rich in dietary fiber. The longer cauliflower is cooked, the more its nutritional value dissipates. Therefore, it is recommended to cook this vegetable until it is barely “al dente” or crunchy-tender.

CauliflowerFresh

 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Try this exciting cauliflower salad, flavored with olive oil, lemon, bits of fresh oranges, raisins and fresh oregano. Serve it at a barbecue, lunch or dinner this summer. Vegan or not, they’ll all chow down this colorful, healthy salad in minutes!

Ingredients:
One cauliflower head, leaves removed & discarded and white florets separated into 2-inch chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 orange, peeled, rind removed and fruit cut into 1-/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons white or dark raisins
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

Directions:
1. Place the cauliflower florets in a 4-quart saucepot; barely cover with cold water.

2. Cover the sauce pot and bring the cauliflower to a boil.

3. Boil the cauliflower for approximately 2 minutes.

4. After 2 minutes, pierce one cauliflower floret with a fork to check for tenderness. Do not overcook the cauliflower.

5. If fork resists piercing, it means the cauliflower is still raw. If needed, cook for an additional 1 or 2 minutes.

6. After 1 minutes, check doneness of cauliflower with fork and/or taste it. The cauliflower should be “al dente” or crunchy-tender.

7. Drain the cauliflower in a colander set over a sink. Let it cool slightly, for 5 minutes.

8. After 5 minutes, transfer the drained cauliflower to a glass or porcelain serving bowl.

9. Add the olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, raisins and fresh oregano leaves. Stir to combine.

10. Taste the cauliflower salad and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Image.CauliflowerPie

Cauliflower Tart (savory)

In Pizzas, Savory Tarts & Quiches, Vegetables On August 21, 2014 0 Comments

According to my taste, boiled or steamed cauliflower is so blaaah.

I recently taught this cauliflower tart in one of my classes. Since the pastry is made with oil, its texture and flavors are very light. For the filling, the cauliflower is combined with fresh mint leaves, eggs, cheese, salt, cinnamon and more. I’ll bet you didn’t think you could make cauliflower taste so exciting, right? Surprise!

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature alongside a green salad or other vegetarian selections.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 35 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Prepare the Pastry for a Two-Crust Savory Tarte or Quiche:

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower oil preferred)
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

1. Measure the flour and salt into a 3-quart mixing bowl.

2. Add the oil; mix with a pastry cutter or a fork until particles are size of small peas.

3. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.

4. If dough seems dry, 1 to 2 tablespoons oil or water can be added.

5. Gather dough together until it amalgamates.

6. Divide the dough into two balls.

7. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap; place dough balls in freezer for 10 minutes.

8. After 10 minutes, transfer the dough balls to refrigerator. Meanwhile

Prepare the Cauliflower & Mint Filling:

Florets of one cauliflower, boiled until tender and drained
Fresh mint leaves
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (you can also use a combination of both cheeses)
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
dash ground cinnamon
waxed paper sheets (for rolling out the pastry)
1 large egg yolk ) FOR
1 teaspoon cold water ) EGG WASH

Directions:

1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cauliflower florets (not too coarse and not too fine) to measure 3 cups.

2. Transfer the 3 cups chopped cauliflower to a mixing bowl; set aside.

3. In the meantime, finely chop the mint leaves; add them to the chopped cauliflower in bowl. Cover and set aside.

AT THIS POINT, DO NOT ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS TO THE CAULIFLOWER UNTIL AFTER BOTH PASTRY SHEETS HAVE BEEN ROLLED OUT.

Preheat Oven to 425°F and Roll Out The Pastry:

1. Lightly flour one waxed paper sheet measuring approximately 16 inches long.

2. Take one dough ball from refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.

3. Working on the floured waxed paper sheet, flatten the dough ball to a disc measuring 6 inches. If the edges crack, try to piece them together with your fingers to form a smooth circle (as best you can).

4. Lightly flour the top of dough disc.

5. Measure another waxed paper sheet – to 16 inches long.

6. Place the second waxed paper sheet over the dough disc.

7. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry 2 inches larger than the inverted pie pan.

8. Peel off the top paper.

9. Place one hand underneath the bottom waxed paper sheet and another hand over the rolled-out pastry.

10. Quickly invert pastry into pie pan.

11. Carefully remove the second waxed paper sheet.

12. Adjust the pastry to fit in pan (there will be a 2-inch overhang).

13. Using a fork, make a few scattered holes in bottom of pastry sheet.

14. Roll out the second pastry, following above instructions.

15. Peel off the top paper and set the pastry aside while you finish preparing the cauliflower filling.

Finish  Cauliflower Filling, Assemble & Bake Tart:

1. Using a fork, stir the cheese, eggs, salt, black pepper, sugar and cinnamon into the cauliflower and mint mixture.

2. Gently mix the ingredients until they are uniform.

3. Using a spoon, transfer the filling to the pastry-lined pie plate.

4. Quickly invert the second pastry and place it over filling.

5. Peel off the waxed paper and discard it.

6. Meanwhile, using a knife, trim the pastry edges to one-inch.

7. Roll or curl the pastry edges in a downward motion so that they are tucked into the plate’s edge.

8. Slightly pinch pastry edges to create fluted edges.

9. Using a fork, make scattered holes in pastry (this will avoid ballooning while baking).

10. Cut 3 foil paper strips that measure 2 inches wide.

11. Cover the pastry edges with foil strips.

12. In the meantime, in a small bowl, make egg wash: mix together 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon cold water with a fork.

13. Using a pastry brush, brush the pie top with egg wash.

14. Place the tart on a rack set in center of oven.

15. Bake the tart for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil strips.

16. After removing foil strips, bake the tart for an additional 5 minutes.

17. Transfer tart to a counter to cool.

18. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.

Text & Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

Vegetarian Calamari

Vegetarian Calamari

In Fun Foods, Vegetables On April 9, 2011 2 Comments

While growing up in Southern Italy, I became an apprentice to my “Nonna” or grandmother, aka the “maestra” or master chef of the town. Although I learned how to prepare the peninsula’s finest cuisine, my focus was on the bounty from the “orto” or garden. I never liked some of the seafood delicacies that the cooks in the Campania region are so famous for. Among these are fried calamari.

Because my Nonna knew I didn’t like those rubbery circles that pretended to be crispy, she would go to her orto, pick fresh cauliflower and turn it into golden nuggets. She would then smile at me and say, “Ecco i tuoi calamaretti vegetariani” or “Here are your vegetarian fried calamari” – made exclusively for me!

This appetizer is fun to eat with a sweet pepper spread*.

Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 fresh cauliflower (about 1-½ to 1-¾ pounds), leaves discarded and florets cut into 2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, for coating cauliflower florets
2 to 3 large eggs
¾ teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. Rinse the cauliflower florets and put them in a 4-quart saucepot. Cover florets with cold water. Set saucepot on a stove burner and bring to a boil.

2. Add ½ teaspoon salt, and boil, uncovered, on medium heat until cauliflower florets are crunchy-tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 minutes.

3. Gently drain the cauliflower florets and set them aside in a glass or porcelain bowl to cool, uncovered, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put flour in a shallow, 8 or 10-inch bowl and set aside.

5. In another shallow, 8 or 10-inch bowl, beat 2 eggs with ¾ teaspoon salt and black pepper; set aside.

6. When cauliflower florets are cool, coat them first with flour, shaking off excess, and then roll them with two forks in the beaten egg (heat the oil as you do this).

7. In an 8 or 10-inch skillet or a deep fryer of the same circumference, heat the oil on high setting. Test by dropping a tiny amount of beaten egg – if it sizzles and rises, the oil is ready.

8. Immediately lower heat to medium and fry the cauliflower in batches. This is a quick process (after a few seconds of frying, gently lift bottom of a floret to check if it is golden); turn once and fry other side until golden.

9. Drain fried cauliflower (Vegetarian Calamari) on a dinner plate lined with paper towels.

Serve immediately with sweet pepper spread.

Note: Vegetarian Calamari can be made early in the day and stored in a baking dish and covered with aluminum foil. Set on a counter until ready to serve.

At serving time, heat oven to 350˚F. Warm the Vegetarian Calamari, covered, about 20 to 25 minutes and serve warm.

*Suggested spreads: Peloponnese Sweet Pepper Spread®, found in gourmet supermarkets; and Zergüt Mild Ajvar® (made with sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, garlic and onions), found in Middle Eastern or International gourmet food stores. Both brands are reddish-orange in color.

Text & Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real