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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tandoorified Cauliflower "Steak"

Does that mean you can make thick slices of cauliflower that don't fall apart and grill them?
I cannot believe how much diversity you can find in vegetables!  This is one of my many gifts this week.  But this one, I procured for myself.
(The other ones were indoor skydiving, a dinner cruise, and the new Steve n Seagulls album).
So, the only downside is that you can only make 2 "steaks" out of 1 cauliflower head.  The rest are just florets.. but I'll tell you what to do with those.. it's actually not really a problem.
Serves 2 steaks + 2 servings of florets
1 head cauliflower (mine was green cauliflower)
2 tsp tandoori spices
2 Tbsp olive oil
juice from 1/2 lime
chopped cilantro for garnish
1.  Make the slices.  Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower head without cutting the stem.  Place it upside down on the cutting board, stem up (like a head stand) and slice right down the center of the stem to have 2 halves.. like a human brain.  Then slice each half once more, making a 1.5 to 2cm steak with each half.  The rest will break off as florets.  Keep those aside.
2.  In a saucer, stir the tandoori spices and olive oil together.  Brush this mixture generously all over the steaks.  Toss the rest of the mixture with the florets.
3. Take care of the florets.  Preheat the oven to 400°F 200°C.  Squeeze just a touch of lime juice over the florets, place them in an oven proof dish or sheet pan, making sure they are well separated, and bake for about 25 minutes.
4.  Now for the steaks.  Heat up your grill, plancha, or griddle pan to high heat.  Grill the steaks for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they start to get grill marks.  Drizzle a touch of lime juice will this is happening.
5.  Remove from the grill/plancha/griddle and place in the oven.  I griddled on a cast iron skillet and just transferred the skillet to the oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  This will have the outside crispy and charge and the inside tender enough without being mushy.
This is perfection.
6.  Serve the steaks drizzled with lime juice and chopped cilantro.  The florets can be served the same way, but without the "steak" look.
I served mine with some Toor Dal, basmati rice, and some sauteed spinach.

Let me tell you about that spinach real quickly.
I took some nigella seeds (also known as black onion seeds) and threw them into some hot olive oil, then added some sliced garlic, and then threw in the spinach and cooked until it wilted.  Then I seasoned with a bit of fleur de sel and added 1 Tbsp dried pomegranate seeds for crunch.
I don't know where that idea came from, but it was a great idea and nicely complemented the rest.

So about those steaks.. there is something ultimately satisfying about tandoorifying vegetables.  The char marks from the grill give the veggies that superior dimension and tandoori spices complement that texture perfectly.
The result is eye-candy.. we rarely see the cross-section of cauliflower heads, nature is truly beautiful.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Roasted Delica Morreti and Feta Quiche

Keep the skins on.
That's the secret.
The best squash varieties are by far Ms. Butternut and Ms. Delica, pictured blow.
Both can be held in one hand, do not need to be peeled if roasted, do not become mush when cooked, and have a distinct sweet flavor that is not watery or pumpkiny.
In 3rd and 4th place come Mrs. Bernettine and Mrs. Sucrine du Berry, pictured below. 
 They are both larger versions of the first two with the same qualities, but need to be held with 2 hands.  They are perfect for pie or larger families.
Ms. Red Kuri (Potimarron) is all the rage in France, and it is very tasty, but on my list, it comes 5th, pictured below.
Although it can be held in 1 hand, there is not much flesh and once cooked, it doesn't stay as firm as the others.  The distinct full flavor is less present as well.
I love my life.

So with this in mind, my full bodied Delica was cubed, skin on, brushed with olive oil and a pinch of fleur de sel, and roasted on a sheet pan with parchment paper for about 30 minutes at 400°F 200°C.
The rest is just a quiche with a garlic panko almond crust.
3 Tbsp panko (use something else if GF)
1 clove garlic, grated
pinch fleur de sel
few shakes red pepper flakes
few cracks black pepper
3 Tbsp ground almonds
1 Tbsp olive oil
the works:
1 cubed oven roasted Delica or something of the sort
1 onion, sliced into moons (preferably roasted with the squash)
100g feta, cubed
3 eggs well beaten
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup yogurt or cream
1/2 tsp dried thyme
pinch fleur de sel
pinch nutmeg
few cracks black pepper
1.  Make the crust directly in the baking dish by mixing everything but the olive oil together.  Then pour in the olive oil and spread out the mixture evenly in the bottom of the dish.
Pre-toast the crust by placing it in the oven at 400°F 200°C for about 10 minutes.  Remove the dish and get ready for the next step.
2.  Place the works into the dish, making sure to arrange everything to your liking.  The feta should be evenly distributed and not all clumped on one side.  Apply yourself.  This is easy.
3.  Make the appareil by beating everything together until foamy.  Pour this into the dish with all the other people waiting.
4.  Cook at 350°F 180°C for about 40-50 minutes.
5.  Remove and let cool.  This is important.  At least 15 minutes.  This is also the hardest part.  During this excruciating time, make a salad or something.

I served mine with a salad.
The skin?  Ha!
It makes it crispy and utterly enjoyable without clearly being identified as skin.
I shall never remove skin from any of the smaller squashes again!

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