Cauliflower Quesadillas

Slightly modified from Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas from Smitten Kitchen

Deb writes: Poblanos are very mild hot peppers. You could use fewer or swap them with a small bell pepper for less heat, or swap one or both with a hotter jalapeño or other chile for more heat.
Kristin says: I didn’t have a poblano on hand, and didn’t want the heat of a jalapeno, so I substituted a small can of chopped fire-roasted green chiles and it was delicious (and made the recipe even easier and quicker).

Yield: 6 quesadillas, serves 6

2 small or 1 large fresh poblano chiles OR 1 can (small or large, as you choose) chopped fire-roasted green chiles
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking quesadillas
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely grated Monterey jack cheese
12 small (7-inch) flour tortillas OR 6 burrito-sized tortillas, cut in half

If using fresh peppers:
Char peppers: Over a gas burner turned to high, hold the poblanos over the flame with tongs and char them until they are black and blistered all over. Alternatively, you could do this under a broiler, turning them frequently for even blistering. Transfer hot chiles to a bowl and cover tightly with foil. Set aside to steam and let their skins loosen while you cook the cauliflower.

Char cauliflower: In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, until it’s evenly coated. Heat your largest heaviest frying pan over high heat until almost smoking, add cauliflower, and let it cook until each piece has a few black spots but is not mushy, turning and moving it frequently to ensure even cooking. This will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer florets to cutting board to rest.

Mix filling:
If using fresh peppers:
When poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off with your fingertips or a paring knife. Pull out and discard stems and seed clusters, and slice peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips.

Add (fresh or canned) peppers to cauliflower on board and give both a rough chop together, reducing the cauliflower to no bigger than 1/2-inch chunks. Return cauliflower and peppers to the large bowl, add scallions, lime juice and salt to taste. You should have about 2 cups of cauliflower filling.

Assemble and cook quesadillas: Lay out 6 tortillas and spread 1/3 cup cauliflower filling and 1/3 cup shredded cheese on each. Place second 6 tortillas on top as lids. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, coat lightly with olive oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook quesadillas until browned underneath, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully a flip — a large, thin spatula helps here — and repeat on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

To serve: Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with your choice of fixings. Two choices are below.

Cumin-Lime Crema

1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
A few gratings fresh lime zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of salt

Combine, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve alongside quesadillas.

Lazy Taco Slaw

1 bag coleslaw mix, or 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage and 1 coarsely grated carrot
Coarse salt
Juice of half a lime
2 scallions, sliced thin
A dollop of mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves

Toss cabbage mix, salt and lime together in a large bowl; set aside for 5 minutes. It will shrink down a bit. Stir in scallions, then mayo and hot sauce. Adjust seasonings/ingredients to taste, then stir in cilantro leaves. Serve alongside quesadillas or any of your favorite tortilla-clad meals.

Published in: on June 5, 2021 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grandma Euler’s Dill Dip


original recipe:

1 cup sour ceam
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons dry onion
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons dry parsley

1/2 recipe with variation:

1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Ozark seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt
Best made a day or two ahead.

Published in: on November 27, 2019 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Cheese Ball

From Grandma Euler’s recipe box, with a note that the recipe came from Ruth Cameron.  I used to make this for the party after piano recitals in Mary Dunkel’s studio.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 small can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 drops Tabasco sauce

Put half the nuts in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.  Form into a ball or log and roll in the remaining nuts.  Make one day ahead.  (Maybe it would be better to roll in the nut coating just before serving?)

Published in: on November 4, 2019 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  

To Try: Jacques Pepin’s Mushroom & Gruyere Pizza

From “Jacques Pepin’s Heart & Soul in the Kitchen”

Serves 2 for lunch, 2-4 as an hors d’oeuvre

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
2 flour tortillas (8″ across)
1 cup diced (1/2″) Gruyere cheese (about 5 oz)
3 cups sliced (1″ pieces) portobello mushrooms (about 6 oz)2 scallions, cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub 1 teaspoon of the oil on one side of each tortilla and arrange them oiled side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Combine the cheese, mushrooms, scallions, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until you have a coarse puree.  Spread the puree on the tortillas, covering the entire surface of each one.  Sprinkle the remaining 4 teaspoons oil on top.

Bake the pizzas for 12 to 14 minutes, until hot, bubbling, and browned underneath.  Cut into quarters and serve.

Published in: on July 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cauliflower Tots

Slightly adapted from the recipe at PureWow

Makes 4-6 appetizer or side-dish servings

50 minutes start-to-finish

Nonstick cooking spray, as needed (I used olive oil spray)
3 cups prepared cauliflower rice, cooled*
1 bunch scallions, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 egg + 1 egg white, lightly whisked
¾ cup panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with nonstick spray.

2. Press the prepared cauliflower rice with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add the scallions, parsley, cheese, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, egg and egg white; mix to combine. Add the bread crumbs and mix to combine.

4. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a cylindrical shape. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. Spray the surface of the tots with nonstick spray.

5. Bake until they’re golden brown on the bottom, 17 to 20 minutes. Flip the tots and bake 5 to 10 minutes more to get the other side all golden. Serve immediately, with your favorite dipping sauce(s).

*Using a food processor with the grating disk, shred one medium-sized head of cauliflower.  Put into a bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Remove cover, pour onto a clean kitchen towel and let the cauliflower cool and pat away excess moisture with the towel.

Published in: on July 4, 2016 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment  


Spray a non-rimmed baking sheet* with non-stick spray or line with parchment.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place triangular tortilla chips in a single layer with edges touching as much as possible in the center of the baking sheet.  Top with a mix of grated jack and cheddar.  Add any optional toppings of your choice:
taco-seasoned ground beef or chicken
Top with additional cheese and heat in the oven until the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven carefully – don’t let them slide off!
Slide the nachos off the baking sheet onto a plate.  Top as desired with sliced olives, green onions, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, hot sauce…

*Airbake is one option:

Published in: on December 19, 2015 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

To Try: Festive Feta Appetizer

From Sue Schorr, official accountant to Cheese Therapy, as featured in San Jose Mercury News, 7/19/15

Festive Feta Appetizer

Serves 4
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, pepper to taste
One 4-5 ounce block feta
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or spray an ovenproof serving dish.

2. Toss onions and tomatoes with olives and extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt, pepper and oregano.

3. Remove feta from wrapper; place cheese block in the ovenproof dish. Pile the tomato mixture decoratively on top of the feta. Bake for 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve hot, with crackers, crostini or pita chips.

Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

No-Mayo Chicken Salad


Slightly adapted from a recipe by Meme Inge

10 oz. cooked chicken, chopped, then shredded with your fingers
1/2 cup celery, diced small
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp honey
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper {or black pepper}
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
dash of nutmeg, optional
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Stir together the chicken and celery in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Put the cottage cheese, lemon juice, honey, salt, white pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg {if using} in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth, about 30-45 seconds. Add half the onion and process for about 10 seconds until the onion is incorporated.

Pour the cottage cheese mixture over the chicken & celery. Stir well until completely combined.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Taste and add extra lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or garlic powder if desired.

Great in a sandwich, on crackers, with raw veggies, on a bed of lettuce…


Published in: on July 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The best way to cook frozen potstickers


Put about 6″ of water in a large pan and bring to a boil.

Add one bag of frozen potstickers (or as many as you want to cook), turn off the heat, and cover.

Let the potstickers sit in the hot water for 5-7 minutes until soft.  Pour gently into a collander to drain.  Pour about a teaspoon of canola oil onto a plate and set the potstickers, bottom side down, in the oil, sliding them around as necessary.  If you fill up the plate, get another plate – make sure they stay in one layer.  You can hold them at this stage at room temperature for about an hour.

Heat up a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add a teaspoon or two of canola oil.  When the oil is hot, carefully add the potstickers, bottom side down, in a single layer.  They will not mind being crowded.  Fry until crispy brown on the bottom, about 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them!  If your pan has hot spots you may need to rearrange a bit so everybody gets brown.

Drain on paper towels before serving if needed.


Published in: on June 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pine Nuts

My dear brother-in-law Mark Anderson Phillips served this as a salad course for one of the delicious dinners he made us this summer at our family cabin.

On each serving plate, place largish bite-sized pieces of perfectly cold, crisp watermelon.  (Mark cut his in triangles and it looked really nice.)

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Sprinkle with crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts.

Beautiful, refreshing and surprisingly delicious.

Friends have suggested their favorite additional ingredients for this salad, which include
basil chiffonade
lemon zest
lemon juice
chopped mint

I’ve tried them all except the olives and onions and find that so far I prefer the purist version.

Published in: on September 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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