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  

Simple Beef Stew

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Total Time: 3 1/2 hours

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups dark beer, such as porter or stout, divided
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups beef or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (Burns family note: Use Le Creuset Dutch oven.) Add the beef in batches in one layer, without overcrowding, and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the Dutch oven. Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add 1/2 cup beer to the pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits with a spoon. When the beer is nearly evaporated, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Return the beef to the pot and stir to coat.

Add the remaining 1 cup beer, the stock, bay leaf, brown sugar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

While the meat is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, potatoes and onions and lightly season with salt. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften without browning, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, onions and potatoes to the stew and stir to combine. Return to the oven and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce slightly thickened, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaf and serve warm ladled into bowls.

Sean: Omit carrots and potatoes

Published in: on April 11, 2021 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Ellie Krieger’s Chicken with Provencal White Bean and Vegetable Ragout

Slightly modified from her original recipe from Whole in One.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, scrubbed well and finely diced
1 small zucchini, diced
4 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or 1/2 cup frozen french cut green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Season the chicken with half of the salt and half of the pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add half of the chicken; cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner (no need to add oil).

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet; reduce the heat to medium, then add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently to dislodge any browned bits of chicken (fond), until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add the zucchini, haricots verts, garlic, Herbes de Provence and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste until it’s evenly distributed, then add the broth and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the basil and the lemon juice.

To serve, slice the chicken into strips. Spoon the bean-vegetable mixture onto serving plates and top each with chicken strips. Garnish with the remaining basil.

4 servings

Per serving: 360 calories, 39 grams protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 105 milligrams cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

Published in: on February 5, 2021 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions

From Cooking Light

Serves 3-4

1 pork tenderloin
olive oil
garlic powder

Remove the silverskin from the pork.  Film a 12″ skillet (I prefer cast iron) with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat.  Slice the pork crosswise into 12 equal pieces.  Press the slices down with your palms to flatten.  Sprinkle the tops with salt, pepper and garlic powder according to your preference.  Place 6 slices in the skillet, seasoning side down.  Set a timer for 3 minutes.  Season the tops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  When the timer goes off, turn and cook another 3 minutes.  Let rest a minute or two, then serve.

Published in: on July 25, 2020 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

To Try: Farro with Sausage & Apples

From Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro package

3/4 package Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro, boiled in broth
3 Sweet Italian Chicken Sausages, casings removed
1 Tablespoon butter, if needed
1 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large apple, diced small
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Set aside prepared farrow.  In a large skilled over high heat, crumble sausage and stir until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove sausage and set aside, keep sausage drippings.  If pan is too dry, add butter and melt.  Add onion, garlic and apple; saute until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add farro and sausage back to skillet; season to taste with salt, pepper and chili flakes, stir until wamred through, about 1-2 minutes.  Serve warm.

Published in: on February 17, 2020 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

From Eating Well Test Kitchen

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile (or smoked paprika)
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups water
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (or tomatoes with chiles)
4 teaspoons lime juice
optional toppings:
chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream (for non-vegans)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle or smoked paprika and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  (I actually cooked it for much longer – like an hour.)

Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Published in: on December 2, 2019 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Potato Soup

Slightly modified from Pioneer Woman

6 slices thin bacon, cut in 1″ pieces (or more!)
1 medium onion, diced small
1 large carrot, peeled and diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
6 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced small
6 cups filtered water
2 Tablespoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
1 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
black pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheese of your choice

Add bacon pieces to a large soup pot over medium heat and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the fat; do not clean the pot.

Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour in the water and stock base and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree until desired consistency.  Stir in cream, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Serve in bowls garnished with grated cheese and bacon.

Anna:  yes
Sam:  yes
Ma:  yes




Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 5:10 pm  Comments (3)  

Smitten Kitchen’s Corn, Cheddar & Scallion Strata

Corn, Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Adapted from Gourmet’s 2003 spinach strata

Whole wheat sourdough is a great choice for this dish.  Or do half sourdough and half whole wheat.  A baguette or country bread will also work here. You could deliciously replace the parmesan with a crumbly salted cheese such as feta, ricotta salata or queso fresco; use just 1/2 to 2/3 cup instead

Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh corn (cut from 3 small-to-average cobs)
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (both white and green parts from a 4-ounce bundle)
8 cups whole wheat, country or French bread in 1-inch cubes (weight will vary from 10 to 14 ounces, depending on bread type)
2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar
1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
2 3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish (a lasagna or 9×13-inch pan works well here too). Toss corn and scallions together in a medium bowl. Combine cheeses in another bowl. In a large bowl, gently beat eggs and mayo together, then whisk in milk, salt and lots (or, if measuring, 1/2 teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper. Spread one-third of bread cubes in prepared baking dish — it will not fully cover bottom of dish; this is fine. Add one-third of corn, then cheese mixture. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, corn and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: Strata keeps baked in the fridge for 4 days or longer in the freezer, wrapped well. It reheats wonderfully, either from the fridge or freezer and holds up well in lunch boxes.

Published in: on August 26, 2019 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Curried Chicken Salad

rough quantities

1/3 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
salt & pepper
2-3 cups chopped cooked skinless chicken breast
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup of red grapes, halved
chopped parsley


Published in: on July 14, 2019 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bulghur Salad with Corn, Zucchini, and Shredded Basil

From Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

Serves 4 as a main course

1.5 cups coarse-grain red bulghur
1.5 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup small-diced tomato
1 cup very thinly sliced zucchini rounds, cut into sixths (I cut the zucchini into sixths lengthwise and then bunched the pieces together and sliced thinly)
3 Tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
1/4 cup thinly slivered red onion
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves, for garnish

Place the bughur in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over it to cover by 2 inches. Let soak 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove all of the soaking liquid by placing the bulghur, in batches, in cheesecloth or a cotton towel and squeezing it dry.  Or place it in a strainer and press out the liquid with the back of a large spoon.  (I used this method.)  Place the strained bulghur in a large serving bowl.

Stir in the corn, tomato, zucchini, basic and onion.  In a separate bowl, beat together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Pour it over the salad and mix well.  Let sit 30 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 24 hours, then bring to room temperature before serving.  Place lettuce leaves on individual plates and spoon the salad on top.

Published in: on October 27, 2018 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment