Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers

I had cauliflower and peppers on hand so I decided to create this dish.  It is vegetarian and gluten free.  It can be served as a side dish or a main dish.

INGREDIENTS:

Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 peppers
  • 2 Serrano chilies (optional)
  • 1/2 a bunch of parsley
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of marinara sauce.  Use your favorite.  I have used a homemade mushroom marinara sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese (preferably grate your own)
  • 6 ounce bag of shaved cheese (mix of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers Prep

  • Break the cauliflower head into large florets
  • Don’t throw away the stalk and leaves, instead dice up the good parts.  The small bowl on upper right side shows them diced up.
  • Cut the peppers in half.  Remove the seeds, stems and whitish pith.
  • Dice the onion
  • Mince the garlic and Serrano chilies
  • Remove the parsley leaves from their stems.  Set aside a few for garnish.  The rest will go into the food processor along with the cauliflower florets.
  • Place the cauliflower florets and parsley leaves in a food processor.  Pulse to make cauliflower granules.

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COOK:

  • Coat a large, heavy stainless steel skillet with olive oil.  Turn the heat to medium.
  • Add the chopped onions, cauliflower stalks, garlic and Serrano chilies.  Toss in the dried oregano and red chili flakes.
  • Mix all the ingredients and saute until light brown.
  • Add the cauliflower and parsley granules.  Continue to saute until cauliflower is light brown.
  • Turn off the flame and mix in the Parmesan cheese

    STUFFING THE PEPPERS:Oiled Peppers

  • Place the peppers in a oven proof baking dish
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Fill each pepper with a layer of cauliflower mixture, then a Tbsp. of marinara sauce.  Repeat once more so the pepper is full.Stuffed Peppers
  • Place in a 350 F oven and bake until peppers are tender
  • Pull out the cooked peppers and top with shaved cheese and a parsley leaf.

Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers Feature

Serve as a side dish with any protein you like.  If you are eating meatless, serve a larger portion as a vegetarian main dish.

ENJOY!!!  Let me know your feedback by leaving a comment.

Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes

This is one of my favorite recipes.  I look forward to fresh summer Roma tomatoes so I can make this dish.  I learned how to make these from my Italian neighbor, Jeanette.  When we lived in California, my husband used to grow our vegetables.  I used to take the extra veggies to Jeanette.  In return, she taught me how to make her Italian dishes.  She is the one who introduced me to Italian cooking.

This recipe is very simple and versatile.  I put the roasted tomatoes on my cheese board when throwing a wine tasting party.  They are great with a full bodied red wine.  I also use them in pasta dishes and sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 Roma tomatoes (these were grown by my neighbor, Billy.  I think they are absolutely beautiful)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (mine is in a spray bottle.  Makes it easier to use.  If you don’t have a spray bottle you can drizzle it on with a small spoon.)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • sea salt to taste

PREP:

  • Cut the Roma tomatoes in half
  • Use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and place them on a foil lined baking sheet
  • Sprinkle them with sea salt and my Italian Spice Mix
  • Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil

COOK:  Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Place the tomatoes in the oven and bake them till they are browned.  This takes 10 to 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Arrange the cooked tomatoes in a bowl or platter.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with grated Romano cheese and fresh basil for a finishing touch.

Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes Feature

 

Spicy Pan Fried Okra (Bhindi Masala)

I love okra.  My neighbor, Billy brought me this lovely okra from his garden.  I decided to make Bhindi Masala.  The okra in this dish is not at all slimy.  This is a classic Northern Indian recipe.  The original recipe uses dried pomegranate seeds instead of tomatoes for tartness.  Tomatoes are native to South America so the original Indian recipes do not have tomato.  My neighbor also brought me these amazing tomatoes, so I decided to use them.  These days tomatoes are used in many Indian recipes.

INGREDIENTS:

Bhindi Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of fresh okra
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 inches of ginger
  • 1 inch of fresh turmeric
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of garam masala (this is a hot Indian spice mix.  I make my own, but you can buy it at an Indian grocery store)
  • 10 sprigs of cilantro leaves
  • grapeseed oil for cooking
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Bhindi Prep

  • Slice okra into thin discs.  Discard the stems.
  • Slice the onion into long thin slices
  • Pull the cilantro leaves off their stems
  • Finely dice the ginger.  If the skin is fresh leave it on.  If the skin is dried out, peel the ginger.
  • Dice the tomatoes
  • Finely mince the green chili

FRYING THE OKRA:  Frying the okra on high heat burns off the slime.  The result is an okra dish that is not at all slimy.

  • Coat a heavy non-stick skillet with grapeseed oil
  • Turn the heat on high and let the oil heat up till it is very hot
  • Add the okra in a single layer.  You may have to cook the okra in batches.  Coat the pan with more grapeseed oil after frying each batch.  If you put more than a layer of okra in the pan it will steam instead of fry.
  • Fry the okra until it is dark brown and the slime has burned off.  Let the okra sit for 4-5 minutes.  Then stir.  Then let it sit for 4-5 minutes and then stir again.  Keep doing this until no more slime appears when you stir.
  • Remove the okra from the pan into a glass bowl.  Let it sit while you make the spicy base.

COOKING THE SPICY BASE:

Bhindi Cook 1

  • Place the onions, ginger, and chilies in a large, heavy stainless steel skillet.
  • Grate in the fresh turmeric.  I love the flavor of fresh turmeric.  You can buy turmeric when it is available  and store it in the freezer.  Pull out a piece 5 minutes before you are ready to grate it.  It grates well when it is fresh or partially frozen.  Don’t thaw it out fully because it will get mushy.  I usually buy fresh turmeric at the Indian grocery store.  I have on occasion seen it at my local supermarket, but it is more expensive than at the Indian grocery store.  You can also use powdered turmeric, but it will be added later along with the garam masala.  Do not add it at this point because the powder will burn.
  • Add a little grapeseed oil and sauté the aromatics, on medium heat, till the onions turn golden.
  • Make a hot spot in the center and add the tomato paste
  • Cook the tomato paste for a minute and then stir it in

Bhindi Cook 5

  • Stir in the garam masala and let it toast for 1 minute.  If you are using powdered turmeric instead of fresh, add it along with the garam masala.
  • Add the tomatoes and cilantro leaves
  • Stir and let the tomatoes cook down for 5 minutes
  • Add the fried okra
  • Stir and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Transfer to a platter and serve family style.  It is usually eaten with rotis, dal and yogurt.  I have not yet posted my recipe for rotis (an Indian flat bread), but here are the links for Autumn Dal (split mung beans with kale) and My Mom’s Yogurt.

Bhindi masala can also be served as a side dish with any meat or fish.  I like topping it with Amritsari Masala Fish.

Amritsari Masala Fish IG

The dish as served above makes a yummy, satisfying and figure-friendly meal.  ENJOY !!!

 

Avocado Mediterranean Salad

I found some avocados on sale at the Indian grocery store in Austin.  This is the first time that I ever saw avocados at the Indian grocery store, so I was very surprised to see them.  What surprised me even more was the low, low price.  Only 38 cents a piece!!!

When I got home, my neighbor had delivered some fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from his garden.  I already had the mint and cilantro growing in my sun room.  I feel very lucky to have such wonderful ingredients.  All these fresh ingredients inspired me to make this delightful Avocado Mediterranean Salad.

Ingredients:

Avocado Med. Salad Ingredients

  • 6 avocados
  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 Serrano chile
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 bunch of large mint leaves
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (some people really don’t like cilantro.  If you are one of these people, use flat leaf parsley instead.)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Prep:

Avocado Med. Salad Prep

  • Cut the avocados in half.  Remove the pit.  Peel them, the peel comes off easily just with the fingers.  Sprinkle them with a little lime juice so they don’t turn brown.
  • Dice the Persian cucumbers skin and all.  This should yield 2 cups.
  • Remove the seeds from the Roma tomatoes and dice them.  This should yield 1/2 cup.
  • Finely dice the red onion.  This should yield 1/2 cup.
  • Mince the Serrano chile.
  • Tear the leaves off the cilantro.  This should yield 1/2 cup.
  • Tear the mint leaves into small pieces.  This should yield 1/4 cup.
  • Squeeze the juice of one large lime.  This should yield 1/4 cup.

Combine all of the above ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE AVOCADOS.  Add salt and pepper  to taste. You can also adjust the acidity to your liking by adding more lime juice if you need it.  This is your Mediterranean Salad.

Avocado Med. Salad

The Mediterranean Salad can be enjoyed on its own, but it makes an elegant and delicious presentation stuffed into an avocado.

Avocado Med. Salad Plated

 

Recipe Note:

If you can’t find Persian cucumbers, use regular cucumbers, but you will have to peel and de-seed them.  Another good alternative is hot house (also called English) cucumbers.  The English cucumbers are seedless and also do not need to be peeled.

Please let me know what you think by commenting below.

Dewberry Tarts

Dewberries are wild blackberries.  They grow wild in our fields.  They come up at about the same time as the spring wildflowers.  Dewberries

If you don’t have access to dewberries, you can use blackberries or any other berry you like.

Ingredients: Makes 6 tarts

Dewberry Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dewberries (set aside 6 berries, 1 as a topper for each tart)
  • 2 pats of butter
  • vanilla sugar to taste (I used 1/4 cup of organic evaporated cane juice with vanilla beans in it.  I throw left over vanilla beans into my sugar jar to flavor the sugar.)
  • 1 package of puff pastry shells (they usually come in packages of 6)
  • 6 dollops of cream to top off each tart.  (You can use whip cream or creme fraiche.  I accidentally made goat milk creme fraiche as a by product of making Paneer (Indian Cheese) I will explain later in the recipe.
  • 6 small sprigs of mint as a garnish for each tart

Making the dewberry jam: place all but 6 berries into a heavy saucepan along with the vanilla sugar.  Place on a low flame and cook until the sugar melts and the berries cook down.  Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.  It takes about 20 minutes for the jam to form.  When the jam forms, melt in the 2 pats of butter.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Dewberry Jam

My accidental goat milk creme fraiche:  When I was making the Paneer (Indian Cheese) from goats milk, I had the whey left over.  I used Boer goat milk from my goat, Oreo.  This milk has about 10% fat, so when I stored the left over whey, it still had quite a bit of fat which rose to the top and turned into creme fraiche over night in the frig.   This was such a nice surprise.  I decided to use it to top off my tart.

 

Preparing the puff pastry shells: Just place on top of a lined baking sheet and bake according to the package instructions.  I used a Silpat to line my baking sheet.  Use what works best for you.  Usually puff pastry is baked in a oven preheated to 400 degress F for about 18 to 20 minutes.  Cook the pastry until it puffs and is golden brown.

Dewberry Puff Pastry

Assembling the tarts: Remove the top from the cooked shells and fill them with the cooled dewberry jam.

Dewberry Puff with Jam

Top off with a dollop of cream, a dewberry and a small sprig of mint.

Dewberry Instagram

These are so pretty and yummy.  If you have any left over dewberry jam, serve it over vanilla ice cream.  This way you get two desserts in one.

Dewberry Compote

Cauliflower Thai Curry

I was inspired to make this curry because my little Kaffir Lime Leaf plant suddenly took off.  In the photo below it is sitting in the peacock planter.  I also had eggplant and orange bell peppers left over from my Chargrilled Veggies recipe.  All these ingredients lend themselves to making Thai Curry.  I served it on a bed of Buckwheat Pilaf

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Thai Curry Ingredients

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, broken down into small florets
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into pieces about the same size as the cauliflower florets
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 inches of fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 10 Kaffir Lime Leaves. Crush them with your fingers just before using.  This will release their oils.
  • 2 green chilies, finely minced.  I leave the seeds in.  De-seed them if you want to tone down the heat.
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of black onion seeds.  These are also called Nigella in English.  In Hindi they are called Kalonji.
  • 1 tablespoon of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 3 inches of fresh turmeric which will be grated into the dish.  If you don’t have fresh turmeric you can use a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  • 12 0z bag of Faroe Island scallops.  You can leave these out if you want to make the dish vegan.  I bought my scallops at our local Bastrop, Texas H. E. B.  The company who imports them is Singleton.  The Faroe Islands are between Iceland and Norway in the cold North Atlantic Ocean.  These scallops are a superior product.  They are natural, dry and come flash frozen.
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan
  • 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook:

 

  • Coat a large skillet with grape seed oil.  Add shallots, garlic, ginger, green chilies, cilantro stems, Nigella seeds, zest of the lime, Kaffir lime leaves and 1/2 the cilantro leaves.  Reserve the other half for garnish. Grate in the turmeric.  If you are using powdered turmeric DO NOT add it now.  If we add it now it will burn.  I will tell you later in the recipe when you can add it.
  • Place on medium-low heat and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the eggplant and sauté for 5 minutes.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 3

  • Add the bell peppers and sauté until slightly brown.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 4

  • Add the tomato paste and the green curry paste.  This is the time to add the turmeric powder if you are not using the fresh turmeric.  Sauté for a few more minutes so that the pastes cook.  Deglaze with the sherry vinegar.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 5

  • Add the cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower is slightly brown.

 

  • Add the coconut milk along with a little water.  Cover the dish and cook on a low flame until the cauliflower is fork tender.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 8

  • Add the scallops (optional).  Cover and let steam for 3 minutes.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 9

  • Add the lime juice and the reserved cilantro leaves to garnish.

Cauliflower Thai Curry Cook 10

 

It just so happens that this weekend is Songkran, Thai New Year.  This is a traditional curry eaten to celebrate the holiday.  HAPPY SONGKRAN.

 

My Mom’s Yogurt Bowl

Ingredients:

Yogurt Bowl Ingredients

  • Strawberries–3 large
  • Kiwis–2 large
  • Agave Nectar–1 tablespoon
  • Chai Masala–1/2 teaspoon (optional,  can use pumpkin spice instead)
  • Mini Chocolate Chips–2 tablespoons
  • Yogurt–1 cup

Prep:

  • Slice the strawberries lengthwise.  Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart from each slice.
  • Peel the kiwi, slice into rounds.  Using a small tear drop shaped cookie cutter, cut out a tear drop from each slice.
  • Place the cup of My Mom’s Yogurt in a bowl.  I used a lotus shaped bowl because my Mom’s name was Kamal, which means lotus flower.
  • Sprinkle the yogurt with the Chai Masala.Yogurt Bowl Chai Masala
  • Arrange the fruit slices and chocolate chips on top.
  • Drizzle with agave nectar.

Yogurt Bowl IG

This yogurt bowl was inspired by an Italian food blogger, thepaleat.worpress.com.  She happened to make this yogurt bowl today and post it on Instagram.  It just so happens that today would have been my mom’s 79th birthday.  So in her honor, I used her yogurt to make this bowl today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM.  LOVE YOU ALWAYS.

Chargrilled Veggies

Spring is here.  My husband fired up the charcoal grill for the first time this year.  I was inspired to do some quick and easy meal prepping for the week.

Take whatever fresh veggies you can find.  Slice them into thick pieces.  If you have peppers, leave them whole.  Just poke a hole in each pepper so that it does not explode during the cooking process.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with my Italian Spice Mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chargrilled Veggies Prep

In the photo above, I have tomatillos, baby carrots, baby turnips, eggplant, and a variety of peppers and squashes.  I also have Roma tomatoes but my husband put them on the grill before I had a chance to take the photo.

Grill the veggies till they are tender and charred.  I prefer charcoal but you can use whatever you like.

Chargrilled Veggies on The Grill

Once all the veggies are done.  Make a plate for today’s meal and refrigerate the rest in glass containers covered with plastic wrap.

Chargrilled Veggies Stored

 

Then all you have to do for the rest of the week is reheat the veggies and add proteins.  My husband also cooks different meats on the grill and reheats them later in the week.  I prep seafood for myself and cook what I need as my protein for the week.

Delicious, healthy and quick meals are easy to put together all week long.