Multitasking at the stove…

Saturday night I couldn’t decide which of two recipes to try, so I made both and flipped a coin at the last minute…


Saturday nite we wound up with ragu on cauliflower polenta. A simple ragu of ground sirloin (which, when I make again, I will put through the food processor for a finer product).  Brown the meat in oil, add some Worcestershire and onions, a cup or so each of ketchup and tomato purée,chicken stock, season to taste and let reduce. You can add in some butter at end to smooth it out. Top with chives.



Meanwhile, back at the food processor, cut cauliflower (shown here in festive carnival colors) into florets and then run through food processor do its like rice. Bring salted water to a boil and drop in the cauliflower and cook for about 3 minutes. Add a mere 1/3 cup instant polenta and stir until very thick. All the taste of polenta without the carbs and calories!



Original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, September 2016, p.28

Part two of multitasking is coming right up!

Just another Meatless Monday

Once upon a time there was a restaurant chain named “99” that was ahead of its time and served mashed cauliflower in lieu of potatoes. I mean really ahead, like in the 2000’s…and then inexplicably, just as we got to the ‘carbs will kill you’ phase of the 2015’s, they took them off the menus! Rat finks….

What’s a girl to do, but figure out her own way to make cauliflower the non carb base for some tasty kitchen items. Everyone is in on it…even Pioneer Woman did an episode on Saturday about it!


Take a head of cauliflower and whazz it up in your food processor. It should look like rice or smaller. I then cooked it down in a pan with a little water and olive oil, salt and pepper. I mixed in the end of a container of shredded parm and a bot two tablespoons of goat cheese to make it creamy and continued to cook it until it was soft and polenta like.


I topped with an oil poached egg and about a tablespoon of the confit tomatoes from last weekend’s production. Very satisfying meatless meal!

Just another Meatless Monday

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Like all my Meatless Mondays, sometimes it’s just stuff I have hanging around the frig, that composes what we eat for meatless day. I sort of had a plan when I started out roasting zucchini and yellow peppers in the now ill fated oven adventure of Saturday nite. However the execution of the plan had to be completely changed once I remembered…I can’t just zap stuff  to reheat it…and rats, I can’t put it in oven to reheat either!

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I will say that I made a stellar sauce of roasted yellow peppers that topped off the saute pan reheated zucchini sticks that I put on top of polenta with parmesan and butter. Simply take the roasted peppers, take the top off and seed them, and drop them in a blender. Pulse on high while drizzling some olive oil into the blender. If you seasoned the peppers before roasting, you should not need any more salt or pepper but you might want to double check it!365

 

Happy Appies…

The Hubs and I were in charge of wine and pre feast snacks for Thanksgiving, so part deux of my kitchen based marathon was on Wednesday. I had five items to produce for the menu I planned. All pretty easy to execute. I also had to pack each item for travel, and didn’t want to have to mess around with bringing containers home unless critically necessary, so disposable was way to go.

  
The Old Standby

Blue, chèvre, Brie, Manchego, cheddar served with baguette slices, candied lemon, grapes and blackberries, sliced apple and red pears. I always like my cheese tray to look full and casual, not laid out like a terraced garden. Another bonus on Thursday came in the form of an hour plus commute, that allowed the cheese to come up to perfect temp for eating.

  
The Fail Safe

A Caprese salad is always a safe choice for diner satisfaction, and transferring the ingredients to a skewer is a fun way to convert a salad into an appetizer that’s portable and kid friendly too. 

  
It’s also fun to include dressing and garnish in one by filling teeny tiny food grade syringes with balsamic syrup and evoo!

 
You can purchase on Amazon, just search for flavor injectors.

The Classic with a Twist

  

You can miniaturize (is that a real verb?) almost any set of ingredients and salad is no exception. Caeser salad is really good because there are limited ingredients. I simply shredded some Romaine, and put it in a zip top bag with a damp paper towel. On arrival you can just pour the dressing, transported in any old jar, into the bag, reseal and shake. “But it’s missing the cheese and the crouton” you say. That’s the other way to have fun here. You can make Parmesan crisps very easily!

  
Just toss a little flour with shredded Parmesan and place on a non stick pan, medium heat with a little pan spray on it. As the cheese melts you can move it into shape as desired.  Cook till brown and then flip, about 45 seconds. The crisps keep really well between two paper plates, wrapped in plastic wrap.

The Savory and Satisfying

  

For the first hot appetizer, I turned to corn, “we call it maize”, but it’s actually polenta!

   
 
Follow the directions on the box and add cheese or other ingredients as you see fit. I topped the polenta with savory mushrooms cooked with a little Italian sausage, garlic, butter and some sage, and then stirred in a tablespoon of mascarpone.Totally creamy and yummy. 

 
I garnished with some green onions, but chives would work also. The polenta and the mushrooms can just be put in reveal able containers and nuked in the microwave when needed. And lastly…

The Wild Card

Of which there are no pictures extant! How did that happen? 

Well, I’ll just have to tell you all about it!

My brothers favorite option from any Chinese restaurant is always Crab Rangoon. So I decided I could do a deconstructed rangoon. I mixed canned crabmeat with a little mayo and Tabasco and 8 oz of non fat cream cheese and baked along with the turkey. Wednesday nite, I heated about a cup of vegetable oil in a deep skillet and then cut refrigerated egg roll wrappers into triangles. Drop the triangles into the oil for about 20 seconds and flip…like magic, wontons! So instead of pockets of crab and cream cheese, you have wonton chips and dip.

So that’s how I used about eight different types of cheese from the cheese centric trip to Trader Joes last week!