Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with ArugulaTrue story: Back in my Didn’t Know Better days, I used to whip up cauliflower tempura in my tiny studio kitchen on a near-weekly basis. It was always a huge mess – cornstarch dusting every inch of formica and vinyl, Wesson oil splattered all over the white Hotpoint stove. It was indulgent, and totally worth it. I especially loved the browned bits of cauliflower that would sometimes show up, having slipped out of their batter blanket and been allowed to sizzle directly in the oil. If only I had known about roasting cauliflower! I could’ve had that same caramelized delicacy with much less mess and many fewer calories.

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Cauliflower “candy”

Roasted cauliflower is the star of my new favorite salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking. It’s full of contrasting-yet-harmonious flavors and textures, and is dressed with my super-versatile lemon garlic vinaigrette. I use this same dressing for Caesar salad, and even as a marinade for chicken and shrimp. But back to the main event: Even if you don’t make this salad (though you should!), you owe it to yourself to try the roasted cauliflower. Now we all know better. (And yes, the same can be said about perms, blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.)

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Le Paris Weekend

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For the last 10 years I’ve been making  homecoming pilgrimages to Paris – sometimes alone, sometimes with a few girlfriends (or sister!) in tow, and always just for a long weekend. Instead of spending hours in line for museums or tourist attractions, I prefer to meander around my old neighborhood (le 6ème/St-Germain), visit old friends, trek out to the St-Ouen flea market, and devour every crumb of creative and culinary inspiration. Paris is a feast for the senses as well as the soul! I return home exhausted but reinvigorated. And interestingly – despite the daily consumption of whole milk cafés au lait, baguettes with butter, cheese, pastries and chocolate – I somehow come back 3 pounds lighter. (The key, apparently, is walking 8+ miles per day, as tracked by my Fitbit.) Here’s a little taste of my most recent trip. Bon appétit!  Continue reading

Pomegranate Sparklers

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I. Love. Pomegranates. Maybe because they’re only available for a few months out of the year. (Though so are pumpkin spice lattes, and those I really could do without.) Maybe it’s because, like the best things in life, they take a little work. (See below.) Or maybe it’s because they’re beautiful inside and out, as well as irresistibly tangy/tart/juicy/sweet and good for you, too! So there’s a lot to love.

It should come as no surprise, then, that these Pomegranate Sparklers have become my go-to “house cocktail” for fall and winter entertaining (all the way through Valentine’s Day!) A little pomegranate juice, some bubbly prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), and a few jewel-like pomegranate seeds (technically arils) for a fun garnish. Easy and festive!

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Baked Butternut Squash Rigatoni

Butternut squash rigatoni baked

It’s the first weekend of October – hooray! Colder days, but not too cold. Pumpkins, apples, baking. Halloween! However, it looks like the rain this weekend is going to squash my plans to hang spooky skeleton hand lights in the trees, decorate the front porch and go apple picking. Perfect weather for a comforting casserole, though, so I thought I’d recycle a favorite fall recipe from the early days of my blog. After all, sometimes you don’t need MORE recipes, just a reminder of the good ones you already have. Right?

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Smoky Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Baba ghanouj

Love this dip! Easy, healthful and exotic. (My food trifecta!)

If you can find any late-season eggplants at the market, grab’em. Throw them on the grill with whatever else you’re cooking. Let the eggplants get nice and charred, and then wrap them up until you feel like making this irresistible dip. (Even mid-winter, you can make this in the oven with grocery store eggplants.)  Continue reading

What’s for Lunch??

In a lunch rut? We were too, until I discovered Yumboxes.  These multi-compartment bento-inspired boxes are leakproof, so you can even pack ranch dip, salsa or yogurt without a big mess come lunchtime. Added bonus: these aren’t just for kids! I plan on using Yumboxes for our next plane trip, since the hard case will protect food from getting squished in my carry-on bag. The portion control is nice too.

YumBox with Cheez-Its

Cheez-Its, peanut butter, celery and honeycrisp apple slices. Pack a plastic knife for spreading peanut butter.

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Amazing and Easy Grilled Fish with Herb Butter

Cooking amazing fish can be easy and almost foolproof, provided you follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use the freshest fish possible
  • Season the fish with salt before cooking
  • Throw in a little butter whenever possible
  • Don’t overcook!

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Almond Scone by Day, Strawberry Almond Shortcake by Night

Almond Scones

It began innocently enough: Demure almond scones served warm from the oven, with a little jam and maybe some clotted cream – perfectly proper fare for breakfast, brunch or tea. A tad decadent, perhaps, but still a fine way to start the day. Then came word of the same almond scones emerging at all hours of the night, dressed provocatively in billows of whipped cream and a slathering of juicy strawberries. When approached for comment, one scone replied: “I may have a soft spot for berries, but I’m no tart.”

Strawberry Almond Shortcake  Continue reading

The Secret(s) to Quick and Amazing Zucchini

roasted zucchiniBring on the heat! A little oil and a quick char from the grill or hot oven caramelizes the zucchini and enhances its otherwise bland-ish (sorry, zucchini) flavor.  Maybe you already knew that part? (Especially if you’ve tried oven-roasted broccoli.) So the other secret, then, is . . .  Continue reading

Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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With most of our weeknights this spring consumed with soccer practices, lacrosse practices, Girls on the Run practices, piano lessons and tennis clinics, the question of “What’s for dinner?” becomes all the more pressing. I won’t lie to you – we resort to the blue box mac-n-cheese and frozen pizza plenty of nights. I also make “pizza panini” on a regular basis – panini-maker grilled sandwiches with panella bread and grated mozzarella, cut into wedges and served with marinara sauce for dipping. (Hey – that would make a good blog post! Stay tuned.)

Another regular in our quick-dinner rotation is this red wine, garlic and soy-marinated flank steak. It’s best if you can marinate in the morning, or even the night before, but broiling the steak is quicker than cooking a DiGiorno’s rising crust pizza. Continue reading