Romanesco “Couscous” With Seared Flank Steak

Romanesco cauliflower is one of the coolest looking vegetables. I always take a few days to cook it because I like opening my fridge and seeing a spiky green diamond in there! I read somewhere that “It’s the Lady Gaga of Cauliflower,” which is a pretty accurate description. Despite it’s funky look, it tastes just like regular cauliflower. I had seen a recipe recently that used cauliflower as mock couscous and thought that would be a fun experiment. I loved it! I even mixed some of the leftovers into my scrambled eggs in the morning, which was delicious. I will definitely be making this again!

Ingredients:

Couscous:
1 large romanesco cauliflower (or two if really small)
1/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions, chopped
1 small carrot, shredded
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Steak:
1 pound flank steak
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Salt and pepper the steak and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Doing this makes it more flavorful! In the meantime, make the couscous.

Chop up the romanesco and add it to a food processor, blending until it resembles the texture of couscous. Best to do it in smaller amounts so it breaks up evenly. Add a little olive oil to a pan and saute the garlic for a minute or so, then add 1/4 cup water and the romanesco. Cook, stirring enough that it doesn’t burn at all. Add the shredded carrot, green onions, and ginger. Next add the cumin and tumeric, then salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, toss in the almonds. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

For the steak, add a tablespoon of butter to a cast iron pan. When it’s nice and hot throw on the steak and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cut. Remove from the pan, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. The steak continues to cook after it comes off the pan, so resting it lets it do its thing and get nice and juicy. While the steak is getting awesome, add a little more butter to the pan and cook the onions until translucent, and making sure to scrape up any goodness leftover from the steak. Cut the steak against the grain and plate with the couscous and onion!

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Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup

On of my favorite comfort meals is tomato soup with a classic grilled cheese. I got a good amount of Roma tomatoes in my CSA bag this week and had never made my own tomato soup, so I figured what better time to try then now! Homemade soups are so easy to make, and much better for you because they aren’t filled with other questionable ingredients like some canned soups are. I made my grilled cheese the old fashioned way- sourdough bread buttered on both sides, American cheese, grilled until golden brown and melty. Can’t go wrong!

Ingredients:
5-7 Roma tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1/2 white onion, chopped
(2) 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, drizzle the Roma tomatoes and garlic cloves together with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes. While those cooks, heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the onions until translucent. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and crushed red pepper. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chopped basil and ricotta then blend until smooth. You can use a blender and do it in batches if needed, or you can use an immersion blender like I did (I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have one already, they’re great!)

 

Lemony Chicken Piccata With Mashed Cauliflower

Capers!! I could eat them all day. I currently have 3 jars of capers in my fridge, which totally seems a little over the top now that I think about it, but they’re just so good! Chicken piccata is one of my favorite go to (and fail proof) meals that I like to make. You can have it over pasta, or grains, or just by itself. Tonight I tried it over some mashed cauliflower and it went really well together! Cauliflower is so delicious and a great alternative to the usual mashed potatoes. It’s much healthier and not as heavy. A vegetarian option for this could be using the cauliflower as the “chicken” and just roast it in the oven until a little crisp then pour the piccata sauce over the top!

Chicken Piccata:
2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half (to make 4 pieces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
All-purpose flour
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers, roughly chopped
1/3 fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mashed Cauliflower:
1 cauliflower, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start with the cauliflower. In a large pot, sauté the shallot and garlic for a minute or two. Add the chopped cauliflower and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork tender. Place the cauliflower mixture in a blender with a good drizzle of olive oil (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now cook the chicken! Butterfly the chicken by slicing it in half through the center, making 4 thinner piece of chicken. Salt and pepper both side of the chicken well, then dredge with flour and shake off any excess. Place in a hot pan with 2 tablespoons butter and a good splash of olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes, then once a little browned flip and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side. Plate the chicken. In the same pan add the chicken stock, lemon juice, and chopped capers, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any brown bits (that’s where all the flavor is!) Return the chicken to the pan and cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and add another splash of chicken stock to the pan, mixing well. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken.

To plate, scoop a bit of mashed cauliflower, then top with the chicken and sauce. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and enjoy!

Kale & Leek Spanakopita

Any time I order Mediterranean food, I always get enough spanakopita to feed a small village. It’s so good!! I’ve never tried making it myself, nor have I worked with phyllo dough, so I figured what better time to try then now. I got some kale and leeks in my CSA bag this week, so instead of making traditional spinach spanakopita I used the kale and added some leeks as well. Overall a pretty good experiment! I learned spanakopita is not that hard to make, and phyllo dough isn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. After eating my weight in these little golden treats, I forced myself to bring the rest to my family before I overdosed in flakey goodness. I have another box of phyllo in the fridge though, so I have a feeling I’ll be back on a spanakopita kick soon.

Ingredients:
1 box phyllo dough, defrosted (20 sheets needed)
1 large bunch kale
1 large leek, greens separated, washed and chopped well
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Get a large pot of water boiling going, then add the kale and a pinch of salt. Simmer for about 4 minutes. In the meantime, cook the leeks in a pan with some olive oil for about 2 minutes.

Drain the kale, and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. I squeezed mine in a paper towel to make sure I really got out as much water as possible. Chop the kale really well and add to a large mixing bowl with the leeks, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and a good pinch of pepper.

Have your phyllo dough ready to go along with a small bowl of olive oil. It’s important to work fast so that the dough doesn’t stick together. On a large cutting board (or clean counter is fine too) lay a sheet of the phyllo and brush it with olive oil. Add another layer of phyllo and continue with the olive oil and layers of phyllo until you have 10 layers total. Scoop about 1/2 of the mixture onto one end of the phyllo (see photo) and roll it up! Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make the other spanakopita roll with the remaining sheets, then place both in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before you cut them into 6-8 pieced each. EAT!