Purée de choufleur à l’ail et aux fines herbes

When I was growing up, mashed and vegetables together meant one thing: potatoes. Then I went to Paris – they call it a purée there. And you can purée lots besides potatoes – carrots were quite popular. Then I had a friend from New England tell me how her family always had mashed turnips instead of potatoes for the big feasts.  Food is so awesome – a virtual root cellar full of possible variations.

Take one bag of frozen cauliflower....
Take one bag of frozen cauliflower….

Forgoeing mashed potatoes when Himself had to change his diet was probably the most traumatic thing for me. Mashed potatoes are their own food group in my family. But, luckily there’s the interwebs. And friends.  Through some trial and error, I’ve come up with a great flavorful creamy purée that we look forward to at our house.  I’ve had a couple friends ask for the recipe, so here it is – Purée de choufleur à l’ail et aux fines herbes.  Although we just call this cauli mash at our house.  I was hoping if I fi-fi-chi-chi’d up the name a little, it would fancify things a bit.  Now, before you go any further please take heed: this is not mashed potatoes.  Let me repeat:  this. is. not. mashed. potatoes.  If you want something that tastes like mashed potatoes, you will need to actually eat mashed potatoes.

What this IS (caveat aside) is a delicious, rich, smooth purée that captures the slight sweetness of the cauliflower and garlic and which has a lovely creamy texture that goes great with roasted or grilled meats. 

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A little butter, a little garlic, a little sour cream, some herbs ….with and “h”.

 

Honestly, if we could eat real cheese in our house, I would totally put this in a buttered casserole and toss it in the oven with some cheddar on top. That would be freaking amazing. … …. if we could eat cheese. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Cheese. Damn my dairy-rejecting genes. Bastards.

CauliMash3MED
With a little daub of Kerrygold butter, of course. Because butter.

 

 

I really hope you try this one. If you like cauliflower, this is an awesome and fast side dish that will fill the craving for creamy spudnicks without a starchy overload. And remember it has herbs. With a fucking “H” in it. Try it!

Ingredients
1 20oz package generic frozen cauliflower
1 fat or 2 small cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sour cream or cream cheese (or, if you live at our house, Tofutti sour cream)
2 tsp. Penzey’s “Buttermilk” seasoning blend (or italian herbs if you don’t have Penzey’s lying about.)
Instructions
Put the cauliflower and the garlic in ‘wave safe bowl, covered, in the microwave on high until it’s quite soft and hot. That takes 9 minutes in my wave. Drain off any water that come out during cooking.
Put that and the rest of the ingredients in the food processor. (Or the kitchen robot, if we keep up our Frenchie trend.)
Pulse until it’s a delightful smooth concoction; you may need to stop and scrape down your sides. Don’t go too far, I’ve heard you wind up with a gluey mess. I’ve not experienced that, but best to stop before that happens

Servings 3
Calories 138
Fat 10 g
Sodium 66 mg
Carbs 11 g
Protein 4 g

Cucumber Watermelon Salad with Dill and Mint

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Sweet, salty, savoury, crunchy.

 

Are you ready to taste summer? I am. I have found myself daydreaming about the bounty to come – piles and piles of tomatoes and squash and melon. And the salads. Oh, the salads.  I find myself rejecting recipes of late if they involve turning on the oven.  Mind you, it’s not super hot yet. Not at all. It’s just that I’m ready.

So it’s safe to say the baking tornado of the last few months at The Yum are at an end. Which left me, well, idea-less for a post. After much guilt, I gave myself permission to say fuck all and go out for the day. Stop #1 – Za’atar for a falafel breakfast.  I fucking love that place.  Hopped over to Caravan while waiting for my order, and he had these gorgeous crates of mint and dill and cucumbers and eggplant and lemons and ……aaaaaah. I had to have some.

Those, some olives, some fig jam and sesame candies for Himself and away I went.

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When I saw the watermelon in the fridge as I was putting things away, I knew what to make. And then immediately consume.

This is fast, and should be served and eaten immediately.  I even got to feel all fancy-pants when I rolled the dill up in the mint leaves for a quick chiffonade.  (Thank you, Sarah Moulton and FoodTV!) This baby is all about the fresh and crunch. Mmmmmm. Chompa-chomp-chomp.

You could totally add some cubed feta and a wedge of bread and call this summer supper (just leave out the salt if you do).  I inhaled mine as a snack. Couldn’t even wait to grill some chicken or something to eat with it.

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Come on, Summer. This just has me wanting you more.
Ingredients
2 c. watermelon in ½” dice
1 c. jicama in ½” dice
1 c. cucumber in ½” wedges
1 thin slice red onion, separated in to rings
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of white balsamic or wine vinegar
Four or five fresh mint leaves and a thumb-sized sprig of fresh dill, chiffonaded
Dash of S&P
Instructions
Toss together and eat.

Servings 2
Calories 83
Fat 1 g
Sodium 6 mg
Carbs 20 g
Protein 2 g

Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette

So, this week I’m making what every French child knows how to make by the age of 8. (Right before they start smoking and after they’ve been drinking wine, of course….)

Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.
Red wine vinegar, dijon, minced shallot and black pepper.

Why do we all buy salad dressings? Sometimes when I’m on auto pilot at the grocery and find myself reaching for a bottle, I stop to think, “you idiot.”

Seriously – is there anything easier?  Make it at home – control what’s in it.

mincy mince mince
mincy mince mince

 

Why not try making your own?  Fresh, easy, delicious; and you probably already have all the ingredients and don’t even know it. Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and add parsley and thyme.  Or cracked green peppercorns. Whatever. Just play with your food.

Seriously wish you could smell this right now...
Seriously wish you could smell this right now…

This is a big batch – fills a whole bottle from Cost Plus. Feel free to halve or quarter it, or double and give some to the neighbors…..

And, I whisked it – but of course later remembered this great tip from Cooks Illustrated – just put everything in a jar with a lid and shake it til it’s emulsified.  Remember those Good Seasons italian dressing cruets when we were kids? Like that…..
Try it! Share how it turned out.
Ingredients
¾ c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1.5 – 2 c. good oil.
Instructions
In a large bowl, or blender, or 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together everything but the oil.
While you’re still whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil until you get an emulsion. (It will thicken, and become dull instead of shiny.)
Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
Notes
Play with the ingredients, too – leave out the shallot, add tarragon. Or leave in the shallot and parsley and thyme. Or cracked green peppercorns.
For the oil, I like to go half plain veg oil and half extra virgin olive oil. I think going all olive overpowers this. Save that for the balsamic vinaigrettes – they can handle it.
Serving size is 2Tbsp – or 1oz.

Servings 24
Calories 28
Fat 28 g
Sodium 47 mg
Carbs 0 g
Protein 0 g

Swiss Chard Polenta Tourte

 

Creamy, sweet, chewy, nutty. The best of everything.
Creamy, sweet, chewy, nutty. The best of everything.

I am obsessed with cashew cream.  Having been dairy-deprived for so long, the ability to have creamy sauces with that rich mouth feel makes me so fucking happy I could danse.  So, I saw this lovely spinach polenta tart on Tastespotting or Foodgawker, and really wanted to try it.  Then, when we went provisioning and Sprouts had this gorgeous rainbow chard, I knew it was a done deal.

This is recipe isn’t hard, but it does have a couple steps.  I made it on a Monday night, but it totally lends itself to doing part one night (the polenta and the onions for example), and then finishing it the next.

Bon appetit – and by the way, just the chard was fantastic on its own. I could have eaten the whole damn pan. By myself.

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A couple stages, but sooooo tasty.

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Swiss Chard Polenta Tourte
Serves 4
Sweet and creamy chard and buttery sherry onions atop seared mushrooms and a polenta base, with toasty pine nuts. This is heaven in a pie.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
353 calories
29 g
12 g
21 g
13 g
5 g
398 g
441 g
4 g
0 g
14 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
398g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 353
Calories from Fat 178
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
32%
Saturated Fat 5g
26%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 12mg
4%
Sodium 441mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 29g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 4g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A
91%
Vitamin C
42%
Calcium
7%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the base
  1. ½ c. polenta
  2. 2 c. stock
  3. 1 tsp. butter
  4. ½ tsp. TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute
For the cream sauce
  1. 1/3 c. cashews, soaked overnight or simmered for 15 minutes
  2. 1 c. stock
  3. ½ tsp. nutritional yeast
  4. 1 tsp. corn starch
For the topping
  1. 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  4. 1 medium white onion, cut in to rings
  5. 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  6. 1/3 c. Amontillado dry sherry
  7. 1/3 c. raw pignon nuts.
Instructions
  1. Cook polenta according to package directions.
  2. Grease a 10” quiche pan or pie pan or springform pan and spread the cooked polenta evenly. (I did this the night before.)
  3. Preheat your oven to 375*
  4. In a medium nonstick skillet, sweat the onions, until they are translucent and just beginning to turn golden and caramelize.
  5. Remove the lid and add the sherry and let the liquid cook off.
  6. While they are cooking, get the olive oil very hot in a large sauté pan, and sear the mushrooms for a good brown sear.
  7. Lower the heat to medium low and spread the mushrooms on top of the polenta base.
  8. To the still-hot skillet, add the stems of the chard, a layer of salt and pepper, then the leafy bits with another layer of S&P. Cover tightly.
  9. While the chard is cooking, make the cashew cream sauce.
  10. In a good blender or food processor, add the drained soaked cashews, the stock, yeast, corn starch, and a couple of the rings of cooked onion.
  11. Purify for (seriously) 1 ½ to 2 minutes, until the mixture is silky in texture and no longer grainy.
  12. Check the chard – it should be tender and deep green. Raise the heat to medium, stir in the cashew cream and cook for a minute or two until the sauce is thickened. It should look like creamed spinach. Spread this on the mushrooms.
  13. Turn off the onion pans, and spread the onions on top.
  14. Sprinkle with the pignon nuts.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes, until the chard is bubbly and the nuts are browned.
  16. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Or, make the night before and then slice while cold and reheat or serve at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Serve with a nice big salad.
  2. Serves 4 for dinner, or 6 as a starter course.
beta
calories
353
fat
21g
protein
13g
carbs
29g
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