Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

I’ve been eating cauliflower long before it was cool to make rice or pizza out of it. The best thing about cauliflower (aside from all those health benefits) is its ability to take on whatever flavors you throw at it. This Italian inspired Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower goes great with roasted chicken, a perfect side for holiday gatherings, and literally takes about 2 minutes of prep time. Perfecto!

 

 

Ingredients:
Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
⅓ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cauliflower florets, olive oil, grated garlic, Parmesan cheese to a large bowl and stir until well combined. Pour onto cookie sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway. Enjoy!

Korean Beef

I didn’t realize how much I would miss all the great take out options in New York until I moved away. Whenever I visit family and friends, I make sure to get my fix at all my favorite places, but between visits, I’ll make mine at home. I love the flavors of Korean BBQ – salty, sweet, garlic and ginger – I could eat it any time. This Korean Beef recipe is easy to make, and really tender since it simmers away in the slow cooker for hours.

 

Ingredients:
1 – 1 ½ lb. flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
2 -3  tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. canola oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger, grated

1 cup water
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 green onions, whole
1 cup shredded carrots
Green onion, sliced for garnish (optional)

Turn crockpot on low heat, add water, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and green onions and stir together.

Heat heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. oil. In a medium bowl, toss together sliced flank steak and corn starch until each slice is coated. Add steak strips to skillet and brown on each side, then add to crock pot. Reduce skillet to low heat, add remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add sautéed garlic and ginger to crock pot.

Cover crock pot and cook on low for 3 ½ hours, then add shredded carrots and cover for 30 minutes more. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve over rice or with broccoli.

Herbed Butter

herbed-butterSummer is the season for fresh herbs and nothing kicks up dinner a notch like having some fresh herbed butter to slather on homemade baked goodies. Get ready to impress your guests with a loaf of homemade bread and herbed butter fresh from the garden – they are both so easy to make!

 

 

herbed-butter-2Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
Your favorite herbs – my favorite combos are basil and garlic, chive and garlic, and dill and parsley
Whatever your favorite combinations are, my rule of thumb is 1 clove of garlic and 1 tbsp. minced herbs per stick of butter
Sea salt

 

herbed-butter-3Pulse herbs and garlic in food processor, add softened butter, and mix thoroughly (do no whip). Scoop herbed butter in wax paper, and roll into a log. Put in refrigerator for 1 hour to set, remove and slice into rounds. Spread onto freshly baked bread, sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

Roasted BroccoliWe eat broccoli in our house probably 2 or 3 times a week. And while broccoli is good steamed, served plain, with a little butter or a lot of cheese, sometimes it can feel like the same old, same old. Roasting a vegetable brings out its natural sweetness, and makes lots of savory caramelized bits that are downright addictive! I could eat this like candy and it’s the perfect side dish for Roasted Chicken, when the oven is already preheated. How great is it to have a full dinner prepared on just two cookie sheets? Delicious, healthy and easy clean up sound good to me!

Roasted Broccoli 3

 

Ingredients:
1 lb. broccoli
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half lemon
Salt and pepper

 

Roasted Broccoli 4Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse broccoli, cut into florets and toss in a large bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well so broccoli is evenly coated. Pour broccoli mixture onto large cookie sheet, arranging in an even layer so the broccoli cooks evenly and gets deliciously brown. Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Enjoy!

Chicken Scampi

Chicken Scampi 1Good food is very important to Austinites. There are trendy new restaurants opening nearly every week, and sometimes it seems like people work in Austin solely to frequent their favorite places. There are hardly any chain restaurants here, but we all have those certain dishes that take you back to being a teenager, and we will always love them.

I love the chicken scampi from the Olive Garden. There. I said it.

Most of the time, I like to make dinner at home. I like to control the quality of ingredients and it’s always less expensive to cook for a family than it is to eat out. Plus, I like to save our nights out to try some of the fabulous local eateries that Austin is so famous for. So, without further ado, here is my Chicken Scampi. The peppers, onions, garlic and white wine give this sauce a great flavor, and it would be easy to substitute chicken for shrimp or fish if you wanted to change it up. When cooking with wine, it’s best to use a wine that is drinkable, but won’t break the bank! If you wouldn’t want to drink it, why would you want that flavor in your food? At $6.99/bottle, Costco puts out some very commendable wines under their Kirkland brand that fit the bill perfectly. Their Pinot Grigio is dry, crisp, and since this recipe only calls for a cup, there is plenty left over for sipping. Drink up!

Ingredients (serves 4):

Chicken Scampi 2For the chicken tenders:
1 lb. chicken tenders
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp Italian seasoning

For the scampi sauce:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
½ red onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. butter
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
10 oz. angel hair pasta, prepared al dente according to package

In a medium bowl, mix flour, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper and ¼ tsp. Italian seasoning. Dip chicken tenders in milk, then in flour mixture. Set aside.

Chicken Scampi 3Using a large skillet (I love my Le Creuset 5 Quart Covered Braiser) heat olive oil over medium heat and brown chicken tenders, 3 minutes a side. Remove chicken from pan, add peppers, onions and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften, but not mushy. Remove from pan. Add white wine and let deglaze for 2 minutes. Add butter, crushed red pepper and remaining salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and stir until butter is melted. Turn to low, add heavy cream, stirring until heated. Fold in pepper mixture and cooked pasta until evenly coated. Top with chicken tenders and garnish with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Enjoy!

Wine Pairings
Rosa dell Olmo Barbera d’Asti 2014

Sweet and Salty Pork in Sherry Garlic Sauce

Sweet and Salty Pork with Sherry Garlic SauceAfter a nice long weekend in Mexico, it’s time to get back to real life.  That means getting some snuggles from the pups, more yoga, and ditching the margaritas and enchiladas for some healthier fare.  These pork chops are braised in a salty, sweet, garlicky sauce, which makes them really tender and delicious. This has all the flavor profiles going for it, salty from the soy sauce, spice from the red pepper and garlic and sweet from the sherry and brown sugar. This dish goes really well with rice, noodles, or any green veggie you would like to sweep through this savory sauce.

Ingredients:
2 porterhouse or center cut pork chops
2 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tbsp. sherry
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil, divided
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

On medium-high heat, brown pork chops in 1 tbsp. oil in a heavy bottomed skillet for 3-5 minutes per side. Remove chops and reduce heat to medium-low.  Sauté garlic for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Wisk together brown sugar, sherry, soy sauce, water, flour, remaining oil and red pepper.  Return pork to skillet, pouring sauce on top evenly.  Cover and braise for 15 minutes.  Flip and cook covered for 8-10 minutes more, until internal temperature reads 145-155 degrees for medium to medium-well chops.  Sauce should have thickened during cooking.  Spoon some of that salty, sweet goodness on top of pork before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Chicken

Parmesan Crusted Pesto ChickenWith the cold front that moved through this past weekend, I knew it would be too cold for my outdoor basil plants to survive. I was thinking about making a traditional pesto with pasta, but tis the season for heavy eating, and wanted to keep it light with Thanksgiving only a few days away.

I tried this on a whim, but this is the most fresh, flavorful chicken, hands down! I will need a few more basil plants next summer, so I can make this a weekly tradition. It’s a relatively light dish, but it sure doesn’t taste like it with the garlicky parmesan crust. It’s a great dish if you don’t have a grill; the cast iron skillet is perfect for going right from the stove top into the oven. Less to clean up!

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 chicken breast halves
1-2 cups loosely packed basil laves
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
1 oz. parmesan, shredded
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Chicken 2In a food processor, process basil, garlic, oil and balsamic together until basil is crushed. Pour marinade over chicken, and mix in shredded parmesan, salt and pepper. Heat skillet to medium-high, and sear chicken for 3-4 minutes per side until nicely brown. Cook in oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread

Goat Cheese Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread

This is one of my favorite appetizers. Inspired by the flavors of the “Roasted Garlic Bulbs” starter at Moonshine, one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, this version is made a little heartier, prepared on a flatbread (instead of a crostini) and with the addition of Italian sausage. The cool, tangy goat cheese is perfect with the rich roasted garlic. Easy and delicious!

 

 

For a substantial appetizer for 4 people, use:
2 flatbreads
2 oz. goat cheese
Head of garlic, roasted
4 oz. crumbled Italian sausage, browned
6 peppadew peppers, sliced
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 basil leaves, chopped into ribbons (optional garnish)

If you haven’t used roasted garlic before, you must try it. The normally strong, sharp flavor of garlic becomes softer and nutty from roasting. I love roasted garlic in pasta dishes or just slathered onto a slice of bread. It’s easy to make, see how to make Roasted Garlic here.

Goat Cheese Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flatbread 2

Put pizza stone in over and preheat to 425 degrees. Toast flatbreads on hot pizza stone for 2-3 minutes per side to give them a good crunch. Remove from oven and let rest on the hot stone for 2 minutes. Meanwhile combine sliced peppers in a small bowl with balsamic vinegar to coat. Spread goat cheese on flatbreads, and top with roasted garlic, Italian sausage, and marinated red peppers. Garnish with chopped basil, slice and serve.

Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic

There are fewer foods that flavors change as dramatically as garlic by introducing heat to it for about 45 minutes.  Raw garlic goes into the oven sharp and pungent and emerges soft, a little sweet and nutty.  Roasted garlic is great in pasta dishes, mashed potatoes, or just spread on a cracker.  It’s just so delicious!

roasted garlicroasted garlic 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasting garlic is really easy, all you need is garlic, a little olive oil and some aluminum foil.  Remove some of the outer paper from the head of garlic and trim about ¼ inch from the top of garlic to expose the cloves.  Put into foil, drizzle about 1 tsp. olive oil onto the exposed cloves and close the foil into a ball.  Roast in 400 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until cloves are golden colored and bulbs can be squeezed out of the paper.

Enjoy!

Garlic and Herb Croutons

garlic and herb croutonsOnce you make these, you will never go back to pre-packaged croutons again! I usually make these with whatever kind of bread I have sitting around that is going a little stale. My No Knead Bread makes flavorful rustic croutons. These make a great topping for any salad, soup or just to grab a handful to snack on. They are that good!

Ingredients:
12 oz bread, torn into bite sized chunks
¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Add bread to large bowl and sprinkle with pecorino cheese. In a measuring cup, pour ⅓ cup oil and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and drizzle over bread mixture, turning with a wooden spoon to coat evenly. Arrange bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn with spatula and cook an additional 10 minutes. Let cool, and store in air tight container for several weeks.

Enjoy!garlic and herb croutons 2