Winter has officially arrived- all in one weekend might I add- here in Northeast Ohio. We got pounded with over 4 feet of snow, some areas up to 12 feet along the snow belt. Cars were trapped in between mounds of heavy snow, roads became icy where even the snow plows had a hard time keeping up with clearing the roads. The temperature dropped down to 9 degrees with a wind chill of negative 13. I did recently read that spring is 50 some days away though, good news! Its hard to prepare for a snowpocalypse in Ohio because the weather always tends to be the opposite of what is foretasted. This time however, they were right- it’s a good thing I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week because the grocery stores and gas stations were madness on Friday.
In the winter, everyone turns to satisfying comfort food, something to warm the soul. Commonly soups, stews, chili, pastas- anything hot and heavy, a kind of amenity to fill you with contentment during this cold and dark time of the year. A favored dish among many-Picatta may not be the first choice for something hearty on a frigid evening, I personally always find comfort in anything with butter, lemons, pasta and everything with a brine.
Piccata is a preparation typically with meat (Chicken or Fish) that is lightly dusted with flour, seared and served with a sauce of butter, lemons and capers. My recipe is far from the classic as I am substituting a vegetable for the protein and I chose not to do the traditional Beurre Blanc (White wine butter sauce). Not going to lie my sauce doesn’t look the best and I kept it simple as I just melted butter with some aromatics and added in the capers and lemon juice. If you prefer to keep the sauce conventional, here is a great butter sauce recipe. I found cauliflower to be wonderful alternative as the silky texture from the sauce and pop of acid readily absorbs and gives a great compliment to the produce.
Mise En Place:
- (1) Head Cauliflower
- (2) Sticks Butter, cut into cubes
- (1/2) Yellow Onion, Julienne
- (1) Small Jar Capers-in brine
- (2) Lemons-Juiced, seeds removed
- (2) Cloves Garlic, sliced
- Angel Hair Pasta
- S&P, TT
Method of Prep:
- Heat oven to 400 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Prepare the Cauliflower steaks by cutting the head in half vertical, then slicing those halves in half again. The steaks will tend to break apart, it happens. Try and keep them together best you can. Drizzle steaks with olive oil, S&P. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes-turning over after 10 minutes to allow even cooking on both sides. If you want to go classic Piccata-try lightly coating the Cauliflower in a dusting of AP Flour and searing on both sides until golden.
- Fill a sauce pot with water, bring to a boil and cook off Angel hair pasta. I always add salt to the water for flavor and a little oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Drain water from the pasta and set aside.
- Prepare the sauce by first sauteing the aromatics (garlic and onion) until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Begin to slowly add in butter cubes and continuing to whisk until melted over low heat. If butter begins to break remove from the heat.
- Whisk in Lemon juice and Capers (drain from brine first). Strain sauce from the aromatics, optional. (I kept the aromatics with the sauce to add to the pasta for a little something extra in the dish). Season with S&P, TT.
- Place a decent serving of Pasta on a plate, top with Cauliflower and coat in Butter sauce mixture. (Optional-toss pasta in butter sauce upon serving).
**Note: Eat immediately to keep the butter sauce from solidifying or breaking upon sitting**
Happy New Year to you & yours! 2019 marks 7 years having this blog. Woah, it seems like only yesterday I was sitting in a new apartment in sunny West Palm Beach, FL in front of my 2010 HP Laptop trying to figure out how to start a blog with the vision of capturing an audience who give a damn to read my words and feel inspired to want to cook my food. This blog just like the food world, has changed a lot over the course of time. I began this website because food blogs were trending. As a writer and food buff, I considered this a way to spend my down time where I can start a personal food journal of recipes that I can share with others in hopes they would embark on the same journey as me. I was uncertain of the direction for this blog until I began writing more. In due time, I understood the meaning behind what I wanted from my audience and that was to encourage taking control of the food you put in your body. I want the public to spend less on going out to eat and more at home in their own kitchens. I wanted to give simple, low cost, healthier food to help create a beneficial lifestyle. With this being said, not every one of my recipe’s is the healthiest but it’s all about balance. When you discipline yourself to eat better every day, it’s okay to reward yourself and indulge in something good, kind of like a treat yo self day.
I sit here now at a desk in front of my 20″ HP monitor in my first post of 2019 and couldn’t be more excited to head into another year of taking care of myself, for myself. I am going to try new foods and cuisines. You wont see (hardly any) meat recipes in my posts going forward (Please feel free to substitute protein of your choice in any of these recipes!). I made the change last year to eliminate most proteins (with the exception of seafood) so I could focus on higher protein foods with fewer calories and saturated fat. I want more Vitamin and mineral rich meals. Heart disease runs in my family and consuming more heart healthy foods are great start to prevent having to undergo future heart surgeries, etc. Once you turn 30, you start to realize it’s time to take care of yourself better.
As with a new year, comes a new product I’ve never worked with and have only tried once before, the Jackfruit. A very hipster, trendy plant based fruit exceedingly popular with Vegans as a meat alternative. Once cooked it takes on a texture and resemblance of pulled pork. This young, unripe fruit soaks up flavor well and is truly versatile. Jackfruit is packed with fiber and antioxidants along with great benefits for your body. More information on this miracle fruit here. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “But I could never go Vegan!” The outcome of this was tasty, however I am not sold on BBQ as a taco condiment. I would love to make these as tacos again but next time just using a classic taco seasoning for the Jackfruit.
Mise en Place:
- (2) Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- (1) Lime, juiced
- (1) Garlic Clove, minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
- S&P, TT
- (1) 6 oz Can Jackfruit, packed in brine (not syrup)
- (1) Cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
- (1) Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- (1) Tablespoon Hot Sauce
- S&P, TT
- (1) Medium Yellow Onion, Sliced
- (1) Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
- (1) Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
- Tacos Toppings of Choice
- Corn OR Flour Tortillas
Method of Prep:
- Rinse the Jackfruit thoroughly in a colander. Use your fingers to tear into shreds, set aside.
- Mix BBQ sauce, tomato paste and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with S&P if needed. Set aside.
- Heat a Tablespoon of Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
- Add the Jackfruit and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the sauce mixture, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
- While the Jackfruit is cooking, prepare the guacamole. In a large bowl mash the avocados until creamy leaving a few chunks. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Heat up a small saute pan. Cook one tortilla at a time 30-60 seconds on both sides or until lightly browned.
- Prepare tacos with garnish of choice.
*I cooked up rice, added in fresh chopped cilantro and added cooked black beans as well. Both make great sides or garnish!