Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Apple Butter

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Autumn, the years last loveliest smile. Were already half way through the season but it really hasn’t felt much like fall here in N.E Ohio in the last month with the unusually warmer weather we’ve been having, hey I’m not complaining though!  This week, the temperature finally started to dip back into the lower 60s with heavy clouds and even a little rain fall here and there. The crisp air is comforting as I warm up around a fire pit with a hot hazelnut latte from Starbucks in my hand and watch as the wind throws the leaves onto the ground. The sound of leaves crushing beneath my brown leather boots is a lovely reminder that its okay to let things go and to just breathe and have patience for whats to come in the near future.

I didn’t have much opportunity this fall to work with the seasonal produce. I finally made time to swing by my favorite fruit stand up near my Grandparents home in Port Clinton and grabbed a heavy bag of the best looking Gala apples a girl could pick. The first thing that came to my mind that I haven’t made before in the past was Apple butter. Of course I made apple pie as well, however that recipe is one everyone should already have.

This smooth, puree that spreads better than butter is super easy to make and goes great on pancakes or even a piece of toast. Heck, it’s even good enough to eat it off a spoon like peanut butter! However you choose to enjoy it, this recipe is worth making. If you’re looking for gift ideas to your friends and family for the holidays, which are just around the corner, why not make a large batch and can it up in a fun gift basket with pancake mix and other breakfast essentials; Just a fun idea!

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Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Yield: Makes 4, 8oz Jars

Mise en place:

-8 Gala Apples, peeled, cut in medium chunks, seeds removed

-1 Cup Apple Cider

-1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar, divided

-3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

-1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

Method of Prep:

-Bring apples, cider and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a dutch oven over high heat. Cover leaving lid slightly ajar, and boil 20 minutes or until apples are tender and most of the liquid had evaporated; Stir every 5 minutes.

-Process cooked apples and cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to dutch oven. Stir in cinnamon, allspice and remaining 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

-Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered stirring often, 15 minutes or until thickened.

-Cool about 45 minutes. Spoon into airtight containers and refrigerate up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months.

**Mix in 3 Tablespoons of Pumpkin puree to make a pumpkin apple butter!

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Pumpkin Seed & Kale “Pesto”

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When something in your refrigerator is on the verge of passing, meaning the shelf life of the item isn’t going to last much longer, I always try to use it up immediately in some way so I don’t just toss it in the trash and waste it. This time it was Kale. I purchased and small 8oz bag from Trader Joe’s and next thing I knew, the leaves were beginning to discolor and kale at the bottom of the bag was bathing in it’s own juices from the moisture inside. Usually I buy Kale to saute up or make Shakshuka with for breakfast. This time I let the days go by and neglected the delicate greens until it was almost too late.

Now I’m not much of a red sauce fan when it comes to pizza or pasta. I’ll eat it but I will almost always go with some kinda of alfredo, white wine butter sauce or pesto. I figured if I was going to use the kale up I needed to act fast and the first thing that came to my mind so I wasn’t being wasteful was, if you couldn’t figure it out by now, pesto! If you’re like me on a health kick, this is a delicious recipe to try for Sunday night dinner.

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Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Total Time: 12 Minutes

Yield: Approx. 1 Cup

Mise en Place:

-1 8 oz bag of Kale, washed

-3 Small Garlic cloves

-1/4 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

-1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan, Optional

-1 Cup EVOO

-S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

-Using a food processor, lightly pulse garlic, (grated cheese if using) and pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

-Split kale up in half. Take the first half and add into the blender. Slowly puree the kale while drizzling half a cup of the olive oil.

-Add in the rest of the kale. Continue to puree and drizzle in oil until sauce is smooth. (It’s okay if sauce separates from the oil. Just try and eye ball the oil as your adding it in as to how little or much you will need).

-Season lightly with salt and pepper. Blend again and taste. Adjust any ingredients if needed.

Enjoy!

**If you don’t use all the pesto up right away, you have the option of freezing it! I find that adding cheese to the pesto doesn’t allow it to freeze as well which is why I omit the cheese.

**For additional flavor and a popping green color, add in a handful of fresh basil in the end!

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Hot Pepper Rings

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So once again I bought an abundance of peppers that were close to getting soft on me before I could use them up. Naturally I pickled that, because lets be honest, it’s the best way to preserve your food. Plus you can’t go wrong with the divine flavor obtained from the pickling liquid.

What makes these pickled peppers different from my other pickled vegetables, is I turned the notch up a bit on the heat index. Not too intense on the spice though, just enough to give you a jolt of ohhh my! These hot pepper rings are ideal on fried bologna sandwiches, or any hot sandwich for that matter, a great topping for homemade pizza, and yummy in a pasta dish. It’s getting cold outside, so warm up with some pickled peppers!

 

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Pickled Hot Pepper Rings:

Yield: 1 Mason Jar

Mise en Place:

-Sweet Peppers, sliced into rings (I used 7 for this recipe)

-1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns

-1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

-1 Garlic clove, sliced

-{Approximately} 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar, used to lightly sweeten

-2 Cups Champagne Vinegar

-Salt, TT

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Method of Prep:

-In a medium sauce pot over a medium flame, combine vinegar, spices, garlic, sugar and salt.

-Stir until sugar and salt is dissolve; Taste liquid. Adjust salt and sugar if needed to your liking.

-Bring liquid to a simmer for 5 minutes.

-Place sliced pepper rings into mason jar. Add in hot liquid.

-Let cool to room temperature.

-Place in refrigerator until cooled down. Cover and date.

-Ready to eat after 4 hours. For better pickling flavor, allow to pickle for up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

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Tang

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Not to confuse this drink with the powdered orange drank that is popular with breakfast. I’m calling this juice I whipped up the other morning for my breakfast tang because of the tart spiciness that is derived from the flavor of the drink once it’s consumed. I don’t always add ginger into drinks but when I do it’s because I know the spicy flavor will balance very well with the rest of the ingredients in the drink. The combination of 2 citrus in the drink (orange and lemon) adds an awesome tart feeling in the mouth that is then softened by the sweet natural sugars in the apple.

The flavors in the juice really pop in your mouth, it feels invigorating. This version of tang is a very enjoyable juice to drink. I had a few people on my faceboook page requesting the recipe for this drink so here it is.

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Tang: Serves: 1

Mise en Place:

-1/2 Orange

-1/4 Lemon

-2 Small Chunks Ginger (About 2″ in size), Peeled

-1 Apple

-3 Handfuls Spinach

-1 Carrot

Method of Prep:

-If your using a juicer, Place all the ingredients, one at a time, in the juicer and allow all the juice to flow into a container.

-Pour juice into a shaker filled with ice and shake up to mix.

-Pour into drinking glass of choice, fill with ice.

Enjoy!

-**If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a vitamix or other high speed blender. Slowly add in each ingredient until Blended. I recommend first removing the seeds from the apple and lemon/orange and also cutting the apple into 1/4ths. If mixture is too thick upon blending, add in a little water to loosen it up. Blend for 1 minute.

-Once everything is blended, stain through a fine mesh stainer to remove the pulp.

-Stir juice with a spoon and pour into drinking glass over ice.