Pasta with roasted cauliflower

When there’s nothing in the house to cook but there is some cauliflower and perhaps njuda, you can make a quick and easy dinner. Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put up pot of water to boil pasta.
Roast cauliflower with olive oil, S&P 400 degrees about 20 mins.
Cook pasta: Interesting tubes are good. I used bronze-cut pipe rigate (from Aldi’s!).
Make a quick tomato-sauce with a smidgen of canned diced tomatoes (even better: fire-roasted) with 1 oz of njuda, broken up. Sauté in small saucepan for 10+ mins; adding some hot pepper flakes, oil, S&P. Optional: capers.
Chop up some fresh parsley

Remove cauliflower when cooked and set aside to cool a bit. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Cook pasta to al dente and drain, and put into large-ish bowl.
Mix in tomato sauce and stir with cauliflower. Sprinkle on parsley and serve. Yum!

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Stir-fry with any vegetables

A surprisingly delicious simple stir-fry with rice.

When you’re going out to an evening meeting and want to eat something when you come home, do what I did and eat contentedly.
Before leaving, put up some brown rice in the rice cooker. I like medium grain. 2/3 dry with 2-1/2 x water and some salt is a good amount for two servings.

Ingredients:
Red onion, large dice, 1/2
Brussels sprouts, cut in half, rinsed and sliced
mushrooms, 4, cut into large slices and cut in half
Leftover chicken

Directions:
Sauté onion for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add in Brussels sprouts, and turn and cook a minute or so. Add good splash of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and let steam and water escape. Add mushrooms, cook a couple minutes, then add chicken in pieces to warm through.

Very delicious served with fresh rice. A dabble of olive oil on top is nice. Or nutritional yeast if it’s around.

Red curry cauliflower soup

Ingredients:

Cauliflower, 1/2 head, cut into large florets and rinsed
onion, 1 diced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Lemongrass, chopped very fine (optional)
Red curry paste, scant 2 T
Ginger, minced or grated
potato, cut into large chunks
Vegetable stock

Directions:

Heat instant pot on sauté function. Add 2 T olive oil and cook cauliflower on high heat for 5 mins until charred, turning occasionally. Remove from heat.

Cool pot a bit, add more oil and sauté onion for 4 mins. Add in lemongrass, curry paste and ginger and cook for a couple minutes more. Add garlic and stir. Add in potato and cauliflower. Add vegetable stock and water to cover plus.
Cook at soup setting for 15 minutes.

Inspiration:

Red curry vegetable noodle soup, Melissa Clark, Dinner in an Instant, p 123, and
Food 52 Cauliflower soup

Bean soup with kale

When you have home-cooked beans in the refrigerator, this simple soup will be sure to please on a cold winter day.

Vegetable stock, made in the usual way

Leftover gigante beans
kale, blanched for 4+ minutes in boiling salted water, then drained

Carrots, diced
Onions, diced
garlic, minced

Sauté onion in olive oil in medium soup pot/pan. Add carrots and cook until softened.
Add in garlic and cook for less than one minute.
Add in stock and bring up to temp. Add S&P.
Add in beans and kale and warm through.

Serve with either grated parmesan or a drizzle of olive oil in each bowl.

Curried coconut milk vegetables & tofu

For winter, when fresh green produce is not on the scene, but you’re craving some veggies.

Put up pot of brown basmati rice (22 mins under pressure timed in instant pot). Ratio rice: water = 1:1   (1:1-3/4 in rice cooker)

Ingredients:
onion, 1 large, diced
cauliflower, scant 1/2 head, separated into large florets, rinsed
potatoes, 2, cut into very small dice
Carrots, 4+, peeled and cut
Tofu, 1 block, pressed to drain, cut into cubes (add at end)
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, peeled and grated
Red curry paste, about 2/3 can
Coconut milk, 1 can
Vegetable stock, 1 pint, approx
Fish sauce
Salt

optional: scallions, cilantro, etc to top when served

Directions:
In large dutch oven, sauté onion in peanut/olive oil mixture for 5+ minutes until softened. Add ginger, then curry paste, stir and add garlic. Then add vegetables:
Cauliflower
Carrots
Potato

Stir and cover with coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cook 20-30 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add salt.
Five or more minutes before done, stir in tofu to heat up.

Sichuan-style broccoli with garlic and red pepper

Sichuan style broccoli with garlic and red pepper
Easy, quick and cheap

Craving Szechuan numbing peppers and not motivated enough to head out of the house for a restaurant over 1/2 hour away, I stayed in on a cold rainy Sunday and cooked up some delicious spicy broccoli with reheated rice.

Here’s how:

Put up pot of water.

Cut broccoli into medium-size florets. Peel stems and cut into thick slices.
Reconstitute some birds eye peppers with hot water from the heating broccoli-cooking water in a small bowl. Get out your Sichuan peppercorns (use 1/2 t).
Peel and slice a few garlic cloves.

Heat rice in instant pot with steam function for five minutes.

When the water comes to a boil, add 1 t salt and 1 T peanut oil. Add broccoli and blanch for two minutes. Scoop into colander and let drain.

Heat sauté pan, add 3 T peanut oil and peppers and garlic. Heat for less than 30 seconds and add broccoli, tossing and stirring for one minute until coated with flavorful oil. Add salt and dump onto rice in a bowl. Feel virtuous and well nourished. Indulge in a slice of good bread. A pear makes a nice dessert.

Inspiration: Fuschia Dunlop, Stir-Fried Broccoli with chili and Sichuan Pepper, p 174, Every Grain of Rice

Beans and greens deluxe

I thought I had the beans and greens dish down: Sauté lots of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes in oil, add greens, some water & salt, cook gently covered, then add beans from a can, warm up and douse with parmesan. Pretty Good.

THEN . . . . I finally dragged my Instant Pot out of its box on the floor of the dining room where it had been neglected for months. And I got Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot book out of the library, again. She has a recipe for Garlicky Beans with Broccoli Rabe. With book by a NY Times recipe provider and dispenser of kitchen advice, and with a bunch of farmers market broccoli rabe in my fridge, I set about it. Okay a preview: FABULOUS in all ways.

The traditional Italian way I believe is to sauté a mess o’ minced garlic in oil. That’s what I have long done. Melissa takes it to another dimension combining garlic-infused beans with garlic-infused oil that hasn’t had the chance to get at all bitter, solely deeply flavored. Brilliant!

Ingredients:

Cooked beans — gigante or cannelini, with their cooking liquid (1 # beans to 7 c water)
Garlic cloves — 4 smashed, and 3 sliced thin
Red or sweet onion, 1/2 large
Broccoli rabe, 1 bunch, large ends cut off, and washed
Olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, good pinch

Directions:

Cook beans in pressure cooker. Either keep warm, or make ahead and refrigerate. (Good idea to pop some in freezer too. Mixed in with their liquid for soups later, and some dry in a bag.)
Prepare broccoli rabe, onion and garlic.
Put a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add 4 T olive oil, sliced garlic and pinch of salt. Sauté about 3-4 minutes, stirring, until garlic is just golden. Transfer contents to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pan back on the stove (you may have to wipe the bottom so you don’t ignite any dribbled oil) over medium-high heat, and add 2 T oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes and then red pepper flakes. Turn heat up to high (!), add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing in oil, and add good pinch salt. Add good ladle-full of bean liquid and cook until liquid is absorbed/evaporates, about 8 minutes.
Serve: Beans in shallow bowl, drizzle with oil (and garlic!), dump broccoli rabe mixture on top.
You won’t miss the parmesan. So very deeply satisfying and delicious with good beans and heavily garlic-infused oil.