Roasted sweet mini-peppers

For when you purchase those sweet little sweet peppers.

Roast 1# peppers in 425 degree oven for 20+ minutes. Fit in a snug vessel, toss with olive oil and salt, and then balsamic vinegar. Roast until wilted; remove and let cool. Remove stems. Thanks Alexandra!

Make a pasta sauce:

Sauté 1/2 onion, diced or semi-sliced, in olive oil. Add marjoram and cream and salt and reduce. Set aside.

Cook pasta — trumpets are good.
Meanwhile slice 1/2 # peppers. Mix into cream, adding more cream if too thick.

Toss together: pasta, cream sauce. Voila!

Other ideas:

Ricotta with peppers.
Quinoa and peppers — cold salad

And here’s another idea to make a sauce with peppers and tomatoes.

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A weirdly interesting, or interestingly weird and delicious broccoli sandwich

Years ago I would visit Manhattan and stay near the No. 6 Sub shop on Broadway around 27th Street, which is about the size of a closet, where Tyler Kord or his staff would sling a dyno-mite roasted broccoli sub. It was delicious. I tried to get there every visit. Addictive, even.

The sandwich consists of roasted broccoli, pickled lychees, pine nuts, ricotta salt and fried shallots. I just learned the components recently having purchased Kord’s “A Super Upsetting Cookbook about Sandwiches” in which he irreverently describes his food preferences and techniques. Of course I homed in on the broccoli sub and soon got to work crafting my own version.

I was unclear about the lychees and in various stores I checked out canned lychees and found there were all in sugar syrup and thought: Hmm, that can’t be right. Well turns it is right — you make pickles with ‘em if you are fully on the Kord train. Me, here’s what I did for one person at home:

Baguette
Roasted broccoli
Pine nuts, lightly toasted
Mayo mixed with honey and apple cider — sweet and tart, kinda like lychee pickles (!?)
Feta (Kord calls for ricotta salata)
Pickled cherry peppers

Spread mayo on bread, layer on remaining ingredients. Grab a bunch of napkins and chow down!

Kord also calls for fried shallots, which I was going to do as he recommends — double fried slices after dipping in corn starch — but I had enough food prep steps and was hungry.

Oven-Roasted broccoli

Roasted broccoli, y’all!

I have hitched my wagon to this roasted-vegetable train and am on board with most but broccoli just didn’t seem to work for me. It burned and yet did not soften.

Then into my life came wacky Tyler Kord — yes that’s a person’s name — the genius behind the No. 7 Sub shop on Broadway on the east side of Manhattan with the powerhouse deliciousness of the wacky broccoli sub. It has broccoli, lychee nuts and ricotta salata and is a powerhouse of flavor. Craving flavor- level. I still remember it though I have not been staying nearly across the street from the closet of a sub shop for several years. Turns out Kord has a cookbook. And in it he confesses to a wild mad love of broccoli. He has a technique for roasting broccoli, which actually works.

Take out a big stalk of broccoli. Cut off the lower end of the stem (my direction). Peel the stem with a vegetable peeler. Then, started at the bottom of the stem, slice stem into 1/4” slices, all the way up to the florets and into the florets. Cut any florets wider than 2” in half.

Toss broccoli with olive oil, S&P and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring sometime in the interim. Pretty darn good! And look Ma! No butter!

Served with roasted (marinated) chicken thighs, and roasted garlic potatoes. A low stress, wait-for-you dinner.

Make-ahead broccoli for dinner

I like broccoli cooked but not cooked-the-life-out-of it. That’s tricky when you’re steaming it. It gets cooked and then if you let it hang around while other dishes finish up, the broccoli can quickly zip past the cooked-properly to the overdone zone. And anyway, plain, overcooked broccoli is not a welcome sight on one’s dinner plate.

One solution is to blanch the broccoli, drain and let sit out, and later  re-warm in garlic-infused olive oil with hot pepper flakes and perhaps some shavings of parmesan.

Directions:

Parboil broccoli sections in salted water for about 4 minutes. Drain and set out on sheet pan to sit at room temp while you cook the rest of dinner.

Slice garlic and sauté gently over medium low heat in a good quantity of olive oil with salt until golden or just barely golden. Put all in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready for broccoli, heat the pan, add olive oil, hot pepper flakes, and turn broccoli in oil, adding garlic and garlic-infused oil, and salt.

Put into serving bowl and shave on some parmesan, which will melt from the hot broccoli.

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!

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