Healthy · Main Dish · Pasta · Recipes · Vegetarian

Cauliflower Chiocciole and Cheese


I love this stuff.  It’s a mac and cheese with cauliflower, but with chiocciole pasta instead of elbow macaroni.  Chiocciole takes its shape from its name, which means snail in Italian.  It’s a great vessel for holding the cheesy sauce.  And the best part…it’s delicious and lower in fat than most mac and cheese recipes.  The original recipe is from the Real Simple website.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  Sorry about that.  I do have some fun stuff up my sleeve, so get ready.  I promise they will be worth the wait.

Cauliflower Chiocciole and Cheese

  • 12 ounces chiocciole or elbow macaroni
  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 400º F.

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sauté onion for 3-5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and add cheese, sour cream, milk, Dijon mustard and nutmeg.

Cook pasta according to the package directions (or just a few minutes under); adding the cauliflower during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  Transfer the cauliflower and pasta with a slotted spoon to the onion and cheese mixture.  Transfer to a baking dish and bake 12-15 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup bread crumbs with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, stirring frequently until slightly toasted and fragrant.  Sprinkle over baked pasta.

Drizzle with a finishing olive oil.  Good stuff.

We’ve been hard at work on the pizza oven.  And when I say we, I really mean Dad and Sunshine.  Check out these latest photos of the men at work.

Sunshine applying the mud over the insulation blanket and chicken wire.

Now we just have to wait for it to dry, and then apply the decorative exterior tiles and bricks.  And that makes Sunshine one happy boy.

Appetizers and Snacks · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

watermarc beets

We had a tasty dinner at Watermarc recently.  Mom and Dad took us for Joey and Sunshine’s birthdays.  I shared a beet platter with Dad that tasted as good as it looked.  I’ve been getting beets galore in our CSA box, so I thought I would give them a try.  Here is my version…

Watermarc Beets

  • Baby beets
  • French feta
  • Micro greens
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Finely minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400º.  Season beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap them in foil.  Cook until they are tender when pierced with a fork.  Timing will depend on size.  It can take anywhere from 40 minutes to just over an hour.   Let cool and peel.

To make the dressing: mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice.  Mix in a little bit of mustard, salt and pepper.  Add shallots and mix to combine.

Toss the beets in the dressing, set on the platter.  Toss the micro greens with the dressing and create mounds on the platter.  Cube the feta and place on the platter.  Season to taste.

Can’t wait for the tomatoes!

Figs are coming too..

Paige can be a sweatheart.

She got a new kennel.  She’s getting used to it.  And then one day I’m hoping we will be able to sleep through the night!!!!

It looks like prison, but then again you can consider it to be her private suite.

Appetizers and Snacks · Healthy · Recipes · Vegetarian

delicate little kale chips

These delicate little kale chips are crunchy, a little salty, and I feel oh so righteous eating them.  The whole bunch is worth 3 points in Weight Watchers world.  Not only is it low in calories, it’s a great source of vitamins A, B6 and C, along with fiber, iron and calcium.

So easy to make…  just remove the center rib from the kale. I used Dinosaur Kale, but any kale will work.   Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a mixing bowl, and toss the kale to coat.  Season with salt or try spicing it up with a mixture of ancho chile powder, cumin and salt.

Spread kale on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 300° for 20 minutes, or until crisp.

Our feet are ready for our vacation next week, thanks to Teresa at R Spa.  She is a miracle worker.  She gave us the most amazing pedicure ever!  We love Teresa, she is such a doll!  And yes, those are Sunshine’s toes:)

Healthy · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

fantastic broccoli salad

Check it out.  I had a similar salad at Haute Cakes Cafe a few days ago.  It was so delicious…I couldn’t wait to try my own version with the broccoli bounty from our garden.   I used raspberry vinegar to dress this fantastic broccoli salad, but you could use cider vinegar just as easily.  I also used the blood orange olive oil Melissa sent us from B.R. Cohn, thanks Melissa!  I’ll make it for you the next time you come over….The Bachelor on Monday perhaps?

Fantastic Broccoli Salad

  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of grapes, halved
  • Handful of slivered almonds
  • Handful of walnut pieces
  • Small amount of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Good splash of raspberry or cider vinegar
  • Drizzle of good olive oil, the blood orange olive is really tasty, but not absolutely necessary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the broccoli into small florets, chop the tender stem ends.  Reserve the rest of the stems for soup.  Add to a large stock pot with a small amount of water and pinch of salt.  Steam for a few minutes until crisp tender and bright green.

Add the blueberries, grape halves, slivered almonds and walnut pieces.  Toss with vinegar and olive oil.  Gently fold in the goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I made a little soup with the stems.

I’ve never grown broccoli before.  I’ve got to come up with a recipe for the leaves…hmmm.

So pretty!  It was a little frosty outside when I took this picture.

Main Dish · Pasta · Recipes · Vegetarian

butternut squash ravioli

Sunshine decided we should make ravioli with the butternut squash I roasted last week.  A very good call.

Sunshine made the pasta dough, Sondi rolled it out, and then everyone had their hands in shaping the ravioli.  I love inviting friends over to make their own dinner.  Where’s Melissa?  Probably manning the camera.

I changed up the sauce a bit for my vegetarian friend, Chik.  I’ve made this before with chicken stock and pancetta.  This time I used vegetable broth and eliminated the pancetta and it was still delicious.  I think I’ll keep to my vegetarian version from now on.  Thanks, Chik.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Cider Cream

Ravioli filling

  • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • large scoop of mascarpone
  • large scoop of ricotta
  • snow flurry of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • salt and pepper

Cider cream sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 sage leaves, chiffonade, plus more whole leaves for frying
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • olive oil, for frying the sage leaves

Puree the butternut squash.  Add the mascarpone, ricotta and parmigiano-reggiano.  Season to taste.

Make the fresh pasta, let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out sheets of dough .  If you’re using the Kitchen Aide attachment: start on setting number one.  Fold rolled out dough into thirds, and pass through the pasta machine on the same setting, but rotate the dough 90 degrees.  Repeat.  Now you’re ready to pass through to setting number two.  Dust the dough with flour before changing to setting number three, four and five.

Now you’re ready to make the ravioli.

Using a small scooper or spoon, place ravioli filling in the middle of each cut piece of pasta.

Dab the edges with egg wash and then fold into a triangle or rectangle.

Press down around the filling to the edges of the ravioli to seal.  The ravioli can be frozen on a sheet pan and then transfered to a large ziplock bag.

For the sauce:  Saute the shallots and thyme in melted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Add broth and cider, and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add cream and sage, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Add freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, mix to incorporate.  Turn off heat.  Fry sage leaves in olive oil until they stop sizzling.  Drain on paper towels.

Cook pasta until it floats.  It’s fresh, so it won’t take long.  Drain and then toss into the cider cream.

Garnish with fried sage leaves and additional parmigiano-reggiano.

Success!!

 

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  The “safe” choice is an Alsace Pinot Gris for its touch of sweetness and acidity, but instead, I’m really into this obscure white grape from Campania Italy called Falanghina. The producer is Terredora and we have the 2009 vintage Falanghina.   I’m not the only person who liked it either; Wine Advocate scored this beauty 90 points!
Falanghina has a surprising richness in its almost tropical expression of fruit. The aromatics that emerge in the glass add further complexity to this generous and utterly engaging white. It is unbelievably delicious, and has this great finish of pumpkin and all spice on the back palate.  This will pair with your Butternut Squash Ravioli perfectly!

Here’s Chik!  Crazy vegetarian…