Tag Archives: kale

Woo Woo Wonderful: Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Oddly Delicious: Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not much of a “Woo-Woo” person. I don’t listen to Phish, I haven’t owned tye-die since 1991, I don’t believe in Dream Catchers or Fortune Tellers, and I generally find activities where you’re supposed to close your eyes and hold hands with your neighbor somewhat amusing, and very uncomfortable.

This translates itself in perfect form into the kitchen as I suspiciously flip through recipes exclaiming “Delicious Sprout Smoothies” or “Dairy Free Grilled Cheese”. If I can’t see something, and taste it, and touch it, and most importantly, make sense of it, I tend to be a bit of a skeptic. Okay…a really big, annoying skeptic.

So when my CSA box arrived boasting a Cauliflower Mac & Cheese I was immediately wary, quick to dub it as some vegetarian, hippy dish that would never be as good as the real thing. However, as I peered into my refrigerator and realized that I still had anxiety-producing amounts of vegetables left and no plan with how to tackle them I decided to hand myself over to the softer side, and give this a try.

It admittedly is not the same dish as a traditional Mac & Cheese made with a béchamel, lots of cheese, and heavy cream, but it is a lovely lighter version of the old standard, with a nice contrast between the creamy cauliflower puree, dark, leafy kale, and crispy panko bread crumbs. It also is delicious, I think maybe even better, microwaved the next day…go figure!

Enjoy this when you’re willing to put your cynic subconscious on the shelf for an evening, and see what emerges.

The treats, in order of when comments were made.

The judges preparing for their case.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Thanks to all who entered to win tickets to the Best of Seattle Party! The honorable judges, Duke and Lou chose the winner out of a row of 11 treats. The first snarfed up was #8, Morgen Schuler of Morgen Schuler Photography. Congrats to Morgan…and lucky for us, now we know this year’s event will be shot in style!

Little Lou, a fair and unbiased judge.

Creamy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Hand Farmed Organics – Week 5 CSA Box

2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces

16 ounces penne pasta

1/2 cup sharp cheddar, grated

1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Chobani for cooking b/c it’s less sweet than most)

The secret ingredient…a spoonful of low-fat plain yogurt.

2 cups chopped kale

1/2 cup sliced squash

Erina vs. The Veggies…my ongoing summer battle.

2 TB olive oil

1 TB Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease a large glass baking dish
  2. Boil a pot of salted water.
  3. In a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat
  4. Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes or until very tender. Drain out all water, and add to cauliflower the stock (discard bay leaves), cheese, yogurt, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, puree until totally smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, boil a second pot of water and cook the pasta, 3 minutes less than instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  6. Add the pasta to the cauliflower puree and mix well.
  7. Pour half the pasta into the prepared dish. Top with half the kale and squash. Pour the remaining in and add the kale and squash. Top with parmesan and panko bread crumbs.
  8. Bake 20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are turning golden brown.
  9. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Pasta, Vegetarian

Small Triumphs: Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms

First of all…wow! Thank you all for the support, encouragement, comments, and words of wisdom. “I’m not writing in a vacuum! There are people out there! Hooray!” Thanks to you all, Old Spice Man generated more hits in one day than any other post, save for when Food & Wine re-tweeted my Short Ribs (which I was embarrassingly excited about.)

But enough whining and philosophizing about The Writer’s Process…let’s get back to the food. And damn good food at that.  This year we had the pleasure of participating in Hand-Farmed Organic‘s first community supported agriculture (CSA) project. We signed up for a half-share, which proved to be plenty for two of us, so every other week Casey would drop by our house at the end of the day and deliver a wax covered cardboard box brimming with beautiful vegetables. Perhaps the only one more excited about its arrival than I, was this guy, who proved to be a veritable vegetable lover.

Happy Dog

His Royal Highness, the Duke of Tacoma, 10 mos old

Duke would eat just about anything…carrots, squash, and what quickly became his favorite…the radishes which he would bat around the house, sneak up on, and dive bomb from the top of the stairs until it rolled under the couch at which point he would flop down and look at his lost treasure beseechingly until Matt or I caved and got it back out for him.

In each and every box there were delicious fruits and vegetables…and then there was the kale. The freaking kale that just kept coming and coming and always seemed more bountiful and plentiful than the week before. I tried making Kale Chips like my friend Karla, but they weren’t nearly as good as hers…I made a Kale and Gruyere Frittata, but there’s only so many of those you can eat, and once or twice I guiltily yard-wasted the kale when the new box arrived and I still hadn’t done anything with it.

Up until last night it was Kale: 10, Erina: 0.

Photo Compliments of handfarmedorganics.com

Until last night, when trying to think of a starch I could make for our friend CJ who is wheat intolerant I stumbled across a polenta and spinach gratin. I love all gratins (I mean, what’s not to love, creamy unhealthy deliciousness), and thought there’s no reason I couldn’t substitute kale for spinach.

It was outstanding. The polenta in the tube couldn’t be easier, and the recipe calls for 8 cups of Kale, which totally cleaned out my supply and rendered me obnoxiously triumphant.

The perfect side to a yummy fall dinner.

Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (5 cups)

1 large shallot, minced

8 cups kale, center stems removed, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used rice flour)

3/4 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock)

1/2 cup whipping cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

One 18-ounce log of prepared polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the shallot and cook over moderately low heat for 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook over high heat until the kale has wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the kale and mushrooms evenly in a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour over moderately high heat. Add the stock, cream, and nutmeg and whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour over the kale. Arrange the polenta slices on top of the kale in overlapping concentric circles, pressing to submerge the polenta slightly. Sprinkle the Gruyère on the polenta, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Uncover the polenta and broil 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 Make Ahead The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight.

 

 


11 Comments

Filed under Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Saturday Musings: Kale, Sausage, and Gruyere Frittata

Kale, Sausage, and Gruyere Frittata

This morning, was the first morning since May 7, that I didn’t wake up and have something to do. The first morning I didn’t wake up with a work and Google calendar full of meetings, and lunches, and coffee, and walks, and rides, and yoga. The first morning I didn’t need to look at a clock…and damn…it felt good.

Admittedly the past month has been extra busy, complete with a jam-packed extracurricular calendar and bi-coastal family bonanza that I could only keep thinking about while humming that “Partridge and a Pear Tree” song. You know the one I mean.

Thoroughly enjoying a lazy Saturday

So with a weekend stretching in front of me…and a life maintenance list waiting to be checked, I did the very first thing that came to mind; that I wanted to do: I Shut Up and Cooked.

This frittata is very yummy and is a great way to use up what’s in your fridge. It’s quite forgiving, so don’t be afraid to experiment or tweak it slightly to suit your taste.

Kale, Sausage, and Gruyere Frittata

Serves 4, Perfect for a lazy, Saturday morning brunch

Fresh out of the oven

1/2 lb loose Italian sausage

3 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup diced onions

1 bunch of kale, rinsed and coarsely chopped (avoiding thick part of the stems)

8 large farm fresh eggs

2 TB low-fat milk (hemp milk worked fine)

Dash of black pepper, salt, and nutmeg

3/4 cup grated Gruyere

  1. Cook the sausage in a 1o-inch ovenproof skillet until cooked through and no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tsp olive oil to pan and cook the onion over medium heat until soft and slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the kale and saute until wilted about 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, salt, nutmeg, sausage, and 1/2 cup of the gruyere.
  4. Return the skillet over medium heat and add remaining 2 tsp olive oil. Swirl to coat pan and edges. Pour in the egg mixture, stirring just as necessary to distribute the sausage. Arrange kale and onions over the top. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, without stirring, until the eggs begin to set, about 3 minutes.
  5. Cover and continue cooking 4 minutes longer or until eggs are almost set.

    Allowing the egg to set

  6. Sprinkle remaining gruyere over the top and place the frittata under the broiler until eggs are set and top is golden and lightly puffed, 2-3 minutes. Remove from broiler. Run a knife around the edges to loosen, and then slice into wedges.
  7. Yummy warm as well as cooler later for leftovers.

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Cheap Eats, Health Conscious