Cauliflower Couscous

Cauliflower. Cauliflower. Cauliflower.

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Where to begin. Not to offend anyone or the cauliflower itself. There are so many uses of cauliflower, but still it lack the “personality” and the “character” of it’s harmanos such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. It is the shy cousin hiding behind the leaves and needs some help to pop out.

However with the much needed help from distant relatives it will pop and make a good addition to any meal. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables which seems to divide the public and there are probably many discussions around the dinner table trying to have the kids trying it out.

On the other hand kids seems to love couscous. Making food look familiar is a great way to try out new things and develop the taste buds.

Couscous will never bee cauliflower and cauliflower will never bee couscous. That’s they way nature intended it to be. However pretend to be couscous packed with flavor and the crunchy consistency of cauliflower is a way to make this vegetable shine.

Making cauliflower couscous is a fairly simple process. Clean and cut the cauliflower head in pieces leaving only the florets. Blitz them in a food processor until they are about cous cous size. Be careful as overdoing it will make it into a mash.

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Prepare an onion and garlic. Chop it on to small and fine pieces. More or less the same size as the cauliflower couscous. Fry it on low heat with some olive oil and dried garlic. Stir around so it does not burn. When it starts to get transparent add some water and let it boil down. When the liquid just about still covers the frying pan add the cauliflower couscous. Let it fry and add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Taste while it cooks and stop when it has the desired consistency.  Try to keep some crunch.

This works well with any dish that requires couscous. Its also great as a side such as chicken wings.

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Bon appetit.

 

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Snickers Rocky Road

There’s nothing not to like about this recipe: dark chocolate, caramelized peanuts and french nougat. Sweet meets salty, crunch meets chewy and guilt is overtaken buy pleasure. 

It is so easy to make. Temper the chocolate, caramelize the peanuts, buy some nougat and voila you have a Snickers Rocky Road. Of course Nougat can be made from scratch as well and it’s supposed to be quite straight-forward, but sometimes the easy way is the best way. 

The roasted peanut caramel recipe is borrowed from Mr. Lebovitz and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get the peanuts caramelized. How far can one go in this quest of heating the sugar? What you see in the pictures is around 160°C (320°F). It can certainly be pushed even more into the unknown world of caramel. Just remember that the line between great and lost forever is just a few degrees.

Tempering the chocolate is a technique which demands patience, touch and an eye for detail. Like a great lovestory it might have it’s ups and and downs, but when all goes to plan it is the highlight and fireworks will go off. The satisfaction will last for days and the best part is: it can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime. It’s like the affair you’re allowed to have. And, you should have!

To temper the chocolate this is a good resource. The result of this bake is from a 47% cacao chocolate. It is supposed to be easier to temper darker chocolate than white and milk chocolates​ which are more temperamental and burns easier.

Cover a pan or tray with baking paper or similar. Place the peanuts and nougat in a pan and let them wait to be rolled in chocolate. Pour the chocolate over and let it coat well. If you any leftover chocolate spread it over a baking paper in thin. Let it cool.

This is where the hard part comes to play. Waiting. It all comes down to room temperature. From a couple of hours to overnight. This is where the chocolate flakes comes inn good if there was any leftovers. Enjoy them while waiting.

Then enjoy the “Snickers” Rocky Road.

Caramelized​ Peanut Recipe:

  • 200 cups peanuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Salt to sprinkle 

Mix it all together over medium heat until desired result.

200 grams chopped nougat

400 grams dark chocolate.

For method of tempering chocolate have a look here, but it’s basically like this, if you are seeding it:

  1. Chop chocolate in small pieces. Reserve 100 grams for later. Heat 300 grams of the chocolate to 46-48°C (114-118°F). Do it in a microwave or over hot water in a thick bowl. Makes sure to take away chocolate before it all has melted completely and stir constantly.
  2. When the desired temperature is reached make sure the chocolate is not on a heat source and add the reserved chocolate pieces in a couple of rounds. Let them melt in the mixture while stiring.
  3. While stiring let it cool to 31°C (88-89°F) and pour over candied peanuts and nougat.

Method:

  1. Caramalize the peanuts.
  2. Slice nougat in small squares.
  3. Put peanuts and nougat in a baking tray or similar which is covered with baking paper or similar.
  4. Temper the chocolate.
  5. Pour chocolate over peanuts and nougat.
  6. Wait.
  7. Chop the block into bitsized pieces
  8. Enjoy

    Easy Pie Recipe

    Today has been one of those days at work where I’ve been scratching my back and wondering what I’m doing with my life. At least my work life: wasting 10 hours a day on a job which gives no pleasure. TBH it’s like this every day, but some days are worse than others. 

    It’s been really warm in Paris today and I had to run from work to pick up our three year old. No park today and straight home as I was soaking wet. 

    As I opened the door I could notice the smell of nice homemade food. The best food is what someone else makes for you. Especially when it’s made with love and a great deal of skill. I’ve been dreaming and himting about wanting pies and I was suspecting it was in the making as I could see butter cubes on the kitchen bench last night.

    I never used to like pies. Did not care for the pie crust itself, but after meeting my better half I cannot get enough of it. She makes it really thin. Full of delightful butter taste and crust which crumbles. I don’t know what’s been wrong with the pies I’ve eaten before, but it just shows what difference a pair of skilled hands can do. It’s all about the touch.

    The pie itself was made with vegetables, cheese and ham. Lightly fried in the pan so they would be crisp and fresh after coming out of the oven. Eggs were cooked to perfection. I’m sharing the  pie recipe my girlfriend uses and the filling can easily be adjusted to taste, but try it out. Fresh, crispy and just warm enough to match a hot summer day. 

    Take care and enjoy.

    Pie Recipe:

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
    • 1/4 cup cold water

    This recipe is for a 27 cm pie form.

    Prepare the pie dough at least 6 hours in advance. 

    Cut butter in dice sized squares. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Leave in fridge for minimum 6 hours.

    Take out the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes in room temperature. Roll it out so it fits the pie form. Put back in fridge to cool down. This will prevent the dough from shrinking. 

    Set the oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

    When chilled take out and blind bake for 20 minutes. 

    While blind baking prepare the filling. 

    • 4 egg
    • 1 onion
    • 4 chopped cherry tomatoes
    • Enough cheese to cover bottom of pie
    • 1/4 cup of chopped ham
    • 1 🥕
    • 2 stalks of celery
    • 1/3 cup bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup broccoli 
    • Cayenne, salt, paprika powder and white pepper to taste

    In one bowl whisk 4 eggs without creating foam. Add the spices.

    Prepare the vegetables in small bits. Fry them lightly in a pan.

    Take out the pie and first add cheese to cover bottom of the pie. Then add ham and cherry tomatoes. Pour the eggs over and add the vegetables.

    Cook in oven at 170 degrees for about 35 minutes. Put a knife in the filling. It should come out clean. 

    Be patient. Let it rest a bit and dig in.

    Pasta Bolognese in pressure cooker

    As I already posted I’ve just got a pressure cooker. I am really looking forward to the weekend so I can buy a tough cut of meat and tenderize it over time. I created a recipe for a lovely stew some years ago when we stilled lived in Spain. The excitement is building up whether the pressure cooker will do the 6 hour job in 2 hours. It will be a challenge of two greats: slow cooking vs pressure cooking.

    I’m trying to get to know my cooker. The entire family loves a good Bolognese and homemade pasta. We have always made it in the pan and the result is great. Half the experience of making food is being able to look at it develope, smelling it and seeing how it all incorporates into a lovely sauce. That’s 1 – 0 to the pan. Final result after the recipe.

    Here’s my recipe:

    • Minced meat
    • Onion 
    • Carrot
    • Celeriac
    • Garlic
    • Olive oil
    • Butter (because I love it)
    • Fresh Tomatoes
    • Chopped tomatoes
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • White pepper
    • Salt
    • Sugar

    How much? About this much:

    Cooking is about intuition. 

    1. Blanche​ onions and garlic until transparent
    2. Add carrot and celeriac
    3. Brown meat
    4. Add tomatoes
    5. Add spices

    Chop on the lid on the pressure cooker and let stand for 30ish minutes and prepare pasta:

    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup flour (t45)
    • 1 TBS of water

    Mix it together, or do as I like, pass it over to  a better half and it makes itself. Then let it rest in fridge for minimum 30 minutes.

    Prepare boiling water with salt and cook pasta for some minutes. Meanwhile roll out the pasta:

    Back to the sauce. Release pressure quickly. It’s the best part. It’s like having an Icelandic geysir in the kitchen. 

    And taste it, because it’s really good. If it’s better than the pan? Maybe not! But it’s fun. Pan vs Pressure Cooker 2 – 0.

    Some kind of Chowder

    More often than not I find myself missing, or not having enough, ingredients to make certain dishes. Always wanted to make corn chowder and having one cob I went in with all my heart to make a light version of it. 

    I added some fresh cherry tomatoes and parsley for garniture to give some freshness. And, voila, happy days.

    Here’s my recipe:

    • 1 corn on the cob
    • Butter to taste (I like lots)
    • 5 medium sized potatoes
    • 1 onion
    • 10 cherry tomatoes
    • 1/2 clove of garlic
    • 5 cups water
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • Salt to taste
    • Pinch of cayenne

    Clean the cob and reserve corns. Cook the cob with the water for about 15 minutes. Fry onions, tomatoes, potatoes and garlic over low heat until onion goes transparent. Remove cob from water and add the mixture. Boil until potatoes are soft. Add heavy cream and corn and simmer for 10 minutes. 

    Here comes the part I do not like, but someone in our household doesn’t like chunks in soups. Blitz the mixture, I think blitzers are soups worst enemy, but that’s​ my opinion. Strain and serve. 
    Inspiration from here:

    https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/8904-basic-corn-chowder

    Cocktail Sausage Corn Dogs

    Corn dogs are a family favorite. Not particular healthy, but they make us feel good and the cost is low. 

    Using cocktail sausages makes for bite size snacks​. It’s also easier to fry. Best of all is that they’re made in about 30 minutes which gives us plenty of time for other activities.

    The batter we use is good for about 25 petits corn dogs. Here’s the link for the recipe. I add about another 1/4 cup of milk. Also make sure to dry the sausages well before coating. We cover them lightly in flour so it sticks better. 

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/35149/corn-dogs/

    Today served with ketchup for the ketchup addicts, mustards for dad and fresh corn on the comb. 

    Chili con Carne in Pressure Cooker

    Yesterday we received our new pressure cooker. I don’t have the patience of not trying new gadgets and utilities so we gave it a try.  

    We found a basic recipe on the big web. The result was good, not amazing, but good. I like the basic recipes​ as they give inspiration for the next cook. I’ll make sure to have some sun dried bell peppers and tomatoes next time. Not to mention cooking down the meat from a bone.

    Here’s the link: https://thisoldgal.com/pressure-cooker-competition-chili-con-carne/

    Is it necessary to use a pressure cooker? Not really. Will the tweaks make a difference? I’m quite sure about it. Here’s a pic of the result:

    This is the first time I’ve used​ a pressure cooker after being inspired by all the food competitions on TV. It was remarkably easy to use. A good size for our family, even though it could be nice with a 8 l. Seems like good quality as well so it will for sure be used frequently.

    I’ll follow up with a proper review on the  Tefal P2530738 Secure 5 Neo Autocuiseur 6 L later.

    https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00RHK1A8W/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_Wy.mzb7QZ3D5M
    So today’s lunch is done. Siesta time before heading to Paris this afternoon.

    Happy Sunday.