Saturday, February 16, 2019

ChezCindy: Cauliflower Tabbouleh

I really enjoy eating cauliflower.  It might be my favorite vegetable.  But, I am the only one in the family who likes it.  Wait, that's not true.  My dogs love it.  The moment I start cutting the cauliflower into florets, they are at my feet sitting like pretty girls, looking up at me with puppy dog eyes.  So I share the bits of the stalk that I cut away.  They gobble it up like favorite treats.  It's good for them just as it is for us humans.  Great anti-inflammatory and good nutrition.  But my hubby, not at all.  He loathes cauliflower.

Cauliflower has come into favor in recent years.  It is so versatile.  Many people are enjoying the minced cauliflower cooked as a substitute for rice to cut back on starch and grains.  Bear with me as I step into the healthy side of life.  Cauliflower has just 25 calories per cup vs rice with 200 calories.  And the carb count is 5g per cup vs 46g for rice.  That said, it is very healthy.  But I mostly eat it because it is delicious.

Generally, I cut the cauliflower into florets and roast it with salt, pepper, olive oil, in a 400 degree oven until it is golden brown and delicious.  Rarely do I eat it raw.  The recipe I present here is contrary to that with this variation on tabbouleh.  Traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat.  I enjoy that too.  But the idea of using grated cauliflower intrigued me to change up my game by using a vegetable in place of the grain.  It is quite nice, offering a lighter version of the traditional.

The tabbouleh can be served as a main course salad for lunch, or along side of grilled chicken or fish.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh
1 medium head cauliflower
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
 a few grinds of black pepper

Remove and discard the green leaves from the cauliflower.  Cut away most of the stalk, keeping only the large florets of cauliflower.  Place the cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse until the cauliflower is broken down into small grain-like pieces.  Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl.  The pulsed cauliflower should yield about 4 cups.  Add the drained chickpeas, chopped almonds, diced dried apricots, chopped herbs and green onions.  Stir to combine.  Add the juice of one lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons, and the olive oil.  Season with the salt and black pepper, stirring to combine and coating the cauliflower grains with the dressing.  Add more lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning to meet your taste.  Allow the tabbouleh to set for a few hours to gain the best flavor outcome.  Can be served room temperature or chilled from the refrigerator.

Friday, February 8, 2019

ChezCindy: Oatmeal Sheet Tray Cookies

I normally make this recipe when I want to serve ice cream sandwiches for a summer dinner party.  Grown-ups turn into giddy little kids when eating these, enjoying the simple pleasure of ice cream sandwiched by soft chewy cookies.  This time I just wanted the cookies.  Once they are baked and cooled, I always cut off the crusty edges first as they are the coveted crispy treats.  I try to snag at least one edge before my husband gobbles up all of them.  

The recipe is very simple.  Spreading the cookie dough onto a sheet tray is one-and-done.  I generally make these with toasted walnuts.  You could also create a more decadent cookie by adding white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Oatmeal Sheet Tray Cookies
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries~optional
3/4 white chocolate chips~optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a sheet pan, 11" x 17", with foil paper, leaving 2-inches extended over the short sides of the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom (or cinnamon), whisking to combine.
Working with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the softened butter to the bowl; mix until creamy.  Add in the sugars, mixing until fluffy.  Mix in the egg and vanilla until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture until combined.  Add in the oats, walnuts and other dried fruit and chocolate chips if using, mixing until combined.
Scrape the cookie dough onto the prepared sheet pan, spreading it into an even layer.  The dough will be a bit sticky.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool.  When cool, cut into squares.  Store in an air-tight container.

If you are making ice cream sandwiches, cut the large cookie bar into two even pieces.  Spread softened ice cream over one piece, top with the other to make one giant sandwich.  Wrap in plastic and place in the freezer for 4-hours minimum or overnight.  Remove from the freezer when ready to serve, cut into smaller sandwich blocks.