Cauliflower and Bread Crumbs

One medium cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
Three Quarter cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 tablespoons finely grated hard cheese (parm, asiago, etc.)
Salt and fresh pepper

Steam cauliflower for 5-7 minutes. Brown bread crumbs over medium heat in oil or butter. Toss cauliflower with bread crumbs, cheese, salt and ample pepper.

New Potato Gratin with Tomatoes

2 pounds new potatoes
Salt and fresh pepper
4 medium tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, quartered and sliced thinly
¼ cup dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ lemon, sliced thinly
1/3 cup kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted and chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400. Boil potatoes in salted water for 4 minutes and pull them out –don’t dump the water! Rinse potatoes in cold water to stop them from cooking further. Plunge tomatoes in the hot water for 20 seconds each and rinse with cold water. Peel off the skin, quarter, and remove the seeds. Coarsely chop ¾ of tomatoes and thinly slice the rest.

Heat half the oil in a skillet and add the onions, thyme and pepper. Sauté until the onions wilt completely and begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add this mixture to the bottom of a baking dish and layer in all the ingredients, finishing the top with more salt and pepper as well as the remaining oil. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and finish for another 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes and fully tender.

Baked Acorn Squash

This is the old-time classic recipe…

1 acorn squash
1 onion
1 Tablespoon nut-oil –peanut or walnut are 2 favorites
2 Tablespoons Maple syrup or 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Split the squash from stem to tip and spoon out the seeds. Brush the inside and the cut edge with enough oil to just coat and lay cut side down in a baking dish. Add about half an inch of water to the dish and bake for about 30 minutes. While this is underway halve the onion and slice thinly. Sauté slowly in a pan over medium heat with the remaining oil and a pinch of salt until the onion begins to become soft and translucent. Add half of the maple or brown sugar to the pan and continue to sauté, turning regularly, until the onion softens fully and begins to brown. Add the cooked onion to the inside of the baked squash and drizzle/sprinkle with the remaining maple/sugar over the whole thing. Top with nutmeg and fresh pepper. Slide the whole thing back in the oven and broil until the squash and onion bubbles and sizzles. Serve hot.

Arugula Pesto

A great change from the basil standby…

3 cloves of garlic, boiled for 45 seconds and then run under cold water
quarter cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted in a heavy skillet for 4-5 minutes
1 cup packed arugula leaves, crushed in your hand to bruise the leaves
1 cup packed parsley, crushed in your hand to bruise the leaves
7 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pat of soft butter (optional)
quarter cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients except cheese in a food processor and chop until smooth, scraping down the sides between pulses. Remove to small bowl and fold in the cheese. Flatten out the finished pesto with a spatula and cover the surface with plastic wrap or a layer of olive oil to avoid browning. Keeps in the fridge for up to five days.

Roasted Cauliflower

Another great way to have this veggie…

1 head of cauliflower, separated into florets

half teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons peanut oil , sesame oil, or butter

half an onion chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375. Sauté cumin, paprika, and onion in oil/butter over medium heat for 3 minutes. Toss the cauliflower in this mixture and transfer it to a low dish/pan and put in the over for 20-30 minutes. Turn three or four times and remove when you can put a fork through the thickest floret and they are all starting to brown. Finish with salt and fresh pepper.

Cold Cucumber Salad

2 Cukes, peeled and seeded if you desire, and sliced thinly
on the bias (diagonally)

half cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Toasted sesame seeds

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and toss the sliced cuke in the mixture. Chill for about and hour and top with sesame seeds and a dash of salt when serving.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

4-5 large potatoes, halved if they are baseball size or larger
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dry potatoes. In a shallow bowl toss them in the oil, making sure they are completely covered, especially the cut edges. Place them in a baking dish cut side down if you have cut them. Dust the outside with salt, using more than you think you should. The salt helps pull moisture out of the potato as it cooks. Sprinkle pepper and paprika on as well and push the whole thing into the oven. Check them in about 20 minutes and every five after that until a skewer runs through them easily and then cook them for 10 minutes more. The skin should be pulling away from the flesh and if you have a cut side, it should be really crispy. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing thinly. Leave the salty skin on and enjoy.

Oven Roasted Beets

2 cups topped and washed beets (leave the skin on, it tastes great)
-cut big beets to the same size as small beets
1 Tablespoon butter, olive oil, or sesame oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Bring beets to a boil in enough water to cover for 8 minutes and drain water. While the beets are still hot add oil, cumin, walnuts, salt and pepper and toss until all are coated in oil/butter. Add to a baking dish and bake, turning a couple times, until beets are soft all the way through. Serve hot. Try adding goat cheese as they come out of the oven.

Cauliflower with Mustard Butter and Greens

1 head of Cauliflower, quartered and then separated into florets
a handful of fresh arugula or steamed kale or chard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 stick of butter, room temperature (1/2 cup olive oil can be substituted)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Boil water in two pans, one for cauliflower and another for kale/chard if you are using them over arugula. Whisk together garlic, butter/oil, Dijon, parsley salt and pepper. Steam cauliflower for 4-6 minutes until softened but not soft. Steam greens for 3 minutes and ay them out on a platter. Toss cauliflower in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of mustard butter to coat and adjust for taste with more butter or salt/pepper. Lay Cauliflower over the greens and enjoy.

The L.A. Pantry’s Famous Coleslaw

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp celery salt
dash black pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup half and half
1 large or 2 small heads cabbage, shredded fine

Blend together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and oil in bowl. Add onion and garlic powders, dry mustard, celery salt, pepper, lemon juice, half and half and the salt. Stir until smooth. Pour over shredded cabbage in large bowl and toss until cabbage is well coated. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper.