The Cauliflower Tabouli Experiment…

So I had the head of cauliflower from last weekend’s farmer’s market trip. I had come across a 6 easy side dish page in my latest Food Network Magazine and I immediately thought “Yep, gonna try my hand at Tabouli” – My first stop was Wikipedia…um WTH is Tabouli? I found various spellings, but learned that Tabouli Salad is a Middle Eastern delight that usually contains wheat bulgar or couscous. This all started making sense. The recipe was replacing the bulgar or couscous with cauliflower…nice!

The first step was to gather all of the ingredients:

1 Head Cauliflower
2 Diced Plum Tomatoes – (I only had sweet cherubs – no problem)
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (I used light)
2 Chopped Scallions
1 Bunch Chopped Parsley
2 Tablespoons Chopped Mint
Salt and Pepper

The second step was to wrestle the cauliflower into submission.

Now to get the smaller pieces graded. I’ve always had a fear of the grater…probably because I do it wrong. I purchased a Good Cook brand standing grater and that helped a lot.

Wow…someone has pudgalicious fingers… I proceeded to grade all of the florets. The pieces were kind of inconsistent, but it didn’t seem to matter in the end.

I had my bowl of cauliflower pieces and was ready to add the other ingredients. I just kept dumping things into the bowl and then gave it a good stir.

I took the final dish outside for a photo shoot. The backyard is starting to come out of its winter slump…

The perfect setting for the perfect new side dish. I ended up putting the dish into the fridge for a good 4 hours before diving in. I think the acid from the lemon really helped to soften the cauliflower. If you like tangy things…then give it a try. I will definitely be making this again, but for now, I’ll be enjoying it all week – I could not pay Dan enough to even give it a try.


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Red Potato Salad

Last weekend I took my first trip to the downtown Sunday Sacramento Farmer’s Market. ZOMG, it was the most amazing spread I’ve been to since San Francisco back in my bay area farmer’s market days. Fresh fish, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, pork,  breads, eggs, cheeses, olive oils, flowers, herbs, indoor and outdoor plants, japanese maple trees, nuts, dried fruits, lavender, soaps, oh me oh my….

My haul last Sunday consisted of the following:

Everything looked awesome. I managed to eat my way through the oranges, the grapefruits, some of the radishes and breads and the gerber daisies are still alive and well. I spent yesterday working with the red potatoes. I had found a Paula Dean recipe for Red Potato and Bacon Salad on the Food Network website. I looked over the ingredients and had everything but bell peppers and it wasn’t that I had run out, I pretty much don’t like bell peppers, especially the green ones.

I propped up the iPad and recipe in the kitchen, gathered my ingredients and the prep and cooking began.

Green onions…yum!

I got everything chopped while the potatoes were boiling and while the bacon was cooking.

I swear they aren’t smoking like it looks in this picture…

After the bacon finished, I drained it and left it on paper towels to dry while I worked on the dressing to pour over the chopped potato, onion and bacon.

In a small bowl I whisked together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar with garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons light mayo, freshly ground pepper, a dash of salt. I felt like it was a little too bitter, so I added a tablespoon of maple syrup…it totally helped. Next time I probably will use just plain red wine vinegar, not the red wine/garlic vinegar and maybe a little less Dijon and even more mayo. I got everything whisked together, drained and cooled the potaoes…got those babies cut into chunks and then added my bacon (7 slices instead of Paula’s 2- 3 – I was feeding boys and boys love bacon), 1/2 red onion and 4 scallions. I gently tossed everything together and then put it in the fridge to chill.

We packed it up and headed to a BBQ with friends. It was enough for 6 people and I still came home with a serving or two. I will definitely be making this again. Paula’s recipe called for less mayo and bacon with bell pepper, but I’d still make it the way I did.

We had a great evening. We grilled chicken and also had a green salad….the evening ended with a traditional board game of clue. Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the rope…oh yah, I kicked Clue butt…

Today I’m going to play with cauliflower and kale. I think it’s about time I tried my hand at kale chips.

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I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen by trying new things. Some of which have come together as a result of watching WAY TOO MUCH Food Network TV. My newest obsession is Ultimate Recipe Challenge. Foodies and everyday cooks whippin’ up masterpieces that they have perfected over the years. I also enjoy Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I’m not a huge Guy Fieri fan…but I love the content of those two shows. I get inspiration from watching others create and it excites me greatly when the cheesy dive holes are within driving distance of me. Can’t wait to try a few in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

Another really good show is The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Something about watching chefs, food critics, and restaurant owners get excited about certain dishes…and wow, the amount of bacon – epic!

So yes, I have switched my obsession from decorating and home make-over shows to all things food. I do go through phases. For a while I was ready to tear apart every room in our house after a weekend of House Hunters, Designed to Sell, What You Get For the Money, Curb Appeal and Design Star. Now that I’m broke because of Higga bills, quitting my second job and upcoming furlough days…food it is. Food is comfort. Food is creative. Food items can cost less than decorator items and food takes me to a happy place that nothing else can. Hey, I never said I didn’t have issues…

My latest obsession…

Pizza…Pizza…Pizza! It started with picking up some whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. Then I got regular dough, then I helped my girlfriend Michelle make dough from her favorite recipe…then another friend sent me a link titled “Best pizza making/article book ever!” I have become obsessed. Obsessed in finding the perfect toppings, the right combos, etc.

So far I’ve tried:
ala Foo – Carmalized onion, chopped spinach, garlic, olive and mozzarella with a tomato basil sauce (it was awesome) – pictured above
Phister style – Ham, pineapple, mozzarella and cheddar with a red TJ’s pizza sauce (not too bad – cheddar always makes it too greasy for my taste)
Michelle’s creation: – Crockpot pulled pork, light cream cheese (um yah, because that made a difference ;o), sweet & tangy BBQ sauce, scallions and mozzarella and cheddar (super tastey)

Next up at bat – Spinach, gruyere, carmalized onion and apple with walnuts…can’t wait!

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