We are waiting for spring on the east coast so patiently but it keeps testing our patience. The first day of spring has come and gone bringing beautiful snow with it…..cold days, blossoms annoyed to be out in this cold and leaves struggling to show their faces.. I am trying to brighten up the “almost spring” spirit with some amazing fresh ingredients and flavorful spices like Za’atar.
Za’atar is a blend of herbs and seeds often used in the Middle Eastern cooking. I bought my Za’atar mix from a local middle eastern store but you can always make it at home and use your variations of this herb and spice blend. Typically, za’atar is a blend of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and salt. Mine also included roasted flour.
The lemon zest is a key ingredient enhancing the flavors so beautifully so don’t skip that.
The chicken comes out tender and juicy, and you can prep this recipe a day or 2 ahead on time, keeping it in the fridge until you are ready to roast
The cauliflower steak is also as simple as it can be, sliced, sprinkled with the spice blend and roasted until brown. It is a delicious, healthy and gluten-free side for any occasion.
I do tend to make and store a lot of fermented foods so served it with a side of grated Daikon radish pickle. You can find some of my pickle recipes on my blog
Make some knife incisions or cuts in the chicken pieces for the marinade to get in. Pat dry.
Mix all the ingredient together for the chicken and rub it in the chicken pieces thoroughly.
Store overnight or longer
Roast at 400 degrees for 45 -55 minutes until golden brown
Slice the cauliflower like large steak pieces
Sprinkle with the Zataar spice and some grapeseed oil on both sides.
Roast at 400 degrees for 30 mins or until browned slightly
You can serve this with a salad or pickles. I have here some Diakon Pickle with fresh radishes and an arugula walnut pesto ( will post the recipe soon).
This is a fun week for another reason. There is a fab party at Angie’s Fiesta Friday and I am co-hosting with Petra. Petra’s blog has one of the most creative recipes with fresh ingredients that I have seen and so do check it out!
Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.
My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms. I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.
Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.
The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.
Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside
Slice the cheeses.
Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect
Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.
Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.
Cauliflower has become a staple in the house and is an ingredient in a variety of dishes spanning cuisines. I used riced cauliflower as a substitute for rice which has been a phenomenal adjustment of carbs in our diet.
When you combine cauliflower with a nice tomato curry you just can’t go wrong. My local Traders Joes store has made it even easier for me by selling already riced cauliflower which saves me a ton of time and the mess on my counter with grains of the vegetable flying around 🙂
This is really easy to make and just perfect for a cold winter day. Serve with some flatbread or rice with a side of pickles.
If you love cauliflower do check out my other recipes:
Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. While predominantly a meat centric cuisine, the vegetarian dishes hold their own and are unparalleled. History has documented well known saints of Kashmir to have been vegetarian for spiritual reasons.
The cuisine has evolved over the centuries absorbing influences from settlements and migrations. The flavors and spices of Kashmiri cuisine include dry ginger, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and saffron to name a few.
This particular dish is my version, not very common but most people are familiar with Kashmiri Dum Aloo ( potatoes). “Dum” is a technique that is essentially slow sealed cooking. The cooking vessels can be sealed by using a flour dough between the pot and the lid and placed on hot coals which are also added on the top on the lid. Of course this can also be accomplished in the oven ( just giving you alternatives in case you want to make this while camping :)). I used a even simpler route and used a heavy cast iron pot with strong sealed lid and used low heat on my stove.
A little about the spices I have used.
Cloves: Dried flower buds that contain antiseptic properties and help in preserving food
Fennel Powder: Ground fennel commonly used to flavor sauces and stocks
Dry Ginger Powder: Fresh ginger is dried and then ground and has a distinct flavor aside from its healing properties
Garam Masala: A mix of dry roasted spices that varies from household to household
Asafoetida: a spice derived from the plant Ferula assa-foetida – a very distinct flavor and a pinch is all you need.
Turmeric powder: Dried and ground root like ginger. Add the beautiful orange color.
What a great addition to the vegetarian thanksgiving dinner… I was excited to see this recipe of a savory cauliflower cake when Johanne Lamarche of French Gardener Dishes posted it. Johanne in turn got the inspiration for this cake came from a recipe of Yotam Ottolenghi.
It’s wonderful how recipes transform as different people perceive them from their palates and senses. So my recipes is just another take at the cauliflower cake. I was looking for something to add to my vegetarian dishes for thanksgiving while the rest of the family enjoyed the turkey. I added some cumin and garlic to the dish along with lots of sage that I had fresh from my herb garden.
In the wake of such disturbing news around the world I was looking for ways to calm the spirit and indulge in simplicity. Yes, simplicity is an indulgence these day with the hectic world we live in.
Fall continues to soothe this part of the world and the recipes have taken the hues of rust and gold. I find peace in nature, inmy abundant curry leaf plant and the magical herbs and vegetables still flourishing in my garden.
In the market I found a ready good head of cauliflower and some beautiful potatoes which are the crown of this simple dish.
Aloo Gobi (Potatoes and Cauliflower) is a staple in many households around India…accompanied with rice or chapati (bread).With fragrant spices, fresh ginger, cilantro and garden chilis, it settles your heart and soul. The twist here is that I have served it with Quinoa to make is a little healthier.
Here is what you need:
Quinoa – 1 cup (thoroughly washed)
1/2 head of Cauliflower cut in chucks
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 or 2 green chilis chopped
1 red onion – slices
2 inch ginger chopped or julienned finely
Curry leaves – a handful
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp nigella (caraway) seeds
1/2 fennels seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/tsp cayenne powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
1/2 of lemon
Cilantro or parsley
Putting it together
I cooked the Quinoa in a rice cooker with the setting of white rice. Please use any method that works for you.
Par boil the potatoes – I put them in water and in the microwave for 10 mins
In a wok, add olive oil and the seeds
Sauté for a minute until they pop
Add curry leaves for a minutes
Add onions and ginger and sauce for 4- 5 minutes
Add the Cauliflower and fry until mixed
Add turmeric, cayenne, salt and let everything mix together for a couple of mix.
Add the par boiled potatoes and water.
Cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked but still firm.
A roasted vegetable dish that has amazing flavors and so very easy to make. A versatile dish that can accompany many cuisines and is guaranteed to be a favorite. I served it for a wonderful family brunch this weekend.
Really this dish is so simple that there is not much of a recipe to write down.
Here is what you need:
1 head of cauliflower, cut up in chunks in a way you like.
2 inch fresh ginger – julienned in strip
A pice mix of cumin pwd, coriander pwd, red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd – 1 tsp each
1 tbsp olive oil
A handful of Cilantro – chopped
Mix the spices and salt in the olive oil and marinade the cauliflower while the oven is heating to 450 degrees F.
Spread the vegetable in a pan and roast for 15 mins until it turns brown on the edges.
Remove and garnish with ginger, cilantro and lemon juice.