Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Find yourself wanting to jazz up boring old cauliflower because you know you should eat it, but you just can't get past the taste? Welcome! I want to give a sincere, heart felt thanks to Emeril for providing this tasty recipe. You can find the original here, my adjustments are included below.

If you find yourself with leftovers, throw them in the blender with some chicken stock. This makes an excellent puree you can serve with another meal!

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Parm, Lemon & Garlic
Adapted from recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

6 to 8 servings

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon+ sliced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting(I did this every 5 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives/green onion and serve immediately while still warm.

Excellent with steak as an alternative to potatoes, or fish!

Gloucester, VA First Annual Wine Festival

I had the privilege of attending Gloucester, VA's very first annual Wine Fest along the picturesque banks of Capahosic and the York River on October 30, 2010.

How did I hear about this, you ask? Well, this is my home town. And for those of you that know nothing or little about Gloucester or poo poo it as a small country town, I invite you to read it's impressive history here.

Of even more interest to me than the wine, was the property where the wine fest was held. We were well off the beaten path of Rt.17 in the heart of Wicomico. We pulled into a large field on the water to walk over to Moton Center(or Holly Knoll as the house is properly named), recently purchased by The Gloucester Institute(off of RT 614). Originally the home of Robert R. Moton, Holly Knoll and it's inhabitant played a key role in American history, specifically the civil rights movement. Tours of the house were offered and the view from the roof was spectacular!(pic below)

It's amazing to me that every time I go home since I moved back to VA, I learn something new! And I really thought I had soaked up all there was to know, historically speaking, about my humble country county and here comes its first annual wine fest.

I really hope they hold it here again. It was a picturesque, clear, if not a bit chilly, sunny day on the water. All the vendors were friendly and accomodating. The kettle corn was to die for! I only hope they have a few more food vendors to choose from next year, my Nathan's hot dog didn't exactly cut it with my glass of white ;) Maybe BBQ would be nice addition? I ended up lugging home about 6 new varieties of wine, including a lovely Meritage from Athena winery that I can't wait to crack into at Christmas.

I highly encourage those of you looking for something a little different and a little less pretentious, yet rife with history to give this a go next year. Salut!

Brandied Apple Butter

As a result of a misguided romantic notion about apple picking, I ended up with some pretty amazing apple butter. Which, I'm happy to say, is going to be part of the Christmas sweet-treat package I make for friends and family this year.

So, I did a little research and decided Carter Mountain Grove, right up the street from Monticello and Michie Tavern, would be a fantastic place to pick apples. We headed out semi-early on a Saturday, took the hour journey and were greeted on the mountain by a teeming throng of screaming children with their well-meaning, but oblivious guardians. Who were weilding long, dangerous-looking, metal basket tipped apple-pickers. Which, I might add, on several occasions barely missed tops of heads and a few cars. Witnessing all of this, I then get out of the car and the icy wind whips right through me.

I make a split second excutive decision, abandoning all thoughts of meandering through orchards, I run for the pre-picked bushels. One apple pie, a gallon of cider, 1 bushel of Jonagold's and 1 shredded tire later- we have apple butter! And I have to say, I am in love with the crisp sweet taste of Jonagold apples. A cross between Jonanthans and Golden Delicious, the Jonagold have an attractive freckly gold and rose exterior. They are also a sizable fruit which is ideal when you have to peel so many for this project!

Typically you don't want to fiddle around too much with a canning recipe, but since apple butter is a high-acid item, it is a more flexible recipe than most. I had some applejack lying around from a failed attempt at a colonial cocktail that ended up with my friend and I gasping for air and gagging. Quite good in the apple butter though!

Hope this inpires someone to try a new project. I promise, it's worth it! PS- It helps to enlist some help during the peeling process. See below and note who's behind the camera and who's peeling ;)

B's Brandied Apple Butter (aka: Flat Tire Apple Butter)

Bushel of apples (makes approx 14 Qts of apple sauce, 3 of which will just be for you, and 3 which will be in reserve for this recipe, the rest goes in the crockpot initially for the apple butter)
5 Qt dutch oven & stockpot
8 Qt slowcooker
2 1/2 c. white sugar, divided
2 1/2 c. brown sugar, divided
1 c. orange blossom honey
1 1/2 c. apple jack brandy
6 tspn cinnamon, divided
1 tspn allspice
1 tspn clove
1 tspn cardamom
1 tspn fresh grated nutmeg
2 tspn salt
2 c. apple cider

Peel, core and cut apple into chunks. Place into dutch oven and stockpot. Fill to just overflowing. Pour 1 cup of apple cider into each pot. Cover each pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Cut to medium high heat and cook until apples are tender and fall apart. Approx. 20 minutes. Run through ricer or food mill (if you use a food mill, you can leave the skin on).

Fill crockpot w/8 Qts of apple sauce. Add 1 c. each of the white and brown sugar, honey, 4 tspn cinnamon, rest of the spices, brandy and salt. You will have in reserve a 1/2 c. each of the white & brown sugar and 2 tspns cinnamon. Cook on desired temp until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. Add reserved 3 Qts apple sauce, sugar and cinnamon, adjusting to personal taste. Cook until reduced by an inch or so or until desired thickness. If too thick, thin w/apple cider. If too thin, keep cookin'! Run through a blender or use stick blender for final texture.

This will make approx 26-28 half pint jars of apple butter.

For canning instructions, please refer to the experts here.