RECIPE: ROASTED WHOLE CAULIFLOWER

I don’t like cauliflower. That is- until I tasted it roasted. Even kids will eat it. I serve it for Halloween with a large knife in the center of it and tell the kids it is a brain. It’s a big hit. You can also puree it after cooking with some veggie or chicken broth and heavy cream to make a beautiful Cream of Cauliflower soup or with butter and heavy cream to make a Cauliflower mash-a great substitute for potatoes.

ROASTED WHOLE CAULIFLOWER

Skill level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes based on size of the head of cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1 teaspoon canola oil or olive oil

6 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons kosher salt

 DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the stem of the cauliflower down to the base as far as possible so that it sits flat on the skillet.

Put the whole cauliflower head in a cast iron skillet. Rub oil over the cauliflower. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and smear butter over the surface. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20-30 more minutes, occasionally brushing with the butter in the pan using a pastry brush. It is done when you can easily insert a knife into the center and it meets no resistance.

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RECIPE: SOUTHERN SUMMER SQUASH WITH SWEET ONIONS

Where I live in Alabama, we are able to grow an abundance of yellow (summer) squash in the garden and it is always on the table in the summer. This is the way my mom cooked yellow squash and it is still my favorite way. Although I used black pepper for this batch, my mom only used white pepper for her squash.

For summer squash from the garden, you can cook it with or without onions. We prefer sweet onions but yellow (Spanish) onions are equally delicious. There's also the white pepper vs black pepper debate. Purists will say you must only use white pepper. You can see I opted for black pepper here.

For summer squash from the garden, you can cook it with or without onions. We prefer sweet onions but yellow (Spanish) onions are equally delicious. There's also the white pepper vs black pepper debate. Purists will say you must only use white pepper. You can see I opted for black pepper here.

SUMMER SQUASH AND SWEET ONIONS

Skill Level: Easy    Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 35-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

6-8 medium yellow squash, sliced

1-2 Vidalia onions, sliced thin

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup cold water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper (the old school way is with white pepper so use that if you have it)

INSTRUCTIONS

Use a large skillet with a lid. Put the butter in the skillet and let it melt over low heat. Once it is melted, add the onions and increase the heat to medium. Stir and cook the onion until it is softened and turns yellow, about 15 minutes. Be careful not to brown the onion, you want to cook them slowly. Add the squash and salt. Stir once. Put the lid on and let it cook for 5 minutes without opening the lid. Stir. Add the water. Bring to a boil and cook without the lid for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Check seasoning; add more salt and pepper if you need to.

RECIPE: POTATO AND ONION GRATIN; COMFORT FOOD TO FEED A FEW OR A CROWD

I love recipes that can feed a few folks or easily expand to feed an army on the cheap. Well, this is one of those dishes, it is comforting, delicious, so easy to make... best of all, it's so affordable, you can feed a huge crowd for not very much money. Yes, Parmegano-Reggiano is expensive so substitute something else if you must. This is really one of those recipes you will go to time and again. You remember how Bob Tuschman, the head honcho at Food Network said my food was like hot cocoa and warm flannel pajamas? Well, this dish is just that. Get ready to blow the diet; you might eat the whole thing!

Easy and affordable, a potato and onion gratin can feed a few people or a huge crowd!

Easy and affordable, a potato and onion gratin can feed a few people or a huge crowd!

POTATO AND ONION GRATIN

Serves 6   Prep: 15

Bake: 1 hour

 INGREDIENTS

3-4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1 medium yellow onion, sliced extremely thin

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus 2 tablespoons for the top

3 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese or any other cheese that melts nicely

1 cups heavy cream

½ cup milk (use low fat or whole, it doesn’t matter. I use 2%)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350° F

Slice the potatoes and rinse. Keep them in water until you assemble the dish. Mix the salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Liberally grease the bottom of a 12-inch casserole or gratin dish with the butter.

Drain the potatoes. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Arrange a layer of potatoes, overlapping them slightly on the bottom of the dish. Season with thesalt and pepper mixture. Add a very thin layer of onion, do not overlap. Add half of the cheese. Add another layer of potatoes. Season each potato layer with the salt mixture. Add the remaining cheese on top. There should be at least three layers, ending with the cheese on top. You may have more, depending on the size of the dish you used.

Carefully pour the heavy cream into the dish, taking care not to pour on the top of the cheese so that it goes down into the bottom of the dish.

Bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft, the milk is absorbed and the top is golden brown and delicious. It tastes best if allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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