Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Vegetables - Xmas 2008

Along with the cranberry sauce and chutney, the Hoopers requested vegetables. They love my vegetables. I love cooking vegetables. And the Hoopers are always kind in accepting whichever recipes I choose to explore each year.

I brought three vegetable dishes this year. My first choice was a cauliflower dish I discovered a few months ago. For the record, I am not a big cauliflower fan. I find it boring, tasteless, a pale sister to broccoli. But this recipe turned the bland into beautiful. The cauliflower head is sliced into thick slices, roasted in the oven and tossed with a lemon mustard butter sauce that is out of this world. The carmelization from the roasting combines beautifully with the sauce and this dish is a big hit in my book.

I love broccoli and enjoy finding new ways to prepare it that don't include butter, cream or cheese (because that is cheating, anything will taste great with enough butter, cream or cheese!). I found this recipe at Epicurious. It's a Mario Batali recipe and I wasn't sure it would be too exciting, but it is! The wine infuses the broccoli spears with a tangy goodness that is absolutely addicting.

I had to please the children at the party as well, so carrots were in order. (Can anyone tell my why children love orange and white food so much? My 10 year old spent at least 2 years of his life eating only only foods that were orange and white. Strange.) I cheated and used a bag of organic baby carrots and the texture of the final product always suffers when I do this. But hey, I was busy, it was Christmas Eve! I often do a orange glazed carrot recipe using marmalade and butter, sometimes garlic and ginger too. I kept it simple this year and just used the marmalade and a knob of butter in a large frying pan with a little bit of water. I simmered them slowly until they were tender voila. No recipe, just winged it.

Here are the recipes for the other two:
Cauliflower with Mustard Lemon Butter
1 large head of Cauliflower
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
6 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet. Cut cauliflower in half, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Roast until cauliflower is slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and lemon peel. Spoon mustard-lemon butter evenly over cauliflower and roast until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes longer.
Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

Broccoli with White Wine and Garlic

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 pounds broccoli, cut into spears
1 cup Frascati or other dry white wine
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic over medium-high heat until just sizzling. Add the broccoli and cook, tossing frequently and gradually adding the wine to keep the garlic from browning until the stalks are tender 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and zests, and tossing well, taste and season with salt, serve immediately.

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