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A Bite of Spring: Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

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Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

 

Growing up I only ate raw cauliflower drowned in ranch dressing or boiled within an inch of its life dripping in cheese sauce. I had no idea how glorious cauliflower could be or that it came in so many shapes and sizes.

A few years ago, a local chef made me a cauliflower pasta dish and I suddenly understood the beauty of cauliflower. I love it roasted, in curries and in pasta with briny capers, salty parmesan cheese and a few spicy red pepper flakes. If you get a little crazy and buy the purple or Romanesco (the green pyramid shaped cauliflower) you can create a truly beautiful spring dish that will have your guests begging for more.

Enjoy!

Tip: use a light touch (don’t bear down hard) with a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into thin strips, rather than your typical grated cheese.

Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tbps olive oil

1 pound of cauliflower

1/4 cup capers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

12 ounces of pasta

2 ounces parmesan

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 7-8 minutes until the cauliflower. Add the capers and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving a 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Combine the pasta, reserved pasta water and cauliflower mixture. Season with the salt and red pepper flakes, then shave the parmesan onto the pasta.

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A burger tribute to a great man

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Sometimes, you have to go back to comfort food. When my dad’s best friend, Carl Allen, passed away last week, all I could think of was hamburgers.

The Allens have been part of my life since I was born. We celebrated countless holidays and special life events together. We kept our horse at their stable, he came to my high school track meets and we shared breakfasts at Western Bowl. Carl made our hobby horses and doll strollers when we were little, danced with my sister at her wedding and offered us a shoulder to cry when our dad passed away.

Our families usually celebrated Fourth of July together, in no small part because fireworks were legal at the Allens’ house outside of town. We spent the day playing games, sharing a dinner from the grill and then shooting fireworks until everyone was worn out. There’s a story about bourbon, bottle rockets and almost setting the stable on fire, but that is for another day.

Carl cooked up a feast for every occasion, but Independence Day called for burgers. They were the biggest hamburgers I’d ever seen – hefty, medium rare and piled high with veggies. For a 9 year old used to McDonald’s overcooked, wafer thin patties, they were a little scary. But my dad said we’d love them and we trusted him, so we dove in. They were delicious.

Since that day, I’ve never eaten a burger without thinking of Carl, and maybe that’s why I love house burgers; they are full of love and perfect to share with friends. I’ll miss you old man. This burger’s for you.

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Kristi’s House Burgers

This made 5 decent-sized patties.

2 lbs ground hamburger or bison
1 egg
2 tbsps worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Cavender’s Greek seasoning (this contains salt, pepper and garlic so you shouldn’t need to add those separately or you can substitute them instead)
1/3 yellow onion, diced

Combine the meat, egg and onion in a bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to taste. Mix the meat with your hands – no cheating and using a spoon (Carl Allen would not approve). Form the mixture into patties.

Grill the patties on a medium-high heat grill flipping once about 10 minutes depending on thickness and desired doneness. Top with cheese if desired during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Serve it on tasty bread (my nephew is partial to the King’s Hawaiian buns) and pile it high with veggies and pickles.

Enjoy with friends!

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Recipe Roundup: The Mysterious Artichoke

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The artichoke. We all know this beauty and most of us love them too, but their mystic can be somewhat… intimidating. But don’t let the perceived “hassle” scare you away, and I promise you are not the only one who might be shy around an artichoke.

First, get oriented with this great article on 9 Ways to Make the Most of an Artichoke. When you are feeling more adventurous check out these 10 recipes that use the artichoke in a variety of ways, from salsa to on the grill.

Simple Grilled Artichokes – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Pan-Roasted Artichoke with Lemon and Garlic – Cooking Light

Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad – Bon Appetit

Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Beef – Leite’s Culinaria

Artichoke Salsa – Cooking during Stolen Moments

Grilled Artichoke with Yogurt-Dill Dipping Sauce – Bon Appetit

Minted Tomato Artichoke Salad – Fork and Flower

Braised Artichokes – Simply Recipes

Creamy Artichoke and Asparagus Lasagna  – Cooking Light

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – Hummusapien

Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup – C’est La Vegan

Continue to unravel the mystery with our Artichoke Pinterest board.

 

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Shuck ’em: Oyster Recipe Roundup

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Living on the Gulf Coast has its perks including access to some of the freshest seafood. It’s easy to forget about the humidity and elephant sized mosquitos when you are eating oysters. Bug spray and margaritas don’t hurt either.

I can eat a million oysters on the half shell with just a squeeze of lemon, but getting a little fancy every now and then is fun too. Even oysters like to play dress-up in the kitchen.

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1.Fried Oyster with a Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce – Although I will never be able to comprehend how some people don’t like raw oysters, fried isn’t a bad call either. This Homesick Texan fried oyster recipe includes a killer creamy and flavorful sauce.

2,Oyster-Swiss Chard Gratin with Country Bacon– The perfect side dish for any occasion. The Rushings are the chefs behind MiLA in New Orleans and trust me, they know their stuff.

3,Barbecued Oysters  – This recipe encompasses the spirit of Texas to me. You can’t go wrong with these suckers served up at a backyard gathering.

4. Oyster Po’ Boy– Enough said. When you bring the oyster and the po’ boy together they can speaks for themselves. Spoon Fork Bacon includes a tangy coleslaw and spicy aioli to pull it all together.

5. Chili, Lime and Gin Marinated Oysters – For the tipsy oyster lovers, try the Chef’s Pencil recipe. This one is for the rambunctious crowd who is up for a fair bit of kick.

6. Oyster Nachos – A tip of the hat to Tex-Mex. Hilah Cooking has got you covered and even has a video to boot. While we are in the Tex-Mex spirit try oysters on the half shell with a little pico de gallo spooned on top.

7.Oysters with Japanese pickled vegetables – If you are looking for beautiful presentation on the half shell, look no further. The delicate pickled vegetables add an elegant pop of color.

8.Oyster and Artichoke Soup – Decadent, creamy, and something you don’t see everyday. Yum.

9.Acme Chargrilled Oysters – It feels wrong not to include this classic. You can never go wrong with Acme Oyster House chargrilled oysters.

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For great local oyster try Whole Foods Market at the Domain, Quality Seafood and Central Market. Get Shucking!

 

 

 

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