Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

Roasted cauliflower with sumac

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

Pan-seared cauliflower steaks work great, yet often require finishing in the oven. This cauliflower steak with sumac option shortcuts the pan-searing for a longer, but less fussy, roast in the oven.

While these “C-steaks” may not satisfy a meat eater as a substitute, they will satisfy their appetite and offer meaty texture characteristics. The main stem of these veggie steaks offers a satisfying dense texture that contrasts with the crunchy outer florets and buttery softness of the smaller stems. So whether your diet is veg only or omni, cauliflower steaks can satisfy as a side or as a main dish when paired with complementary foods (see serving notes below).

Sumac is from dried and ground sumac berries. It’s a unique flavor, but you can use a combination of lemon juice and zest to mimic sumac’s lemon notes (see taste notes below) or use any seasoning or spice mix you prefer. Think about balancing cauliflowers sweet notes with something that offers a hint of sour and/or spicy heat.

Roasted cauliflower without sumac

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower (2½-3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Few pinches of fine sea salt (about ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (optional but adds a soft tart or lemon flavor note)
  • A pinch of cayenne (about ¼ of an ⅛ teaspoon)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack to be on the lowest level.
  2. Pull off the outer leaves of the cauliflower but do not cut out the core of the cauliflower. Trim the stem a bit if this helps stabilize the base of the cauliflower flat against a cutting board.
  3. With a chef’s knife, slice the cauliflower from top to base in one nice cut (avoid see-sawing the blade back and forth to keep florets from breaking off the stems). Depending on the size of the head, you may be able to cut 3-4 steaks sized at ¾ inch-thick “steaks” from the main stem and larger branches. As you cut, some florets will fall off which you can also roast or keep for another use.
  4. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet, drizzle both sides or each steak with the olive oil and then season with salt. If you prefer to use less oil, brush oil onto steaks with a pastry brush.
  5. Place the baking sheet on the bottom rack and cook until cauliflower is browned (about 12 minutes).
  6. Remove from the oven and, with a spatula, gently turn the steaks over. Sprinkle the sumac onto the steaks—the side facing up.
  7. Place back on the bottom rack to finish cooking (about 10-12 minutes) or until browned on both sides and stems feel tender—the thicker branches should yield to a knife when pierced.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sumac

  • Cauliflower is a high satiety food with good fiber content, high protein content and low calorie values (107 calories for 4 cups chopped).
  • Glucosinolates and isothiocyanates phytochemicals and antioxidants found in cauliflower may be beneficial for inflammation-related health problems and play a role in its particular aroma and flavor.
  • Sumac adds bright red-purple colors and subtle hints of lemon or tang. It’s a great spice option for many dishes when lemons aren’t available or lemon juice isn’t the best form for delivering this taste and flavor element. Plus, lemons can add bitter notes.
  • Serve as a base for cooked grains or seeds such as quinoa
  • Top the steaks with a warm cannellini bean salad
  • Serve with salmon, chicken or fish
  • Serve without the sumac and instead a sauce like garlic walnut and herb sauce
Roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower is nothing but Cabbage with a College Education”

Mark Twain

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Purse Crêpes (Aumônières de Crêpes)

Purse Crêpes (Aumônières de Crêpes)

Purse Crêpes (Aumônières de Crêpes)

Beggar’s Purse Crêpes Aumônières

Purse Crêpes

Purse Crêpes (sometimes called a Beggar’s purse) are an ironic description for a crêpe-based dish given that these elegant, plump flavor packages allow for an extra cha-ching to that restaurant bill. For the home cooks, this food bling bling upgrades your status as a chef de maison and offers fun ways to showcase what is truly a “fast-slow food”. Purse crêpes are versatile and can be stuffed with savory or sweet ingredients.

Crêpe batter is easy to prepare (5 ingredients in 5 minutes)

After learning a couple simple tricks, crêpes are easy to make—see my take on crêpes.

Aumônières de Crêpes

My chefs in Paris had me adding some chopped chervil into the batter and calling the recipe Crêpes Celestine without any mention of the “purse” food styling. Celestine refers to in the style of and often includes green, leafy herbs. Typically the French version is called aumônières de crêpes where aumônière means purse in French.

The tasty morsel above is from Amarosa vineyard and restaurant in Tuscany, Italy. The herbed version below I made in Paris where the chefs had us stuffing them with a creamy scallop filling.

Beggar’s Purse Crêpes Aumônières

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crêpes Célestines
Crêpes are full of contradictions. They are fancy foods, yet street foods. They are rich and decadent but can be simple and nutrient dense. They are quick or they can be turned into fancy purses as in aumônières de crêpes or other culinary art tricks. They are French, yet Italy, Isreal, Hungary, China and other countries have their own similar versions.

There is no contradicting, however, that crêpes are a flavorful and texture delight to eat and easily diversify anyone’s menu. Crêpes Célestines is a recipe I made at in Paris during culinary school. The name is a bit of a mystery as many French dishes use Célestine to refer to a dish made in the style of “Célestine” a woman of unclear historical origins but may have been from Lyon (more on French recipe naming methods later).

I’ve seen dishes named omelettes, consommé, potage (soup) all in the “célestine style.” The term may also be connected, at times, to using green, leafy herbs as an ingredient (not as a garnish).

Crêpes crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter—not hot
  • Clarified butter, organic canola or vegetable oil for cooking

Optional: ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (see taste notes below)

 “Crêpes Célestines” additions: 3 branches of chervil or other green herb, chopped

Batter steps: (can be done up to two days in advance)

Vite Vite (blender versions) Add all the ingredients to a blender and mix until a smooth batter forms or add all the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix with a hand-held immersion blender. Go to step 2. Traditional method: Burns some calories and you don’t have to clean a blender-yay!

  1. Add the flour and salt to a medium-sized bowl and whisk. Add the eggs, butter and milk and whisk to incorporate then add the water and whisk until combined and smooth. The refrigeration step will often fix any lumpy batter patches.
  2. Batter should coat the back of a spoon like a heavy cream, but if it is too thick, add a bit more of water or milk.
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours or for up to two days. In pinch, I’ve used crêpe batter after only a 30-minute rest, but texture isn’t ideal and crêpes don’t form as well.

Crêpe steps: Making crêpes:

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet or crêpe pan with 6″-7″ base (or larger for a smaller number of crêpes) over medium-high heat then add just enough oil or clarified butter to lightly coat the skillet.
  2. Stir the batter and scoop out about 1/4 cup of batter (a 2-ounce ladle works best).
  3. Slightly tilt the skillet and pour the batter near the higher side of the skillet and swirl the batter counterclockwise around bottom of pan by rotating the pan with your wrist until the entire surface is thinly coated. Try not to get the batter on the skillet edges. Place skillet back on heat.
  4. Cook 1-2 minutes and flip when crêpe begins to color golden brown on the pan-side down. Then cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Place crêpes on a rack to cool; however, a plate works fine as well. These crêpes don’t stick together.

Crêpes and Crêpes Célestines

Substitutions / Options:
  • You can substitute a lower-fat milk, but it does change the texture and flavor.
  • All-purpose flour works best and yields a traditional product. If you want a more nutrient-dense crêpe, I don’t recommend whole wheat flour, instead go French and make buckwheat crepes for higher fiber and a nutty flavor and unique texture profile.
  • Butter can be used; however, it can smoke at higher heats used for crêpes.
  • Salt enhances the flour flavor and the amount used in this recipe doesn’t prevent the crêpes from doing double duty as dessert crêpes. Most dessert crêpes add sugar to the batter, but I don’t miss sweet dessert ingredients used.
Resting is important:
  • it reduces the air bubbles that can cause crêpes to tear or have weak spots
  • the gluten has time to relax to ensure tender, more content crêpes
  • Savory street crêpes fillings:
    • 4 pieces of Prosciutto or ham or eggs (cook sunny-side up on cooked crepe)
    • 4 slices of Gruyere, Swiss or Monterey or other cheese
    • Some vegetables: baby spinach, Swiss chard, roasted asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized How to Caramelize Onions, Caramelized Onions Recipe Recipe | Simply Recipes, mushrooms, roasted peppers, tomato etc.
    • Flavors/seasoning options: Ground pepper, sea salt, mustard, basil, olive oil

“Love is a fire of flaming brandy Upon a crêpe suzette”

10cc, ‘Life is a Minestrone’

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas with Sumac

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

This chickpea appetizer or snack creates bean lovers. The balanced spicy, citrusy and salty sensations with a crunchy bean exterior are crave-able features. The health benefits of the beans and spices are a bonus. Quick and easy to make, these can be made ahead of time or served hot and crunchy from the pan.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 tsp sumac (see spice notes for options)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

Steps:

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F (218C) and arrange a rack in the middle position.
  2. Rinse chickpeas in a colander and let drain while preparing the spice mix.
  3. Add the dry spices to a bowl that is larger than needed to hold the chickpeas.
  4. Use a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas to dry them further. The drier the chickpeas, the more crisp they will be.
  5. Add the chickpeas to the bowl. Shake them sauté style a few times until coated.
  6. Add the oil to the chickpeas and gently stir the chickpeas.
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and add chickpeas in an even layer.
  8. Once or twice during the baking, gently shake the baking sheet for more even cooking. Chickpeas with high internal moisture content will pop like hot popcorn, so be careful to not get zinged by a hot bean.
  9. Chickpeas will become crisp between 18-24 minutes. Place two layers of paper toweling on a large plate and when chickpeas are done, pour them onto the paper towel to cool down, then move to a dry bowl or plate to stay crisp. Some brands of chickpeas get very crisp and stay crisp and others lose the texture in a few hours.

Nutrition Highlights:

  • Because of the fiber content, chickpeas are a high-satiety food–keeps you fuller for longer. One 15-ounce can provides about 25 grams of fiber.
  • High amounts of insoluble fiber that helps to create a health flora in your gut.
  • Fiber also helps control blood sugar changes and insulin secretion.

Fried Option: This adds calories but is an option for even crispier chickpeas

  1. Rinse chickpeas in a colander and let drain while preparing the spice mix.
  2. Add the dry spices to a bowl that is larger than needed to hold the chickpeas.
  3. Use a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas to dry them further. The drier the chickpeas, the more crisp they will be.
  4. Add the chickpeas and give them a sauté style shake a few times until the chickpeas are coated.
  5. Heat a 10-12” skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully add the chickpeas.

Spice Notes: The gorgeous purple-red spice mountain in the photo are dried and ground sumac berries. These add a tart-lemony element to dishes where lemon might be too strong or the moisture from lemon juice isn’t desired as in the case with these chickpeas. Sumac powder has increases your versatility in the kitchen, but if you don’t have it, go for a different spice profile and add some cumin or cumin plus coriander.

Ancho chile powder (the rusto-brown spice mountain in the photo) adds a hint of a fruity element where chili powder (a blend of herbs and chiles) not present in chili powder blends.

 

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas with Sumac

Gimme your Garbanzos or Chuck me the Chickpeas—either way they’re the same bean!

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Crispy Chickpea Flour Shrimp Fritters

Crispy Chickpea Flour Shrimp Fritters

Crispy Chickpea Flour Shrimp Fritters

Shrimp fritters make fun appetizers that pair well with many sauces. Usually, fritters are made with a wheat-based flour, but in this fritter, chickpea flour is the starch substitute providing a crispy crust.

Chickpea flour (Besan or gram flour) is a nutrient-rich ingredient completely made from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Spices added to the chickpea flour adds a hint of heat and richer flavors.

Serve these with catsup chutney (Fast catsup chutney recipe) or a sauce of choice.

Chickpea Flour Shrimp Fritters

Recipe Type: Appetizer
Author: Michele Redmond
Serves: 22-26 fritters
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup chickpea flour
  • 3 Tablespoons rice flour* (if you do not have this use instead another ¼ cup chickpea flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (a citrus-like flavor, but is optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup carbonated or seltzer water (regular water can substitute**)
  • 2 Tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) shrimp, peeled and chopped roughly into ½ pieces
  • ~1 ½ cup high-heat organic canola oil or vegetable oil
  • *Rice flour is a classic addition to fried batter as it results in a crisper fritter
  • **Carbonated water usually creates a bit lighter, less dense fritter
Instructions
  1. Place paper towels on a couple plates or a baking sheet.
  2. In a small pan or skillet (about 6” base), heat the oil over a medium-heat burner
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix well with a whisk the flour(s), soda, salt, sumac and cayenne.
  4. Add the water and shallot and mix until smooth. Add the shrimp and mix into batter.
  5. Oil is ready around 350˚F or test by dropping a bit of batter—it should sizzle. The amount of oil used should be able to cover about ¾ of the fritter.
  6. Use a teaspoon, scoop up the batter and release it quickly into the hot oil (do not drop from above).
  7. Leave a half-inch to one inch between fritters. Crowding the pan slows cooking (steam cools the oil) and reduces the “Crunch factor” plus it is easier to turn them over.
  8. Cook until each side is a dark brown color to ensure shrimp cooks completely—they temp at 170˚F+
  9. Remove with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and place on paper towels and do remaining batch.
  10. Serve hot with a chutney, remoulade or sauce of choice or simply fresh lemon wedges.

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

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