Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

Roasting vegetables is a sure-fire way to extract flavor and elevate nearly any vegetable. Throw down your favorite veggie, some olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and roast at a high heat for a crowd pleasing side.  You can never go wrong with basics like  asparagus, sweet potato, squash, carrots or brussel sprouts. But, sometimes the basics can get a little boring.  My sister in law, Devora, inspired me to think outside of the box and roast different veggies like fennel and artichoke hearts. I found that squeezing fresh lemon juice on the veggies just as they come out of the oven adds a bright citrusy freshness. The lemon-parsley dressing in this recipe takes that concept to a whole new level. The dressing really pumps up the flavor and enhances the delicious roasted cauliflower in the best way.  Don’t bank on adding the leftovers to tomorrow’s salad— there won’t be any.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 head cauliflower

6 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cauliflower with 4 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Put the cauliflower on a cookie sheet and roast for 35 minutes, tossing occasionally. Pulse the parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a food processor until very finely chopped and season with salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower with lemon-parsley mixture and sprinkle lemon zest on top.

Comfort Pot Pie

Sunday night is downright depressing.  With Monday looming over your head like a dark cloud, it’s important to treat yo’ self, especially in these cold winter months.  Mac and cheese, homemade pizza, a nice hearty soup or chili are all good options. But if you’re feeling fancy and all-American, which is pretty much how I feel all the time, chicken pot pie is the way to go for a cozy Sunday night supper. There’s something so incredible about that herbaceous, brothy gravy, crisp veggies and tender chunks of chicken all under a golden puff pastry roof. Now, that’s a house I would like to live in. All year round. Utensil advice: use a spoon for this. It’s that good.

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Chicken Pot Pie 

Based on Mark Bittman’s Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler recipe 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, washed well and choppedpicstitch (42)

2 carrots chopped

2 cups quartered button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced

salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas (or any mixed veggies you like)

4 sprigs of thyme

2 tsp corn starch

1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add chopped leek. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme leaves, carrots and chicken. Cook until chicken and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook for another minute or so. Whisk the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the broth together and add the mixture back into the pan. Stir until the liquid thickens a bit. Pour into a baking dish, top with one sheet of puff pastry. Make sure there are no holes as the liquid will seep out and prevent the crust from cooking. Brush with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown just cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Notes: The first time I made this, I put slits in the crust which resulted in lots of liquid seeping out and pooling on top of the crust. Bad news. Don’t make clever slits like I did. Also, I’ve used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, and it’s just ok.  I found the thighs to be infinitely better. They stay super tender and moist.

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Nelly Frittata

I love breakfast. Omelettes, lox and bagels, waffles, pancakes, these are the foods that really excite and motivate me to get out of bed where my true breakfast of  cereal and Folgers Coffee awaits me. On Sunday mornings, however, I have time to leisurely drink my French press coffee, read The New York Times  my Facebook newsfeed and cook some real breakfast. This frittata in a frying pan is one of my favorite breakfasts to make. It’s easy and very adjustable. Throw in any vegetables in your fridge that are nearing their end, a couple of eggs and some cheese (feta, goat cheese, parmesan or cheddar would be perfect) and you’re golden. Putting the pan under the broiler creates a golden crust on top and eliminates any qualms about runny eggs.

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Frying Pan Frittata

4 eggs

1/4 cup diced green onions

1/4 cup diced yellow peppers

1/4 cup diced tomatoes

handful of mushrooms

handful of spinach leaves

salt and pepper

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 tbsp fresh parsley

olive oil

Turn your oven to the broiler setting. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil  in a frying pan over medium heat and add your veggies and saute until  the veggies are soft. Whisk eggs up, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and pour the eggs into the frying pan. Sprinkle goat cheese and chopped parsley over the egg mixture. Loosen edges with spatula and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 or so minutes. Place your pan under the broiler for maybe 3-5 minutes until golden on top. Cut frittata into slices.

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Fa-la-la-la-lafel

Tis the season to eat vegetarian Middle Eastern cuisine.  And what better way to get into the holiday spirit than whipping up some falafel for the whole Fam Damily? Homemade falafel is really delicious and pretty easy to make.  Lots of parsley, spices and lemon juice make these fried balls extra special. Crisp veggies, tehina, and sour pickles  add the perfect balance of freshness to this classic Israeli sandwich, or as they say in the holy land, “sand-veeech.” Put your reindeer sweater on, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and fry up some fa-la-la-la-lafel balls tonight. And don’t forget to put some hummus and pita out for Kfar SabaClaus!

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Falafel 

Based on the goddess of fine living, Martha Stewart’s recipe

15 oz can of chickpeas

2 garlic cloves

1 small onion

1/4 cup parsley

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp fresh mint

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 egg

1/2 cup vegetable oil (come on it’s the holidays, put your fat pants on!)

Put half the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Put the rest of the chickpeas in the processor with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, spices, parsley and baking soda and pulse until it becomes a thick paste. Lightly beat your egg and mix everything together in your large mixing bowl. Let the mixture chill for 30 minutes. The chilling is a VERY important step, I neglected to wait the full 30 and ended up with a bit of a falafel hash. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter into the oil and cook turning once until golden brown. Place balls on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Serve with fresh pita bread, simple Israeli salad (diced cucumbers and tomatoes with equal parts olive oil and fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper) sliced Israeli style sour pickles, tehina, and really any other falafel accoutrements you like. Ho-Ho-Ho-Hommus anyone?

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