• Smoky Cauliflower Frittata

    Smoky Cauliflower Frittata.

    Smoky Cauliflower Frittata.

    frit2We almost never do this, but we are enjoying Yotam Ottolenghi’s (YO) cookbook “Plenty” so much that we are posting another recipe. This wasn’t exactly by plan, but we like this recipe a lot and have the photos, so why not? And the other new cookbook we are working from that will go nameless Nigella, isn’t working out quite as well- at least, not yet. But if this keeps up, YO may end up in Alice Waters’ territory as far as being a “go-to” source for vegetable recipes. In our part of the world that is lofty company (although we gather that this wouldn’t be a surprise in the UK).

    frit6frit7Oddly enough, this frittata is more about the eggs and cheese than the cauliflower, but it is easy to make and tastes good (and the vegetables give at least the appearance of a healthy dish). That makes us happy. And using scamorza (smoked mozzarella) makes us even happier. This cheese melts evenly and has smoky, but clean, flavor that works incredibly well with the sweet, caramelized cauliflower. And YO then adds some smoked paprika and aged cheddar to accent the scamorza even more. If you haven’t tried smoked mozzarella, this recipe is worth a try. We bet you will want to use it in other recipes.

    frit8frit9frit10The other key to this dish is that YO uses crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and chives in the egg mixture (we added a little tarragon, as well). This adds sharp, herbal and tangy notes that cut the richness of the overall dish (even as the crème fraîche adds a good dose of fat). It’s these little things that make a big difference in the final dish. Without a little tang, this recipe might be all smoky cheese and eggs, good on the first bite, but probably overwhelming as a main dish. But those brighter notes make for a dish that is good from beginning to end. And if you serve this frittata with a nice green salad with a basic vinaigrette, the balance is even better.

    frit11frit12frit13Another good thing about this dish is that it is quick and easy. It will take about 30 minutes total, without a bunch of work. The only extra step is to boil the cauliflower a few minutes before you caramelize it. But this does soften the cauliflower and give you an even texture, so we think the work is worth it. And since the rest is so easy, you barely notice the extra work. Otherwise, this is frittata 101. Start it on the stove top, finish in the oven, let it cool just a bit and serve. A good payoff for the time spent. Happy Monday.

    frit14Smoky Cauliflower Frittata:

    (Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty“)

    Notes Before You Start:

    What You Get: An easy dinner with extra flavor. A perfect weeknight dish.

    What You Need: No special equipment required.

    How Long? About 30 minutes, and an easy 30 minutes, at that. Anytime dish.


    (Serves 4-6 as a main dish)

    • 1 medium cauliflower cut into small florets
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 large eggs
    • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons sweet, smoked paprika
    • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
    • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (optional)
    • 5 oz. scamorza or smoked mozzarella, including the smoky rind, grated
    • 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Continue reading

  • White Whole Wheat Biscuits


    White Whole Wheat Biscuits.

    bisk1So let’s get right to the question, “what is white whole wheat”? It’s real whole wheat, just from a variety of wheat that has none of the red color and somewhat less of the overtly strong and tannic flavors of traditional whole wheat (think albino whole wheat). White whole wheat flour has all the nutritional benefits of whole wheat, but has a softer flavor with just a pleasant hint of “nuttiness”. What it also means is that you can bake whole wheat biscuits, scones and pastries for your kids (and other picky eaters) and they will eat and enjoy these treats as if they were made from refined flour. A neat trick. Good for you, too.

    bisk2bisk3And if you get your hands on some white whole wheat flour (we use King Arthur, but there are other brands), we suggest you make some biscuits. Why biscuits? Firstly, who doesn’t like a biscuit? Secondly, you can get a good idea how white whole wheat flour provides a hint of “whole wheat” flavor and color, while having a texture like refined flour. And finally, biscuits are easy once you get the hang of it.

    bisk5bisk7Making these biscuits follows a mostly traditional method. You combine dry ingredients with cold butter. Then add in wet ingredients and lightly mix to create a dough that just holds together. The less you handle the dough, the less gluten forms, the more tender the biscuit. The only trick in this recipe is that if you use honey as your sweetener (and you should, but you can use sugar), is that you need to heat it slightly so it will mix easily with the eggs and cold water without clumping. Otherwise, just cut the biscuits from the dough, bake, eat and repeat. And smile.

    bisk8bisk9Before we get to the recipe, a note about one of the ingredients you may not see in most recipes, the dry nonfat milk powder. Dry milk powder is basically the calcium and protein from the milk without the water or fat. Protein makes baked goods firmer and calcium helps with browning- without adding extra water that may alter the chemical balance of the recipe. In this case, the milk powder helps get you a nice brown biscuit that holds its shape. There are other ways to add protein and calcium, but they can require some serious reformulation (and remember, baking is chemistry), we just use the dry milk powder when we are told. It works. So if you see it in a recipe, there is nothing to worry about, just get some and use it, there are even organic versions. One more tool for your baking “arsenal”.

    bisk10 Continue reading