I came up with this idea while brainstorming about what to make for white wine week. I was only cooking for two, so I wrote the recipe accordingly… you’ll need to double (or triple) the quantities depending on the number of people you’re serving. 
     One word of advice when cooking with wine: always use something that you like to drink. I promise, your finished dish will taste much better if you’re using a wine that you like. As for the way this one turned out…it’s fantastic!!  Try it this week!

---Karly


ROASTED CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

½ head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
½ cup dry white wine (I used a blend)
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

     Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork and nicely browned on the edges.  Put the cauliflower into a baking dish and set aside.  

     In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and wine, and cook, stirring, until it thickens to your desired consistency.  Take the sauce off of the heat, stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.   Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.

     In a small bowl, mix some Panko breadcrumbs (use as much as you want for the top of the gratin) with some olive oil.  The idea is to get the breadcrumbs coated so that they brown nicely in the oven.  Sprinkle the Panko over the cauliflower.  Bake at 400 degrees until the top is browned, about 15-20 minutes. 

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     I'm so happy you could join us for Ginger Week! 
     Typically, ginger implies Asian cuisine of some sort, but I was bored or uninterested with the lack of variety when I thought of the potential for ginger. I knew there WAS potential, but wasn't getting inspired. So I looked in the refrigerator, and LO! The broccoli. I needed to cook it anyway, as it had been in the fridge for a week already. So I cut it up. Now what?
     Ginger. Grate it. Okay... I always like butter with my broccoli, so now I have butter and ginger in my head. Hmmm... Orange would be nice, but I don't have an orange. I scan the kitchen counter. Wine, vinegar, honey. HONEY! Could it be that simple? You betcha!
     This is one of the simplest recipes I have invented, and it was delicious!!! Low-fat, low-calorie, HIGH-flavor!

--- Jenny


ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH

GINGER HONEY BUTTER

2 medium-sized heads of broccoli
olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt

     Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil. Cut broccoli into bites and lightly coat each bite with olive oil. (I poured a small amount into my palm and spread the oil onto each piece.)

     Bake 20-30 minutes to desired tenderness. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over low heat, combine butter and honey. Grate ginger with a grater (not a zester). After removing broccoli from oven, transfer to a medium-sized bowl with the honey mixture and toss well with a large spoon. Salt lightly and serve.

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     Pesto is such an easy thing to make, and you can do so many things with it: put it on crusty bread, toss it with hot pasta, top chicken or fish with it, stir it into some plain Greek yogurt for a creamy dip, or simmer it with heavy cream to make a cream sauce. The other nice thing about pesto is that it doesn’t always have to be the traditional basil kind. Get creative with it! 
     I had some peppery arugula and thought that fresh mint would complement it perfectly for this pesto. It worked! The pesto has a nice flavor, with a subtle hint of the mint.  This is truly fantastic after it sits for a day or two and the flavors have time to marry.  Enjoy!
---Karly


ARUGULA MINT PESTO

1 packed cup fresh arugula
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Zest of one orange
Juice of half an orange
½ cup whole almonds
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Grapeseed oil (you can also use olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

     Combine everything but the oil in a food processor and blend for one or two minutes. With a food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste.


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     The savory dishes for cranberries can be a bit of a challenge, but we've come through for you! This one was my own invention. It turned out really tasty, with a very nice texture! If you want yours a little less, um, grainy, just substitute the polenta for more corn flour. I like them they way they are though. They're hearty! In fact, you could adapt this into a really nice stuffing recipe! Add some sausage, onions, celery... ohhh, yeeeeaaahhh!
--- Jenny 


CRANBERRY & SAGE CORN MUFFINS
1 cup flour or gluten-free flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup corn flour or masa flour
½ uncooked polenta
½ cup butter, melted
1 large egg
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon ground sage
½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin cups.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cornmeal. Stir butter, egg, honey, and milk into cornmeal mixture. Stir until just moistened and any flour or cornmeal chunks are broken up.

Fill greased muffin tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

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I have a confession to make…I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, unless they have savory spices on them.  I love to make sweet potato fries and put cumin, cayenne, and garlic on them, but for this recipe, I tried something different.  I used Cajun seasoning, salt, and cinnamon.  They turned out great!  They’re spicy with a hint of cinnamon.  
---Karly

SPICY CINNAMON SWEET POTATO FRIES
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Olive oil
Cajun seasoning, to taste
Salt, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil (you want them to be lightly coated) and sprinkle with seasonings.  Toss them around with your hands to coat them well.  Bake at 400 degrees until crisp on edges and tender in the middle, about 30-40 minutes.

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     I thought of this idea a couple of days ago, while I was trying to come up with ideas for a pasta side.  I wanted to use a small pasta because that seemed ideal for a side dish, so I decided to use orzo (it looks like rice, only a bit bigger).  
     I love to use shredded spinach or kale in pasta dishes, so I used kale as well as lemon, pine nuts, and a few other things.  The result is a quick, easy, and delicious side dish.  Make it tonight!

---Karly

 

LEMON ORZO WITH KALE AND PINE NUTS
1 cup orzo
Olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion (I used about a quarter of a medium onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 small bunch kale, shredded (about 4 large handfuls)
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the orzo in boiling water in a medium saucepan until al dente, about 5-6 minutes; drain and set aside.  In the same saucepan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and lemon zest and sauté for a minute.  Add the kale, one handful at a time, and stir until it just starts to wilt.  Turn off the heat, add the orzo and lemon juice to the kale mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.  Top the orzo with pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Picture
Scrumptious!
I'm a frequenter of garage sales. I once filled a 1200 square-foot house with about $3000 of  upcycled and on-sale stuff, including the living room set, and an antique armoire! At one little Friday morning adventure, I found a sixty year-old Irish cookbook, and inside, were all these great recipes... One of which was for Potato Scones. It's pretty straightforward, but I thought it could use a savory kick. So I added bacon crumbles and rosemary. It's filling, aromatic, and wow! I'll be making these again!
-- Jenny

POTATO SCONES WITH BACON & ROSEMARY
2 cups mashed potatoes, room temperature
1 cup flour
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
5-6 pieces bacon, fried and chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, flour, butter, salt and baking powder. (I used my hands to mix thoroughly.) Fold in bacon and rosemary, and form into 7-8 pieces, about ½” thick. They can be any shape – round, rectangle, triangle... Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool on place or wire rack, butter, and enjoy!

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   Of all the dishes I’ve done for lentil week, this is by far my favorite. It’s a simple, yet delicious side
dish. Even my seven year old liked lentils prepared this way. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a major
accomplishment! Make them today!!
---Karly

ITALIAN-STYLE LENTILS
½ cup dried lentils
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup diced pancetta
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
Freshly grated Romano cheese
Salt and pepper

Cook the lentils in boiling water until tender, 15-20 minutes, and then drain. While the lentils are
cooking, cook the pancetta in a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil, until crisp. Add the garlic to
the pancetta and cook, stirring, one minute. Drain on a paper towel. When the lentils are done, stir in
the bell pepper, pancetta and garlic, parsley, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the lentils
with freshly grated Romano cheese on top.

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This pasta salad is based on a broccoli salad recipe that I got from Simply Recipes.  I needed to bring a pasta salad to a gathering this weekend, and remembered the broccoli salad and how good it was, so I modified it a little.  It’s a great pasta salad.  Try it this week!

---Karly
 
BROCCOLI AND BACON PASTA SALAD
1 pound farfalle pasta (or any short pasta)
5-6 cups broccoli florets
1 small onion, thinly sliced
½ pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled
½-1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups mayonnaise
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup honey
Salt and pepper
 
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, rinse, and set aside.  Now you need to blanch the broccoli.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the broccoli, and cook for 1 minute. Drain and immediately plunge the broccoli into ice water to stop the  cooking process.  Once cooled, drain and set aside.  Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey together in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients and the dressing, tossing well to coat.  Salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE:  You can make this recipe the day before serving it.  If you do, just leave out the bacon and the pecans and mix them in just before serving.

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I really had no idea what I was going to make for my side for this week.  Then, I thought about baked beans, and thought that adding a little bit of coffee to them might turn out good.  I was right. These are really, really good. Even though they take some time in the oven, it is well worth it.

---Karly
 
BARBECUE AND COFFEE BAKED BEANS
3 slices of bacon, halved
¾ of a medium onion, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinear
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (I used Starbucks Via)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup beer (I used Sam Adams Oktoberfest)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Fry the bacon in a skillet until the bacon is partially cooked and the fat renders; you want about 2-3 tablespoons of drippings.  Take the bacon out of the skillet and set it aside.  Put the onions and peppers into the skillet with the drippings and sauté them for 5 minutes.  Add the beans and the rest of the ingredients and bring everything to a simmer.  Pour the beans into a greased 9x9 baking dish and top with the bacon slices.  Bake until the beans are bubbly and thickened, about 2 hours.  Let them stand to thicken slightly before serving. 

NOTE:  I found that my bacon didn't crisp in the oven on top of the beans, and I threw it out.  It may be that I didn't cook it quite enough first, next time I'll fry it longer in the skillet.

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