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whole roasted cauliflower with a parsley sauce

whole roasted cauliflowerDo you remember eating cauliflower when you were a kid?  I do.  My favorite was smothered in my mom’s homemade cheddar cheese sauce.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I really liked cauliflower; I loved the cheese sauce!  Fast forward to my adult years and I have served cauliflower many ways and fondly enough, not smothered in cheese sauce.  I’ve roasted cauliflower pieces but never a whole roasted cauliflower – well, come to think of it, not strictly true.  Back in 2009 I baked a whole Romanesco cauliflower in a tomato sauce and that was a big hit.  Continue Reading →

roasted peppers

roasted peppersWhat is it about Mediterranean flavours that drive my taste buds crazy?  It’s an explosion of flavours, all vying for my attention and asking me to favor only one!  But alas, how can I? When I think of food from the Med, the words fresh and healthy come to mind.  And why not.  Continue Reading →

Roasted Chicken with Bacon & Sweet Paprika – Fifty Shades of Chicken

Suddenly the fridge door I’m resting on swings open, and I find myself rolling off the shelf and falling toward the kitchen floor.  Crap.  My plastic wrapper bursts as I land, and my giblet bag slides halfway out.  Double crap.  Damn my cheap packaging.  Instantly I feel hands on me, lifting me carefully from the tiles.  Long, powerful fingers cradle me from underneath and expertly tuck my giblets back into place.  Holy cow.  Something clenches deep inside me.  My rescurer lays me gently on a countertop.  He’s wearing jeans and a clean white apron.  He’s young and handsome, with a rakish mop of hair.  He has muscled arms and clearly works out.  But it’s his hands that have me mesmerized.  They’re smooth, pale, perfectly manicured, and beyond competent.

The above passage was taken from the introduction of Fifty Shades of Chicken (a parody in a cookbook).  Friends of ours, Dale and Teena, gave me this book and when I read the name of the book I burst out laughing.  Although I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey (and have no desire to read) I was intrigued how the author, FL Fowler (pseudonym), could fashion a cookbook to that of sexual practices, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism.  After reading through it, poultry porn certainly comes to mind but it is a cookbook laced with very subjective thoughts and tongue-in-cheek humor.  The recipe I chose falls under the heading – Chicken with a Lardon – yep, read into what you will.

Serves 4
adapted from Fifty Shades of Chicken

1 orange
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 1/2 to 4 lb. chicken
6 or more strips of bacon

Preheat oven to 400f.  Finely grate the zest of the orange into a bowl.  Stir in paprika, salt and pepper.   Massage the oil all over the skin of the chicken.  Sprinkle some of the paprika mixture into the cavity; massage the remaining mixture all over the bird.  Cut the orange into quarters and thrust the fruit deep into the cavity of the bird.

Move the chicken to a rack set over a roasting pan.  Roast for 45 minutes, basting with any pan juices.  Crisscross the bacon over the breasts and continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through and bacon is crisp – about 20 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Great flavors with the combination of paprika and orange.  An easy way to test whether or not the chicken is cooked is to wiggle the drumstick.  If it feels as though it will easily come away from the side, it’s cooked.  Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Crostini with Truffle Sea Salt

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a truffle the next best thing, in my humble opinion, is truffle oil.  That was until I sampled white truffle sea salt!  John and I were food shopping and we never pass the cheese section of Whole Foods without buying…well almost never.  We asked what was new which can be a difficult task as we’ve tried a lot over the past year.  Jason told us about the Gouda infused with black truffles and immediately my eyes lit up.  John isn’t a huge fan of truffles but like a dutiful husband said he’d try a sample.  He liked it!  Yay!  We bought a wedge and then were asked if we had tried truffle sea salt.  Jason said his favorite way is to sprinkle it on roasted tomatoes and bread.  That sounded so good we bought the 1-ounce bottle.

Truffle is an edible fungus and grows underground.  The white truffle is found in northern Italy while the black truffle grows in the south of France.  When eaten raw like mushrooms they don’t taste like their aroma because their gasses aren’t emitted until the acid in our stomach breaks it down and the flavor – get ready for this – is released in a burp!  However, if a truffle is thinly shaved and added to a hot dish it is the heat that releases some of the gas allowing one to savor the truffle taste.

 

rustic farm bread
8 cloves of garlic (more if you like), skin on
campari tomatoes, sliced thick
fresh mozzarella, sliced
olive oil
white truffle sea salt

Preheat oven to 350f (180c).   Place tomato slices on a baking sheet along with garlic cloves.  Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and garlic.  Roast 15 to 18 minutes or until garlic is soft and tomato slices have begun to shrivel.  Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  The skin on each clove of garlic should be easy to remove.  Place garlic in a bowl and mash.  Brush a bit of olive oil on both sides of the bread and grill.  If you don’t have a grill or bbq, use a toaster and brush a bit of olive oil on after toasting the bread.  Add mashed garlic to the bread and top with mozzarella followed by tomato slices.  Finish with a pinch of truffle sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  This was out of this world and I made it twice over the weekend it was that good!  The second time I mixed goat cheese with the roasted garlic cloves…it was very difficult to choose which one was better.  The truffle salt elevated this already delicious appetizer to a new taste sensation!  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy!