One very versatile vegetable is the cauliflower. It is a very healthy vegetable, low in calories and carbs. Originally from the Greek island of Cyprus, it became quite popular when served in the courts of King Louis XIV and made other notable tables throughout Europe over time.
Unfortunately, most of us grew up with the boiled to death version so it was readily discounted when we were off doing our own cooking. If by now you have not been re-introduced to the tasty ways of serving cauliflower, this recipe might just tempt you to give it a try.
These cauliflower steaks are a real breeze in your Grillet and are ready in very little time. I’ve tried it with basil pesto and grated cheese to name a few toppings, but it is a great vehicle for many others. Fixing cauliflower as steaks also makes a great presentation. I often place them on Forbidden Rice, so named for when it was the Emperor of China’s rice, therefore no one else could eat it. Today this black rice gives Cauliflower Steaks a beautiful background while being very healthy with a complimentary nut-like flavor. Give this a try; you and your guests will be pleased.
1 large head of cauliflower
2-3 tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Remove any outer leaves and then slice cauliflower into ½”- ¾” slices. Baste with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a 350 degree Grillet, sauté steaks on each side for 4-5 minutes until brown and slightly tender. Add ¼ cup water to pan, cover with lid and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add any desired toppings of your choice, heat and serve.
Fire Meat is a direct translation of the Korean word Bulgogi (Koreans pronounce it “pulgogi”). It is a great BBQ sauce that you can find in most markets that have an Asian section. The sauce is traditionally made with soy sauce, garlic, sugar and some sesame oil as the base. From there, rice wine, honey, bean paste and apples or Asian pears are added. Mostly it is used as a marinade but today I’ve put it in some lean ground beef and simply made some Fire Meat Patties or if you like, Korean Beef Patties.
You will notice that there is nothing else on the plate in the photograph. I did that intentionally to give you a chance to look at the patty and then see where your taste buds take you as you complete the picture. It combines so well with green onions, shredded carrots, sesame seeds, by itself or with rice, even with a potato dish, a vegetable side/ salad. Or pick up some dinner rolls and enjoy some delicious mini sliders.
KOREAN BEEF PATTIES WITH BULGOGI SAUCE
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tblsp fresh ginger, finely diced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tblsp prepared Bulgogi sauce *
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup Panko or other unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tblsp each cilantro and green onion chopped and mixed together for garnish
*found in Asian or International food section of major grocery stores.
In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg with the diced ginger, sesame oil, Bulgogi sauce, red onion and brown sugar.
In a larger bowl, break up the ground beef and gently combine with the Panko and egg mixture, being careful not to overwork the meat. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the liquid to be absorbed, if needed.
Form patties into 2” rounds and grill at 350 degrees for about 4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed.
Serve with extra Bulgogi sauce and garnish with the cilantro and green onion mixture.
All the countries that hug the shores of the great Mediterranean Sea contribute to the great flavors that make up the Mediterranean cuisine. These include Greece, Israel, Turkey, Syria, Spain and Morocco but there are more. Look at a map and you’ll see that Lebanon, France and Italy have contributions to make as well.
We know that healthy eating means we choose foods that are high in fiber and antioxidants from vegetables, legumes and nuts. Well this week’s recipe, straight from the Mediterranean, has a fair amount of that in these Stuffed Eggplants. This is a versatile dish when it comes to your stuffing. You can adjust it to your taste but you will find yourself preparing it often I’m sure.
It’s the spices and herbs that distinguish Mediterranean/Middle Eastern foods from all others. Many are probably on your shelf already but I encourage you to add others.
Stuffed Eggplants are one of my main go-to dishes when our company includes one or more who are vegetarian. Quite popular in its own right, you don’t fix this dish for the vegetarians only! This recipe is great either hot or at room temperature and it’s nice to have a tasty, satisfying dish that is also a healthy choice.
1 large eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise and lightly salted
4 tblsp water
3 tblsp olive oil
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cumin
1/3 cup chopped raisins, or any dried fruit such as apricots or dates
1/3 cup green olives, halved
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp grated fresh lemon peel
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat Grillet to 350 degree. Place the eggplant halves cut side up in 4 tblsp water and close lid. Steam for 5- 6 minutes, just until tender, adding more water as needed.
Carefully remove from pan and drain on paper towel. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplant, leaving about 1/4” around the edges so as to keep its shape. Set the halves aside.
Add the 3 tblsp of olive oil to the 325 degree Grillet. Cut the eggplant flesh into cubes and saute it with the bell pepper, cinnamon, cumin, raisins and olives for eight minutes, stirring often. Add the cilantro, quinoa, lemon peel and lemon juice and cook until heated through.
Fill the mixture back into the eggplant halves evenly and serve.
I was raised not far from the Pacific Ocean where fish and seafood is not only abundant, but available year round. Yet it wasn’t until I was in college with a limited food budget that I discovered mussels. These little morsels are often less expensive than any other shellfish. Taste wise, they are delicious. Nutritionally, they provide the same amount of protein- ounce for ounce- as red meat. And steaming them in the Aroma rice cooker takes just minutes.
Mussels are sold loose or in mesh bags and can be found in most markets. Commercially raised mussels are already cleaned and debearded and just need to be washed in cold water before using. Allow about 1-2 pounds per person if serving as the main course, or ¼ pound as an appetizer.
Have all ingredients prepped and ready before steaming mussels.
1 pound mussels, cleaned
2 cups water
BLACK BEAN SAUCE
2 tblsp water
1 tsp brown sugar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tblsp ginger, minced
2 green onions, chopped fine
2 tblsp each red and green bell pepper, diced
½ tsp fish sauce*
1 tblsp black bean sauce*
¼ cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
*found in Asian or International food section of major grocery stores.
Place the 2 cups of water in the inner pot of the Aroma Rice Cooker and set to Steam. As soon as it begins to steam, place the steam tray with the mussels into the rice cooker and close the lid. In about 6-8 minutes check to see if the mussels have opened. If none have opened, close the lid and check again at one minute intervals. Once they are open, they are done! (Discard any mussels that didn’t open.)
Remove the Steam Tray and place mussels on a serving platter or in a bowl and cover to keep warm. Discard the steaming water and clean inner pot before preparing black bean sauce.
To make the black bean sauce, set the Rice Cooker to Sauté-Then-Simmer. Add the 2 tablespoons of water with the remaining ingredients and cook while stirring, about 1- 2 minutes. Add the mussels to the pot and gently stir.
Place on a serving dish and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
One of the things I enjoy most is creating meals. Over the years I’ve discovered some tricks that have served me well. This recipe was the result of a day that got away from me, and my evening plans changed drastically. I found there was hardly time to think, let alone prepare a meal. A quick look in the refrigerator told me there wasn’t much going on there – a couple of carrots and squash, some broccoli and part of an eggplant.
As it turned out, what I fixed up took less time than if we had gone to a fast food place, plus it was a far healthier meal. Best of all, what started out as an un-planned, hardly tried and true recipe, has now become a requested favorite! It is definitely a “go-to” meal when there is a time crunch around mealtime.
This recipe is great for a simple, healthy and satisfying meal. And the cook won’t mind what little time it takes to make!
VEGETABLE CLAM CHOWDER
6 cups (1 ½ c for each person) of assorted vegetables, chopped
2 cans clam chowder, ready to serve, not concentrated
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
Set your Rice Cooker to Saute-Then-Simmer.
Lightly spray with olive oil and saute all the vegetables beginning with those that take longer to cook, then adding the others accordingly.
When the vegetables are ready, pour in the clam chowder and add curry if desired. It is tasty either way. Close the lid and cook until heated through, about 8-10 minutes. Complete the meal with a quick tossed salad and toasted bread. Dinner!
With holidays around and all the decadent treats staring at me from every nook and cranny in my house, I sometimes feel I need a little break from all that sugar and baked goods with some exotic spice to satisfy my palate.
My family and I always make a point to get together between Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoy dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in town. We all seem to welcome the different flavors of Thai food and everyone always has their favorite dish they have been craving since the gluttonous Thanksgiving offerings. By a landslide, mine is the sweet, sour and spicy Thai soup that comes in a metal dish with its own fire underneath. Yep it’s on fire!
This soup has all the components I think a perfect cold weather soup needs, it is pure perfection on a plate. Below is my rendition of this simple but delicious treat. Although some ingredients sound foreign, you will most likely find them in your fresh produce section at your local grocers. You can choose to add or minus the amount of chili peppers you use, but it does need some heat to balance the flavors.
While you are at it, why not make some extra and freeze it to use later. This soup is known to have healing properties for when you are feeling under the weather.
TOM YUM SOUP
6 cups vegetable broth
3 cups button mushrooms, sliced
6 lemongrass stalks, about inch long each
6 stalks galangal, about 1 inch long each
10 lime leaves
6 tsp fish sauce
10 Thai chile peppers, crushed
3 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, sliced and cut in half
juice of 1 lime
2 cups cubed firm tofu, chicken or whole shrimp
chopped cilantro and green onions
Add vegetable broth into the inner pot and set your rice cooker on steam. Once the broth boils add the lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass and let steep with lid closed for 10 minutes.
Add mushrooms, fish sauce, Thai Chile’s, lime juice, tomatoes, onions and tofu, chicken or shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and green onions.
Right now we are in the middle of the holiday season so be prepared with all sorts of tasty varieties for the occasions. Your occasions may range from a small group of family and friends to the big parties – with or without the football! Some gatherings are made for nothing but finger-foods while others have a small “offering” as the first course.
This recipe lets you decide on the size that works best for your gathering, however I’ve focused on an easy hot appetizer, one as convenient to make as many of its cold counterparts. Be creative with your dipping sauces as well as their containers. I like to hollow out vegetables as serving bowls when I can.
The meatball recipe I’m offering you is tasty without competing with your choice of sauces. Be sure to roll them in a size that matches your objective; small to just whet the appetite or to enjoy for the duration of the party and larger as your first course.
These also freeze well so plan ahead and enjoy the party!
PARTY TIME MEATBALLS
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Preheat your Grillet to 350 degrees.
Thoroughly mix all ingredients and gently shape into meatballs, about 1 ½” in diameter. While working in batches, saute the meatballs, turning every few minutes until nicely browned on all sides. Check for doneness.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
QUICK AND EASY HORSERADISH DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup sour cream
3 tblsp prepared horseradish
¼ tsp salt
Mix together until smooth and creamy. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.
CHIPOTLE BBQ SAUCE
1 cup Ketchup
3 tblsp brown sugar
1 tsp cumin
2 tblsp. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 -8 minutes or until slightly thickened.