Apron Strings http://www.apronstringsblog.com Cooking: it's in our D & A Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:33:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Roasted Asparagus Dip with Spring Crudites http://www.apronstringsblog.com/roasted-asparagus-dip-with-spring-veggie-platter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=roasted-asparagus-dip-with-spring-veggie-platter http://www.apronstringsblog.com/roasted-asparagus-dip-with-spring-veggie-platter/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:42:19 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7446
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A spring veggie platter is a spectacular edible centerpiece.
Spring Veggie Platter

Spring Veggies never looked so pretty. Asparagus dip is a bonus!

When spring veggies are piled high in the produce section, it brings my heart joy. I literally do a little shopping cart dance when asparagus is in abundance. I am desert born and raised, after all, and warm sunny weather makes me feel that all is well in the universe!

So I wanted to make a platter of crudites (raw or slightly blanched vegetables for dipping) that is really a work of edible art. This spring platter fits the bill, especially if you add some roasted asparagus dip in the center of a cabbage bowl. I created the dip with the same flavors of the warm artichoke dip/spread, on lightened up. The dip is delicious – like roasted asparagus with a hint of briny artichoke hearts.

Use whatever veggies you like – but I recommend blanching the tougher vegetables a bit to soften them – I did mine in the microwave oven.

Put this on your buffet or table at your next spring feats and you will get rave reviews – guaranteed.

Happy Spring All ~

– posted by Donna

 ROASTED ASPARAGUS DIP

8 ounces asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke heart
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss asparagus with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at top of oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature.

Place asparagus, cream cheese and yogurt in food processor and blend until smooth. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid. Add artichoke hearts to food processor and blend until smooth. Add in as much liquid as desired, to make the dip a thick liquid.

Add in cayenne pepper sauce and blend and then taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with raw vegetables for dipping.

Other crudite wonders:

Veggie Shooters, Skinny Taste
Spring Crudites, Simple Bites
Spring Crudites, Amy Glaze
Crudites Asian Style, Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen
Crudite with Roasted Onion Dip, Spoon FOrk Bacon

 

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Sticky Sweet Balsamic Lamb Chops http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-honey-balsamic-lamb-chops-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-honey-balsamic-lamb-chops-recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-honey-balsamic-lamb-chops-recipe/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:09:17 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7427
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Sticky, sweet, tangy. The perfect lamb chops for your spring feast.
Honey Balsamic Lamb Chops

Easiest and Tastiest Lamb Chops Ever.

This is the very first time we have posted a lamb recipe on this blog. Because lamb is spendy where I live, it is a once-a-year treat at our house – usually for our Easter feast.

And so, it has to be yummy. And easy. This honey balsamic glaze is tangy and sweet and just the right amount of sticky to make you lick your fingers brazenly with every bite.

This is a version of a recipe by Jamie Oliver, whose love for cooking healthy real food is contagious. I am an avid fan of his show 15 Minute Meals, and this recipe is the kind of food he cooks – playful and flavorful food that is easy and quick.

I did make twice as much of the glaze as he calls for – and for me this is the perfect ratio of glaze to lamb chop. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper sauce – just for a little heat. I think this is the perfect mix of flavor and texture for these chops – and this will be on my table on Easter Sunday.

– posted by Donna

HONEY BALSAMIC LAMB CHOPS

Serves 6

Total Time: 15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 lamb chops, with fat cap removed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper sauce

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle lamb chops with salt and pepper and then add to skillet. Let cook 5 minutes on each sides of chops.

Stir together the vinegar, honey and hot sauce and then drizzle over chops in pan. Keep turning chops until liquid is reduced and all of glaze sticks to the chops, about another 3 minutes total.

Serve immediately.

Other fun takes on lamb by food bloggers:

Saba Braised Lamb, Food Wishes
Dijon Glazed Lamb, Skinny Taste
Braised Eggs and Lamb, Culinary Covers
Panko Crusted Ginger Lamb Chops, Journey Kitchen
Pomegranate Lamb Chops, Closet Cooking
Grilled Lamb Chops, Cookin Canuck

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Rosemary Infused Lemonade Recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/rosemary-infused-lemonade-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rosemary-infused-lemonade-recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/rosemary-infused-lemonade-recipe/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 05:42:51 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7437
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Rosemary infused lemonade just might be the perfect spring drink.
Rosemary Lemonade

Because rosemary and lemons truly are best friends.

The perfect spring drink for your Easter dinner just might be this lemonade infused with rosemary.

I love infusing lemonade with unique flavors. I crave this Blueberry Mint Lemonade, for example.

The surprising thing about this lemonade is that you smell the rosemary first before you taste it – as you lift a glass to your mouth you smell the lemon and the rosemary.

This is as easy as steeping some rosemary in simple syrup and then adding lemon juice, ice and a sprig of rosemary for extra pizzazz. Who needs little paper umbrellas when you can have real herbs as a twizzle stick?

ROSEMARY INFUSED LEMONADE

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 large sprigs of rosemary (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups lemon juice
2 cups water

Bring the 1 cup of water and the sugar to a boil. Turn off heat and add 2 sprigs rosemary and the lemon zest. Let steep – and cool to room temperature.

Stir in lemon juice and 2 more cups water.

Serve over ice with rosemary as a garnish if desired.

Other flavorful lemonades:

Lavender Infused Lemonade, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Herb Lemonades, Love and Olive Oil
Herb Lemonades, Oh Sweet Basil
Cucumber Lemonade, Beantown Baker

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Rocket Man Pizza http://www.apronstringsblog.com/arugula-ricotta-chevre-pizza/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=arugula-ricotta-chevre-pizza http://www.apronstringsblog.com/arugula-ricotta-chevre-pizza/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7409
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 Never tried an arugula-topped pizza? 

Arugula, ricotta, chevre, and feta + garlic, lemon and thyme vinaigrette, topped with toasted hazelnuts = Rocket Man Pizza (with gluten-free crust from Bob’s Red Mill)

I’m sure Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland has many other delicious pizza offerings and other excellent far, but I wouldn’t know. Ever since encountering their “Rocket Man” pizza (rocket as in the UK name for arugula), I haven’t been able to bring myself to order anything else. It’s arugula tossed in a lemon-thyme (a long, long thyme?) vinaigrette, atop a bed of ricotta, chevre and mozzarella, sprinkled with feta and toasted hazelnuts as a final flourish.

I had the chance to hang with Donna and the family this weekend, and in an early celebration of my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had a pizza party with a variety of pies; some pre-made, some make-your-own. I’ve been wanting to try an approximation of HUB’s Rocket Man for a while now, so this was the perfect excuse to give it a shot. 

ROCKET MAN PIZZA inspired by HOPWORKS URBAN BREWERY

1 Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Mix (makes 2 doughs)
Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette (below)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (more in the vinaigrette, just so you know for prep)
1 cup ricotta
10 ounces chevre
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup feta
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

LEMON THYME VINAIGRETTE

Juice and zest of one large lemon, minus one reserved tablespoon)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
generous amount of fresh pepper

1. Prepare dough according to package directions, all the way through parbaking it for about 9 minutes. Throw the hazelnuts in the oven at the same time, on a baking sheet. Remove both and set dough aside. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and let cool for a few, then rub together to remove most of the skins. Roughly chop and set aside until the grand finale.

2. Prep the dressing and the olive oil base. You could theoretically do this much earlier, and it might be helpful to do so, in fact, as the longer the flavors mingle, the better. SO: in a small jar, combine the 3 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and teaspoon of thyme. Then, in a second jar, shake together all the ingredients (save for one tablespoon lemon juice; set that aside)  for the vinaigrette.

3. Preheat the oven again if you’ve turned it off. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, chevre, mozzarella, and the aforementioned tablespoon of lemon juice.

4. Assemble! Spread the garlic-thyme olive oil evenly over both crusts. Then spread the ricotta mixture onto the crusts – it’s helpful to distribute spoonfuls of it over the surface and then press and smooth it out. Bake in your already preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. While that bakes toss the arugula in the vinaigrette. Remove pizzas and top with arugula mixture, then sprinkle with the feta and the toasted hazelnuts.

– posted by Anne

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Foolproof Oven Poached Eggs http://www.apronstringsblog.com/foolproof-oven-poached-egg-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=foolproof-oven-poached-egg-recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/foolproof-oven-poached-egg-recipe/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:31:51 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7410
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Perfectly poached eggs will change your life. Or at least your brunch.
Oven poached eggs

The perfect tool for poaching eggs? Your oven!

Poached eggs are such a Julia thing to make, don’t you agree? Yet, they are the Achilles heel of many a home cook like myself.

So, when I had a group of women coming over for brunch, I wanted to go for the Oooh’s and Aaah’s. I wanted to serve Eggs Benedict with asparagus, but was afraid to attempt poaching eggs for 6 people. But, there is a really simple tool to use to make poached eggs almost effortlessly: your oven!

Turns out you can poach eggs perfectly in your oven! Yes, sorry Julia Child, but eggs just aren’t that easy to poach on the stove top. Even if you are a dedicated foodie like Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen, it’s still a complicated and arduous task.

I tried this technique as a test a few days before I wanted to serve them, and they came out perfect the very first time. Perfectly cooked whites. Perfectly oozy yolks. Perfect perfect. And as easy as cracking eggs into muffin tins.

Happy Brunch, Everyone!

PERFECT OVEN POACHED EGGS

2 cups water
6 large eggs

Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil, either on your stove top or in your microwave oven.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of boiling water into each tin in a muffin tin pan (regular or large size muffin tins work fine, just depends on the shape you like for your finished egg). Crack a large egg into each tin. Pour about 2 more tablespoons of water on top of each egg.

Bake in oven for EXACTLY six minutes. This will make your egg whites perfectly cooked, but your yolks still runny.

Serve immediately.

And some recipes to try once you have poached your eggs:

 Easy Poached Eggs, Stone Soup
Poached Eggs over Pasta, Skinny Taste
Poached Egg on Toast, Cookin Canuck

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Beet Deviled Eggs http://www.apronstringsblog.com/beet-deviled-eggs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=beet-deviled-eggs http://www.apronstringsblog.com/beet-deviled-eggs/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:28:52 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7391
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Double duty beets: flavor inside and color outside deviled eggs.
Beet Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, flavored and colored with beets.

Beets add sweetness and flavor to the classic deviled egg – and a bonus: soak your peeled hard boiled eggs in beet water to add a rosy hue to the outsides of the eggs!

Once a year in early spring I become a deviled egg fanatic. I have tried all kinds of mix-ins to the yolks, and I have to say that it was a surprise how delicious the sweetness of the beets was mixed into the yolks. They are delicious mixed with a little Dijon to balance the sweetness.

There are lots of food bloggers doing naturally dyed eggs – so beautiful! I just added my beets in two places!
See How to Dye Easter Eggs the Natural Way, Simple Bites
Tea Stained Easter Eggs, Yummy Mummy
Vegetable Dyed Eggs, Weelicious

BEET DEVILED EGGS

Two small purple beets, peeled and diced
6 large hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 tablespoon Dijon or other favorite mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the beets in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them, until beets are fork tender.

Mash beets with a fork and let cool to room temperature

Meanwhile, soak the eggs in the beet water in the pan until room temperature.

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Add all yolks to the beet mash. Add mustard and mash all together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the beet mixture back into the deviled eggs. Serve immediately.

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Spring Chicken Soup with Lemon and Artichokes http://www.apronstringsblog.com/spring-chicken-soup-with-lemon-and-artichokes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spring-chicken-soup-with-lemon-and-artichokes http://www.apronstringsblog.com/spring-chicken-soup-with-lemon-and-artichokes/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7260
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A perfectly bright, warm, simple chicken soup for a day of April showers. 

Spring Chicken Soup with Artichoke and Lemon

Simple, flavorful, healthy. This is something of a copycat recipe.  I’m not going for anything even near total accuracy, but it most certainly was inspired by the Lemon Artichoke Soup you can find in the prepared foods section at Whole Foods. If you’ve been there lately, I’m sure you know the one. I love the flavor combination of lemon, artichoke and chicken (such as in this recipe), and having it rendered in soup form seemed like just the bowl of homemade nourishment I love in the rainy Northwest spring. 

SPRING CHICKEN SOUP WITH ARTICHOKES & LEMON

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
approximately 1 1/2 pounds leftover cooked chicken (breast, thigh, whatever)
1 quart chicken broth plus one cup water
2 cans artichoke hearts (plain, not marinated), drained and chopped
juice and zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (I like white for this recipe)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley and chives, plus extra parsley for garnish

Standard soup base procedure: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high, saute the onion, carrots and celery until soft and starting to brown. Add in chicken, broth, artichoke hearts, lemon juice and zest (I reserved a little to add at the end, but that’s up to you) and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Ladle about a generous cup’s worth into a blender, aiming to use liquid and vegetables only (a little chicken sneaking in is no big deal, though). Add the 1 cup of parsley and chives and blend until smooth. Pour back into pot and stir, this will give the liquid a lively and lovely green hue that doesn’t quite come across in my photo, alas. Add remaining lemon and extra parsley for garnish to serve.

– posted by Anne

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Easy Asian Chicken Meatball Stir Fry with Spring Vegetables http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-asian-chicken-meatball-ponzu-stir-fry-with-spring-vegetables/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-asian-chicken-meatball-ponzu-stir-fry-with-spring-vegetables http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-asian-chicken-meatball-ponzu-stir-fry-with-spring-vegetables/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:58:59 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7357
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Asian flavors with chicken meatballs – just in time for spring!
Asian Chicken Meatballs

Hooray for Spring! Double Hooray for spring vegetables, I say! This time of year I just can’t get enough of green spring veggies – like peas, asparagus and green onions, also known as “spring” onions.

Spring vegetables are perfect for a stir fry dish – and I decided to make chicken meatballs in place of the usual chicken strips.

And my current Asian food obsession: ponzu sauce. Think soy sauce with citrus flavors. Sort of a Japanese vinaigrette. LOVE the stuff. It is perfect as a stir fry sauce, with just a little cornstarch stirred in.

This is a dish that comes together in about 20 minutes – so simple and packed with delicious Asian flavors. You could serve it over rice to stretch it as a family main dish – but I like it just out of the skillet.

EASY ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALL STIR FRY

Total time 20 minutes
Serves four as a main dish (serves more if served over rice)

2 large eggs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Ponzu sauce, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon each garlic and ginger powder
1/2 cup minced green onions
2 pounds ground chicken
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, any combination
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon honey
1 large handful pea pods
2 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut in 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Stir together the eggs, panko, 1 tablespoon of the Ponzu sauce, 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, ginger, garlic, minced green onions and ground chicken. Form into balls that are 2 tablespoons each.

Heat a wok or large skillet to medium high heat. Add a little of the oil. Add meatballs in a single layer in batches as needed, depending on the size of the skillet. Turn meatballs gently until browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.

Add more oil to skillet and cook mushrooms for a few minutes, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of the Ponzu sauce, chicken stock, honey and remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and then pour in skillet. Stir until thickened.

Add in pea pods and cook for another minute. Add meatballs back in and stir to coat.

Serve garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.

If you like Ponzu, try these other Ponzu delights:

Stir Fried Beef with Ponzu Sauce, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry, Jersey Girl Cooks
Flank Steak with Ponzu Honey Glaze, Perfect Pantry

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One Pot Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken Recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-honey-balsamic-spring-chicken-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-pot-honey-balsamic-spring-chicken-recipe http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-honey-balsamic-spring-chicken-recipe/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:26:59 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7345
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Easy Honey Balsamic Chicken – spring deliciousness on a plate.
Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken

Spring on a Plate – with honey balsamic flavors.

Easy weeknight meals require creativity and experimenting. Take this dish, for example.

I love chicken thighs and I have lately been craving spring ingredients. Asparagus is abundant and cheap the last few weeks! Why not chicken and asparagus together?

So I tried this dish with just the chicken thighs and the veggies, but it seemed too bland to me. I decided to up the flavor by adding the thighs back to the skillet at the end of cooking with a little balsamic vinegar and honey to deglaze the pan and to glaze the thighs. A million per cent improvement! We were literally licking our fingers to get every drop of this yummy sticky glaze!

This dish is really simple and an be on your table in about 20 minutes.

Happy First Day of  Spring Everyone!

– posted by Donna

ONE POT HONEY BALSAMIC SPRING CHICKEN

4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, cut in julienne strips
2 cups 1-inch asparagus pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of chicken thighs. Add chicken thighs to dry pan, skin side down. DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE for 3 – 5 minutes, until edges of thighs look golden brown. Turn thighs over, cover and cook another 10 minutes. Remove thighs from skillet.

Add chicken stock, white wine vinegar and onion. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Add asparagus and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add peas and cook until thawed, and until liquid has almost evaporated. Pour vegetables out of skillet onto a serving platter.

Add thighs back to skillet and add balsamic vinegar and honey. Toss and cook until all liquid clings to the chicken thighs, about another 5 minutes, until thighs are cooked through. Remove chicken thighs to top the veggies. Let sit on counter top for about 10 minutes before serving.

Other Spring  Chicken wonders on the web -

Spring Chicken Stir Fry, Skinny Taste
Spring Roast Chicken, Foodie Crush
Spring Chicken with Herbs, Anne’s Food
Shabbat Chicken, What Jew Want to Eat
Southwest Grilled Spring Chicken Rolls, Everyday Southwest

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Caulicannon: Irish Comfort Food – minus the carbs http://www.apronstringsblog.com/caulicannon-irish-comfort-food-low-carb/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=caulicannon-irish-comfort-food-low-carb http://www.apronstringsblog.com/caulicannon-irish-comfort-food-low-carb/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 19:27:39 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7336
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A low-carb, nutrient-packed version of the Irish comfort food classic for St. Patrick’s Day.

Caulicannon: The Irish Comfort Classic made low-carb.

This is certainly a last-minute entry for the St Patrick’s Day recipe bonanza that’s blown up the foodblogosphere all week, but the brainstorm just hit me yesterday and it would be remiss of me not to share it with you posthaste. I was hanging out on Pinterest with my morning coffee as per usual, thinking how lovely a nice bowl of creamy, starchy colcannon would be. Wait a minute, I’ve come to love cauliflower rice, why not use cauliflower mash as the foundation of a low-carb colcannon?

All on its own, I do generally prefer either ricing cauliflower or roasting it,  rather than the pureed version that can be substituted for potatoes, but in this instance, it really hits the spot. My only regret is not doubling the recipe so I’d have more leftovers.

Slainte to all!

CAULICANNON: MASHED CAULIFLOWER WITH KALE

1 large head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons oil or butter, divided (you can use olive oil or rendered fat, I wouldn’t really recommend coconut here)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Set up a large pot with a steamer basket and bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add cauliflower and garlic cloves. Steam for 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender. Remove basket and let cool a touch before transferring it into a food processor. Puree with 2 tablespoons of the oil of your choice until very smooth. Set aside while preparing the kale.

Drain the water from the large pot, add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat over medium high. Add onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, until quite soft and starting to brown. Add in the kale and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the kale to be soft but still very bright. Transfer the pureed cauliflower and cook it all together for a few more minutes, adding salt and pepper and adjusting seasoning to taste.

Can’t help thinking this would be excellent with some corned beef or bangers, but it would pair well with anything that goes with mashed potatoes.

– posted by Anne

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