Cook the Book Fridays – Dukkah-Roasted Cauliflower

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I love my stand mixer and my food processor, my slow cooker and my blender, but sometimes I think I get the most satisfaction from the little Braun coffee grinder I picked up at a garage sale back in my university days. Now, it’s only occasionally used to grind coffee – who needs coffee at home when you’re living at the corner of java and joe? But it has produced any number of freshly ground spices over the years, along with emergency icing sugar and top ups for scant cups of oat or chickpea flours. I paid almost nothing for it and it’s brought me a wealth of flavour.

It is rather…enthusiastic, though, so I thought I’d use our mini chopper to make the dukkah for this week’s Cook the Book Fridays dish. This spice mix is meant to have a coarse texture and my spice grinder is more of an instant powder maker. In the end, though, the grinder had to come to the rescue, as the peppercorns and coriander managed to elude the mini chopper’s blade completely. I had to dig them out, grind them, and whisk them back in.

That was the only glitch in a simple and delicious recipe. There are many versions of dukkah, but this one is particularly well-balanced. The recipe made much more than I needed for the roasted cauliflower, so I’m looking forward to trying it in dip form, on other sorts of roasted vegetables, or as a crust for tofu.

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The cauliflower itself couldn’t have been simpler – slices are roasted in olive oil, the dukkah is added, and the cauliflower continues roasting until it’s tender and caramelized. In the headnote to the recipe, David tells us that this dish has been known to elicit exclamations of pleasure and that certainly happened here – the moment I opened the oven to pull it out, just as he’d promised.

That’s the second cauliflower recipe to do so in our house in less than six months. The first was Meera Sodha’s roasted cauliflower. There are other cauliflower dishes I enjoy, but I could be perfectly happy with alternating between these two indefinitely.

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There’s a version of David Lebovitz’ dukkah on his website.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Steak with Mustard Butter and French Fries

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Is anyone else excited to check out Michael Pollan’s new Netflix series, Cooked? I’m looking forward to it.

I think a lot of us follow Pollan’s advice, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Certainly, in our home that’s true. Even when I indulge in my love for things like steak, I try to limit the portion – the truth is, humans don’t need that much protein in a single meal. Mostly, I don’t regret that. Tonight was one of those occasions when I absolutely did.

I used a very small steak for my meal tonight, reasoning that it was more than enough. Really, though, I should have been following someone else’s advice. “Everything in moderation, including moderation,” said Oscar Wilde, and right now, I’m inclined to agree.

This week’s recipe from My Paris Kitchen had us slather a chipotle and smoked salt rub on our steaks, prepare compound butter pats with two forms of mustard, and oven bake hand-cut French fries tossed with olive oil and herbs. What was I thinking trying to practice moderation with that on the menu?

It may have been small, but the steak was perfectly medium rare. I savoured it as slowly as I could and made sure I swept up all the juices and mustard butter with the French fries. Next time, I won’t be skimping on portions.

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You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.

Cook the Book Fridays – Winter Salad

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It’s been a while now, since French Fridays with Dorie wrapped up. I’ve missed our weekly check ins, but have found myself woefully inept at keeping up with everyone’s blog posts. Some of our group joined the Cottage Cooking Club and others are working through Baking Chez Moi with Tuesdays with Dorie, both of which have provided some prompts to check in.

But, the Cottage Cooking Club meets only once a month and I don’t keep up with Tuesdays with Dorie as often as I’d like, since so many of my family and friends are avoiding sweets. So, I’m happy to say that there is a new way for us all to keep in touch.

Katie, from the Prof Who Cooks, backed up by our fabulous French Fridays admins, Betsy and Mary, has set up a website called Cook the Book Fridays, so that our group of cooking friends can work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen together – and who knows, after that? The project is similar to the one that brought us together in the first place, cooking through a Paris-inspired cookbook, full of recipes for every course.

I’m happy that there will be another excuse to visit, virtually, and I’m hoping that these adventures will be shared by cooking friends old and new.

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Today marks the beginning of the project and we’ve started with a seasonal dish that’s simple to assemble, but full of Parisian panache. This Winter Salad, with its matchsticks of Belgian endive and roquefort and Greek yogurt dressing, is delicious. It’s also a perfect example of how salads can be much more interesting when they’re viewed through the lens of seasonal eating. There’s nothing worse than a salad of limp, out-of-season greens. But, when you realize a salad can be made from whatever looks freshest and interesting at the greenmarket, things start to look up.

My take on this included gorgonzola and red pear, as I didn’t make it to the cheese store in time for roquefort. I ran over to an Italian deli instead, and picked up a mild Canadian gorgonzola. I measured the ingredients in tablespoons, instead of cups, as I was the only one eating this salad tonight. I still ended up with enough dressing to make it again tomorrow. I have a spear of endive and half a pear waiting in the refrigerator. I’m looking forward to a repeat of this dish for lunch.

I think we’ve started off on a promising note. I’ve had the book since it came out, but haven’t cooked out of it nearly as much as I’d have liked. Now, I’ll be working through the whole thing with some of my favourite bloggers.

Join us?

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz’ My Paris Kitchen.