the gregarious homebody

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Kind of Night

Look!  I even remembered flowers (or Judy and Ann did.  Thanks girls!!).

Saturday night was the start of a new thing: The Girlfriend Dinner.  Twelve friends, from all over who didn't necessarily know each other before, hanging out and talking (and laughing!) without the intrusion of their other halves.  Well, mine intruded a bit and so did Audrey's but those two are *almost* one of the girls themselves (or at least they fancy themselves to be!) so it was okay.

I think I would very much like to have one of these get-togethers at least twice a year (next time, brunch?).  I loved looking down the length of my dining room and seeing all these amazing women whom I'm just lucky to know, let alone the fact that most of them would take a bullet for me. And it was so loud with laughter!  Who doesn't love that?

Here's what we had:

To start
*Muhammara with homemade pita chips

For dinner
Chicken Marbella
Armenian Rice Pilaf
Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Arugula
Store-bought Ciabatta bread 

Make this for your next dinner party.  You will thank me AND The Silver Palate ladies.
For dessert
**Coconut Macaroons
Shortbread Ripple Biscotti
Kouign Amann (OH. MY. GOD.)
Chocolate Sorbet

this isn't the recipe that I used (can't find it!) but it's close
*quadruple this recipe because it only makes 4 big ones.  Unless you want 4 big ones teeheehee

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This Salad is So Good I Want to Lick the Pictures

How did I never have baby arugula (rocket) before?  I guess because I have a distinct memory of someone in When Harry Met Sally ordering *Grilled Arugula and yuck, how gross is that?  Plus I'm not one for the bitter.  

This is the scene!  Remember?  "Pesto is the quiche of the 80's" ?? I love the internet.
But I reeeeeeaaaaallllly digress.  

Baby arugula isn't's peppery and DELICIOUS.  Like, I kept eating it raw and unadorned and that's just unheard of with me (I mean, c'mon...salad is just a foil for delicious dressing).  

Anyhoo, this post is about a fantastic salad that contains not only baby arugula but another delicious and sometimes unsung vegetable--cauliflower.  Roasted, this pale stuff tastes almost like popcorn.  Add some shallots and thyme?  YUM.  I got this recipe via Alexis.  Say what you want about her....the girl makes a lot of good food.

Here's the recipe with my changes in bold. And this recipe is supposed to make enough for 8.  Obviously not 8 of me.  Maybe 3.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Goat Cheese 


Roasted Cauliflower:
3 (2) tbs. olive oil
1 large cauliflower, separated into large florets and thinly sliced through stem
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 small bunch thyme (1 tsp. dry)
2 tsp. coriander seeds
Salt and white pepper
Don't be stupid.  ROAST this!
1 green apple, cut into quarters and sliced
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

1/2 thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup yellow raisins, plumped (in warm water) and drained mine were plump already
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups baby arugula
3 tbs. pine nuts, toasted
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Don't omit these, even if your kids are stupid and  pick them out. The peppery arugula + sweet dried fruit=SLURP

Apple-Cider Dressing:
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
3 tbs. cider vinegar
2/3 cup (heaping 1/3 cup) olive oil
Salt and white pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat, add the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 6 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the slices, add the remaining ingredients, and season with salt and pepper.  Set in oven and roast for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and keep warm. I roasted it from the get-go in the oven, adding the shallots after about 10 minutes.  I think it would've been crispier if I had done it this way though.

In a small bowl, whisk mustard with vinegar and a large pinch of salt, add the oil, and season with pepper. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients (except for the pine nuts and goat cheese), add a few spoonfuls of dressing, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the cauliflower in the center of a large plate, arrange the salad ingredients around the cauliflower, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Finish with cheese and pine nuts. (Published 2010)
Uh, yeah.  I couldn't wait until HH and the Boy got home.  I quickly ate this before the Girl could come downstairs and ask to be fed too.

*Edited to add:  I AM A MORON.  It was grilled RADICCHIO not arugula.  And to think I've been missing out all this time unnecessarily.


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