Portland, Oregon: Recovering from four days of
binge-eating, I have been trying a few new recipes this week with "healthy"
dining in mind. Of course, we do not usually eat junk food, but am paying extra
attention to calories this week due to our over-indulgences at the food
festival. A good week to test a few items in my "Recipes to Try" folder.
Monday night we had
Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing from
Minimalist Baker. The
salad has quinoa, lettuce, corn, black beans, red onion, orange segments,
avocado and cilantro in a spiced-citrusy dressing.
I followed the directions, with the exception of adding a handful of toasted
We ate the salad, but it didn't "wow" us. Maybe our palates were coming-down off
a food festival high? This salad will not make a re-appearance on our table.
However what I prepared Tuesday night was surprisingly delicious -
Cauliflower Parmesan from
The New York Times. I get confused about using the word "parmesan"
in this dish, feeling the title should be "Parmigiano" - meaning the dish is
cooked in the style of the northern Italian city of Parma... especially since
these dishes are usually made with mozzarella. Anyway, no one asked me.
After reading the comments on the recipe website, I really switched it up and
did not follow the recipe much at all. I did not bread-and-fry the cauliflower
florets. I sliced a head of cauliflower like a loaf of bread, drizzled one
Tablespoon of olive oil over, tossed to coat, and roasted the "slices" for 30
minutes in a 400° oven on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
I put 1/2 cup of (jarred, store-bought) marinara in the
bottom of a
small gratin dish (an 8x8-inch baking dish would also
work), placed the cooled cauliflower evenly in the pan,
sprinkled 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese over, then
topped it with 1.5 cups of marinara, and scattered 1/2
cup shredded mozzarella over it all. No, I did not toast
panko bread crumbs - I crushed a handful of seasoned croutons and sprinkled it
over the top of the casserole. Everything, except the
Parmesan cheese, was organic.
Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven
I baked the Cauliflower Parmesan right away, but I see
no reason this recipe could not be made ahead and baked
when needed. 35 minutes at 375° and this gorgeous
bubbling dish came out of the oven:
Oops! Don't forget the garnish!
dish will only be as good as the red sauce used. I am
currently obsessed, and I mean, obsessed with
Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce produced by Cadia. This
brand showed-up at my local
New Seasons Markets over the last year or so. Cadia,
owned by Nature's Best, offer organic products at very
Cadia seem to only offer their foods at smaller
independently-owned hippy grocers, but look for Cadia
while you are shopping. I have also tried their chicken
stock and olive oil - so far - but this tomato basil
sauce is just amazing. I use it as pizza sauce as well.
Wouldn't this be an amazing meal, served with a side of
spaghetti? It would, but no pasta for people who were
force-fed indulgent tidbits over the past weekend. I
served it with a tossed salad. Most amazing - besides
the taste and the fact My Driver loved the Cauliflower
Parmesan - was the calorie count. Even with the cheese,
the dish is only 210 calories per serving (4 servings
total), mostly due to the fact an entire head
of cauliflower is only 144 calories. This recipe (mine,
not the one at the New York Times) will be
added to the rotation. With pasta.
We experimented with yet another main-course salad this evening,
New York Times Food section,
Charlie Bird's Farro Salad, from the famed SoHo restaurant.
Again, I followed the recipe... except I subbed hazelnuts
for pistachios... mostly because there are a zillion and three filbert trees
on this mountain we call home. This main-course salad was really good and,
if you don't toss-in the greens until the last minute, would be great for a
picnic or a take-to-work lunch. If you are vegan, omit (or substitute) the
Extra credit for serving the salad in a bowl Lisa bought in Tucson, on
holiday with us, while she was in college. Circa 2000? Somehow I now have
this gorgeous bowl in our kitchen in Oregon.
Sucks to be you, Lisa.
Again, no bread. No nuttin'. Still coming down from our
FEAST PORTLAND food high.
Until my next update, I remain, your low-cal correspondent.
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